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It’s an iconic moment in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington: a young, earnest Jimmy Stewart filibusters for hours, to the point of physical collapse, in order to prevent the Senate from passing an utterly corrupt piece of legislation. Rand Paul took a page from this classic piece of Hollywood Americana and made it real. As the Washington Times reported:
After years in the shadows, the administration’s secret drone program burst into very public view Wednesday with lawmakers grilling the attorney general over legal justification for targeted killings and Sen. Rand Paul launching an old-style one-man filibuster to demand answers from President Obama.
The Kentucky Republican held the floor for hours, effectively blocking a vote on the nomination of John O. Brennan, whom Mr. Obama has tapped to be CIA director. He said he would relent only if the administration publicly vowed not to target Americans on U.S. soil.
As Paul’s filibuster picked up speed, private emails, tweets, and Facebook posts flooded Mr. Conservative’s airways. By the end of Paul’s epic 12 hour and 50 minute filibuster, which included reading from Alice in Wonderland, the verdict was in:
“History is being made. Are you watching?” — private email
“I stand with Rand. What a country!” — Facebook post
“Rand Paul is starting to look like an important figure in history.” — Facebook post
“Thank you, SenRandPaul for literally standing up for liberty!” — tweet from John Maniscalco @JohnRManiscalco
“Rand Paul. Stud. #StandWithRand” — tweet from Kurt Schlichter @KurtSchlichter
“Rand Paul schooled the Senate and the country tonight.” Laura Ingraham @IngrahamAngle
That sampling of just six highly approving statements comes from a pool of thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, of tweets and Facebook posts generated by delighted conservatives.
When Paul began his marathon run on the Senate floor, jaded politicians were unimpressed by what even Republicans viewed as a bit of political showboating. After three hours, though, Republicans realized that they’d better get on the train or get out of the way. One after another, they pledged their support to Paul as they made their way to the Senate floor.