Thursday, March 07, 2013

Rand Paul's filibuster

By now you've heard of the so-called epic talking filibuster on the Senate floor yesterday. They're calling it "Rand Paul's filibuster" but it's not really fair to give him sole ownership. Before it was over nearly every crackpot con with an eye on an upcoming election, including Mitch McConnell, had taken to the airwaves to do a little grandstanding for the rubes back home.

I didn't watch it live myself. Listening to those self-serving hypocrites makes me want to break crockery and I'm down to my last two dinner plates. But I did follow the narrative on the twitters. By the end of the 13 hours, when they were joined by their colleagues who were fresh off a fancy dinner date with POTUS, they were reading tweets into the record and name-checking every pop culture figure they could remember. Meanwhile, the resident snarksters were cracking jokes about frat parties and wondering who was bringing in the weed. I hear the GOPers were immediately fundraising on the spectacle and had reached "high five figures."

The final act of this comedy of the absurd came this afternoon when Eric Holder delivered the dressing to toss their massive word salad.
Dear Senator Paul:

It has come to my attention that you have now asked an additional question: " Does the President have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on American soil? The answer to that question is no.
This, we are told, has satisfied Mr. Paul's burning curiousity and he will now allow cloture.

That's the simplified version of nearly 24 hours of grandiose GOP posturing. There was plenty more drama and Republican infighting this morning.

The filibuster itself was meaningless. Rand Paul might actually care a bit about civil rights and due process but certainly none of the other opportunists who joined last night's fray give a flying leap about the policy. There's no doubt not one of them would have staged this spectacle with a Republican in the Oval Office.

If any good comes of this, it will be that there is now a precedent set for requiring a talking filibuster in the future. Perhaps not legally under the rules, but in public expectation of proper process. Of course, that would only work if the media does its job and points out every single time the GOP blocks an up or down vote without justifying it with a talking filibuster.

Not to be holding the breath for this to happen however. The fact that Republicans had only hours earlier blocked a critical judical nomination to a Circuit Court, (Caitlin Halligan), with a mere silent threat of filibuster doesn't seem to be making it into the play by play horserace coverage of the theatrics today. Guess it's up to Harry and Dems to keep pointing out.

Yes, I know. Something, something, snowballs in hell.

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Blogger Jeff S., J.D. said...

I'm like you: I have no doubt that this wouldd not have occurred had it been Bush in the White House. The Republicans would have fallen in line, and said the drone program was necessary to keep the American people safe. Hypocrites.

5:31:00 PM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

This was just Rand Paul's very low declaration for 2016. Got the impression he wasn't entirely pleased to be upstaged by all the latecomers.

6:41:00 PM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

er, long declaration.

6:42:00 PM  

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