MSNBC host Chris Hayes seemed to get a little more agitated than usual on Saturday in debating the effects of Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-KY) 13-hour filibuster against John Brennan’s appointment to lead the Central Intelligence Agency and the White House’s policy regarding use of unmanned drones.
“In the Olympics of disingenuousness, we have the gold, silver and bronze here,” Hayes said, before pointing out how other conservatives like Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), columnist Jennifer Rubin and radio host Laura Ingraham jumped on the bandwagon.
“I mean, give. Me. A. Buh. Reak,” Hayes told his panelists.
But Laura Murphy, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s (ACLU) Washington legislative office, defended Raul’s actions, saying every politician “grandstands” and pointing out that her organization has tried to get President Barack Obama’s administration to release its memos justifying the use of drones on American citizens for five years.
“If Rand Paul didn’t have that filibuster, we wouldn’t be here having this discussion,” Murphy said.
Kiron Skinner, a former foreign policy advisor to George W. Bush during his presidency, noted the fact that an ACLU leader was agreeing with Paul.
“I think it suggests that we’re going to see a different kind of coalition rising in the United States about issues of war and peace,” Skinner said. “You’ve got human rights activists who are asking some of the same questions that Rand Paul, in his best during the filibuster — if you take the grandstanding away — there were important philosophical issues that he was asking, and it opens up a public debate. Doesn’t matter who does it.”
While Paul’s filibuster should not be seen as a sign of a new, “dove-ish” Republican party, said Washington Examiner political columnist Tim Carney, it did change the terms of what he called “permissible dissent” within it.
“In 2002, 2003, as a conservative in good standing, I and my boss then, Bob Novak, opposed the Iraq war,” Carney said. “And it was a pretty tough thing to do. My boss got called ‘unpatriotic’ for doing it.”
But while Hayes said he supported the fact that the Obama administration needs to be more transparent regarding drone policy, and that even “opportunistic opposition” can be beneficial to the political process, he didn’t want people assigning too much meaning to Paul’s stand.
“Let’s not get ahead of ourselves about who controls the foreign policy apparatus of the Republican party, and the political establishment on both parties in Washington,” he exhorted the panel. “Which is still absolutely, 1000 percent hewing to the status quo. And let me just say: the thing you need to know about it is that Rand Paul voted for John Brennan after this whole thing.”
Watch Hayes and his panel’s debate on the filibuster and its aftermath, aired Saturday on MSNBC, below.