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Rand Paul filibuster is music to many ears; senator raises profile for 2016
Question of the Day
Three days after Rand Paul’s 13-hour filibuster propelled the senator from Kentucky into the national political spotlight, Washington was still abuzz Sunday with pundits weighing implications for 2016 and Republicans debating whether to embrace the libertarian-leaning senator’s vigorous defense of due process.
The filibuster, over the question of whether drones could be used against American citizens on U.S. soil, temporarily stalled confirmation of John O. Brennan, President Obama’s pick to head the CIA.
Mr. McCarthy, the No. 3 Republican in the House, also pushed back at those in his own party who took shots at Mr. Paul — Sen. John McCain of Arizona called the filibuster “ridiculous” and Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina has spoken similarly.
“I think those Republicans who criticized him were wrong. And this is a place that I think the Democrats were wrong that a lot of them didn’t join with him. This was an American issue and an idea of civil liberties. I think that’s a core belief of Republicans, and if we embrace a little more of our libertarian views, we’ll go further.”
He followed up Sunday with an op-ed in The Washington Post that was headlined “My filibuster was just the beginning.”
In the piece, the tea party leader said, “I believe the support I received this past week shows that Americans are looking for someone to really stand up and fight for them. And I’m prepared to do just that.”
Comments like those and the reaction to the filibuster — at one point Mr. Paul was reported to be the No. 1 trending item in the world on Twitter — convinced many that the first-term senator is not just a contender but the current man to beat for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination.
On the Sunday news talk shows, Mr. Paul’s emergence as a legitimate contender for the presidential nomination had some Republicans excited about 2016.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich praised Mr. Paul and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, another tea party-backed senator who came to floor of the Senate and helped carry out the filibuster.
“Republicans need to get over sitting around passively waiting for their leadership. And to have a Ted Cruz, to have a Rand Paul, this is a very healthy ferment from the ground up,” the 2012 presidential-primary candidate said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who is said to be weighing a 2016 Republican White House run of his own, was more cautious in praising the filibuster.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
David Eldridge joined The Washington Times in 1999 and over the next seven years helped lead the paper’s coverage of regional politics and government, Sept. 11, and the sniper attacks of 2002. In 2006, he was named managing editor of the paper’s website. He came to The Times from the Telegraph in North Platte, Neb., where he served as executive ...
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