The filibuster of 2013 is being compared to the old Jimmy Stewart movie, Mr. Smith Goes To Washington. But examination of the thirteen hour drone about drones shows it should be analogized with the Paul Newman movie, Cool Hand Luke, and it’s famous line “What we have here is a failure to communicate.”
Rand Paul, the Republican junior Senator from Kentucky, and son of libertarian icon, Ron Paul, spoke on the Senate Floor yesterday for thirteen hours straight and he wasn’t high on cocaine nor was he Quentin Tarantino.
Like most of you and his Senate colleagues (they had to get their chicken caesar salads and three martini lunches in, leaving the Senate Floor barren for hours), I didn’t watch all of his historic filibuster opposing the nomination John Brennan for CIA Director. Here are my excuses.
1) I live with 4 women. Once, I filibustered against them watching the televsion drama Pretty Little Liars so I could see a hockey game. It lasted twenty-three seconds. I didn’t think I would last much longer with Senator Paul.
2) With Rand Paul’s extreme right wing voting record and opposition to almost everything President Barack Obama does, I assumed there would be a sock puppet show about lefties taking all the guns and making righties read Heather Has Two Mommies.
3) I thought there would be ridiculous references to the 1939 Jimmy Stewart film, Mr. Smith Goes To Washington and I can only deal with so much old dudes being out of touch with pop culture.
I was right about on two of three. Senator Paul, as he states in the video, ended his session because he had to go potty. But, what I got out of the highlights, transcripts, and overall buzz about Paul’s filibuster was, he’s right on his issues – The President and his administration have not explained how, why, where, and when killer drone strikes can be used on America soil against Americans – and, no one in Washington, in either party, knows how to talk to each other.
Before making his symbolic, and surprisingly patriotic, stand, yesterday, Ron Paul asked the attorney general Eric Holder a question about whether drones can or will be used against Americans, for any reason. Instead of calling Paul on the phone or tweeting him, Holder wrote a letter saying everything but the answer the junior Senator was hoping. With fear as his co-pilot, and an apple and thermos, (same stuff Jimmy Stewart’s naive Mr. Jefferson Smith had with him in the movie) Rand Paul talked. Then he talked some more. Then after that, he talked some more. Starting around 11:47 am eastern and ending around 1am, Paul ran his Rand mouth for a long time and garnered more respect and interest than you’d believe, for now.
Later this week, John Brennan will get confirmed as CIA Director. Paul’s stumping, while weirdly impressive, will be a footnote for poli-sci nerds like me. The libertarian side Rand Paul, and his father Ron, have shown over the past few years had quite a performance. It highlighted President Obama’s major flaw; he doesn’t communicate outside of supporters very well.
Before the drone flew over Brooklyn last week and freaked out everyone who wears a tinfoil hat and or posts in my Facebook timeline; Obama, Holder, and anyone else associated with the administration should have explained the drone program, warts and all, and assured Americans that they will be used only for terrorism defense and rowdy Nickelback fans. It’s remarkable that since Obama won re-election, there’s sentiment building for whiny Republicans and bloggy libertarians. While the Patriot Act signed into law by George W. Bush takes away more civil liberties than anything the current President has been involved with, unarmed drones dropping Hellfire bombs on Larry The Cable Guy fans or others with differing views, while outlandish in thought, deserves conversation. A 30 minute address to the nation could go a long way and be much easier to watch and write about than a Senator’s testy talkathon.