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Where Are the Republicans Defending Civil Liberties?

Where Are the Republicans Defending Civil Liberties?


As I write this, Sen. Rand Paul is entering his 7th hour filibustering the nomination of John Brennan to head the CIA. His filibuster is driven by fundamental constitutional questions regarding due process and the powers of the Executive Branch. His performance is a one-man “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” over a core principle. I’ve already noted the lack of Democrats echoing his concerns. A perhaps more fundamental question is; Where are the Republicans?

I have to admit, I’ve been fascinated by this afternoon’s turn of events. Rarely has a Senator commandeered the Senate floor over a basic constitutional principle. Paul’s concern isn’t partisan. He is simply seeking assurances that the Executive Branch will commit to not use unmanned drones to kill US citizens, within the US border, who are suspected of supporting terror. That a US administration can’t unequivocally give that assurance speaks volumes about how much liberty we’ve lost since 9-11. 

Sen. Paul is making a very courageous stand. Since the filibuster started, he has received support from GOP Sens. Lee, Rubio, Cruz, Chambliss, Toomey and Cornyn. He has also received support from Dem Sen. Ron Wyden. Where are the other GOP Senators?

It isn’t a rhetorical question. Without assistance from his colleagues, Sen. Paul has to keep talking in order to hold the floor. Where are the other GOP Senators? They could take a few minutes to make speeches of their own and give Paul a needed break. They could at least speak for a bit to allow him to go to the restroom. Instead, they are joining with Dems to wear him out. 

Do they not care about the issues raised by Sen. Paul? Are they comfortable with the Executive Branch acting as judge, jury and executioner over a US citizen suspected of involvement with terrorism?  

Where is Sen. McConnnell? Or Sen. Flake? Where, in particular, in Sen. McCain who wears his commitment to constitutional rights on his sleeve. Sen. Paul is walking the walk. The other GOP Senators only know how to talk. Pay attention to who comes to Sen. Paul’s aid. If your Senator doesn’t, be sure to ask them why.

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