This morning Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham blasted their colleague Rand Paul for his filibuster of the nomination of John Brennan to head the CIA. All Paul wanted was an answer from the administration on whether they believe they have the authority to kill American citizens on American soil with drones. Millions of Americans cheered Paul, but McCain and Graham had nothing but scorn for him, and McCain went so far as to openly mock him on the Senate floor today.
“Calm down, Senator,” McCain said, in an apostrophe to Paul. “The U.S. government cannot randomly target U.S. citizens.”
McCain, a staunch foreign policy hawk, said Thursday that Paul’s warnings that the U.S. could target “Jane Fonda” or “people in cafes” bring the debate into the “realm of the ridiculous.”
“If Mr. Paul wants to be taken seriously he needs to do more than pull political stunts that fire up impressionable libertarian kids,” McCain said, adding: “I don’t think what happened yesterday is helpful to the American people.”
Graham joined McCain in the criticism.
Here’s the video of this rude, sneering old man. The first 8 minutes or so are just McCain reading articles, the end is where the sneering comes in.
Allahpundit made an excellent point in that Paul scored a major victory over Obama last night – who was dining with McCain, Graham and others during the filibuster – and McCain’s attack only served to undermine that victory.
He’s the antithesis of Paul in every relevant way: Much older, part of the Senate establishment for several decades, extremely pro-interventionist, way too eager to compromise with Democrats on constitutional matters (campaign finance reform), and not a little bit personally nasty in quoting the Journal’s line about Paul pulling a “stunt” to fire up “impressionable libertarian kids.” His underlying point is straightforward — why wait for an enemy combatant to pose an imminent threat to take him out, even if he’s in the U.S.? — but it’s difficult to engage that point because his tone is so jarringly discordant from the mood of the rest of the party today. Leave it to a guy who lost to Obama head to head to try to spoil a rare victory against The One by not even mustering polite disagreement with the man responsible for it.
Obama, a 20-vehicle motorcade to go to a restaurant for dinner. A 20-vehicle motorcade to go to a restaurant while the White House tours are shut down because of the sequester. Anyway, that’s just a side point. The establishment goes out, when they got back home they found all the furniture out on the front porch. The kids had gone crazy. The kids had thrown a giant party while the establishment was out doing whatever they were doing. While the old guard of the Republican Party was out playing footsie with the president, the new kids in town were talking to the American people about liberty.
The new kids in down captivated the nation talking to them about freedom. The new kids in town were, for the first time in I don’t know how long, actually taking it to Barack Obama and showing how easily it’s done and showing that you live the next day and demonstrating you have tons and tons of support the next day. Not only that, you have tons and tons of support while you’re doing it. Rand Paul starts his filibuster. He just wanted Obama to acknowledge in a letter that Obama will not kill Americans sitting in a cafe minding their own business with a drone. And the regime wouldn’t respond.
But guess what? It worked – the administration finally had to respond.
Via Politico, the complete text of a letter Attorney General Holder sent to Rand Paul today. In its entirety: “It has come to my attention that you have now asked an additional question: ‘Does the President have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on American soil?’ The answer to that question is no.”
I guess we still need to find out what their definition of “enemy combatant” is, but it’s a good start.
Update: Linked by I’m 41 – thanks!