John Feehery: Speaking Engagements

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Of Drones and Men

Posted on March 8, 2013
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I always thought that Rand Paul’s first big-time filibuster would have been on a spending bill.

Instead he picked a non-existent drone program.

As far as I know, the American government has no plans to blast any American citizens on American soil with a drone, but I guess it is good to make that clear to anybody who might be concerned about that.

In most public polling that I have seen, most citizens are concerned about jobs and the economy.  Some are worried about debt and the size of government.   Some are worried about health care and some others are worried about immigration.

Nobody is worried about an American drone program vaporizing Americans on American soil.

But thanks to Rand Paul’s filibuster, I assume more Republicans will now be intensely worried about this non-existent program.

And I assume that those folks are the same folks who build bomb shelters and buy gold bullion.

If you had substituted black helicopters for drones, you would have a pretty good sense of the kind of people are really, really worried about the American government using drones to kill Americans on American soil.

There are three definitions of drone the noun in the dictionary.  One is a stingless bee.  Another definition is somebody who lives off the labors of others.  And the third is, of course, an unmanned aircraft.

It seems odd that an unmanned aircraft would be called the same thing that a stingless bee, because drones have a pretty nice sting to them.  It also seems odd that a drone would be called the same thing as somebody who lives off the labors of others, since a drone takes on the work of others (in this case, human beings).

Perhaps they named it a drone because of the sound of a drone sounds like a drone with a buzzing sound.

Not to say that Rand Paul was droning on, but his filibuster certainly created a buzz on the Internet, which gives you an idea of the kind of people who spend a lot of time on Twitter and Facebook.

I myself posted something  positive on my Facebook page about Paul’s  filibuster and garnered several  "likes" in the process.

I mean, how could anybody  be against somebody who wanted to make sure that the American government would not, under any circumstance, use a drone to kill an innocent American on American soil.

Sounds like a no-brainer to me.

But really, is this the kind of issue that you want to spend 13 hours of your time holding up the Senate floor for?

Don’t you think there are other issues out there that deserve more attention, maybe something to do with our spending problems or perhaps the fact that our schools are terrible or maybe the fact that we put more people in jail because of a failed war on drugs than any other country in the world.

Rand Paul picked the drone program because he knew he could get positive media attention from both the right wing blogosphere and the left wing Twitter world.  And, in all fairness, the President himself would have taken that same position had he been still in the Senate, as the Junior Senator from Kentucky pointed out.

So the fact that Paul was able to get so much media attention attacking a non-existent problem is pretty surreal.  The fact that he was attacked the next day by John McCain and Lindsey Graham for doing this filibuster was even more surreal.

Basically, McCain and Graham called Paul a dangerous isolationist who didn’t know the first thing about protecting this country.

Pretty rough stuff, but my guess is that some of Rand Paul’s supporters spend a lot of their time attacking McCain and Graham for their neo-conservative views so I guess turn-about is fair play.

My view fall somewhere in between of the two sides.

I don’t want us to blunder into another war without knowing exactly what the consequences will be and if we have the right intelligence to justify going in in the first place.  Iraq was a mess and we went in for reasons that turned out to be, well, fabricated.

But, I also don’t think we can retreat from the rest of the world because that ends up causing a lot more instability.  We need to carry a big stick; we just don’t have to use it all of the time.

On the whole drone thing, my biggest worry has to do with speeding tickets.  I don’t want a damn drone clocking me driving 75 in a 55, and then spitting a ticket at me from the sky.

I didn’t watch Paul-a-looza, so I didn’t catch if he talked about speeding tickets.  That would have been cool if he had.