WASHINGTON -- When Senator Rand Paul took to the floor of the United States Senate the morning of March 6 he really -- as they say -- may have made a difference. It is a difference in our awareness of the issues facing the country. It is a difference in our perception of the man who is leading the country, President Barack Obama. It might even have been a difference in the direction the country will go. Will it continue on its melancholy path toward statism or will it follow the course of freedom as laid out by the Founding Fathers?
Senator Paul rose ostensibly "to begin to filibuster John Brennan's nomination for the CIA." Yet he aimed higher. As he explained it in the Washington Post on March 10, "I wanted to sound an alarm bell from coast to coast. I wanted everybody to know that our Constitution is precious, and that no American should be killed by a drone without first being charged with a crime. As Americans, we have fought long and hard for the Bill of Rights. The idea that no person shall be held without due process, and that no person shall be held for a capital offense without being indicted, is a founding American principle and a basic right." Thus he filibustered for 13 hours, and his views redounded around the Internet, on Tweeter, on Facebook. Everywhere!
Senator Paul is a tea party senator. He does not tailor his message to the pollsters' wise counsel. His staff does not include handlers with political antennas. Frankly, I doubt there was much advance notice to his filibuster. He just went out and did what he thought was called for by events, and the result was astounding. Millions of people, many who had never thought much about drones and due process, listened and took his side. My guess is that this moment is going to last. Senator Paul has come into his own, and what I know about him suggests that he will be a major figure in the Republican Party for years to come. He has his mind on the issues that matter.