Friday, August 22, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

A bad man, a half-baked plan -- and a magical political moment

A bad man, a half-baked plan -- and a magical political moment

Now, as promised, a not-too-special comment on last night's must-see television, "Mr. Paul Goes to Washington." It's hard to know where to start on Sen. Rand Paul's 13-hour (with a little help from his friends) talking filibuster, blocking (briefly) the confirmation of CIA chief John Brennan until he got answers from the Obama administration on the legality of drone strikes against U.S. citizens on American soil.

OK, so here's some stray thoughts. First of all, Rand Paul is not the man I would choose to send out any message, even if that message was world peace and free beer and chicken wings. Simply put, Paul is wrong on about 80 percent of the issues, anything that's not about certain civil liberties and U.S. militarism. I'm not going to recite the whole Negapedia on Paul -- just remind folks that in 2010 he said he still opposed some parts of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. That's appalling.

Second, the actual thing he was filibustering over was kind of whack. I mean, drone strikes on domestic soil against U.S. citizens? Really? Like Paul, I'm against that, and it was a little alarming that Eric Holder would not give him a blanket promise that this could not happen. Such an action would, in my opinion, be unconstitutional. But -- at least in the present circumstances -- it's also about as likely as the federal government clubbing panda bears to death. Meanwhile, in the reality-based world, U.S. drone strikes are killing innocent Pakistanis and Yemenis right now. Like Paul, I care about the Constitution, but I also care about human rights of all people -- and that's what's really in play with drones.

OK, having gone through that lengthy list of qualifiers, I have to say that the filibuster (at least the parts without the neo-McCarthyite Ted Cruz)...was awesome. Why? For one thing, you can't always go with the drone debate that you might like to have -- any discussion of drones that becomes the lead story on the national news is worthwhile, in my opinion. And, it was a lot of fun watching the usual predictable alliances blow up on Twitter -- to see (some) liberals supporting a Kentucky Republican and having the wingnut Heritage Foundation imply that it's anti-drone (it's actually not, of course). And frankly, to see any prominent politician -- no matter what baggage he carries -- stand up against even one sliver of the natiional-security state and the Beltway consensus was exhilarating, even refreshing.

Which is why, for one crazy night, I #StoodWithRand,

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Will Bunch
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