Rand Paul, Republican senator for Kentucky, stood before the U.S. Senate on Wednesday in protest of John Brennan’s nomination for Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. After almost 13 hours of hold-up, Paul ended the night at 12:30 AM, when he finally had to go to the bathroom.
Even though Paul was outnumbered 63-34 before the filibuster began, he went through with a 13 hour monologue against the principle of nominating a new Director of the CIA without reevaluating drone policies against American civilians.
During the filibuster, Paul urged lawmakers to stop the nomination due to the administration’s lack of clarity on the matter of domestic drone strikes. When prompted about a possible self-sustained drone attack, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. told the Washington Post that government had “no intention” of striking possible terrorists on American soil, but that they could be used in response to, “an extraordinary circumstance.”
However, Paul wanted to ensure that non-combatants would not be harmed on U.S. soil. Of course, Holder’s stance led the token Libertarian remain ill-at-ease, citing that the hypothetical drone strikes were violating the Constitution. He even called Holder’s refusal to the rule “more than frightening.” After Holder’s initial comments, a letter was released from Holder to Paul stating:
“It has come to my attention that you have now asked an additional question: ‘Does the president have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on American soil? The answer to that question is no.”
Even though the 13 hour display may have seemed trivial to some, Paul was attempting to make a point, mainly about what the dangers an ever-expanding drone program means for American citizens at home. During the filibuster, in regards to U.S. citizens who have resisted the government in the past, Paul asked:
“…are you just going to drop a bomb on Jane Fonda? Are you just going to throw a bomb on Kent State?”
Paul took issue with possibly killing Americans by drones on American soil without a fair trial. The Senator from Kentucky soldiered on throughout the session, and other Senators stood up in support of his courage.
Media coverage of the filibuster was mixed. However, the issue surprisingly took on both bipartisan support and bipartisan disagreement. Some pundits were just plain indifferent.
During the long session, it didn’t seem like some of his supporters were taking the stand-in seriously. Marco Rubio made references to “modern day poets” like Wiz Khalifia and Jay-Z. At one point in the night, he gathered laughter in the chamber by quoting “Work Hard Play Hard:”
“You look at the time, I think it’s a time when many of our colleagues expected to be home, back in the home state playing hard, but I’m happy we’re here still working hard on this issue.”
Later he added:
“It’s funny when seven days can change, it was all good just a week ago.Well I don’t know if it was all good a week ago, but I can tell you that things have really changed.”
But alas, he did not drop the microphone after he stopped speaking.
Now that the stand-off is over, there are talks of Paul possibly running for president in 2016. After hearing Rubio spit rhymes on the floor, however, it looks like he may give Paul a run for his money.