“processing it through their stunted, trivial prism of partisan loyalty…”

At the Guardian, Glenn Greenwald makes a number of important points about the reaction to US Senator Rand Paul’s 13-hour filibuster against John Brennan’s nomination as head of the CIA.  From Glenn Greenwald at Comment is Free

Last week’s 13-hour filibuster of John Brennan’s confirmation as CIA director by GOP Sen. Rand Paul was one of the first – and, from the perspective of media attention, easily among the most effective -Congressional efforts to dramatize and oppose just how radical these Terrorism-justified powers have become. For the first time since the 9/11 attack, even lowly cable news shows were forced – by the Paul filibuster – to extensively discuss the government’s extremist theories of power and to debate the need for checks and limits.

All of this put Democrats – who spent eight years flamboyantly pretending to be champions of due process and opponents of mass secrecy and executive power abuses – in a very uncomfortable position. The politician who took such a unique stand in defense of these principles was not merely a Republican but a leading member of its dreaded Tea Party wing, while the actor most responsible for the extremist theories of power being protested was their own beloved leader and his political party.

Some Democrats, to their credit, publicly supported Paul, including Sen. Ron Wyden, who went to the Senate floor to assist the filibuster. Sens. Jeff Merkley, Pat Leahy and (independent) Bernie Sanders all voted against Brennan’s confirmation, citing many of the same concerns raised by Paul. Some prominent progressive commentators praised Paul’s filibuster as well: on CNN, Van Jones – while vowing that “I love this president” – said “Sen. Rand Paul was a hero for civil liberties” and that “liberals and progressives should be ashamed.”

But most Democratic Senators ran away as fast as possible from having anything to do with the debate: see here for the pitifully hilarious excuses they offered for not supporting the filibuster while claiming to support Paul’s general cause. All of those Democratic Senators other than Merkley and Leahy (and Sanders) voted to confirm the torture-advocating, secrecy-loving, drone-embracing Brennan as CIA chief.

Meanwhile, a large bulk of the Democratic and liberal commentariat – led, as usual, by the highly-paid DNC spokesmen called “MSNBC hosts” and echoed, as usual, by various liberal blogs, which still amusingly fancy themselves as edgy and insurgent checks on political power rather than faithful servants to it – degraded all of the weighty issues raised by this episode by processing it through their stunted, trivial prism of partisan loyalty. They thus dutifully devoted themselves to reading from the only script they know: Democrats Good, GOP Bad.

Do read the whole thing.  And keep it in mind when the current US dictator President Barack Obama arrives in Enniskillen later in the year…

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  • David Crookes

    Pete, many thanks for your posting, and for the links.

    The great argument for a federal Europe is that the world’s only superpower has become the real ‘evil empire’.

    Hitler was obliging enough to set out his ideas in ‘Mein Kampf’.

    Other gentlemen have been obliging enough to set out their ideas in the ‘Project for a New American Century’.

    How good a thing is NATO now?

    Are we all content to be part of an empire that uses torture, destroys privacy, and murders by remote control?

  • Pete Baker


    That’s not one of the important points being made.

    It’s your take on events through your stunted, trivial prism of partisanship…

    Oh, and Godwin.

  • Professor Yattle

    Well done Pete, it’s about time someone called loony on Crookes – he’s fast replaced Fitzjameshorse as this site’s bore in chief.

  • David Crookes

    Thanks, gentlemen. Of course you’re both right.

  • Pete Baker

    And back to the actual topic…

  • New Yorker

    Senator Rand Paul’s filibuster speech was purely a self-promoting rant. If he wanted an answer to his question he should have just asked the Attorney General. Instead he got much publicity and stirred up those who suspect the government is after them without reason. No sane person actually believes the US government would use drone attacks within the US. If the government wants to apprehend someone there are federal officers with legal authority to do so, usually with guns and not drones.

  • David Crookes

    Have a good time while I’m reading Job 12. 2.

  • Pete Baker

    New Yorker

    Go back and read the linked article.

  • New Yorker

    Pete Baker

    Of course I read the article. I believe Greenwald is wrong in thinking Rand Paul was raising a serious issue. Rand Paul is known as a self-promoter. There are serious discussions taking place on drove oversight but the participants are not seeking publicity, and that would not suit Rand Paul. Do you know much about Rand Paul? If not, research his political history and see if you agree he is a self-promoter. As I said above, he should have directly asked the Attorney General about using drones within the US. If he wants to go deeper into the whole issue of drone usage, he should ask those senior people involved in the discussion. That’s what a serious person would do, so I don’t expect Rand Paul will be doing so.

  • Scáth Shéamais

    I’ve little time for Rand Paul or his politics, but he did contact the Attorney General directly on this issue and found his responses to evasive and unforthcoming. After his filibuster, Paul said he finally got the answer he was looking for from Eric Holder.

  • New Yorker

    Scath Sheamais

    I have little time for either Paul or Holder. I don’t think the conversation before the filibuster is in the public record so it is not possible to know if Holder was forthright or if Rand interpreted it properly.