What sad times are these that all a man must do to rock the boat is refuse to sit down.
When I learned last Wednesday about Rand Paul’s filibuster of John Brennan’s appointment as CIA chief, I was thrilled that someone, anyone, in Congress was standing up against a war policy that should have every American fuming. To have our own government take the killing of mere suspects so cavalierly should have us very worried indeed.
I wasn’t as interested in the filibuster as I was in how it would be received in the media, or how it would affect the political discussion. Ron Paul has made many a lengthy speech in front of Congress, most of them more damning of horrific policies than Rand’s talkathon, and for all Ron’s eloquence and erudition, those seem to have moved the political needle none whatsoever. Would Rand’s gambit be any different?
John McCain denounced it as a “political stunt.” He’s not wrong that it was a political stunt. It was just as much as stunt as his “detainment” at the hands of the TSA. Nearly everything that happens in the in political news in America is a stunt of some nature. The real question is: what does it do to the news narrative? Does it benefit the cause of liberty or detract from it? Does it draw attention to a genuine issue we should care about or doesn’t it? Does it move the discussion towards freedom or away from it?
Ridiculous political stunts about irrelevant nonsense abound, but Rand Paul has managed to generate buzz about something that’s actually important. And this isn’t the first time he’s done it. Last year he faced off with the TSA. Just as it did this time, his outlandish stand alone struck a chord with a lot of Americans who don’t consider themselves libertarians. Unlike his first stand alone, he was eventually joined by the likes of Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, and even Republican Party chairman Reince Priebus.
I expected to see universal mainstream media condemnation for the Senator. The Wall Street Journal certainly came through on that count but it is heartening to see the positive spin in places I didn’t expect. Since last week, some have described him as a new GOP leader. To others it is increasingly clear that he will be a strong contender for the Republican Party’s 2016 presidential nomination.
One NYT blog writer rightly states that while the topic of Rand’s filibuster was quite narrow, the important takeaway is this: A paleo-conservative with a sane foreign policy is growing in influence in the GOP.
This is what we sorely need. Great party influence is something Ron Paul never really achieved, but his years of work did open the door. The libertarian ideals have needed an advocate who knows how to proactively navigate the world of political power and influence. That man was not Ron Paul, power just isn’t his style. But maybe it is Rand.
To read more about how the filibuster was received, I recommend this post by Jack Hunter.