Friday, March 8, 2013

Rand Paul's Filibuster Scorecard

Relax everyone. It is once again safe to grab a seat and enjoy coffee at Starbucks.

Thanks to Rand Paul's 13 hour filibuster we now have assurances from Eric Holder that American citizens will not be struck by a drone on U.S. soil while enjoying a Grande Latte unless they are  "engaged in combat". Who gets to define "engaged in combat"? The Administration, of course. So we are  back to square one. But at least now everyone seems to feel better with perhaps a couple of exceptions.

The Liberty Republicans are certainly thrilled. One of Liberty Republican post on Facebook said something to the effect that the support Rand Paul has received indicates that Americans may be tired of living in fear. That is a rather comical statement coming from a group of activists who live in  permanent fear that the government will take their guns; send them to Guantanamo for just checking out a book on Islam from the library; national identity cards, the UN and DHS.

Obama is also happy. His nominee to be CIA Director was approved with a healthy 63-34 margin. Lindsey Graham and John McCain took to the Senate floor to rebuke Rand Paul.  The GOP civil war is on and there is no end in sight. The Republican party is disintegrating just in time for the 2014 elections.

Rand Paul is the big winner. He has raised his profile. His performance is a big hit among the Republican base who was starving for some anti-Obama red meat. He has gained a lot of respect for standing up for what he believes. Even from people who did not agree with him. For many, it was refreshing to see a proper filibuster and a politician speaking with conviction instead of reading from poll tested text.

Among those not feeling so great is Marco Rubio. Just a couple of months ago he was declared by Time Magazine the Republican Savior. Then his mouth dried up at the most importune time. Oh sure he went on the Senate floor to give Rand Paul a break by asking a few questions. What else could he do after he realized that the filibuster was a hit among future Republican presidential primary voters?!

The real losers is Gary Johnson. If it was not clear before, it should be clear now. The only heir to the Ron Paul Revolution is Rand Paul.

It is really a shame what has happened to Johnson. He is a successful businessman and governor. With the GOP floundering, there was a huge opening for someone like Johnson  - who is fiscally conservative, pro-choice, pro-gay rights - to turn the Libertarian Party into a viable alternative to the duopoly. He could have moved the party away from the fringe, conspiracies and focused on issues that are relevant to most Americans. This may come as a shock to some but the vast majority of voters are more concerned with losing their jobs than being struck by a drone.

Instead, Johnson spent most his presidential campaign chasing Ron Paul supporters hoping to gain their votes and financial support. Of course, the first clue that it was a flawed strategy should have when Ron Paul did not endorse Gary Johnson. Kinda hard to claim to be an heir when the father is not willing to recognize you as his son.