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Paul Injects Life into Party with Nearly 13-Hour Filibuster

The "filiblizzard" of the Brennan nomination over Obama's secretive drone program, joined by one Dem, outlasted the snowstorm that paralyzed D.C.

by
Bridget Johnson

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March 6, 2013 - 10:07 pm
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In December 2010, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) conducted the longest talking filibuster in 27 years, speaking for 8.5 hours in opposition to President Obama’s tax deal with Republicans — a speech Sanders later turned into a book.

On Wednesday into Thursday, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) busted the “Filibernie” record — by far, at 12 hours and 54 minutes — as he demanded answers from the Obama administration on policy regarding domestic drone strikes.

“I will speak until I can no longer speak. I will speak as long as it takes, until the alarm is sounded from coast to coast that our Constitution is important, that your rights to trial by jury are precious, that no American should be killed by a drone on American soil without first being charged with a crime, without first being found to be guilty by a court,” Paul began.

“That Americans could be killed in a cafe in San Francisco or in a restaurant in Houston or at their home in Bowling Green, Kentucky, is an abomination. It is something that should not and cannot be tolerated in our country,” he said. “I don’t rise to oppose John Brennan’s nomination simply for the person. I rise today for the principle.”

The filibuster against the CIA director nomination began at 11:47 a.m. Wednesday, on a Hill sparsely populated because of the snowstorm outside.

Hence, Paul’s effort quickly took on the name “Filiblizzard,” with its own Twitter account. Like Sanders, Paul rapidly was honored with a site tracking his filibuster, IsRandPaulStillTalking.com.

“I will speak today until the president responds and says no, we won’t kill Americans in cafes; no, we won’t kill you at home in your bed at night; no, we won’t drop bombs on restaurants. Is that so hard?” Paul said. “It’s amazing that the president will not respond. I’ve been asking this question for a month. It’s like pulling teeth to get the president to respond to anything. And I get no answer.”

And as the #StandWithRand hashtag reigned on Twitter, and more Republicans filtered onto the Senate floor to help out Paul, it became clear that Paul didn’t just make a point on civil liberties but breathed some chutzpah into his party. Unlike historical filibusters that have included phone-book or cookbook reading to fill time, the senator stayed on topic the entire time. Supportive House members came into the upper chamber and cheered on the son of their former lower chamber colleague.

“Sending strength and prayer to @SenRandPaul for him to ‘Drone’ on and on!” tweeted Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.).

This monumental moment for the Senate GOP, though, was muddled by the evening absence of a dozen Republicans who enjoyed a three-hour secretive dinner at the Jefferson Hotel with President Obama: Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), John McCain (R-S.C.), Dan Coats (R-Ind.), Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Mike Johanns (R-Neb.), Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), and Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.).

According to the White House, Obama picked up the check for the party.

Chambliss and Toomey helped Paul with his filibuster before or after the dinner. Later on the floor, Johnson said the meeting was an “excellent dinner.”

“This evening at our meeting with the president, we had an opportunity to express our views on the challenging task of getting our nation’s fiscal house in order,” Hoeven said in a statement. McCain and Coburn each flashed a thumb’s up to reporters staking out the hotel as they left.

Though eating is not allowed on the Senate floor, Paul took nibbles of snacks at points, continuing to read his notes while chewing. Mid-filibuster, Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) put an apple and a thermos full of green tea on Paul’s desk in a nod to Mr. Smith Goes to Washington; the Senate sergeant-at-arms later had the snack removed per the rules.

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Top Rated Comments   
"“It is possible, I suppose, to imagine an extraordinary circumstance in which it would be necessary and appropriate under the Constitution and applicable laws of the United States for the President to authorize the military to use lethal force within the territory of the United States,” Holder wrote."

Hmm. Like maybe when the common folk are at the gates demanding a return to democratic rule based on the constitution Mr. Holder? You can see that coming can't you? I know I can.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (38)
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The filibuster was about the Constitution, not about the CIA candidate, nor Paul, nor anything else. The Fifth Amendment states that we citizens are guaranteed due process. Because someone is, or is suspected of being a terrorist, does not change their Fifth Amendment protection. They might have to be tried in absentia, but they still should get a trial.

If they are in the middle of committing a violent crime, warfare against the US or a terrorist act, of course use whatever means to stop them.

It was nice to see someone in DC stand up for principles for a change.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"If they are in the middle of committing a violent crime, warfare against the US or a terrorist act, of course use whatever means to stop them."

Never mind that we're a nation that has, since our beginning of time, used 'legislated' lethal force on 'citizens' without the benefit of our constitutional protected due process -- but don't let Rand know that or he'll have a meltdown on the floor of the senate.

Using a bizzare hypothetical to stage a comedy routine on the floor of the senate will have garnered him all of maybe 48-hours of national media attention.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I love to read comments on multiple sites. It provides some not so scientific evidence of how people think. My conclusion: we are so effed its pathetic.

The truth shall set you free....you can't handle the truth.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I caught the last three hours of the filibuster on C-Span and loved it. If it takes a filibuster to have debate and oratory on the floor of the Senate, then bring on more filibusters please!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Read Ann Coulter today. This is an issue 70% of us are in support of the prez, not Paul. It is a coplete "yawner" just like filibustering nominees. Who cares except beltway dweebs?
So Paul is really using this to raise his profile for what? A 2016 run?
Good luck with that Rand, your past kooky views and statements-letalone your father's-have renderend you a toxic kook who wants to legalize dope, and close down American bases overseas, and doesn't have a problem with gay marriage. Then there is the Jewish issue he keeps trying to distance himself from. It will not work, the words have already been spoken on film!!
Sure, Rand will make a great GOP nominee...NOT!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Really, who still gives a damn about McCain and Graham, the elderly housewives of the GOP? And just look at those other wet fingers in the air, some listed in the article and part of the problem.

Paul is likely part of the solution.

In passing, worth highlighting that his supporters included Senators Mike Lee, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, and Democrat Ron Wyden. Even RNC chairman Priebus mumbled positively on Twitter, eventually. But that's quite beyond McCain and Graham and their handmaidens, including some on this thread. Very instructive.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Zeke, What planet are you from? The country is united on this front. Rand Paul did a great job. It is refreshing to see someone with the nards to confront a very real issue for ALL AMERICANS.

Your assertion that this was "One of the most childish displays of misdirected radicalism" is false. The entire Obama agenda surpasses anything coming out of the mouth of Rand Paul.

If you need a "for instance", her ya go. The world ending, child starving, country endanger, White House closing, sequester. And that is one of many, many lies perpetuated by this administration, which several are impeachable offenses.

Regarding the GOP idiots, McCain and the rest of them. Good riddance. Election day can not come soon enough for me.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Sorry to say, you must be a youingin' who has no personal point of reference for much of anything. Our nation has been at this 'political' point several times throughout its history, beginning with the 'early' democrat-republican party that eventually became the republican party of today. Economically, this is NOT our nations first dance with exceedingly high government spending and high national debt to GDP or exceedingly wide gap of income wealth disparity, etc. Sometimes it pays to get informed of the facts from legitimate sources rather than the most radical extreme movements sources!

As far as the government and its process, there is not a single instance in which you can legitimately claim that the constitutional processes are not being followed. Only those involved with extreme radical movements who are far removed from reality, will make such claims to fit their agendas. From 2000 until 2008 it was the radical extremists of the democrats party making ALL the very same rants against the GOP and the GW Bush administration. Again, an extremist excercise carried out in our nations history from its beginnings within political parties and across political parties.

The founders of the constitution knowing that there would always be minority factions of dissent formed a process in which all voices shall be heard equally but in finality, the constitution says that governance shall be by the 'majority' consensus of the people and their legislative representatives.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
how embarrassing for the GOP, which until Paul stood up, was totally on board with the notion of droning Americans on a hunch, a whim, or a suspicion. That Dems were silent speaks to their lack of principle; their support of this power is that their man has it, and this is just the latest example of the left's absolute refusal to hold this POTUS accountable for anything.
The right is another matter. Apparently, summary execution by C-I-C say-so is okay by the majority. The Cheney/Bolton nexus has already given its blessing to Camp Obama's desire for this power. No wonder the GOP is such a mess; it is only distinguishable from the Dems in the aspects of Big Govt that it supports. But make no mistake, it supports fedzilla just as much as the left.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
One of the most childish displays of misdirected radicalism to hit the floor of congress in decades! Not only did it/will it, have zero effect on the nomination process pending before the floor, it had zero legitimacy. It had not a single shred of evidence from which Paul formed his point of theorhetical rejection and appeal on. Another tea party loon most of the nation and the world will be laughing at, losing yet more credibility.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
There is no excuse for Republicans to be dining with the president while their colleague is running a filibuster. They don't have to join him on the floor, but don't be socializing with the president. This is one of the reasons Obama won. The Republican old-guard has become over-ripe mushy produce, no vigor, easily collapsed.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I have seen so many adverse effects, so many unintended consequences, of American interference (economic, military, political) in other countries, that I do gravitate to what you call isolationism.

So many failed, expensive interventions and programs. Look, for example, what we tried to do in North Korea under Jimmy Carter or carrots and sticks offered under GWB, and look where North Korea is today.

I favor any concerted and meaningful efforts to interdict madmen like the latest Kim iteration of the nutcases in Iran, but political negotiation with such individuals is madness itself.

That said, I would advocate doing anything and everything to support and defend Israel.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
(that was Reply to clare spark)
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
(that was Reply to clare spark)
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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