Rand Paul's Filibuster: Its Historical Context, and Its Encouraging Friends


As noted on Reason 24/7 earlier, USA Today provided some nice historical context to Rand Paul's epic filibuster yesterday, the ninth longest in history. Some details:

Paul fell more than 11 hours short of the record set by Republican [sic–Thurmond was still a Democrat then, thanks to Michael Lotus for correction] Sen. Strom Thurmond, who protested the 1957 Civil Rights Act for 24 hours and 18 minutes…

According to the Senate historian's draft list, Paul will come in behind Sen. Robert Byrd of West Virginia. The Democrat protested the 1964 Civil Rights Act for 14 hours and 13 minutes.

Paul's filibuster attracted attention because it was only the second time in recent history that a senator commanded the floor to talk at length on a subject. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., spoke for eight hours and 37 minutes in 2010 to protest tax legislation.

Both causes are far less noble or important than trying to clarify whether the executive can kill whoever it wants wherever it wants at whim. And amazingly, Paul's stand on principle won him some love from his Party in the currency that counts the most: currency.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee said Paul's filibuster generated thousands of tweets in support of his stance, as well as "donations in the high five figures."

Some more heartwarming examples of standing with Rand from today:

I admit I rarely listen to Rush Limbaugh lately, so maybe this is perfectly in keeping with his general ideology. But I certainly understood him to be a pretty solid "war on terror" guy, who could easily have stood with John McCain and Lindsey Graham in seeing Rand Paul as standing in the way of Our Leader's ability to defend America. Instead, he had Paul on today and was very supportive, as Daily Caller summed up:

"[T]he president goes out to dinner last night," Limbaugh said. "The establishment, the parents, went out to dinner — Obama, McCain, Lindsey Graham-nesty, went out to dinner.  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. … 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. …"

"The new kids in down captivated the nation talking to them about freedom," he continued. "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. … [Paul] 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."

Limbaugh also took a few shots at Paul's colleague, Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain, for criticizing the filibuster.

"The freedom and liberty of the people of the United States was being defended against potential assault by the president of the United States, and the people of this country rallied like crazy," Limbaugh said. "They did not get mad at Rand Paul. They loved him."

And Code Pink, as Daily Caller also reports, "a women-initiated grassroots peace and social justice movement working to end U.S. funded wars and occupations, to challenge militarism globally, and to redirect our resources into health care, education, green jobs and other life-affirming activities," planned a gift-bearing visit to the Senate office of the libertarian-leaning Tea Party Senator to thank him for calling attention to out-of-control executive war powers.