Political scientists are going to have a lot of egg on their faces when a single dinner party ends all this polarization.
– Matt Yglesias (@mattyglesias) March 6, 2013. I did LOL at that.
Yesterday, as I traveled the Pennsylvania mountainside, I listened to all the Rand Paul Filisbuster Aftermath, and I have to say, I contemplated driving myself off a mountain when I realized I agreed with Senators McCain and Graham in what they said in rebuking Paul. First, I must say that I enjoyed the filibuster if for the simple reason that it sparked a good debate on the Senate floor, it was basically theater, and it showed the country and these fucking cowardly traditionalists in the Senate how a good a talking filibuster, a real filibuster, can be. I hope Majority Leader Reid listens to his deputy, Dick Durbin, and revists filibuster reform today. Now. Make the talking filibuster the norm.
Now, back to McCain and Graham. Where I agreed with them was the riduculous notion that the President can just order a drone to fire a missle and kill an American on U.S. soil just because the President doesn’t like them. Conspiracy theorists on the far left and right share the black helicopter fantasy of a President empowered to kill any body and do anything they want. These nuts inspired Waco and the militia movement in the 90′s, it inspired 9/11 Truthers in the 2000′s and those who thought that Bush was going to suspend the Constitution and rule as an Emperor, and it inspires Paul and the Birthers today. It is ridiculous to start off with, and it was ridiculous that such a topic got such a lengthy airing on the Senate Floor. McCain rebuked Paul on precisely that point, and I liked it. And I especially liked Senator Graham’s question on the hypocrisy of his party. He stated the fact that the Drone program started off under President Bush and noted that not a single Republican was asking any questions then of the President.
The topic of setting restrictions on the use of drones in America and the world is an important topic. There are privacy issues and due process concerns with their use by local or state police, or by the press or for other private uses, so I get that point of the argument. But if your main concern that an omnipotent tyranical President is going to kill all citizens who disagree with him by using drones to shoot missiles into cafes, then you are fucking nuts and you have just debased an entire important discussion. That goes for those on the left or right who feel that way.
And let me say something else. I wholeheartedly endorse using drones on foreign enemy battlefields like Yemen, Pakistan or Afghanistan to kill terrorists. And if those terrorists happen to be American citizens engaged in treason and warfare against the United States, so be it. If a treasonous American is arrested in the U.S., fine, he is entitled to his due process rights. In foreign country, and especially on a foreign battlefield, nope.
Finally, this elevator ride yesterday must have been fun.