-Kudos to Kentucky Senator Rand Paul who returned the upper chamber to days of yore. Paul held the senate floor for thirteen hours in opposition to the president’s nominee to head the CIA, John Brennan. Senator Paul has long questioned the use of drones to target American citizens. He wonders whether such power should be in one man’s hands without some form over oversight. John Brennan is considered the architect of the CIA’s drone program.
We are not a fan of Rand Paul or his libertarian line of thought. But we applaud his willingness to stand up for his principles in the manner in which the founders intended. Under today’s relaxed senate rules Senator Paul could have simply…and anonymously…placed a call to the senate floor that he objected to allowing Brennen’s confirmation to move to a vote. Instead he took to the podium and for almost thirteen hours made his case. He was assisted along the way by a bi-partisan group of senators who asked the senator long winded softball questions; all designed to give him a break. In the end it was the call of nature that forced Paul to yield the floor.
Paul knew that he could not stop Brennen’s appointment. That was not his intent. He simply wanted to make his voice heard regarding our rights as US citizens. He did it the right way; and we respect and applaud his effort.
-Kudos to President Obama. The president invited about a dozen key Republican senators to dinner at a local restaurant to discuss the important issues facing the country. The comments from those in attendance were positive. Apparently a wide range of issues were discussed in a congenial and substantive manner. All in attendance had the opportunity to express their views. The president personally picked up the tab. Evidently the president intends to have a similar dinner with key Democrat senators as well.
Apparently, the president has been reaching out to individual members of congress over the past few days. This is a very good thing. The president has long been criticized for his unwillingness to play the traditional back slapping game of Washington politics. But relationships matter. If you are going to strike deal with someone there has to be some measure of trust. The president needs to do more of this. He needs to be the adult in the room…reaching out to his opponents in a sincere effort to reach a deal.
We are not naïve enough to think that a few dinners are going to suddenly bring about a major change in the relationship between Democrats and Republicans. But perhaps they can begin to change the tenor and tone of the dialogue. For only after a civil exchange of ideas can a compromise be reached. This is what the voters want to see from their leaders.