Thank you, Sen. Paul…and the results are?
Mr. Smith would have been proud.
Twelve hours of shining a light on what could be a very troubling expansion of presidential power, or the worrisome continued downward spiral of the rights of the American people in the name of “fighting terrorism” is exactly the reason for the filibuster and standing up to be counted is what all our elected officials should do.
So, what are the results of this bold and show stopping move?
Sen. Paul got his answer. There was a simple question that motivated Sen. Paul’s filibuster, “Does the President have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on American soil?” This question came out of ongoing debate about the use of drones overseas in the killing of terror suspects, even American citizens. Sen. Paul was concerned, as we all should have been, with the answer Att. Gen. Holder originally provided that appeared to leave the door open a crack for the president, whoever he/she might be to authorize the killing of an American citizen on American soil without the benefit of due process. Unless that American was providing a imminent threat to the life of other Americans, due process MUST be followed and Sen. Paul was right to object to the vagueness of Att. Gen. Holder’s response. Holder sent the Senator a letter with a simple, clear and precise answer: NO. I would like to see President Obama hold a news conference where he apologizes for the vagueness of the original answer and then issue a clear declaration that no US president has the right to kill US citizens on American soil who are not an imminent threat to other lives. At that same news conference ,President Obama should urge Congress to support Sen. Paul and Sen Cruz’s new legislation that reaffirms this fundamental principle.
Sen Graham doesn’t get it again. South Carolina’s now senior senator has been a lead warrior in the fight against terrorism and in supporting our troops, but once again, he fails to see that we can uphold the Constitution and still defeat the enemy. Last year, Sen. Graham in defense of the NDAA 2012 bill that included language allowing for the indefinite detention of Americans without benefit of trial was clear on where he stood:
So it is no surprise that he was on the wrong side in this drone debate. Sen. Graham said, “I don’t worry about [drones killing Americans],Here’s what I worry about: that al-Qaeda has killed 2,958 of us and is going to add to the total if we let our guard down. And I will do everything in my power to protect this president — who I disagree with a lot — and future presidents in having an ill-informed Congress take over the legitimate authority under the Constitution and the laws of this land to be the Commander in Chief on behalf of all of us.” In both of these examples, Sen. Graham misses the point because, in my opinion, he sees the war on terror and can not see what the rest of us are concerned about: the eroding of our rights in the name of security. Sen. Graham needs to take a break from being the good soldier fighting the “Huns at our door” and spend sometime upholding his oath to protect the Constitution.
Sen Paul has arrived. One of the results of this filibuster is that Sen. Paul has reached superstar status. Those who supported him before have now elevated him to the level of “incapable of doing no wrong,” and “He was right about this, so he is right on everything else.” I am glad his supporters are ecstatic, but he is still fallible. He also has won new converts, folks who are giving libertarianism a second look. One final sign of his “having arrived” was evident in Sen. Graham’s response, the Republican party has issues.
Finally, We, the People won a battle. Any time the Constitution is reaffirmed in the halls of Congress or on Pennsylvania Ave, we win.
So thanks, Sen. Paul.