Senator Paul’s 10 Hour NSA Filibuster
By Damien Darko
On 22 May 2015 Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) delivered a 10 hour filibuster on the Senate floor in protest of the increased use of NSA domestic surveillance programs and Patriot Act. This is coming at a time with the current version of the Post-9-11 Patriot Act is about to expire. Additionally, Rand Paul is currently a favorite around young educated libertarians and the increasing Tea Party movement. He is poised to make a 2016 Presidential run and this is one way he is using to gain traction on a very controversial topic.
This is not the first time that Rand Paul has conducted a major filibuster on the Senate Floor. The last time Paul protested through filibuster was his uneasy stance regarding the use of drones used domestically. Paul’s base have continually expected him to stay true to his libertarian stance that requires the government to decease presence in the everyday citizens’ life. He needs to show to this base that he will stay true to his values and not waiver due to political pressure.
Jeb Bush chimed in opposing the view to Senator Paul and stands more along the mainstream Republicans. Bush has stated his support for the current programs and supports any new version of the Patriot Act. The problem for Senator Paul is that he needs additional support from the other Republican candidates base in order to grow. He can’t just rely on his libertarian base to actual succeed in 2016. Marco Rubio ends to fall along the same lines of Jeb Bush with not trying to sound too pro-surveillance.
Senator Ted Cruz lends his support to Senator Paul regarding his stance on limiting the scope of domestic surveillance and increased oversight of the NSA. However, most of the mainstream base is drastically opposed to any extreme opinions that counter the party. The Cruz camp know that they will need to try and sway many of the Paul supporters in order to survive the primaries. This will ensure that he stays competitive as well.
In the end the Patriot Act or a version of it will be up for debate very soon. It is not certain how this will be received or the NSA increased domestic programs will develop going forward. In the end the filibuster did what Senator Paul wanted by getting exposure for the topic of domestic surveillance and continues to allow him to keep his image in the political spotlight. If you are in Paul’s Public Relation camp then you know this is a resounding success for his campaign publicity.