Rand Paul ready for a standing filibuster 2.0 on Syria?

posted at 9:21 pm on September 3, 2013 by Erika Johnsen

Remember Sen. Rand Paul’s epic talking filibuster last spring over the government’s use of lethal drone strikes? It lasted a little bit less than 13 hours and garnered him a lot of mainstream- and social-media attention, and it sounds like he feels strongly enough about the resolution on a Syrian strike the White House is hoping to push through Congress that he’s isn’t unwilling to have another go at staging a similar Senatorial showcase. Via National Journal:

Paul was not bullish on his chances of success, however, saying “it would be historic” to stop the authorization, as it has the support of President Obama, Speaker John Boehner, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. “50-50 [odds] might be optimistic,” he said.

Still, Paul vowed to fight on in the Senate. He said that opponents of intervention in Syria, following allegations of chemical-weapons use by the government of President Bashar al-Assad, would almost assuredly push for a 60-vote majority in the Senate. …

“Whether there’s an actual standing filibuster,” he said, “I’ve got to check my shoes” and ability to tame his bladder, which is what ultimately caused the end of his drone filibuster.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid let it be known earlier today that he expects that he’ll have the votes to pass the resolution even if there is a filibuster, but whether that was a serious assessment, or a bullish ploy to make it seem more popular than it really is, remains to be seen. When the resolution does come to a vote, Paul gave us a preview of what a standing filibuster might sound like during the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing earlier today:


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If it can be clearly established as fact that Assad ordered the use of chemical warfare against the residents of that Damascus neighborhood, then we can talk about retaliation.

But, to date, it has not been established.

It has been assumed.

Regardless of information in the region showing that some jihad groups have a CW capability, and the motivation to use them…this Administration is going to war because “the use of Sarin gas in Syria has been confirmed.”

No solid intel from a reliable source with direct access to the event” but “we have information from a variety of sources” that a chemical “event” took place. [I will withhold calling it an attack at this time, waiting for information to show it was indeed and "attack" and not just a "release" or "dispersal.]

If we are going to do this…and if we must do this, then let get it right 100% before embarking on any sort of punitive action.

To punish a government or a leader who may not have been directly involved is far far more dangerous to us, than deciding to make “somebody” feel some actual pain for using WMD. And doing so would do nothing to stem the possibility of green-lighting everyone else in the world that they can be used without consequence.

Matter of fact, if a third party was responsible, and could get away with it by doing so and toppling a government, a government not involved, but assumed to be involved…they would do so with far less fear of facing retaliation.

coldwarrior on September 4, 2013 at 12:17 AM

“But we have to pass the bill so you can find out what is in it,” Nancy Pelosi.

So, we have to bomb Syria so we can find out what’s going to happen.

Landon Thompson on September 4, 2013 at 12:33 AM

Wow. How did I miss this clip. Rand owned that empty-suit’s a$$. Kerry’s body language was priceless. Paul and Cruz are the only two politicians today in Congress with any intelligence. Kerry is an utter failure as a human being and should stop wasting air molecules that could be used by useful people.

WhatSlushfund on September 4, 2013 at 1:41 AM

The key is to remember that Paul, like his Daddy, isn’t just against striking Syria. He’s against all foreign involvement, including foreign military bases, unless we are directly attacked first.

Adjoran on September 3, 2013 at 11:53 PM

This may or may not be true. I don’t know. But either way Paul is tapping into the growing awareness that the “Islam is a religion of peace” thing has been a lie all along. Even if Paul is a totally irrational Isolationist at heart, as sad as it is, that by itself is such a huge step forward from where we are now that I believe it is worth encouraging, even if it is not ideal.

WhatSlushfund on September 4, 2013 at 1:43 AM

WhatSlushfund on September 4, 2013 at 1:41 AM

I’d put Mike Lee in that category in the Senate, too.

In the House, I’m thinking Trey Gowdy (SC) might be our best hope.

either orr on September 4, 2013 at 2:15 AM

Thank you Senators Paul and Cruz, the only two voices that cut above the noise of the political class.

Panther on September 4, 2013 at 5:42 AM

At leasst someone in government appears capable of learning that intervention in the Middle East is of no benefit to the US.

talkingpoints on September 4, 2013 at 7:14 AM

I think this would be a good move by Rand.

Politics and theater are sometimes the same. Last time Rand did this it made Obama uncomfortable and it would do the same. I don’t understand why so many Republicans don’t understand that it is ok to make Obama squirm when you have the political advantage over him and on Syria they do if they will just dump the Neo-con strategy for once.

It is ok for the GOP to be for the best military on earth, and national defense, and help REAL allies (not imaginary ones), but also they must be against pointless and perpetual war. A real strategist, a real hawk, a real patriot, someone who really loves their country knows that unending warfare is bad for national defense and dead soldiers can not be bought back to life like toy soldiers can. They are a limited resource, like money, that is only replenished once per generation. It is time for us to pick and choose our conflicts, and Syria is not one of those conflicts.

William Eaton on September 3, 2013 at 9:52 PM

Thank you for this.

Amjean on September 4, 2013 at 8:13 AM

and…..Rand Paul is not an “isolationist” like his father, Ron Paul may be.

He has stated his position numerous times. “Peace through strength” (like someone else, perhaps Ronald Reagan?), and not using up the US’s resources (human and otherwise) on policing the world. He would be against a ten year war in Iraq. So am I. So are most Americans. Rand Paul would protect our allies, and in the case of military action needed to protect the US national interests, Rand Paul believes in getting in, getting the job done and getting out. Most Americans would also agree.

Amjean on September 4, 2013 at 8:19 AM

If we didn’t go to war for the Rwandans, if we didn’t go to war for Darfur, etcetera eleventy!!!! then I fail to see how this is any different.
Peacekeeping missions are BS. Let people slaughter each other. Quite frankly, it is not our job to be the world’s police force.
If you’re the shining city on a hill, everyone who values freedom can look up to that & emulate it.
But really, unless we are specifically attacked or threatened by Syria, there is no reason to stop these animals from slaughtering each other.

Badger40 on September 4, 2013 at 8:52 AM

Up Twinkles!

or is that Old Skool?

trs on September 4, 2013 at 9:16 AM

I don’t even think a filibuster is needed. All I think he needs to do is to answer one question.

Which side are we fighting FOR? That usually is the point of war. Picking an enemy and picking a friend. We destroy the enemy to help our friend.

We’re to destroy Assad to help who? There are two choices. The Muslim Brotherhood and Al-Qaeda. Which is our new friend, we’re to go to war and help?

MNHawk on September 4, 2013 at 9:36 AM

Pelosi has to round up the votes in her caucus for Obama. Let her do the heavy lifting.

Boehner and Cantor should extract a substantial price for any House GOP support, such as no White House temper tantrum over sequester continuation into 2014.

matthew8787 on September 4, 2013 at 9:56 AM

trs on September 4, 2013 at 9:16 AM

No, dat be gay.

coldwarrior on September 4, 2013 at 10:13 AM

Brilliant. He is where the country is right now on privacy and war. We need to start exploiting wedge issues like the Dems do.

An Internet privacy bill that would crush Google would put Dems on the spot for defending their “evil corporate masters” in Silicon Valley.

A Utah Tea Party peaceful roadblock of the Utah Data Center would be great political theater too, especially if certain Presidential hopefuls were to show up.

xuyee on September 4, 2013 at 10:16 AM

I think Obama is disobeying every part of the US Constitution and daring us to defend it. It’s how one would throw out the Const. That’s the only sense to what he’s doing. Also, I think Obama only defends Sunni Muslims. Why doesn’t Obama flinch at all the Christian persecutions?
-Barbara, Landon’s wife

Landon Thompson on September 6, 2013 at 5:17 PM

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