by Robert Maynard
Senator Rand Paul’s filibuster, aimed at forcing the Obama Administration to admit that they do not have the constitutional authority to order drone strikes on American citizens on American soil, has mobilized and revitalized conservatives, constitutionalists and libertarians from all over the country. Even a large number of rank and file progressives, from the ACLU to Code Pink, agreed with him. CNN ran an article proclaiming Rand Paul the new leader of the Republican Party. People have been talking about the rebranding of the GOP, now many are talking about the rebRANDing of the GOP.
One thing that made this filibuster historic is that he actually stayed on topic. There was no reading from a phonebook, etc., as a way to stretch it out. It also was not seen as a partisan attempt to score political points, as at least two Democrats supported him. More importantly for those who would like to see consideration of the U.S. Constitution find its way into more political deliberations, Senator Paul spoke extensively of the importance of adhering to the Constitution and the dangers of straying from it. With the nation’s attention focused on him, he used that opportunity to passionately, but calmly, put on a clinic in the dangers associated with moving away from a strict adherence to our Constitution. He was firm and unyielding in presenting his principles, but cordial and conciliatory in referring personally to those who he had a disagreement with. The combination of a firmness in expressing principles, but a moderation in tone when addressing political opponents, played well with those who are not very political. The GOP could learn a lot from Rand Paul’s approach as it seeks to bounce back from its setback in 2012.
Needless to say, some of the GOP old guard are not happy about this development. The rise of Rand Paul to the national stage will bring with it an across the board examination of the GOP’s commitment to constitutionaly limited government. In addtion, it very well could launch a “Tea Party 2.0.” For those who missed Rand Paul historic filibuster, the Camapign for Liberty has out up a “Stand With Rand!” page on their website that has transcripts and videos of the whole thing.