Senator Rand Paul’s (R-KY) blockbuster filibuster of CIA Director John Brennan’s nomination sparked considerable friction by his fellow party member Senator John McCain (R-AZ) both on and off the Senate floor.
To try to discern why the senior Senator from Arizona lashed out at the McCain Mutiny, it is instructive to delve into a recent friendly interview that McCain had with radio talk show host Michael Medved. Medved was an early supporter of McCain’s Presidential race in the 2008 cycle and his center-right politics sync well with the maverick Senator's stances.
A major aspect of McCain’s P.R. campaign was to continue a hellfire drone attack against Senator Rand Paul’s attention-getting filibuster.
To his credit, Senator McCain fought hard for military issues and worried about isolationist tendencies of libertarian oriented Senator Paul.
What was revealing was Senator McCain’s evasive answer to Medved question about regretting the polarizing effect of the internecine intramural argument about the drone filibuster. Instead of calling a truce or even diplomatically claiming that these were frank exchanges of impassioned opinions, McCain continues on the offense.
“Maverick” charged that the cuts from in the sequester, that were favored by Tea Party types, will “devastate our military.” Of course, the leading force behind the “Gang of Fourteen” proved himself to be utterly ineffective to find smarter budget cuts that the Obama Administration and Congressional Democrats prior to the sequester.
When McCain was questioned about his dinner with Barack Obama, the Senator dished that he hoped that they could reach a Grand Bargain with the Obama Administration.
It seems that he is banking on McCain/Graham facilitated dinner party with Obama to begin backroom bipartisan banter to ameliorate the sequester cuts. So Rand Paul’s filibuster stole the spotlight from the bipartisan dinner show, it threatened the perception of McCain’s perception of Senatorial leadership and it alluded to foreign policy priorities that McCain considers anathematic.
Conversely, McCain played fast and loose with some aspects of the Constitution. McCain suggests that the drone program is alright but that it should be put under military auspices. Rand Paul’s filibuster was premised on evasive answers by Attorney General Holder about initiating a drone attack in America on Americans not engaged in imminent battle.
The weapons which drones carry are Hellfire missiles, which indiscriminately damage upon impact, which could take out innocent bystanders. So McCain is unconcerned about the lack of due process execution of a non-emergency, so long as it is run by the Pentagon which has more oversight. OK, so Posse Comitatus may not be a constitutional tenant, but it has kept the military from doing police actions in 1878, unless we are in a state of martial law.
On an ancillary note, CIA Director took his oath of office in a closed door ceremony. But the Obama Administration reveled that Brennan was sworn in not on a Bible but the original U.S. Constitution (without the Bill of Rights). Why that curiosity?
Maybe this can be a topic at the next Cocktail Party. Amuse bouche are often served with wine–considering the company, presumably it will be of French origin.
Post Scriptus 03/15/2013 While it took a week, Senator McCain walked back his Wacko Bird remarks. But a better question is will the conservative/libertarian base forgive "the clueless old man"?