Monday, March 11, 2013
The Rand Paul filibuster is interesting on so many levels, it could be a symbol of everything going on in D.C., maybe since 9/11/01.
First of all, much as I think Rand Paul is, in most ways, an idiot (he invented his own board of ophthalmology so he wouldn't have to re-certify in his speciality like everyone else, among other things, and is wrong factually pretty much whenever he speaks), in this he was quasi-admirable; even if he headed to Fox "news" afterward, like a shard of iron to a magnet, and even if he tried to cash in with phony claims in an immediately-appeariing fundraising letter. Still, some credit is due: not only was the issue he raised overdue for discussion, he actually did a bona fide filibuster (for the first time since Bernie Sanders did one in protest of renewing the Bush tax cuts), stopping only because he hadn't considered a condom catheter. (Seems to me, in days of yore, there'd been others before him who'd asked for a screen behind which to empty their bladders, but I could be wrong.) If the concerns about which he was so exercised were a little beyond the fringe (Obama taking out Jane Fonda with a Hellfire, which would, of course, delight wingnuts everywhere), the general concept of drone policy has been given more of a pass than it ought.
There are other things the episode brought up: our over-reaction to the threat of terrorism, insofar as the Constitution is concerned; the money we've spent fighting the cynically-named "war on terror;" and, maybe most of all, the rampant hypocrisy on both sides of the aisle when it comes to political posturing nowadays.
Government overreach should concern everyone, from teabaggers to Alinskyites. And yet only one Democrat, Ron Wyden, from the state of my birth, took up Paul's cause. The Rs? Well, they loves them some terrorist killing, and who among them doesn't fantasize about Jane Fonda lying spread-eagle for one reason or another? Still, those who stood up were strangely silent when GWB got the ball rolling. And that war-loving dynamic duo, Johnsey McGraham, thumped pretty hard on poor ol' Randy for doing what he did.
And, of course, there's the filibuster itself. Harry Reid limply went along, only a few months back, with totally meaningless "reform" -- the only way any Rs would buy in. On the very day Rand Paul put in a surgeon-like effort, in terms of hours, Mitch McConnell kiboshed a well-qualified judicial nominee with the stroke of a pen, in mere seconds. There are more judicial vacancies currently than ever before, because of bullshit R easy-as-piebusters, and it's not only detrimental the the carrying out of the justice for which they claim higher love than any D, it's exactly the opposite of what Mitch himself demanded, back when he was majority leader and Bush was president: an "up or down vote" for all judicial nominees.
[By the way, and for the record. I'd have to say Holder was right in his responses (discussed in the link above): is it shocking that there are some circumstances in which a president might order lethal force against citizens within the US? A sniper taking out other citizens, elected officials maybe? An armed group of teabagging "patriots" holding hostages, or threatening to blow something up? Would it matter if the force was in the form of a drone-fired missile, as opposed to a group of commandos entering the building?]
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