Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., used a traditional filibuster to score a victory over the Obama administration, which was forced to answer this question: Does the president have the authority to use a drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on an American soil? Incredibly, the White House had hedged on answering that question.
One reason that Paul was successful with the almost 13-hour talkfest is because the issue he was fighting for is not in opposition to President Obama’s waging a war on terror that includes killing enemies, rather it’s a fight against future presidents over-stepping their roles as commandeers in the war on terror.
The sheer lack of transparency by the Obama administration in regards to drone warfare was arrogant and alarming. It deserved to be taken to task by Paul and other senators. It should not go unnoticed that Paul’s filibuster was widely supported by persons of all political persuasions. This was not a left versus right issue. It was a debate over how the war on terror should be waged.
Another aspect of the Paul filibuster that is notable is it may herald a shift in power within the Republican Party. The harshest critics of the filibuster have been older GOP Senate colleagues of Paul, most notably Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. Senator McCain, in fact, is making a fool of himself calling Senator Paul a “wacko bird” and deriding other Tea Party-affiliated senators, such as Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and our Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, for their association with Paul. Both Cruz and Lee joined Paul in the filibuster.
In our opinion, the Paul filibuster signals a future change within the Republican Party, with younger senators, such as Paul, Lee and Cruz, eventually taking over public leadership roles from older veterans, such as McCain. The older vets appear out of touch with how many of us view the battle against terrorism. A long time has passed since Sept. 11, 2001, and we’re fed up with being in a state of perpetual war, along with the increased demands by law enforcement, which include surveillance on the streets and airport employees who want to probe our private parts. The past two weeks, the Obama administration was claiming it can use drones to kill Americans, more or less on demand.
A group of senators, led by Paul, understood Americans don’t like that. And they stood up and changed the situation.