“There is a prospect for a libertarian-right, progressive-left coalition on transparency issues,” said Robert M. Chesney, a law professor at the University of Texas.
Best known in foreign policy circles until now for being on the losing end of 90-to-1 Senate vote last year on Iran policy, Mr. Paul emerged as a voice of populists on the right who are concerned about what they see as an unchecked national security state that too often becomes overinvolved in the rest of the world.
While he has sought to distance himself somewhat from the explicitly isolationist and antiwar stances of his father, Mr. Paul still reflects deep suspicion among libertarians and Tea Party supporters about global entanglements. He has expressed skepticism about foreign aid and the need for overseas military bases, opposes American involvement in Syria and has sought more restrictions on the powers of presidents to wage war.
“There’s a healthy debate in the Republican caucus,” Mr. Paul said when asked about divisions in the party and criticism by Mr. McCain and Mr. Graham. “People are starting to understand that that just by calling someone an enemy combatant doesn’t make them an enemy combatant. Someone has to assess their guilt or innocence, and it’s a pretty important question.”
What was most galling about the petulant antics of McCain and Graham today was just how badly they don’t get any of it: the core issues, the impact it had and the role social media played in the filibuster’s popularity, the fact that it was a good day for Republicans and a host of other things. I disagree that the Republicans are headed towards a permanent minority, but I don’t think they’ll win much while the party is in the hands of dinosaurs like McCain and Graham. Sen. Paul even managed to completely overshadow The Lightbringer’s sham “reach out” dinner, which is really what got the John and Lindsey show going. Here was my tweet from this morning about it (I have no idea why it says 6:06 PM on the embedded tweet, my Twitter page shows the actual time, 10:06 AM):
McCain & Graham thrive on MSM attn when they play nice w/ Obama. Rand Paul stole their thunder last night. They’re acting out.
— SFK (@stephenkruiser) March 7, 2013