By 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.