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NYT: Rand Paul Finally Ends His Goofy Filibuster

From the New York Times:

Republicans, Led by Rand Paul, Finally End Filibuster

By ASHLEY PARKER | March 6, 2013

WASHINGTON — A small group of Republicans, led by Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, stalled the Senate on Wednesday by waging a nearly 13-hour old-school, speak-until-you-can-speak-no-more filibuster over the government’s use of lethal drone strikes — forcing the Senate to delay the expected confirmation of John O. Brennan to lead the Central Intelligence Agency.

Notice the "over the government’s use of lethal drone strikes ." The Times never mentions that this is about drone strikes on on US soil on US citizens who are not in imminent danger of causing a deadly attack.

In fact, the article never gets around to mentioning this minor detail until the 14th paragraph of their typically long and meandering article.

Mr. Paul, who opposes Mr. Brennan’s nomination, followed through on his plan to filibuster the confirmation of President Obama’s nominee after receiving a letter this month from Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. that refused to rule out the use of drone strikes within the United States in “extraordinary circumstances” like the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Still no mention of the part about ‘US citizens.’

On Wednesday, Mr. Paul did exactly as promised, taking to the Senate floor shortly before noon and holding forth for 12 hours and 52 minutes.

Mr. Paul finally wound down shortly before 1 a.m. on Thursday, surrounded by a group of Republican senators and House members who had joined him on the Senate floor in a show of solidarity.

“I would go for another 12 hours to try to break Strom Thurmond’s record, but I’ve discovered that there are some limits to filibustering and I’m going to have to go take care of one of those in a few minutes here,” Mr. Paul said to knowing laughter as he referred to the legendary South Carolina senator known for his 28-hour filibuster. (Mr. Paul could not leave the floor to use the bathroom, making his filibuster at a certain point seem less a standoff between the senator from Kentucky and the administration than a battle between Mr. Paul and his own bladder.)

Toilet humor, from the New York Times.

After almost 13 hours, Mr. Paul offered his final words: “I thank you very much for the forbearance and I yield the floor,” he said, to loud applause.

Earlier in the evening, as the filibuster moved into its 11th and 12th hours, the mood grew increasingly punchy, with Mr. Paul’s Republican Senate colleagues — who had joined him on the Senate floor periodically throughout the event — making repeat appearances and quoting liberally from pop culture and literature.

Senator Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas, at one point seemed to stage a mini-filibuster of the filibuster, reading from Shakespeare (“Henry V”) and quoting from “Patton.”

Not to be outdone, Senator Marco Rubio, Republican of Florida, took to the floor for his second appearance of the filibuster, quoting the rapper Wiz Khalifa, as well as “that modern-day poet by the name of Jay-Z.” Mr. Rubio also quoted from “The Godfather” three times — including, he said, a quote that never made it from the script into the movie. (“A lawyer with his briefcase can steal more than 100 men with guns can steal.”)

“I don’t know how that’s relevant to this,” Mr. Rubio admitted, “but I thought I’d bring it up.”

This is typical procedure during a filibuster. But The Times tries to make it all seem like a silly prank.

At a certain point, as the hour edged closer to midnight, participating in the filibuster seemed to become the gold standard among Senate Republicans, with a parade of Republican senators — Jeff Flake of Arizona; Ron Johnson of Wisconsin; Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader in the Senate; and Tim Scott of South Carolina — emerging for the first time to show their support for Mr. Paul’s cause, not to mention the C-SPAN cameras…

The filibuster started just before noon on Wednesday, with Mr. Paul ostensibly objecting to Mr. Brennan’s nomination. But in fact, Mr. Paul’s main concerns were those of the civil liberties and Constitutional rights, which he said are under attack by the administration’s potential use of unmanned drone strikes on American citizens on United States soil.

Finally, The Times gets around to reporting the actual purpose of the filibuster, in the 14th paragraph.

(By Mr. Paul’s own admission, Mr. Brennan, who as the White House counterterrorism adviser was the chief architect of the largely clandestine drone program, served as a good proxy.)

“What will be the standard for how we kill Americans in America?” Mr. Paul asked at one point. “Could political dissent be part of the standard for drone strikes?”

Referring to Jane Fonda, who went to North Vietnam during the war there to publicly denounce the United States’s [sic] presence in the country, Mr. Paul added: “Now, while I’m not a great fan of Jane Fonda, I’m really not so interested in putting her on a drone kill list either.”

Again, The Times misses the reference. Jane Fonda posed on an anti-aircraft gun. Which would seem to be an imminent threat to use force against the US.

Repeatedly, Mr. Paul explained that his true goal was simply to get a response from the administration saying it would not use drone strikes to take out American citizens on United States soil…

A response he never got. Instead, the White House was too busy posting photos of people playing in the snow.

Unlike some historic filibusters, in which senators have read from the phone book or recited the Declaration of Independence to kill time, Mr. Paul kept the focus squarely on drones, using most of his time to discuss questions of actual policy…

So now The Times is offended that Senator Paul wasn’t acting more goofy?

Still, as the filibuster dragged on, it began to resemble a Shakespearean drama, complete with cameos from other A-list actors (a group of more than a dozen senators who periodically joined Mr. Paul on the floor)…

Senator Wyden, Democrat of Oregon, stopped by earlier in the day to offer some bipartisan support.

He said that while he had voted in favor of Mr. Brennan’s nomination on Tuesday at a Senate Intelligence Committee meeting and planned to vote for him again on the Senate floor, he believed that Mr. Paul “has made a number of important points” about the administration’s lethal drone program…

Finally, just shortly before 1 a.m., Mr. Paul was finally ready to yield the floor. The entire chamber erupted in applause — and Mr. Paul, presumably, headed off to find the nearest bathroom.

You see what a big joke it all was. And never mind that if this were President Bush we would probably be seeing impeachment hearings, instead of a filibuster.

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Thursday, March 7th, 2013. Comments are currently closed.

2 Responses to “NYT: Rand Paul Finally Ends His Goofy Filibuster”

  1. I ,ook forward ti the day when the Washington Times reports “Sulzberger Family Finally Ends Goofy New York Times”

  2. canary

    And to think the king italicized ” filibuster ! ” and gave the word an entire line from page 80 to 84 on the subject.

    It is not in the Constitution, but luckily in the Senate rules dating to the very first Congress.

    He explains the grimmer history of the filibuster having special relevance for him as it snuffed out “hope” for blacks for almost a century. And then goes on to say Bush and Republicans tried to eliminate the glorious filibuster.

    He remembered muffling a laugh “heh heh heh” the first time he heard the term “nuclear option” as it captured the loss of perspective that had to come to characterize judicial confirmations, part of a spin-fest that led leftist groups to run adds showing scenes of Jimmy Stewart’s “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington”

    Goes on to say more how Republicans did everything they could to eliminate filibusters, even those that had perfected the misuse of the filibuster for a “malicious” cause. He does not say anything about using it to stop the death of legal citizen Americans.

    And so he told his friend, an unnamed woman, that he was going to support the filibuster of some of the those judges to make a great signal playing Jimmy Stewart’s character to moderate the next selections.

    The king’s woman friend shook her head vehemently asking him if the situation was reversed the Republicans would do the same as him. So, he decided the only way for Democrats to win at the poll.

    So, in my opinion, and I believe in the king’s opinion, that Rand Paul and the Republicans did a very noble patriotic act in keeping the so loved by liberal’s ‘filibuster” alive, after being maliciously accused of trying to eliminate it.

    And this is a very difficult on and on confusing long read to begin with and I tried it to make it simple. I sure the king wishes he’d have played Jimmy Stewart and hadn’t listened to his unnamed female friend.


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