Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) has announced his intent to join a planned filibuster against gun control legislation. The filibuster is led by Senators Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), and Ted Cruz (R-Texas). The announcement came along with a press release. In the blink of an eye the return of the filibuster that was heralded in by Paul has turned into the latest ploy to gain immediate media attention The fact that multiple senators are lining up in advance shows that this is nothing more than an audition for party leadership and a fund raising gimmick.
After Rand Paul’s 13 hour filibuster, where he demanded that Attorney General Eric Holder, acknowledge that America would not use a drone strike against an innocent American, he immediately sent out an email requesting money. The National Journal reported that Paul had met with a strategist 11 days before the filibuster. Rather than being a genuine organic and unexpected protest based on principle, it turns out the filibuster was nothing more than party politics.
Paul rode the wave of the filibuster right into CPAC. He was hailed as a hero to many across all political perspectives. Clearly he was earning valuable media credit and national recognition as a party leader. That said it is understandable why Rubio has to join the fray. But what is there left to say about gun control legislation and what is there to gain by filibustering ... other than political earned credit?
Technically a filibuster is any attempt to block or delay Senate action on a bill. It is a protest based on principle and is designed to raise awareness. It doesn't accomplish anything in terms of affecting change in Congress but it does generate news. It does more to raise the profile of the senators than it does to advance dialogue on a critical issue and it does provide a vehicle to raise campaign funds.
The four senators say they will filibuster against any bill that infringes on Second Amendment rights. But let’s be honest, they can’t talk forever. Nobody in Congress or on the street is going to change their mind because Rubio has joined Paul and Cruz. Eventually there will be a vote.