Last night’s big news was that Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul held an impressively long talking filibuster of 12 hours on the Senate Floor last night regarding the nomination of John Brennan to be head of the CIA. Paul’s main detraction against Brennan is rooted in concern over the use of unmanned drones and if they would use drones to target American citizens on American soil.
As Rand Paul continues filibustering, the Twitter world erupted as it does when a Paul family member does something noteworthy. Then as Paul continued to filibuster some of his Senate Republican colleagues joined him including Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, John Thune, Ron Johnson and the only sole Democrat to appear was Dick Durbin of Illionis. Paul’s Senate colleagues were not as adept at discussing the issues as Paul with Ron Johnson (seemingly in support of Rand Paul) discussed bringing a vote to the table clearly showing he did not fully understand what was ongoing. Rubio quoted Wiz Khalifa and Jay-Z to prove he was hip, I suppose.
Nonetheless the libertarian and Republican approval of Rand Paul’s talking filibuster was to be expected, what might have been a shock was some of the progressive approval of Paul. Certain people such as Cenk Uygur of the Young Turks was completely head over heels for Paul’s filibuster and the Young Turks Twitter started calling out progressive Democrats for not appearing on the Senate floor in unison.
My opinion of this is that we should cheer on Rand Paul for starting a debate and talking about it even though after 90 or so minutes, the filibuster became a reality show of political opportunism. Drones are a serious topic and one that should be discussed on the Senate Floor and the potential use on American soil is one that should concern many Americans. Even if the topic was something less important, the idea of getting some type of debate in the Senate is a win for those who wish to reform the legislating body.
Plenty of progressives, including myself was hoping that Senator Harry Reid would propose some type of filibuster reform and as of now; we have been left pretty disappointed. But Paul showed that a talking filibuster is much more democratic (small-d) then anonymous filibusters which can completely derail any piece of legislation that gets sent to the Senate. Talking filibuster is akin to putting money where one’s mouth is and that is another plus of him last night.
But let’s not call Rand Paul a hero, remember his stances on abortion and civil rights legislation; he might be a great advocate for civil liberties but on social rights he is far from our friend. The idea of #StandWithRand trending for as long as it has is proof that Rand Paul made a great political move to cement his stature as one of the Republican Party’s loudest voices but we shouldn’t necessarily embrace him for being right on one topic when he appears to be endlessly wrong on many others.