Yet the host of HBO’s “Real Time” and El Rushbo both thought Sen. Rand Paul’s drone-strike filibuster was boffo.
From the far left, Maher praised the junior senator from Kentucky for bringing the drone debate out in the open.
“He got us talking about it. … Why are we droning everybody?” asked Maher.
“Nobody in the Republican Party has dared take this president on,” gurgled Limbaugh. “You did last night, and you’re alive today to talk about it.”
Ignored by both comedians, various Fox News personalities, and even some mainstream media was Paul’s straw man. The senator wanted assurance that the president could not legally order drone attacks on Americans inside the U.S.
In other words, could Obama legally do something he would never do?
Attorney General Eric Holder thought Paul was asking a hypothetical legal question so he responded hypothetically. In some difficult to imagine, extreme circumstance, speculated Holder, absent any other options, it might be, possibly, maybe, legal.
Obama and his team have been played for naïve rubes before. This time, the A.G. unwittingly offered an honest answer to a dishonest question and Paul pounced.
It seems Paul wasn’t talking about Obama ordering a hit on a terrorist suspect/U.S. citizen sipping coffee on the patio of a Marietta Starbuck’s. Rather, the senator was pretending he’s worried Obama might take out those who politically oppose him with a Hellfire missile.
He should have just asked Holder if the president can legally murder American citizens.
Sen. Paul’s concerns apparently arise from the drone attack that killed American-born terrorist leader Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen in 2011.
“Don’t consult with anyone in fighting the Americans,” al-Awlaki ordered his followers in a video posted on the Internet. “Fighting the devil doesn’t require consultation or prayers or seeking divine guidance. They are the party of the devils.”
Nidal Malik Hasan, an al-Awlaki disciple, certainly got the message. He slaughtered 13 Americans and wounded 29 others at Fort Hood, Texas, in 2009.
Still, Paul seems to have a soft spot for al-Awlaki. If it could happen to poor Anwar, suggests Rand, it can happen to you.
And it could, if, like al-Awlaki, you were an al Qaida terrorist hiding out in Yemen where you knew American justice couldn’t touch you unless it came streaking down from the sky.
Still, Paul feels Obama violated al-Awlaki’s rights even though the president was actually protecting the lives of Americans when he eliminated the home-grown terrorist.
So Paul took to the senate floor for 13 mind-numbing hours. Holder finally sent him a letter saying, no, the president wasn’t authorized to kill Americans on U.S. soil. Within moments, Paul was before the cameras declaring victory for the little people.
A fed-up Sen. John McCain saw Paul’s silly straw man gambit for the self-serving publicity stunt it was.
It’s “ridiculous” to “allege or infer that the President of the United States is going to kill … somebody who disagrees with the policies,” snarled McCain.
The far right media, however, applauded Paul, proclaiming his duplicity instantly qualified the half-term senator for a presidential run in 2016.
“I think our party needs something new, fresh and different,” agreed a smirking Rand Paul, without a lick of self-irony.
Much of what passes for politics today, especially as practiced by unaccomplished tea party hacks like Paul, is stylized Kabuki theater with no anchor in reality. We, the audience, must suspend our disbelief while these buffoons perform their bizarre songs and dances that solve none of the real problems facing America.
Kevin Foley is a public relations executive, author and writer who lives in Kennesaw.