The genius of Rand Paul’s effort was similar to the partial-birth abortion fight — it focused on a narrow, rare circumstance so outlandish that supporting it marks you as a kook. That only works, of course, if your opponents stick to their outlandish position — that, for instance, it’s okay to deliver a full-term baby backwards, then crack its skull open and vacuum out its brain. The administration walked right into this problem when Eric Holder repeatedly refused to say the president was prohibited by the Constitution from assassinating Americans in the United States when there was no attack imminent. Unlike the partial-birth abortion issue, the White House has finally conceded the point, but the political damage to Obama has been done.
And the filibuster’s energizing and uniting effect for conservatives and libertarians is also a fact. People who Stand with Rand will disagree — among themselves and even with the senator — about many of the specifics of our policy on drones. I, for one, think Awlaki had it coming and if there’s any more like him hiding in Yemen or elsewhere, kill them too. But the Senate, or part of it at least, has finally stood up and said there really is a limit to a president’s power — that we’re still a republic, not a principate.
Now if only the Congress would assert itself against unconstitutional usurpations of its authority with regard to immigration.