Rand Paul Shows Senate How It's Done

Kentucky senator used filibuster for principle, not partisanship
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 7, 2013 11:03 AM CST
This video frame grab provided by Senate Television shows Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. speaking on the floor of the Senate on Capitol Hill, March 6, 2013.   (AP Photo/Senate Television)

(Newser) – Rand Paul's old-fashioned talking filibuster may not derail John Brennan's nomination, but pundits are almost universally praising the Kentucky senator's moxie. Here's what people are saying:

  • "It became clear as the Kentucky Republican talked (and talked) that he was creating a major moment for a party that hasn’t had very many of those since Nov. 6, 2012," writes Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post. The marathon should boost Paul's 2016 prospects; he proved he has "a) a core set of beliefs and b) a willingness to stand up for them. That's a rare thing in modern American politics."

  • "Rand Paul is giving a tutorial on what it means, or should mean, to be a member of the US Senate," writes Peter Beinart at the Daily Beast. Not only is he reviving the old-fashioned filibuster, "he's doing so on a matter of principle, not partisanship." Paul himself said yesterday that he "would be here if it were a Republican president doing this," pointing out that Obama's position mirrored George Bush's.
  • "If only his reasoning matched the showmanship," laments the Wall Street Journal in an editorial today, arguing that Paul was overstating matters; yes, US citizens can be killed on US soil, but only if they're enemy combatants. "If Mr. Paul wants to be taken seriously he needs to do more than pull political stunts that fire up impressionable libertarian kids in their college dorms. He needs to know what he's talking about."
  • But Kevin Williamson at the National Review disagrees. "Our definition of 'enemy combatant' is terrifyingly elastic," he writes. He believes Paul "performed a national service" yesterday. Of course, Williamson would agree; Paul quoted his articles in his speech. It was nice, he writes, "though my experience with senators suggests that they are impervious to argument, reason, evidence, and most other instruments save votes and campaign donations."
  • Even Jon Stewart praised Paul. "He's using the filibuster the way it's meant to be used," Stewart said on the Daily Show. "I can't say I agree with Rand Paul about everything, but as issues go, drone oversight is one certainly worth kicking up a fuss for."
(Read more Rand Paul stories.)

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