I’ll admit it: last night I stayed up until almost 1 in the morning to the point where Rand Paul’s filibuster of CIA Director nominee John Brennan finally came to a close after 13 hours. That’s a lot of standing around and a study in endurance, and as one observer noted was all about policy – no one was reading out of a phone book.
It’s the longest filibuster since the civil rights era, but the important difference between Paul’s effort and the 24-plus hours Strom Thurmond held court was that there was no live television coverage of the Senate at the time. Back then, there were plans if need be to set up a bucket in an adjacent room for Thurmond, who spoke for practically the entire 24-hour period. This wasn’t the case last night, as several other Senators were yielded time to ask questions or otherwise pontificate on the subject while Paul held the floor.
But I came home and read today the Senate had indeed confirmed Brennan as CIA head, and as far as I know there was no answer provided by the White House on the drone question. Now perhaps that silence speaks volumes enough, but if you consider what the aim of the filibuster was I’m not sure it can be considered anything but a failure in the immediate aftermath.
Then again, Strom Thurmond had a pretty lengthy career in the Senate after his long-winded soliloquy so we don’t know what the future might bring for Rand Paul. Could he have vaulted himself into the 2016 Presidential race with this performance? A run for the Oval Office would mean Paul would likely have to give up his Senate seat; then again, Republicans and conservatives have rarely been as inspired as they were last night since the early Sarah Palin days and the eventual rise of the TEA Party. It may be a gamble worth taking, although liberals will surely try to equate father and son in that race just as they did the Bushes.
Again, though, I have to ponder the idea that I stayed up until nearly one in the morning to see how it came out. When was the last time a riveting political event (aside from an election) took place at that late hour? They don’t even do document dumps that time of night.
Update: This is what happens when you’re out of the loop during the day, as I was yesterday. An e-mail from the TEA Party Patriots quotes Attorney General Eric Holder as saying, “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.” This is based on a Fox News story from Thursday.