“Where were all these people during the Bush administration? I never remember anybody accusing President Bush of, ‘We’re going to kill someone in a cafe.'” So said President Barack Obama, who was none too happy with Senator Rand Paul’s almost 13-hour talking filibuster on Wednesday.
Obama said that Paul’s anti-drone filibuster was in the “realm of the ridiculous,” adding, “If Mr. Paul wants to be taken seriously he needs to do more than pull political stunts that fire up impressionable libertarian kids. I don’t think what happened [Wednesday] is helpful to the American people.”
No, I’m just kidding, those were the words of nominally Republican senators Lindsey Graham and John McCain, respectively, giving aid and comfort to the Obama administration instead of standing up for their truly Republican colleague.
As Paul made very clear during his momentous filibuster, he does not believe that Obama will use drones to target unarmed American citizens who pose no imminent threat; he was merely questioning why the administration would not forthrightly say as much. His filibuster was an attempt to draw attention to the issue (and boy, did it!) so that the administration would feel the pressure and finally state their stance.
Paul was successful. The next day, Attorney General Eric Holder wrote a letter, which Press Secretary Jay Carney read to the public. It stated that, no, the government does not have constitutional authority to drone-strike American citizens on American soil without due process. So because of Paul’s efforts, that statement is now public, filmed, and thus on record. That’s all Paul wanted. Why the White House was so reluctant to put on record that they believe such an act would be unconstitutional should be troubling to everybody.
John McCain’s and Lindsey Graham’s mocking of Paul’s “ridiculous” and “ill-informed” show of convicted patriotism shows us that they do not understand how tyrannies take hold: gradually. When the powers of the executive branch are increased little by little, the citizens don’t notice it until one day they wake up and realize they are no longer living in a republic, but under a dictatorship. Rand Paul doesn’t believe that that will happen under Obama. But the gradual shifting and granting of more power to the executive branch will result one day in the executive branch’s power being limitless.
Rand Paul is attempting to preserve the Constitution and the republic, and John McCain and Lindsey Graham are now on record opposing those efforts. Good information to have, no doubt, if you are one of McCain’s or Graham’s constituents.