The Republicans had better not squander the good will Sen. Rand Paul purchased for them in his filibuster over the Obama administration's potential use of armed drones to kill non-enemy combatants in America.
I am not simply referring to the constitutional issue of whether the president can engage in such acts, though that's very important. I believe the significance of Paul's filibuster transcends the drone issue. It was about challenging the administration's lawlessness and accountability across the board and his runaway spending and statism. It was about championing freedom, God-given rights and the Constitution.
Under questioning, Attorney General Eric Holder has simply refused to give a straight answer about these questions and acts as though the administration has a superior right to hold such matters close to the vest and as though Congress, let alone the American people, doesn't have a say in them or any right even to be apprised.
Paul's filibuster sparked an excitement and enthusiasm we haven't witnessed since the blue funk descended on conservative America after Obama's re-election. Twitter was on fire, and conservatives were positively energized.
I have sensed a general despondency among conservatives, born of their incredulity that voters could elect someone whose policies are so obviously damaging the country and who seems to continue to escape accountability for his actions. They have also been dispirited because they are skeptical -- to put it charitably -- that Republican officeholders are fighting for them.
But the Republicans' refusal to back down in the sequestration fight -- despite Obama's calculated, fraudulent predictions of apocalyptic consequences from sequester cuts -- has given conservatives some renewed sense that we're still in the game. Paul's 13-hour soliloquy has taken it, even if only temporarily, to a new level. Conservatives can see we still have elected representatives who are in this fight and are unwilling to stand still as Obama continues his quest to fundamentally change the nation into something the Founding Fathers wouldn't recognize.
No sooner had I decided on the lead paragraph of this column than I read that Sen. Lindsey Graham, one of a number of Republicans dining with President Obama while Paul was protesting his actions, had condemned Paul's filibuster. After having dinner with the entertainer in chief, Graham said, "This idea that we're going to use a drone to attack a citizen in a cafe in America is ridiculous."