Rand Paul’s Fake ‘Filibuster’ Was Nothing More Than a Sad Political Con Job

rand-paul-senate-floorBy now you’ve probably heard Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) held a nearly 11-hour campaign fundraiser on the Senate floor a nearly 11 hour spectacle on the Senate floor yesterday that he continually called a “filibuster” – even though it wasn’t. Nothing Paul did Wednesday mattered at all when it comes to the Patriot Act itself, actual legislation to repeal it or anything to potentially stop it from being reauthorized.

Now, does a discussion need to be had about the Patriot Act? Absolutely. But Paul didn’t do anything during his nearly 11 hour speech to make a difference on whether or not that discussion happens. And the fact of the matter is, he doesn’t really care.

The truth is, this was nothing more than Paul using a stunt to try to raise money for his presidential campaign. On his Twitter account there were constant updates regarding his speech, encouraging people to text “Filibuster” to a number… so that his campaign would then have access to those phone records to push his campaign propaganda on them.

Because nothing screams “I’m against mass collections of personal data!” quite like tricking mass amounts of unsuspecting people into giving you their personal data.

But the part of this that annoyed me the most is how Paul kept referring to this stunt as a “filibuster.” Let me say it again, this was not a filibuster – it was just a speech that went on for nearly 11 hours. For him to call it a filibuster is a flat-out lie.

For what he did to be considered a true filibuster, he would have had to talk all night and through the scheduled vote on the Patriot Act. For something to be considered a “filibuster” it has to block or delay something – which Paul’s speech didn’t do. All it did was get him the attention he so desperately wanted.

People have to understand that he never intended for it to block the Patriot Act. This was nothing but an elaborate campaign ploy to raise money and gain some publicity pretending to oppose something that he never had any intention of blocking in the first place.

I could have told you when this all began that all he was going to do was talk for probably 10-12 hours then quit, which is exactly what happened. He basically gave up the moment most of the country had finally gone to bed. After all, with most Americans in bed and not giving him the attention he so desperately wanted, there was no longer a point for him to keep talking.

When it comes to the Patriot Act, it’s clear we need to have another discussion about it in this country. Because while I don’t think all aspects of it are bad, there are obviously parts of it that need to be reworked or completely eliminated. But when that discussion happens, it needs to be had by real adults looking for real solutions, not individuals like Paul who far too often act more like children rather than actual adults.

Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.


Facebook comments

  • Ambush_Bug

    Yeah!!! What a dishonest, craven politician Rand is!!! Honest politicians on the left would never cynically use the process for personal political gain and the ability to fundraise. How dare he stall the inevitable with a fake filibuster!

    • noah vail

      actually, “honest politicians” (sorry about the oxymoron) of either party would never do this…but, if you can find one of that most elusive of characters, i’ll kiss your ass in macy’s window

  • Kevin Stover

    This author is a dumb-ass…and wrote nothing better than a good troll could write. Look out…TROLL CROSSING

  • Freedom

    “Shortly after Paul’s speech ended, Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) moved to adjourn, meaning the Senate won’t be able to take a procedural vote on either a surveillance reform bill or a “clean” extension of the Patriot Act until at least Saturday.
    Under Senate rules, if Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell moves to end debate on either bills Thursday, senators must wait until at least Saturday to take a procedural vote.
    Then, if cloture is invoked, the Senate will have up to 30 additional hours of debate, putting a final vote on at least Sunday or Monday.”

    • Freedom

      Considering It expires Monday… and they wont work the holiday weekend, its going to Expire.

      • strayaway

        This was a totally shrewd move on the part of Paul and other bipartisan senators who spoke during his “filibuster”.

  • Ambush_Bug

    I am not a Republican, I have never voted for a Republican in my life, but in 2016 I likely will for the first time. The reason being that during the Obama administration the liberals sat on their hands and refused to speak out against the very things they claim to be against.
    We can’t afford to have another Democrat in the White House and have the left check out for another 8 years again, and honestly Hillary makes Obama look like a bleeding heart liberal on these issues.
    Way to completely fail, Democrat partisans.
    I stand with Rand and will gladly cast my vote for him.

    • tracey marie

      stop whining

  • rabidfox1

    just want to score political points, I see. just be divisive so a republican can’t gather support from any liberty minded people. Back when the Patriot Act was a bad thing, when Bush was president, you all would have welcomed attempts to stall, dismantle, and bring awareness to the general public about how awful it was. The Kochs donated $20 million to the ACLU at that time to try to defeat it. They are another target you “progressives” hate with incompetent and ignorant fervor. Now that Obama is in charge, “Go government!” right?

    • tracey marie

      shut up

      • rabidfox1

        facts getting too intense for you?

    • BobJThompson

      I do welcome any attempt kill the PATRIOT Act by any politician. Too bad the issue on the table was the TPP. You know NAFTA part 2.

      BTW the Kochs give money to just about everything. Not all of it political in nature. They (and all their billionaire buddies, D or R) have too much influence on the government. Just because they give to this or that cause doesn’t absolve them of trying to subvert democracy.

  • Joe

    I watched most of the filibuster. I liked seeing the bipartisan effort to end the Patriot Act, I just wish we had more senators that cared about the fourth amendment. I plan to vote for Rand Paul.

    • strayaway

      Senator Wyden (D) spoke out against the patriot Act during part of the “filibuster” that no one was claiming was technically a real filibuster. Russell Feingold (D) former WIsconsin Senator is trying to get his Senate seat back. His is also vocally against the Patriot Act. In fact, when he was a Senator, he was the only Senator to vote against the original Patriot Act legislation. Feingold even mentions it on his facebook page. Mr. Clifton will now have to write an article about the audacity of Russell Feingold trying to solicit campaign funding based on Feingold’s opposition to the Patriot Act and the TPP. Good for Feingold and Senators Paul, Wyden, Cruz, Blumenthal, Lee and others who are taking a stand to whittle this monstrosity down.

    • tracey marie

      There was no filibuster

    • BobJThompson

      The issue on the table was the TPP. Perhaps Senator Paul would like to weigh in on that important legislation also.

  • Brian

    You’re a bunch of fucking idiots, praising a theocratic oligarch.

  • We need more principled politicians like this ophthalmologist and his patriotic dad, Ron Paul.

    • tracey marie

      two racist who want Jim Crow laws reinstated

  • Dana

    This article is so flawed and biased it is sickening. Rand is the the best we have and he believes in what he says. Please don’t let collective bullshit lies sway you.

    • tracey marie

      Rand is a bircher and racist just like his father, he will never be President

  • Dwayne Hall

    Looks like filibuster worked too, the Patriot Act just failed in the Senate.

    • tracey marie

      There was no filibuster, the Ptriotic act bill was not up for vote. Like rafael he pretended to filibuster. Wendy Davis did show what a filibuster really is, she did not lean on a podium, she did not sit down, she did not have others helping her talk, she was alone and showed the men how it should be done.