Any political party can succumb to the temptations of power. Parties are, after all, made up of people, and we are all capable of mistakes. We can also be very noble. Last week, Senator Rand Paul showed the world why the US Senate is called the World’s Greatest Deliberative Body.
Congressional leaders were unable to get straight answers to pointed questions about policies surrounding using armed drones to kill terrorists. In recent months, a US citizen was killed on foreign soil. Questions were asked about such a strike on US soil and the Obama administration does what it usually does – dissemble and stonewall. Senator Paul took to floor of the Senate and began a filibuster of the President’s nominee to head the Central Intelligence Agency.
Demonstrating grace and passion, Senator Paul created a debate about presidential power, congressional oversight and what rights a citizen has in the War on Terror. Paul was joined in the filibuster by fellow Republicans and by Democrat Ron Wyden of Oregon. The “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” feel of it all gave thousands of us a cause: to #StandWithRand and, wow, we lit up the Twitterverse!
Informed citizens know the details of the 13 hour filibuster. I think the debate was much needed, and we need much more of this sort of frank discussion. It is also a sharp contrast to the back-room dinner party attitude of certain establishment Republicans. After enjoying dinner with President Obama while Paul and other Senators held the Senate floor, Senator John McCain -a man who made “straight talk” a centerpiece of his persona – sharply criticized Senator Paul for the filibuster. Senator Lindsey Graham joined McCain in criticizing their fellow Republican, giving cover to the President.
The GOP needs to be a party of principles. Senator Paul stood on principle, and his stand forced the President to address the concerns of the people. Paul cannily pushed the issue into the mainstream media forcing them to confront President Obama, something the media has too often failed to do. I am very proud of Senator Paul and those who assisted him. I am equally disappointed in Senators McCain and Graham. The old guard of the GOP missed the significance of the event which is a reminder that our party has a great deal yet to learn about leadership.
My goal is for the MOGOP to be much more like Rand, and a lot less like McCain and Graham.
Copyright ©2013 Edward Robert Martin Jr.