Pat Buchanan

Third, it was evident that a genuine principle of Rand's philosophy was at stake. Finally, like his father Ron and Jimmy Stewart, Rand has a bumpkin quality that fairly drips honesty and sincerity.

Agree or disagree, it is hard not to like the guy.

But the play would have been incomplete without the foils.

Thursday morning, John McCain, fresh from putting on the feed bag with Barack at the Jefferson Hotel, where he exited flashing his thumbs-up on how wonderfully the dinner had gone, came to the floor to declare himself disgusted with Sen. Paul and to pronounce his filibuster "ridiculous."

McCain was followed by Lindsey Graham, who lectured the senators who stood by Paul that he did not recall them being exercised about drone strikes when George W. Bush was president.

McCain and Graham both seemed deliberately to miss the point.

Paul was not attacking the use of drones against enemies on a battlefield. He wanted to know if Obama now regarded America as a battlefield, and if he regarded U.S. citizens as possible enemy combatants who may be targeted and killed without due process of law.

Paul's victory was conceded when a letter arrived from Holder conceding that he and the president now agreed with Sen. Paul.

What Paul achieved in a half day of speaking from the Senate floor is astonishing. There is a new tent pole in the GOP that stands as tall as any of the rest.

McCain and Graham, who are routinely trotted out by Big Media to speak for the party -- can they any longer claim to do so?

Last week, they seemed isolated. And, on the weekend, House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy declared Paul's performance "fantastic," and backhanded the Republicans who attacked him.

Paul himself handled McCain's insults well. "I treat Sen. McCain with respect," he told Mike Huckabee. "I don't think I always get the same in return."

Henceforth, be the issue sending weapons to Syrian insurgents, or launching a war on Iran, the media will have to consult Sen. Paul, who can credibly claim to speak for a large segment of the GOP.

The hegemony of the neocons and the lockstep conformity of a vast a slice of the GOP that cost Reagan's party its primacy during the Bush wars, seems to be coming to an end.

Pat Buchanan

Pat Buchanan is a founding editor of The American Conservative magazine, and the author of many books including State of Emergency: The Third World Invasion and Conquest of America .
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