Friday, March 08, 2013

McCain and Graham Criticize Senator Paul's Filibuster

It all began with a simple question posed to Attorney General Eric Holder during a Senate hearing.  Instead of answering the question, Holder stonewalled by being as evasive as possible.  Senator Paul asked this question:

"Does the president have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on American soil?" 

Not receiving an answer, Senator Paul decided to use the filibuster on the nomination of John Brennan to try and get the answer.  The filibuster was never about the Brennan vote. The filibuster was about a senator's right to an answer from an administration member as it concerns the Fifth Amendment

Senator John McCain and Senator Lindsey Graham were not pleased with the filibuster used by Senator Rand Paul.  
Several hours before the Senate confirmed CIA director nominee John Brennan, McCain and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., joined in colloquy on the floor to condemn the premise for Paul's filibuster on the vote. Paul's objection was to the administration's recent assertion that it could legally deploy a drone missile to target an American on U.S. soil in "extraordinary" circumstances that posed an "imminent" threat to national security.
McCain called it a stunt.  He questioned the intelligence of Senator Paul.  He once again missed the point and sounded like a grumpy old man - the very stereotype Republicans are desperately trying to avoid. Senator Graham can be counted on to hold McCain's coat.

 McCain > “I don’t think that what happened yesterday is helpful to the American people. The country needs more senators who care about liberty, but 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”
Keep in mind that McCain and Graham did this just after enjoying dinner at a tony Washington, D.C. restaurant as part of a group of twelve chosen senators who were thought to be friendly to President Obama's second term agenda on one piece of legislation or another.  Some of the senators have already announced not running for re-election.  

Frankly, Senator McCain, I'd be happy to get "impressionable libertarian kids in college dorms" fired up about Republicans defending the 5th Amendment. You of all people should know that the Republican party must grow in numbers and libertarians often vote for Republicans. Not to mention the fact that we are in dire need of young voters, as the majority vote Democratic.

Did they feel ashamed for falling for the Obama charm offensive instead of supporting a Republican defending the Fifth Amendment?  Even the Chairman of the Republican Party tweeted and asked the senators not in the chamber to go and support the filibuster.  Why? Because it was a brilliant lesson in the process of  the legislative process.  Filibusters are no longer properly done and frankly, the senators have gotten very lazy about them. Instead of just phoning it in this time, Senator Paul found the perfect opportunity to educate Americans on how a filibuster is done.  

Since when is it a "stunt" to stand up for our Constitution? Not only isn't it a stunt, it is an action that should have the support of both parties.  The only Democrat willing to do the right thing was Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon. 

Fortunately, McCain and Graham are in the minority here.  Most have sided with Senator Paul.  Newt Gingrich called McCain's criticism "sad".

Former Speaker Newt Gingrich rallied to the defense of Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and his talking filibuster on Friday, calling Sen. John McCain's (R-Ariz.) criticism of it "sad."
But Gingrich sided with Paul, saying the filibuster "gave us a case study in what courageous energetic leadership can be — that every member can exercise both in the House and Senate."
Gingrich also praised Sen. Ted Cruz's (R-Texas) sharp questioning of now-Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel during his confirmation hearing, which also drew McCain's ire. "What I find sad about Sen. McCain’s recent comments both to Ted Cruz, when Ted Cruz was frankly raising legitimate questions and again yesterday with Rand Paul, is, you know, when I first knew John McCain in the House — he was a maverick. In the Senate, for years, he was a maverick," Gingrich said.
"Of everybody I know in the Senate, I don’t know anybody who had a better record of bucking the leadership, doing what he thought mattered, marching to his own drummer. And I think that it’s unfortunate but I think frankly it doesn’t hurt Ted Cruz and it doesn’t hurt Rand Paul — it hurts John McCain. The country is moving on, we’re in a new era, people know that these are legitimate questions."
McCain and Graham would be far more effective if they would unite with others in office who are bucking the sheep mentality of just going along with this president's continuing power grabs.  He must be held accountable and transparent in his actions in office.  It is his job.  It is the job of elected officials to demand it.

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