For some reason, some conservatives have an innate ability to make outrageous leaps in reasoning and assume that they are actually truth. Take for example, the recent filibuster by Senator Rand Paul. Sen. Paul ran a passionate, pointless filibuster lasting over 12 hours. He did this in an attempt to get an answer to a question that he had not yet even posed to attorney general Eric Holder, Jr. He had drones against U.S. citizens on U.S. soil. Instead of reading the answer to the question as it was posed and comprehending the question and answer, he decided to give himself the spotlight and waste time waiting for the answer to a question he didn’t even ask.
The initial question was whether “the President has the power to authorize lethal force, such as a drone strike, against a U.S. citizen on U.S. soil, and without trial.” The extensive answer that he received to this question included the fact that this has never been done, and the government has no intentions of ever doing so. Attorney General Holder discussed the preference to use law enforcement authorities in this country as opposed to military power. He even called the hypothetical situation unlikely to occur. He did say that there could be an “extraordinary circumstance” imagined that would call for that kind of decision, but that this type of emergency situation would have to be examined before the President would be advised as to the scope of his authority. This is a very reasonable response to a very unlikely hypothetical situation.
For some reason, Sen. Paul made a leap from an extremely unlikely hypothetical threatening the homeland to a person sitting in a coffee shop sending an email. He asked a further question that was not included in the initial discussion. He asked, “Does the President have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on American soil?” He questioned whether a person sitting in a café drinking coffee and emailing a friend in the Middle East should be worried about a missile being dropped on his head. That’s an awfully big leap. To jump from Attorney General Holder’s mention of the attacks on Pearl Harbor and 9/11 to a person sitting in a café emailing a friend is a leap that astounds the mind. Even top conservative leaders such as Senators John McCain and Lindsay Graham recognize that this is an insane stretch of the imagination.
“To somehow allege or infer that the President of the United States is going to kill somebody like Jane Fonda, or somebody who disagrees with the policies, is a stretch of imagination which is, frankly, ridiculous.” – Sen. John McCain
“If Mr. Paul wants to be taken seriously he needs to do more than pull political stunts that fire up impressionable libertarian kids in their college dorms. He needs to know what he’s talking about.” – Sen. Lindsay Graham
Unfortunately, some conservatives fully agree with this monumental leap in logic and have even reproached Senator McCain. The group FreedomWorks issued a scolding demand for Senator McCain to issue an apology.
“Your criticism of Sen. Paul’s brave filibuster is shameful. No American statesman would support the assassination of an American without proper due process. The President can’t just suspend the Bill of Rights and the Constitution. Our founding fathers would not approve of President Obama’s unprecedented authority grab and neither should you.”
This group has taken another leap of logic. They took the situation of Senator McCain expressing the ridiculous nature of this filibuster and took it to mean that he supported “the assassination of an American without proper due process.” They even took a step further to say that he approves of “President Obama’s unprecedented authority grab.” It may just be me, but I don’t remember seeing any order from President Obama for drone strikes on U.S. soil. I do remember Attorney General Holder saying that there was no intention of ever doing this. Finally, let’s be honest…there was nothing brave about talking to an empty (or mostly empty) room.
It’s very obvious to anyone who isn’t completely buried in rhetoric that this filibuster wasn’t a heroic stand for anything. It was simply a publicity stunt. At least, I hope that’s what it was. If not, the implication that our legislators could leap out of reality and believe what they are saying is much scarier than the thought of a drone taking out a terrorist on U.S. soil. At least he got the answer he was looking for…no. God save us all from the Tea Party Republicans.