Rand Paul

In PATRIOT Act Fight, Rand Paul Is the Jon Snow of Congress

And now his watch is ended.


Rand Paul
Wikimedia Commons

Watching Sen. Rand Paul do everything he could to thwart the combined forces of big government Republicans, Democrats, and the Obama administration in their quest to violate the Constitution and maintain snooping powers over the American people vis a vis PATRIOT Act renewal, it occurred to me that Rand and his allies are the Jon Snows of Congress. The filibuster is his Valyrian steel sword.

This is a Game of Thrones analogy, and it holds up remarkably well, particularly if you consider recent episodes of the HBO show, which cover the happenings of the fourth and fifth books. (Yes, Game of Thrones is rife with political subtext, and elaborate comparisons between the War of the Five Kings and the race for the White House have been made over and over again. The analogy I'm about to make is still fresh, to my knowledge.)

In the world of Game of Thrones, Jon Snow is the newly-elected Lord Commander of the Night's Watch, an ancient order tasked with defending a gigantic wall and forestalling the invasion of evil ice demons from the north. Petty politics and doubts about the true nature of the enemy mar the effectiveness of the Watch, which is brimming with unsavory characters—many of whom are criminals. Some of them committed sex crimes. Sound familiar?

Jon Snow's problem is that he has to convince these unscrupulous devils to ignore their instincts and make common cause with the Wildlings—the native human inhabitants of the north. Remember those evil ice demons I mentioned? Well, they possess the ability to reanimate the dead and conscript them into military service. Jon Snow, to his credit, reasons that it is better to make peace with the Wildlings than to battle their zombified corpses. He's right: we know he's right. But all-too many of his brothers in the Night's Watch don't see it that way.

Many of them mock him, even though their own opinions are ludicrous. Sens. Lindsey Graham and John McCain are clearly the Janos Slynt and Alliser Thorne of the Senate; sniveling, unprincipled naysayers who challenge Jon Snow at every turn. Slynt is constantly promising that his rich friends in King's Landing will make Jon pay for crossing him—even though Flynt is a vile, despised man.

Jon is under no illusion that an alliance with the Wildlings would be anything other than strained. Nevertheless, he knows that he must try. His brothers, unfortunately, can't look past the fact that Jon is expressing leniency toward Wildlings. He even spared the Wildling King, Mance Rayder, from a much worse fate—which obviously calls to mind Paul's more measured tone toward real-world Wildling leader Edward Snowden.

Whereas Jon has Samwell Tarly, Dolorous Edd, and Grenn, Paul has Reps. Justin Amash and Thomas Massie. Indeed, in season four of the show, Grenn even singlehandedly defended the passage under the wall while Jon attended to other matters—much like Amash kept guard in Congress last weekend while everyone else was away.

When a sworn brother of the Night's Watch dies, these words are recited at his funeral: "And now his watch is ended." At midnight last night, some portions of the Patriot Act expired—Paul's relentless stand against illegal government spying was (partially and temporarily) successful. Let's hope his valor wins him more thanks than Jon Snow seems to be getting. If not from the perfumed lords and ladies, then at least among the smallfolk.

NEXT: Armed Robbers With Badges: 'They Took Everything'

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  1. You should just go ahead and write the Buzzfeed list.



      1. Yes but does Paul do that thing with his tongue?

    2. The fact that Rico didn’t write that list ups his street cred with me.

      1. Suave’s never going to top Sullum posting a pic of his own weed. Not even if he uses the actual Rico Suave’s music to punctuate one of his articles.

    3. Now that the likes of Gawker and Buzzfeed have been exposed for the fraud tabloids they are I wonder if Matt/Nick regret hiring Robby.

      1. It’s too bad commenters don’t get paid, because then we could fire you for being a colossal asshole.

  2. Over on CNN they have the subheading “the U.S. will find itself with fewer tools to investigate terrorism.”

    Click the story you get an autoplay video of the planes crashing into the twin towers.

    Disingenuous hacks.

    1. “the U.S. will find itself with fewer tools to investigate terrorism.”

      They could always hire Robby.

      1. Is a dog anus shaped fleshlight a tool?

        1. It is for you.

    2. There’s nothing disingenuous about it. CNN knows who run Bartertown.

      1. Whoa, that’s freaky. I used the same reference in a different thread.

    3. You watch CNN. How quaint.

    4. The video starts out with that, but it’s actually not terrible. It point out how Clapper lied to Congress, and doesn’t speak of the Patriot Act in glowing terms at all.

      1. Also, from the CNN article:

        So those tools are now completely gone?

        Not exactly.

        FBI and NSA officials are allowed to continue using Section 215 and the roving wiretap provision in investigations they began before the June 1 expiration date.

        There’s your loophole. Something tells me that the NSA has started an investigation of every person on earth as of May 41st and the FISA court rubber stamped the warrant.

    5. I’m shocked they didn’t just go with “Rand Paul want THE TERRORISTS to win! Women and children hardest hit.” I mean, if they’re going to be mendacious fuckheads they may as well go full retard while they’re at it.

  3. Wait, who is Rollo?

    1. A court-appointed drug counsellor Tulpa.

    2. Best I can tell, Suave mixed his show metaphors. You should watch Vikings. It’s worth it.

      1. I’ve only had two drinks, and I’ve re-read the article just as carefully as could be, and I see no reference to Rollo. I assumed I must have missed it, since you mentioned it, but it just isn’t there.

        Crusty, watchoo smoking?

        1. Robby is an all purpose pile of shit. He probably changed the article without noting the edit.

          1. Seems the only pile of shit here is the one slinging it.

  4. So my mind is trupping a million graces beneath because I did tons of booze and SHOCK a few pills and so check with the all JOURNALISTS on this site and others …..

    1. check with the all JOURNALISTS on this site

      More like “JournoList ” ’round these parts.

  5. What a nerd you are Robby. But then, you write for a bunch of nerds to a bunch of nerds.

    Do I have this right? The mass gathering of info on everyone has been found to be illegal in that it is not authorized under the statute that the government claims it is. This illegal activity has yielded not a single bit of evidence used in a single case of terrorism. In fact, while it was ongoing a couple of dim bulbs managed to pull of a pretty effective act of terrorism, catching the govt completely by surprise.

    Now we must reauthorize the law that does not authorize the gathering of all data in order to keep doing it, otherwise it will hav to be halted.

    If that is the case, then why would reauthorizing a law that does not allow for mass data gathering allow for the mass gathering to continue?

    1. As we speak, FBI swat teams overwatched by All American Hero Lon Horiuchi and his buddies are poised to make a dynamic entry into Ft Meade where they expect to find evidence of now double illegal surveillance activity. Expect a perp walk of these Stasi-worshippers led by Clapper and Rogers tomorrow morning.

    2. “a couple of dim bulbs managed to pull of a pretty effective act of terrorism, catching the govt completely by surprise.”

      I would say four dim bulbs – the 2 Caucasians who attacked the Boston Marathon, and the 2 guys who tried to kill people at the Mohammed contest.

      1. Plus the attempted shoe and underwear bombers. Their legacies live on in the TSA’s molestation techniques. (I would add in Nidal Hasan, the Fort Hood shooter, but as Obama mansplained to us, that was merely an instance of workplace violence.)

        1. If only the government had some kind of surveillance technique to detect one of its employees preaching jihad during working hours.

    3. why would reauthorizing a law that does not allow for mass data gathering allow for the mass gathering to continue?

      For that matter, why would section 215 of the Patriot Act expiring actually stop them from continuing to collect the data that it was illegal for them to collect in the 1st place? I’d bet dollars to donuts the collection will continue anyway.

  6. New ad for Rand.

    1. At 0:48, the rotunda of the Capitol building explodes! This means that the anarchist Rand Paul is literally planning to explode government buildings as part of his evil “small government” agenda!


  7. So, now are you going to start saying “You know nothing, Rand Paul?”

    1. “Stop acting the fool, Maks!”

    2. That would be the fake wild-ling Liz Warren. Don’t worry, she gets an arrow before she messes up anything.

  8. Rand is like Fred in Scooby Doo, catching the NSA monster in his traps.

    Or he’s like Tinkerbell in Peter Pan, spreading the fairy dust of his eloquence.

    Or like that Teletubby with the TV in his chest, showing the world what’s really going on.

    1. “Jinkies. The spook was actually the spooks.”

      “And I would have gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for you meddling libertarians.”

    1. Seriously. I’m at season 2 episode 2. That Joffrey is such an asshole.

      1. Read the books first. Always read the books first. IMO, visual media cannot even come close to the potential of a story in the hands of a capable writer.

        1. Just like good actors and directors can convey emotions in ways that no written word ever can.

        2. At that rate, Playa might actually make it to the end of the written series before he reaches the tv finale. Unless GRRM does the expected Robert Jordan.

          1. That man needs to write more or eat less. I love his work, but he is reaching Marlon Brando levels of slobbery.

            1. Hopefully he is forwarding his notes to Brandon Sanderson.

        3. Key point here being “capable writer”. GRRM lost it with the last two books- sprawling for sprawling’s sake. I thoroughly enjoyed the first three books, but at this point find the show a more successful story.

          1. This. Books 4 and 5 are garbage.

            1. The show has gone off the book’s story lines quite a lot this season. They left out or altered huge chunks of 4 & 5. Iron Island story line? Dorne? Riverrun with Jaime? Caitlyn Stark and her gang?

        4. SEE PLAYA! Bookies are almost as annoying as foodies.

          1. Nice attempted next morning drive-by

  9. Wait, he’s like the pinball wizard in that song, except instead of being a wizard at pinball, he’s a wizard at defending civil liberties.

    1. He’s like the good guy in that kung fu movie, you know, the one where the good guy beats up the villain who killed his teacher?

      1. That’s not narrowing the selection down at all.

        1. Well it does exclude the kung fu movies where the good guy beats of the villain who merely maimed his teacher.

  10. The only guy I would consider voting for is Rand at this point. The only dude around calling out the bullshit statist fucks have in store.

    I also think it’s a lost cause and that we are fucked. I hope I’m wrong.

  11. Petty politics and doubts about the true nature of the enemy mar the effectiveness of the Watch, which is brimming with unsavory characters?many of whom are criminals. Some of them committed sex crimes. Sound familiar?

    The Night Watch is the Reason commentariat? Jesus Robby, I know you’re still sore about the Twitter blow up, but you don’t have to be that brutally honest.

  12. Your daily Rand-hate from the Republican Party’s house organ:
    Memo to Senator Paul: Just go away. Please. Now.

    He is sooooo toast in the Republican primaries. Get ready for Hillary in the general.

    1. The level of pundit scorn for one of the most serious and successful politicians of our day continues to astonish…Santorum

      Stop right there.

      1. Ladies and Gentlemen, the National Review. THIS is the voice of your Republican primary voters and caucusers.

    2. I see…so the Republicans left Iraq in a stable condition, with an army perfectly capable of fighting its country’s battles? So that they wouldn’t just turn and run at the first encounter with an enemy force?

      And of course the author doesn’t even mention that that the GOP hawks did, in fact, want to bomb ISIS’s enemy Assad, thus doing ISIS’s work.

      1. Iraq was about as stable as a house of cards when Bush left office, and even that is being generous.

        1. To be fair, we probably could have maintained some level of stability if we had kept troops in country. The cost would have been steep, but we could have kept a lid on things or at least prevented any insurgency from gaining the legitimacy that comes from controlling land. Get in and stay in, or get out and stay out. This hokey-pokey bullshit is a recipe for chaos.

          1. Maybe, maybe not. An insurgency was raging while we had troops there, and another certainly could have started. I agree that it’s unlikely that ISIS would have gained territory if there was still a U.S. presence, but we also would likely have been drawn into yet another serious engagement, with the accompanying cost and casualties. Even now, there is almost zero political support for that in the U.S., and there would be even less if we didn’t have the relative reprieve of the last few years.

            Paul critics fail to remember that almost everyone wanted us out of Iraq, and with good reason. We were wasting lives and money with very little, if any, tangible gains. Maybe we could have stayed and stymied ISIS and maybe that would have been a net positive in the long run (I’m skeptical, but maybe). But political support for the war, which was never super strong, collapsed. That isn’t the fault of Rand Paul, or even of Barrack Obama, it’s the fault of the Bush administration and it’s supporters that completely fucked up nearly every aspect of the war.

            1. completely fucked up nearly every aspect of the war

              You know as well as I do that Iraq was going to be a beacon of democracy for the rest of the Middle East until Obama screwed it up.

              /mission accomplished

  13. ” Sens. Lindsey Graham and John McCain are clearly the Janos Slynt and Alliser Thorne of the Senate; sniveling, unprincipled naysayers who challenge Jon Snow at every turn.”

    Alliser Thorne may be an incredible asshole and wrong about many things, but he is a competent and capable soldier (which is why Jon made him First Ranger). Principles you disagree with and think are wrong are still principles to the people who hold them.

  14. Grenn is dead, baby.

  15. You do know what happens to Jon at the end of the last book, right? Keep your wolf close Rand!


    Just remember what happens to Jon at the end of Dance with Dragons. Knifed by his own men Caesar style.

  17. Freakin’ nerds

  18. Jon, like Paul, also blurts out stuff in the most impolitic ways:

    “How did Mance Rayder die?”

    “I put an arrow through his heart.”

    Leaving out that the man was being put to death by Stannis by being burned at the stake.

  19. +winter is coming
    Robbo, I take back everything I ever said about you, not the stuff I typed though.

  20. When a sworn brother of the Night’s Watch dies, these words are recited at his funeral: “And now his watch is ended.”

    Unfortunately I suspect Paul’s presidential aspirations may be dead, so that may be an apt metaphor. The Republican establishment will make damn sure he doesn’t get the nomination now. Oh well, it may be just as well. This shows he can be effective in the senate, so it wouldn’t be the worst thing for him to stay there and continue being a thorn in the side of the McCains and Lindsey Grahams of the world.

  21. Sorry, Robby, this article goes an analogy too far.
    Several analogies too far, really.

    Let’s go for a little more substance next time, aye? We know you’re capable of much better than this. 😉

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