A senator launches a filibuster of a CIA director nominee to protest the president's drone policy. Specifically the president's refusal to rule out use of drones domestically. Now imagine if the president was George W. Bush. Democratic senators would have been crying bloody murder over the administration's actions.
But this time it's a Democratic president in office, Barack Obama. And the senator leading the filibuster again CIA director nominee John Brennan is a Republican, Rand Paul of Kentucky. Are Senate Democrats being rankly hypocritical by allowing the administration to essentially say "trust us" on domestic drone strikes - something they would never had stood for during George W. Bush's presidency?
The Washington Post's "Right Turn" blogger Jennifer Rubin thinks so. "Where, for goodness' sake, are the liberal civil libertarians?" Rubin wrote hours into Paul's filibuster. "Where, for that matter, are the mainstream media and the liberal punditocracy that would be calling for impeachment about now if a Republican president had done all this?"
But Senate Republicans aren't being any less consistent. "Where are the Republicans (who would filibuster Chuck Hagel, but only for show, and only briefly)?" she wrote. Paul's filibuster has "exposed the rank hypocrisy that has infected the left and the right."
Paul commandeered the Senate on Wednesday with an old-fashioned filibuster focused on what he called the dangers of drone strikes against Americans inside the U.S., seizing a high profile opportunity to derail the Senate's progress on the White House's nominee to head the CIA.
Paul and his colleagues have seized on a letter from Attorney General Eric Holder in which Holder said in an extreme situation, the executive branch reserves the right to take lethal action against Americans on American soil. Paul, reading Holder's response as a justification for the potential use of lethal drone strikes inside the U.S., said he would hold up Senate progress on Brennan to give a defense of American civil liberties.
"That Americans could be killed in a cafe in San Francisco or in a restaurant in Houston or at their home in Bowling Green, Ky., is an abomination," Paul said. "It is something that should not and cannot be tolerated in our country. I don't rise to oppose John Brennan's nomination simply for the person. I rise today for the principle."
Many reactions were predictable according to party. Former Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), who recently left office to head the conservative Heritage Foundation, lent his support to the filibuster efforts of GOP Sens. Paul, Ted Cruz (Texas), Jerry Moran (Kan.) and Mike Lee (Utah).
"We should all thank @SenRandPaul @tedcruz @JerryMoran @SenMikeLee for standing up for the Constitution and due process," tweeted DeMint (@JimDeMint).
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is trying to force a vote on Mr. Brennan. Senate Democrats believe they have enough support to overcome the 60-vote hurdle needed to bring Brennan's nomination up for a vote.
Via The Washington Post, and Politix reporting.