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."
Well, Sen. Graham, how about the idea that the Senate is getting ready to confirm a nominee for CIA director who insists on turning a blind eye to the radical ideology of terrorists aimed at destroying the United States? Is that ridiculous, Sen. Graham?
In the meantime, Republicans must be united in their resolve to stand up to President Obama on the nations fiscal and solvency crisis. They need to build on, rather than undermine, the groundwork they established in the sequestration negotiations and with Sen. Paul's filibuster.
President Obama is nothing if not the consummate community organizer. He has specific (and alarming) goals in focus and is always strategizing. Sen. Graham et al. would do well to remember that.
Politico hints at what Obama has up his sleeve, and Graham and his cohorts seem to be playing right into his hands. It reports that Obama always knew Republicans wouldn't bend before the sequestration deadline but that he's confident they'll accede to more revenues in time -- in their pattern of caving, provided he keeps the pressure on.
One former Democratic strategist said Obama has always miscalculated where the power among Republicans lies and has approached those who aren't as weak-kneed as others. Well, perhaps Politico was prescient here in anticipating an Obama overture to Republicans who might bend at dinner.
No matter how many liberal commentators insist to Bill O'Reilly that Obama really supports specific spending cuts, the fact is that he has had four-plus years to take the lead or even follow the lead on this critical issue and he's refused.
Then-Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner revealed that the administration had no plans to reform entitlements in his congressional testimony. Obama's projected budgets have been consistently reckless. His actual deficits have all been immorally astronomical. He extracted tax increases and still refuses to play ball on spending. Neither he nor his Democratic Senate will even submit a budget, and he's even demanding more spending. His only budgetary interest is in further punishing the rich and further expanding entitlements. If he does succeed in extracting more revenues, it will reward his spending to date and just encourage him to spend more.
Any Republicans gullible enough to believe Obama's tall tale that he wants a "balanced approach" needs to wake up and join the reality community of those who are planting their feet in the ground to resist Obama's upcoming propaganda blitz to make them cave. Do not even think about capitulating. You will have enormous support if you fight -- and the response to Sen. Paul's filibuster is but a foreshadowing of what is to come if you hold firm.