When Debate is Taboo…

As we know, the Patriot Act provisions up for renewal passed a cloture vote for a four year extension 74-8. The Cato Institute’s Julian Sanchez on the Patriot Act’s extension:

Back in February, Democratic leader Harry Reid promised fellow senator Rand Paul that—after years of kicking the can down the road—there would be at least a week reserved for full and open debate over three controversial provisions of the Patriot Act slated to expire this weekend, with an opportunity to propose reforms and offer amendments to any reauthorization bill.  And since, as we know, politicians always keep their promises, we can look forward to a robust and enlightening discussion of how to modify the Patriot Act to better safeguard civil liberties without sacrificing our counterterror capabilities.

Ha! No, I’m joking, of course. Having already cut the legs out from under his own party’s reformers by making a deal with GOP leaders for a four-year extension without reform, Reid used some clever procedural maneuveringto circumvent Rand Paul’s pledged obstruction, slipping the Patriot extension into an unrelated small-business bill that’s privileged against filibusters. All this just to prevent any debate on amendments…

In an immediate sense, all that would push Reid to do something this slimy is political risk. That means heavy pressure from the Obama administration to renew these coveted, empowering provisions. Aside from that, it seems to be symptomatic of a culture in Congress that debate can only happen when (1) it’s about pandering and poisoning constituents with misleading rhetoric, and (2) when it doesn’t ruffle any feathers of entrenched interests or political leadership. In other words, true debate is the ultimate taboo.

Rand Paul was on CNN expressing frustration with this sort of culture of obedience, mob rule, and sluggishness when it came to the illegal war in Libya (via):

Senator Rand Paul: “We go week after week in the Senate and do nothing. I feel like sometimes I should return my check because I go up, they do no votes and no debate. Look at this horrendous debt crisis – we don’t debate that either.

Anderson Cooper: “Really, you feel like that? You feel like you’re not doing anything there?”

Paul: “Yes. I feel… Absolutely. We go up week to week and there’s no debate in Congress. No debate in the Senate. We sit idly by. Some weeks we vote on two-three non-controversial judges and we go back home. It, really…”

Cooper: “Why is that?”

Paul: “I’m trying to get a vote on Libya. They say they don’t have time. I was told, when I wanted to bring up my resolution on Libya – which I did force them to, but I had to kinda capture the floor…”

Cooper: “It got tabled like 90-10…”

Paul: “Yeah, and they weren’t too happy with me because I used some parliamentary procedures to gain access to the floor, and they came running down to the floor. They were apoplectic that I had taken over the floor, and the thing is is that we should be having these debates on the floor – they don’t want to have any debate. I’m asking right now to vote on Libya – I have a resolution saying we’re in violation of the War Powers Act. It’s hard for me to get the floor unless I somehow sneak on the floor when no one’s looking to try to get a vote. Why would we not want to debate great Constitutional questions? When I ran for office, that’s what I thought – there will be great and momentous debates on the floor. We don’t have any because they prevent the debates from ever even beginning.

One thought on “When Debate is Taboo…”

  1. Note to Senator Rand- Stay out of airplanes for the foreseeable future Senator. You're not working well or playing nice with the Imperial Senatorial Sycophants. There will be no debate on ANY of the truly serious issues facing the American people. Debate is not what the corporatocracy would allow.

  2. "In an immediate sense, all that would push Reid to do something this slimy is political risk."

    Or not. I hear he is currently …errr… "assuming position" for AIPAC and criticizing Obama about the Israel Border DIscussion flap. Maybe he has high political ambitions.

  3. The Patriot Act is manna from heaven for well connected individuals and corporations whose allegiance and loyalty not to the American people.

  4. I feel sorry for Rand Paul.

    The way he is treated and characterized by the power elite and the media is completely disgusting.

    What they are doing and saying about him is very disturbing.

    And if he ever does start to have success with what he is trying to do, I fear for his life.

    There can be no doubt that in this country we are ruled by criminal thugs.

  5. The Senate–the upper chamber of the Parliament of Whores–is f–kin' worthless. It's heedless of the Constitution, of civil liberties, of its constitutional prerogatives.

    Harry Reid is the quintessential career political hack. He's a vile, bought-and-paid-for piece of shit.

    Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken of Minnesota: I'm ashamed of both of you. You've never said a word against O-Bomb-a's wars, including his criminal intervention in Libya. You both support handing over the store to Israel. You both support the Constitution-trashing PATRIOT Act.

    Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky is fast becoming the only voice of law and sanity in the Senate. I'm sorry that he's not representing Minnesota.

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