Posted by Brad @ 4:12 pm on March 7th 2013

13 Hours For One Word

Dear Senator Paul: It has come to my attention that you have now asked an additional question: “Does the President have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on American soil?” The answer to that question is no.

Sincerely, Eric H. Holder, Jr.

That’s Eric Holder’s 43 word answer (well, one, really) to Rand Paul’s fundamental question. It is also the first time that an administration official has ever gone on record giving that answer, sans outs. And on record he is. Jay Carney, in today’s briefing, gave the same answer, on behalf of the President.

Paul will drop his opposition to Brennan, saying “I’m quite happy with the answer and I’m disappointed it took a month and a half and a root canal to get it.”

For all the possible squishiness that may arise, understanding this is not a legal precedent or regulation, and so on and so forth, let it be recorded that it was Republican Senator Rand Paul, of all people – an ophthalmologist from Bowling Green, Kentucky and son of a man often described as one of the fringiest House reps to ever serve in that body – and Senator Paul’s almost nostalgic use of legislative protest and using his small bully pulpit to draw attention in the court of public opinion, who was able to secure that “no” where the ACLU, the United States Congress, courts, a myriad of civil rights lawyers and journalists, and beyond, could not. And he did it with no real partisan or political backing, not as a response to any constituency, spear-heading a micro-movement that didn’t even really exist until he took the floor – which is how we used to understand leadership.

And, in securing that “no”, may even have helped, in a very real way, spur our government to foreclose on the possibility, where they had been inclined to leave it open. And it also represents, for the first time that I can recall since 911, a very practical civil liberties discussion ending in an outcome that presumably limits, rather than expands, government authority.

In the grand scheme of things this may be a small victory. But it is a victory. And it is an important one.

Thank you, Senator Paul.


  1. It is a small victory and Paul should be congratulated for not falling too far from the tree. I put it this way because a few weeks ago he was telling the Zionists he had no problem with their settlement building. I guess he believes you gotta appeal to those dispensationalist Ky briars whose eschatology isn’t much more sophisticated than a Jack Chick cartoon.

    Comment by truthteller — 3/7/2013 @ 5:14 pm

  2. C’mon man. Do we have to relate everything to the Jews?

    Comment by Brad — 3/7/2013 @ 5:56 pm

  3. While I get the evangelical pre-millenial dispensationalist association with Israel’s role in the post Rapture era, I seriously doubt that but a small minority of evangelicals give a fuck enough about that literalist interpretation of Revelation to make that their primary motivatin for being pro-Israel.

    Comment by Jack — 3/7/2013 @ 7:34 pm

  4. Let it also be recorded.

    Comment by Brad — 3/7/2013 @ 10:54 pm

  5. I guess they are pro-Israel because they have noted American Jews who love Israel are otherwise as a demographic so conservative, say on abortion.

    Comment by truthteller — 3/8/2013 @ 7:05 pm

  6. wtf?

    Comment by Brad — 3/8/2013 @ 7:14 pm

  7. There are any number of reasons other than arcane Darbyist readings of prophecy. They believe it reasonable to have one Jewish country in the world, they think it reasonable compensation for the Holocaust, the little nation surrounded by those that would destroy them narrative resonates with them, because they perceive Israelis to be more like us than the Arabs, because the are a mostly Westernized and democratic, because Reagan supported them, because of the Cold War, because of any number of factors that don;t rely on your preferred narrow single reason assumptions.

    Comment by Jack — 3/8/2013 @ 7:18 pm

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