Yesterday Senator Rand Paul awakened and rejuvenated the conservative/libertarian sector of the Republican Party with a surprize Senate filibuster in the traditional mode – a 12-plus hour, non-stop address on the use by the Federal government of drone attacks on U.S. citizens on American soil. Representing the shift in the GOP toward the young conservatives who have been elected in the last two cycles to Congress, Senator Paul’s filibuster created a sensation among young people of every political persuasion – his hash tag #StandWithRand trended first on Twitter worldwide for most of the night. Aided at first only by loyal friends such as Senator Mike Lee and Senator Ted Cruz, Rand Paul was joined later in the evening by a dozen or so other Republicans and two Democrats. A special moment during the filibuster occurred when Senator Mark Kirk walked down the steps of the Senate chamber on his own to present Senator Paul with a flask of hot tea and an apple – reminiscent of the classic movie Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.
Responses to the filibuster today varied from Fox commentator Charles Krauthammer’s, “It was a stroke of genius,” to old guard Senator John McCain’s, “The American People have nothing to fear from their government.”