On A Randpage: Epic Effort
Sen. Rand Paul is staying true to his word, or more appropriately words, thousands of them, as he launches into his ninth hour of a long haul he started around noon today to filibuster the nomination of John Brennan as director of the CIA. A live feed from C-Span is here, along with this from the Huffington Post:
“I will speak until I can no longer speak,” Paul said.
Paul, an outspoken libertarian, pointed to what he called the abuses of executive power and civil liberties under Obama’s administration. In particular, he objected to the contents of a letter he received from Attorney General Eric Holder that asserted the U.S. government had the legal authority to kill a U.S. citizen on American soil.
“Where is the Barack Obama of 2007?” he asked, referring to then-presidential candidate Obama’s criticism of Bush-era violations of civil liberties. “If there were an ounce of courage in this body, I would be joined by many other senators,” he added. “Are we going to give up our rights to politicians?”
Paul had asked the Justice Department about the constitutionality of drone strikes and whether they could be used agains U.S. citizens. Holder responded in a letter that conceded the military could authorize a drone strike on U.S. soil.
“It is possible, I suppose, to imagine an extraordinary circumstance in which it would be necessary and appropriate under the Constitution and applicable laws of the United States for the President to authorize the military to use lethal force within the territory of the United States,” Holder wrote.
Paul elaborated on his concern Wednesday: “When I asked the president, ‘Can you kill an American on American soil,’ it should have been an easy answer. It’s an easy question. It should have been a resounding an unequivocal, ‘No.’ The president’s response? He hasn’t killed anyone yet. We’re supposed to be comforted by that. The president says, ‘I haven’t killed anyone yet.’ He goes on to say, ‘And I have no intention of killing Americans. But I might.’ Is that enough? Are we satisfied by that?”
Paul started his filibuster speech around 11:45 a.m. Unlike most modern filibusters, the Kentucky senator is actually attempting to talk through the whole thing — like Jimmy Stewart in “Mr. Smith Goes To Washington” — rather than simply raising his hand to object and requiring 60 votes to proceed. The last “talking” filibuster was in 2010, when Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), spoke out against extending the Bush-era tax cuts. Filibuster reform advocates have proposed returning to this old-fashioned style.
“I will not sit quietly and let him shred the constitution,” Paul said of Obama, later adding that getting an answer from the president on drone strikes was like “pulling teeth.”
The White House declined to comment Wednesday.
Republican Sens. Mike Lee, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Saxby Chambliss have at various points throughout the day stepped up to help Paul’s filibustering, which jumped party lines when Democrat Sen. Ron Wyden joined the effort.
Paul’s filibuster has lit up the local scene on Facebook, with activists pooling their clout trying to, um, persuade Sen. Richard Burr to stand with Paul. Turns out Burr had other pressing matters to attend – namely dinner with The One.
A small sampling from the local scene that’s popped up on my FB news feed:
Think about this for a moment. A US Senator is going on 9 hours of a filibuster in an effort to get the President to denounce assassinating American citizens. If the fact that this has become necessary in our country doesn’t scare the hell out of you, the silence from the White House should.
CNN’s current tweet, as Sen. Rand Paul filibusters the Brennan nomination over domestic drone killings:
“Did Kate Middleton’s slip reveal royal baby’s gender?”
I just called Richard Burr’s office to ask if he will join Mike Lee and Ted Cruz in having Rand Paul’s back. The only answer I got was a very terse, “You know what? I don’t know.”
That’s not acceptable. Call Richard Burr at 202-224-3154 and INSIST that Richard Burr stand with Rand.
Filibuster now entering its third hour. It’s entirely possible this will still be going on when the evening news goes live 3 hours from now. Rand Paul is pulling no punches and has already effectively called the entire U.S. Senate a bunch of gutless yellow cowards right to their faces. There hasn’t been a talking filibuster in over 2 years. This is history, folks.
“I will speak today until the president responds and says, ‘No, we won’t kill Americans in cafes. No, we won’t kill you at home at night.” Rand Paul
9 hours and still going strong. Rand may hang in long enough for the President’s dinner party to break up so Richard Burr will have a chance to #StandWithRand.
It just occurred to me that Senator Paul’s epic filibuster is taking place on Alamo Day.
Nicole RevelsTuesdays at Obama’s White House have now been dubbed “Terrorist Tuesday” -courtesy to Rand for that one.
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