GOP Presidential candidate Senator Rand Paul, (Ky.), conducted a 20 minute filibuster on the Senate Floor and asked for donations of $20.16 from supporters on Twitter, according to ABC News on Thursday. In that tweet, Paul asked supporters to “stand with Rand” and to “send a message to the Washington machine” by donating to his campaign as he filibusters the budget deal worked out between the Obama Administration and Congress. That agreement was one of half-term former House Speaker John Boehner’s parting gifts to Congress as he “cleaned out the barn” and passed his tear-stained shovel to Paul Ryan, the new Speaker of the House. The agreement then made its way to the Senate just in time for Paul to try to make political capital from it.
During Wednesday’s GOP debate and amateur hour, (well two hours), Paul had promised to “stand firm” and filibuster the budget agreement on the Senate Floor and to use “every ounce of energy” to “stop the deal.” As it were, the so-called filibuster speech only lasted 20 minutes and then Paul exited the Senate Floor to whereabouts unknown to this observer, and perhaps to everyone else too. Perhaps he needed to take an energy drink since he had just used up “every ounce of energy” in his body during the 20 minute filibuster speech!
As it were, Paul’s filibuster was not a filibuster at all. The filibuster was set up as a vehicle for the minority party in the Senate to delay the vote on a bill and to extend the debate on it. The idea behind it is that the Senator who is filibustering the bill will tire out the other Senators and that one of them will “blink,” so to speak, and offer amendments to the bill that are more acceptable to the minority party.
Paul’s filibuster technically was not a filibuster at all because the time for the “cloture vote” had not even come yet. When a bill is presented on the Senate Floor, the Majority Leader, who currently is Mitch McConnell, must file a cloture petition right away. After the Majority Leader files the petition, two days must pass before the Senate can vote to end the debate. McConnell had just filed the cloture petition on Wednesday and it was too early to vote to end the debate when Paul performed his so-called filibuster on Thursday. A filibuster is an effort to delay the vote and extend the debate and is totally useless if waged during the two day waiting period on the cloture petition. The cloture petition was not due to be voted on until 1:00 a.m. on Friday.
But Rand Paul, who inherited his presidential ambitions from “Papa Paul” Ron Paul, did not let that stop him from capitalizing on the filibuster and bringing in very badly needed campaign dollars. Paul tweeted this to his “supporters” while he waged his marathon, 20 minute filibuster:
“#StandWithRand during his debt ceiling filibuster! Donate $20.16 to send a message to the Washington Machine.”
This observer is not sure which “Washington machine” that Paul is referring to in his tweet. Is he referring to the GOP leaders, Ryan and McConnell, in both houses of Congress? Is he referring to the Obama Administration? Or is he referring to anyone and everyone who does not let him have his way or vote the way he votes?
The answer seems to be at least partially that Paul is referring to anyone and everyone who votes in favor of the budget agreement to keep the government funded for the time being. Could he have been hoping for a government shutdown so that he could gain politically and go up in the polls?
Perish the thought, this is a GOP candidate that we are discussing here with such fine role models such as Tricky Dick (Richard Nixon, Watergate Scandal), Dennis Hastert (disgraced former House Speaker awaiting sentencing for “hush money” coverup), Spiro Agnew (disgraced Vice-President who took bribes), Warren Harding (an early twentieth century President who had a casino in the White House). And let’s not forget “Papa Paul” Ron Paul’s aide who was just convicted of bribing a GOP state legislator for an endorsement.
Nobody could go wrong with role models like this, right? Think again.