On March 6, Rand Paul stood up in front of the Senate for 12 hours and 52 minutes to block voting on the nomination of John Brennan as well as to call into question the drone policy of the Obama administration. Even to those like me who despise just about everything Rand Paul does as a matter of basic principle it was a king hell bastard of a move, one that I genuinely delighted in as I laughed to watch Obama and every Democrat who had prided themselves as anti-military squirm and fall silent as if they'd been decked into a wall for mouthing off to the wrong person. It was the most politically satisfying moment I'd felt since the start of 2010. Or at least it was until Rand Paul (unsurprisingly) outed himself as not being as anti-drone as he claimed during his 12-hour, 52-minute tirade.
Speaking on Fox Business Network on Tuesday, Rand Paul let tumble a phrase that perfectly encapsulates an article I wrote a few days after the filibuster: That he is as massive, disgusting a hypocrite as the rest of the Republican Party.
“I've never argued against any technology being used when you have an imminent threat, an active crime going on. If someone comes out of a liquor store with a weapon and fifty dollars in cash. I don't care if a drone kills him or a policeman kills him...If there is a killer on the loose in the neighborhood, I am not against drones being used to search them out, heat-seeking devices being used.”
Jesus, even when expecting it that is a horrible thing to read. It's certainly a far cry from when Rand told the Senate, “I will speak as long as it takes, until the alarm is sounded from coast to coast that our Constitution is important, that your rights to trial by jury are precious, that no American should be killed by a drone on American soil without first being charged with a crime, without first being found to be guilty by a court.” While Rand has always made an exception for disaster type scenarios, sending drones to kill someone robbing a liquor store? “Don't kill terrorists because sometimes innocent people die, but if you could gun down shoplifters that would be great”? Really? REALLY?!
Being at a loss for words isn’t something I’m used to. I mean, what do you call that? Applying the death penalty via drone on a US citizen for simple armed robbery? Overkill seems a blatantly stupid understatement, and that’s not even taking into account the gross hypocrisy of so abrupt a change on something he protested for 13 bloody hours. A month and a half is a little too soon to brush this off as an “evolving view” given the lengths Paul went to elaborate on how morally fucked the Obama administration's drone policy is.
To make things more hilarious (Or worse depending on your level of faith in Paul acting as anything less than the politician he is) Rand has released a statement in response to the backlash he has thus far faced. “Armed drones should not be used in normal crime situations. They only may only be considered in extraordinary, lethal situations where there is an ongoing, imminent threat. I described that scenario previously during my Senate filibuster.”
“... extraordinary, lethal situations where there is an ongoing, imminent threat...” An attempted dodge worthy of a career politician. Even after trying his damnedest to spin this to his favor you’d have to shut your entire brain off to not notice that Rand says nothing about whether the “ongoing imminent threat” is an American citizen or not. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is an American citizen and yet it sounds like Rand wouldn’t have lost any sleep over a drone dropping a bomb on Tsarnaev as he cowered in that boat. Whether Rand Paul likes it or not Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is an American citizen and thus entitled to the protections provided by the Constitution, and following Rand’s supposed line of thought from the filibuster that should render Tsarnaev and any other potential terrorists with American citizenship immune from having drones used against them. Unless, of course, if it’s politically advantageous to Rand.
As a final note, being proved right when I called Rand Paul a hypocrite has become the most satisfying political moment ever. Sweet creeping Jesus, I love being right.