“Sen. Paul’s 13 hours on the Senate floor won’t have any practical effect on our policy and how we’re going after terrorists on a day-to-day basis,” a senior administration official told Yahoo News on condition of anonymity.
Or, rather, I can; I just can’t believe my luck. Look – and I’m going to break out the coveted ‘dumbass’ on this one, because it qualifies – look, dumbass: the administration’s biggest short-term problem with regard to drone policies isn’t Senator Paul; it’s the progressives who agree with him. Particularly the ones who think that they’re actually libertarians. They’re all sitting around right now kind of gritting their teeth about that, particularly since we evil knuckle-dragging conservatives and Republicans (including a larger than expected number of Dread Neocons*) are showing that we’ll happily sign off on giving the President a good kicking on general principles. We’re not going to make giant puppets any time soon, and we reserve the right to (as I think Jonah Goldberg put it once) every so often pick up an especially egregious bad actor nation and smack it against the wall – but not dropping a drone on a bunch of full-contact Occupiers while they’re at a barbecue? Yeah, sure, we’re down with that. Especially if the White House can’t even commit to something that basic.
So there’s no point in telling people Oh, yeah, Paul accomplished nothing with this filibuster. That’s tough guy talk; only problem is, the people that the White House wants to look tough in front of don’t want to hear that Rand Paul accomplished nothing with this filibuster. They want to hear about when Barack Obama’s closing Gitmo**. And the defense hawks? Sure, reassure us that this week’s heartwarming and deeply satisfying exercise in partisan fanservice will have no possible unfortunate side-effects whatsoever. That’ll stop us from encouraging the next one, ya, you betcha. And, of course, there’s also one last problem with that argument: if you feel like you have to make it, but you don’t want to put your name to it, then it’s probably not true in the first place.
You know, I’m going to indulge myself again.
**Spoiler warning: he isn’t.