This Is Why We Have Filibusters

Bosom Buddies

McCain and Graham drunk
on the wine of Wilsonian militarism

Not the fake kind that crept into Senatorial procedures during recent years. Sen Rand Paul delivered a real stemwinder, a la Mr Smith Goes to Washington. A filibuster when it’s done right is always about stopping the mob when they’re hell-bent on destroying the Constitution. It’s always about liberty.

And God bless Sens Ted Cruz (R-TX), Marco Rubio (R-Fl), and Mitch McConnell (R-KY) for their assistance in this heroic endeavor. And a shout out to Sen Ron Wyden (a Democrat) for laying aside partisan differences. Sen Paul could not have lasted 13 hours without their orchestrated questioning.

As for Sens John McCain (Elitist-AZ) and Pansy Graham (Scalawag-NC), they have shown that all they care about is eating at the Sultan’s table. They have drunken deep from the well of Wilsonian militarism. I pray that their scrurrilous petulance will be the death-knell of Neoconservatism and all American crusaderism. It was uncalled for and Paul was right to castigate them with these ciceronic words: “is the entire world your battlefield?”

But enough of yesterday’s men. What Paul did was take us back to the foundations of our liberty. Does the President have the right to kill Americans on American soil based solely on a whim? And for what it’s worth, this same question was addressed to President Bush. Several of his key advisors (including Vice President Dick Cheney) told him he had the right to take executive action against suspected terrorists. He refused. It would be right for us to remember that, especially those who lay all the problems of the present Administration at Bush’s feet. That the current Attorney General Eric Holder went to great efforts to avoid answering Paul’s question, is no credit to him and present liberal regime. (MSNBC was curiously quiet.) Paul is to be commended for holding his feet to the fire and getting him to give an answer in black and white.

It is possible that Paul breathed new life into the dying husk of the Republican Party. Time will tell. Regardless, all who support liberty and our Constitution owe Rand Paul a hearty “thank you.”

Source: Roll Call | By Niels Lesniewski

Rand Paul Filibuster Spectacle Rivets Senate

“I will speak until I can no longer speak.”

Those can be famous words when spoken on the Senate floor, worthy of — at minimum — a footnote in the annals of Senate history.

Sen. Rand Paul on Wednesday was the latest to utter such words in the chamber shortly before noon, announcing that he would begin a live, “talking filibuster” of President Barack Obama’s choice of John O. Brennan to be the next director of the CIA.

rand-paul-filibusterThe Kentucky Republican’s unusual move to launch hours upon hours of extended speechmaking was predicated on his demand that the Obama administration affirm that it cannot carry out targeted killings of Americans on U.S. soil with drone strikes.

“I don’t rise to oppose John Brennan’s nomination simply for the person. I rise today for the principle,” Paul began. “The principle is one that as Americans we have fought long and hard for and to give up on that principle, to give up on the Bill of Rights, to give up on the Fifth Amendment protection that says that no person shall be held without due process, that no person shall be held for a capital offense without being indicted.”

As the hours went by, other senators joined him, asking Paul to yield for the ostensible purpose of asking a question. In reality, that gave Paul a brief respite from an otherwise lonely crusade. The first member to intervene was Utah Sen. Mike Lee, a tea-party-backed Republican like Paul, at the three hour and 10 minute mark. Others followed, including GOP Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Marco Rubio of Florida.

“Just let me give you some free advice: keep some water nearby,” Rubio quipped in a jab at himself over his own conspicuous consumption of spring water during this year’s Republican response to Obama’s State of the Union address. Rubio, who voted to advance Brennan’s nomination from the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday, said he thought Paul was asking a straightforward question of the administration and deserved a clear answer.

When Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., tried to get consent to bring the debate to a close and allow votes on Brennan’s nomination before the end of the evening, Paul rebuffed him. Paul said he was prepared to vote immediately if he received answers about killings from Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., but Reid, of course, said he could not speak for the Justice Department nor the White House.

No good filibuster talk-a-thon is without a reference to Frank Capra’s “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” in which Jimmy Stewart portrays a young, idealistic senator who launches a filibuster that goes until he literally collapses on the floor of the chamber.

“I would note that your standing here today like a modern ‘Mr. Smith Goes to Washington’ [would] surely be making Jimmy Stewart smile,” Cruz said.

Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon lent bipartisanship to the filibuster effort. Wyden has expressed concerns about numerous Obama administration policies on civil liberties grounds. Wyden said he would support Brennan’s confirmation but backs Paul’s underlying inquiry.

Senators came and went throughout the day, with Democrats taking their usual turns in the presiding officer’s chair. At one point, as presiding officer Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., leafed through the Senate Manual, Sen. Patrick J. Leahy passed through the chamber, stopping to procure a piece of candy from a corner desk. The Vermont Democrat briefly chatted with Baldwin as the filibuster continued.

But Leahy was hardly alone in needing a quick chocolate pick-me-up. During the six o’clock hour, reporters rushed into the press gallery to observe Paul enjoying a candy bar that could be identified from outsiders watching on C-SPAN as a Snickers, perhaps the best ever example for their “Why Wait?” campaign.

Onlookers — reporters, staffers and visitors — came and went throughout the afternoon and into the evening, not knowing when the day began that they would see a Senate spectacle that hasn’t been attempted since Sen. Bernard Sanders, I-Vt., held the floor for more than eight hours as he sought to delay an extension of George W. Bush-era tax cuts in 2010. Former Sen. Alfonse D’Amato was famous for his 1992 talking filibuster — an attempt to save a Smith-Corona typewriter factory in upstate New York.

Perhaps more unusual, however, Paul’s talkfest was actually the second filibuster attempt of the day. Led by Republicans, the Senate failed to advance the nomination of Caitlin J. Halligan to be a D.C. Circuit Court judge. The specter of two filibusters in one day, as well as a previous attempted blockade against the nomination of Chuck Hagel to be Defense secretary, caused some Democrats to bemoan their lost opportunity to radically change filibuster rules at the beginning of this Congress.

But as the debate went on Wednesday evening, it was unclear what would cause Paul to relent: the loss of his own voice or the desire to speak to a different kind of TV camera. He was scheduled to appear on evening cable news programs. Those shows could, of course, pre-empt his interview segments to pick up the feed from the Senate floor.

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  1. Kudos to Rand Paul. His principled stand for the Constitution and rule of law, and against the creeping statism and destruction of liberty supported by the majority of both Republicans and Democrats in government, is a rarity in Washington today. Not enough in itself to turn back the tide of unConstitutional government that prevails today, but a sign of what could be, if our politicians had as much love for liberty as the Founding Fathers did.

    As for McCain, Graham, Lieberman, Obama, et al, your judgment is sound. These people don’t give so much as a passing nod to Constitutional government; they are prime representatives of the militaristic oligarchy that controls the reins of American government today. They see themselves as public rulers, not public servants, and have no qualms about sacrificing American lives in pursuit of their own personal agendas. The sooner they are gone from government, the better off we will be as a country.

  2. macedonianreader says

    This Filibuster by Rand Paul actually restored some of my faith in the system and pride in my country. If you can believe it or not?

  3. Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

    Now if he could only go back and filibuster the Election!

  4. The US government would absolutely use a drone strike against an encampment where law enforcement was unable to or had attempted and failed to apprehend.

    Make no mistake about it.

    The filibuster is generally used to stop legislation; not hold a President hostage to words that ought not been said.

    Rand Paul calculated well, though, because liberals also do not like the idea that government could blast you at the diner, but most of us understand that wasn’t what was said.

    The real story not posted here, though, is that Syosset appears correct.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Paul’s filibuster was not against the use of drones to take out terrorists. It was about whether the President has the right to execute an American citizen on American soil without due process. It’s that simple.

      • Carl Kraeff says

        Agreed. This filibuster would not have happened if folks on both sides of the aisle were not worried about the dictatorial tendencies of this administration.

        • The dictatorial tendencies are not limited to Obama and his administration. The majority of the senators, congressmen, and supreme court justices have bought into the idea that they rule this country, rather than serve it, and the Constitution and the people be damned. Rand Paul is almost alone in the federal government in standing up for American liberties, like his father before him.

          • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

            I thought that someone told him he looked like Councilman Garcetti on “The Wire,” and he never got over it!

  5. Daniel E Fall says

    Yes, I suppose stories about yellow cake refuted by every intelligence agency in the world save the CIA are not dictatorial; just great political manuevers to elicit a nation to battle.

    We should fear Obama, though.

    • Michael Bauman says

      Daniel, we need not fear but we do need to be watchful and cease to put any hope in our worldly lords (for that is what they have become). Obey them when we can, refuse to obey when necessary and possible, pray always, repent always or they will break even the most dedicated and faithful amongst us.

      As Solzhenitsyn counseled in the Gulag: “When they come for you, you must assume that everyone you love is dead, or they will break you.”

      We cannot save the Church and she does not need our defense either. We are saved in and through her. Faithfulness is required and absent that, repentance.

      The times are evil, yet people need not be and in their heart of hearts few really are.

      Always, I remember “With my own eyes” by Pastor Wurmbrand of Romania. Everytime I read it I weep for my own soul for how little I love.

      • macedonianreader says

        I agree Michael – and you think about it a more Libertarian mindset/principle of government plays well with the ‘put not your trust in princes, in sons of men’ teaching.

        • Michael Bauman says


          Only to a point. All political expressions eventually succumb to the lust of power thatis at their heart. Libertarian philosophies tend to over emphasize the power of the individual at the expense of community and real personhood.

          • Daniel E. Fall says

            Michael Bauman and I agreed on something! Libertarians tend to forget community!

            Meism to the max!

            And tax cuts are a politicians promise just as much as food stamps! While some of us view one as letting someone off the hook, the rest of us view it the other way, but neither meets the Psalm cited, and none of us land without the effort which is selfless, anti-meism, if you will.

            • Michael Bauman says

              Daniel, here is where we might part company: Faith forms community, communities form local government, local governments form states.

              Utopian and ideological faiths form utilitarian tryannies. Individualistic ideologies tend toward either oligargy or anarchy. The Nietzchean vison of the Superman ruling over the herd is the ultimate libertarian outcome. The Marxist vision of the divinity of the state is an example of the collectivist mentality which denies the personhood of each of us. Both result in mass destruction and horror.

              There is a reason why Jesus calls us salt, light and leaven. Only the Theandric reality of the Church and her people are capable of forming community that recognizes both the full personhood of each unique being and the necessity of being in community.

              All too often we sacrifice our re-birth right for a mess of potage that is wealth, power, influence and comfort.

              Without the Church acting in her living prophetic role, the state is incapable of insuring justice, virtue and freedom. This is true even when we are pesecuted and maligned. We are the life of the world or we are called to be.

              A theocracy is not necessary nor called for, in fact, should not be. However, the Church must be higher than the state. The state will always resist that.