Friday, March 8, 2013

Who Is Lying Rand Paul or Jesse Benton?

WSJ reports:
Sen. Rand Paul (R., Ky.) said he didn't start his day with a plan to mount a filibuster, and hadn't even worn his most comfortable shoes to work.

But when opportunity knocked on Wednesday, the Kentucky Republican started talking and didn't stop until nearly 13 hours later, logging a historic, old-time Senate filibuster.
CNN reports:
The decision to take to the Senate floor with questions on drones was a last minute one, Sen. Rand Paul explained in an exclusive interview with CNN Thursday, detailing how he wasn't totally prepared to remain standing for thirteen hours straight.

"We had no plan and I had the wrong shoes on, my feet were hurting the whole day," Paul told CNN Chief Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash, adding that since the Senate leadership typically decides who speaks on the Senate floor, it's often difficult to begin a traditional filibuster.

"One of the reasons filibusters don't occur is because they carefully guard the floor from letting it happen. And it was left unguarded," he said.
But Jesse Benton, adviser to Mitch McConnell and who is married to one of Ron Paul's granddaughters, told National Journal:
Eleven days before he spent nearly 13 hours filibustering on the Senate floor, Sen. Rand Paul floated his idea to block the president’s pick for CIA director to one of Sen. Mitch McConnell’s top political strategists over a Saturday night dinner of lasagna and red wine at his home in Bowling Green, Ky.[...]After the dinner, Benton reached out to McConnell’s office, detailing Paul’s plans and his hopes for support. An important line of communications had been opened.
NJ goes on to report:
Paul had personally informed some Republican senators that he planned to mount the talking filibuster the day before over lunch, said Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., a member of the GOP leadership.[...]McConnell, meanwhile, put out the word to the conference that he was supportive of Paul’s efforts. 
So was it a spontaneous event, a display of reckless courage, a fight for liberty? Or was it planned more than a week in advance, with the stamp of approval of  GOP leadership?

Rand Paul needs to answer a very important question, who is lying, Rand, himself, or did Jesse invent out of thin air a dinner and the discussion?

And if Rand touched base with Republican Senate leader McConnell's camp more than a week in advance of the filibuster, who else did he touch base with? Was the neocon support for him as "spontaneous" as McConnell's?

Bottom line: The Rand Paul filibuster appears to be a brilliant, carefully planned operation. Not the spontaneous event that Rand suggests.

The big question remains, who suggested the idea to Rand? This filibuster was a master chess move. It was likely developed at very high levels. It struck at multiple chords at the same time.

1. It threw a bit of sand in the eyes of the administration over drones, without really causing any damage to the drone program itself.

As Will Grigg has pointed out, when necessary this administration, or a future administration, will interpret "combat" anyway it needs to, when it decides to use drones in the US.

Glenn Greenwald in a tweet this morning seemed to suggest the same thing:
Until we know how the OLC memos define "engaged in combat", Holder's letter to Paul tells us nothing meaningful
And, of course, drones still fly and attack on foreign soil.

2. It pushed to the side dead wood, e.g. John McCain and  Lindsey Graham. That's why they are furious with Rand. This is not about ideology (as witnessed by the massive support by neocons of Rand's filibuster). This is about who will grab the power and lead the Republican party.

3. It moved many in the libertarian, Ron Paul camp, who were before the filibuster suspicious of Rand, into vocal Rand supporters, despite the fact Rand did nothing of any value.

As I wrote yesterday, before I became aware of Jesse Benton spilling the beans:
 Folks, this kind of stuff doesn't happen by accident.
Rand likely reached out to neocons before the filibuster, just like he reached out to Republican leadership. That is, if it wasn't a top level neocon, who planted the idea with Rand in the first place. Like I said yesterday:
 Neocons are not out there with lanterns looking for honest and principled men. They are looking for men who will advance the neocon agenda. 
The early support of the filibuster by neocons from Jennifer Rubin to Charles Krauthammer reveals much.

And Republican leadership in general was behind Rand's move. Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, put out an early tweet in support of Rand:

Inline image 1

This all points to the fact that neocons and the establishment trust Rand, not a good thing. They obviously think they can mold him. Or do you think Rand is not going to take the call of the very sophisticated operator who planted the filibuster idea in Rand's head?

Here's a warning to libertarians who have been swept away by the excitement of the filibuster: That's exactly what it was designed to do. Forget the emotional high and think about what was really accomplished (nothing) and why the Republican establishment and the neocons are supporting Rand here. They have not suddenly become men of principle that are trying to think of a way Ron Paul can play a bigger role in the GOP, but it does appear they are thinking about that in relation to Rand. Not good, guys. Not good.


  1. he said he had plans to do it if the situation to do it became possible, he said he just didnt know when that would be, which day.

    so what if he told jesse benton he was planning a filibuster, does this mean there was some conspiracy going on? no.

    he also told the entire world in every interview he did for almost a month when asked that he would filibuster if he didnt get a direct answer from holder.

    he did what he said he was going to do, this is a good thing, he wasnt all talk like most other senators are.

    the fact that he discussed it with other senators is irrelevant.

    ron paul discussed his entire campaign for years with benton, does this mean that he was part of a big conspiracy with the mainstream GOP?

    if rand is able to get support from mainstream GOPers in order to eventually make some progress for us, then good for him.

  2. "You shall know the Truth, and the Truth shall set you free." John 8:32 - Wenzel isn't happy about this folks. Simply seeking the truth. The Truth is the only path to freedom.

  3. Rand said weeks before on Glenn Beck's show that he might filibuster. He said in a number of interviews after the filibuster that it was something he was thinking about. That's why he had binders full of articles about drone strikes.

    He didn't know when the vote would be or if he would be able to get the floor. He had an opening to get the floor and took it. Both his story and Benton are consistent with each other.

  4. Neither were lying. Look at the language quoted in the War Street: Rand "said he didn't start his day with a plan to mount a filibuster."

    Understand the careful language presented in order to leave wiggle room to give the perception of spontaneity.

    That wasn't his plan at the start of the day because he already had discussed it and cleared it days ago previously. His plan changed once he saw the opportunity.

    This is how the word game is played. Just like "an American not engaged in combat on American soil" at the same time provides comfort to those who only wish to look at the surface of words without understanding the ramifications of being terse and ambiguous.

  5. Rand is so in the establishment GOP that all the establishment GOP senators have been nonstop shit talking Rand, Cruz, and Lee since did the filibuster.

  6. I like your blog. But you are too desperate to insult Rand. You lower the integrity of your blog with these poorly planned posts.

    1. I think it was well-planned.

      Refute the points made.

  7. I like your blog. You are too desperate to insult Rand. You lower the integrity of EPJ with these poorly planned posts.

    1. I severely disagree with your perception. Bob is examining the course of events surrounding Rand's filibuster.

      Given that Rand Paul is looking for his father's supporters to support him, it is very important to show those differences to people who would consider Rand a "libertarian."

      Here is a very real example: A libertarian friend of mine sent me an e-mail when this was happening stating, "History in the making (Rand Paul takes over senate floor asking the White House not to execute Americans)."

      This is a very real perception based on what was occurring. This is the "seen" aspect. Bob is working very hard to uncover the "unseen" aspects that are glossed over but extremely important.

      In no way does this kind of investigation lower the integrity of EPJ. It does the opposite. It goes beyond the surface to give you the details that are frequently left out like what is normally done via the mainstream media.

      If you want pomp and propaganda, please continue to tune into CNN or Fox News.

    2. Rand is a wolf in sheep's clothing. It was very hard to see in the beginning. Bob Wenzel has made it much easier to see. Totally disagree with you.

  8. Since we don't have the libertarian rhetoric of a Reagan type sell out in the presidency, the GOP is putting forth "little Reagans" like Rand Paul. Just another attempt at more skillful deception, because libertarians generally have the wool pulled off their eyes.

    Bob Wenzel is right. They're trying to make us feel like Rand is accomplishing something. It's much ado about nothing. Fight for your localities, folks. D.C. needed to be heeled 20 years ago.

  9. Nooooo... why does every victory have to be fake! I was already troubled by Rand Paul's limited concern with only US citizens on US soil. Now, as Hornburger's article demonstrates, almost nothing was accomplished.

    The only success was the drawing of attention to this neglected issue. Rand declaring victory where there is none, as he did with the NDAA, sort of negates the progress he did make.

    Rand is looking more and more like an opportunist every day. He can't be this dumb. And you're right, the scumbag neocons wouldn't trust him if he was really achieving libertarian victories.

    Rand Paul, the next Ronald Reagan. Another fake libertarian. How disgusting.

  10. I am saddened at how so many libertarians are so excited about Rand's filibuster and are now in his corner. I see Rand as nothing more than jingling keys for libertarians, so they stop talking about foreign policy and the Fed. They might even cut some spending to excite us. Anything to distract thus, while the bombs keep dropping and the printing presses keep printing.

  11. Who is lying, you ask? Nobody. That is obvious to anyone who has been paying attention to what Rand has been saying in many interviews. He was looking for an opportunity to filibuster.

    Then you ask who suggested the idea to Rand. What makes you think it was suggested to him? Do you think he is incapable of thinking of it himself?

    You say at the end that nothing was accomplished. But you contradict yourself, because earlier in your post you called it a master chess move, and cited three things it accomplished.

    Bob, you are paranoid that true libertarians will be seduced by Rand. But any move in the direction of liberty, no matter how small, should be applauded. Libertarian utopia is not going to be achieved by moving away from liberty. The more of it we get, the more we will want.

  12. I don't see RP's statement's and Benton's as mutually exclusive. I agree he probably ran it by Benton et all beforehand, but I think you misunderstand parliamentary procedure. Rand could say "I plan on mounting a filibuster on 3/8/2012 but assuming that he can't get control of the floor, it won't happen. So the timing is necessarily imprecise because of the nature of the Senate's rules. So when Paul informed the other senators, I take it to mean he informed them of his intent, and not the exact timing, which is impossible to know. He could have just have easily have not gained control. So when he says he didn't plan that day to do it, he probably just wasn't sure that he'd get the opportunity to control the floor, and when it presented itself, he decided to go for it. My assumption as well is that Paul and Benton are personal friends, they're family members and he's Paul's former campaign manager, and whatever lines of communication that needed opening would have happened via text. They probably have dinner regularly anyway. As far as the futility of putting them on record about this, I think it's revealing that they took so long. However, you can interpret the language to mean whatever you want. The fact is that they said they didn't have the power to killed Americans on American soil without due process of law if they're not an imminent threat. If they do it and then try to claim they had the power all along, I think most reasonable people see through that. If they got away with it in a court of law, I wouldn't be surprised, as Rothbard points out, the elites always have a different set of rules for themselves. But this should be viewed as a victory for freedom because it puts them on the record about this, and even if you think that there's wiggle room, most people wouldn't see it that way. Besides, it reminds me of Aesop's fable about the Wolf trying to justify his eating of the lamb, in the end, the tyrant will always find his pretext for his tyranny.

  13. Below is more context from the interview with Dana Bash that was quoted by CNN. Rand is rather vague and admits that he had discussed the idea of a filibuster with *someone* prior to the day it occurred ("We had thought about if this issue is important enough that we would like to do it sometime..."), but he seems to imply that it was just his staffers, and he certainly doesn't mention Benton, McConnell, or any other Senators. It appears that, according to Rand, the "spontaneous" aspect was just that he didn't know if he'd get the chance to do it that particular day (or ever), but he did, so he went for it.

    BASH: And you snuck up on both leaders, right? Is that fair to say? Did they know you were going to do this?

    PAUL: No. In fact we didn't know we were going to do it that day. We had gotten a lot of information because it's an issue we're really interested in that we think it should be easy for the president to say, you know what, Americans not engaged in combat in America cannot be targeted for killing.

    BASH: And again I'll get to the substance in one second, but one of the things that was so fascinating was how organic it was and how it took on a life of its own. I'm not even sure if you realized that because you were there. On the internet. I was watching it for the first two, three hours. You were alone. And then suddenly you had some of your more conservative compatriots like Ted Cruz and Mike Lee come and then by midnight, you had a lot of people there. There was a hash tag "stand with Rand" and more and more people were tweeting, even the RNC chair, get down there and help him. Were you surprised?

    PAUL: It is sort of a fascinating phenomenon. And when you're on the floor, you're not allowed to use electronics and I also didn't have time because I had to keep talking. If you stop for more than a minute, they can say you no longer speaking, you don't hold the floor. So you have to keep going. I didn't have time to look at my phone which you're not supposed to do anyway.

    But then when Senator Cruz came to the floor and started reading those tweets, I got a feeling that maybe this was bigger than -- all we knew is we believed in an issue, we wanted to talk about it, and that it's important that the president realize that he's restrained by the constitution, also. So we got talking about something we were interested in and you never know whether people are watching or not, but you want the issue to be big because we want the president to respond. And what we're hearing from the White House this morning is they may respond to my question. And if they do, we're willing to let the Brennan nomination to go forward.


    BASH: But, did you go -- when you went in at 11:47 a.m., did you say I'm going to be here until after midnight? What was your plan?

    PAUL: No. As I drove up in the morning, I was with a staff member and I said if we have a chance, why don't we maybe try to capture the floor to make our point. We had no plan and I had the wrong shoes on, my feet were hurting the whole day. And we really didn't plan it out. We had thought about if this issue is important enough that we would like to do it sometime, but the floor is controlled by the leadership and not often left open where someone can sort of capture the floor and begin to speak. So one of the reasons filibusters don't occur is because they carefully guard the floor from letting it happen. And it was left unguarded, and so I decided to speak.

    * * * *

    Full transcript source...
    Part 1:
    Part 2: (same url, just replace cnr.05 with cnr.06)

    The video is also on YouTube

  14. Why can't it be both? Maybe he has been wanting to filibuster for a while, but knew that there was a chance it might not happen because the Dem's control the floor. Maybe he had no plan to do it that day, per se, but saw his opportunity to do what he knew he wanted to do.

  15. I have to back track here a bit. I felt it did do some good to get the issue of drone warfare out for discussion, but Rand's acceptance of Holder's letter and Rand's proclamation of "victory" negates any value he added. Now the issue must be pressed by others, more principled people.

  16. There is no possible way that all of the substantive things Rand Paul spoke during his filibuster were spontaneous. This is why so many people from all sides are literally orgasmic over the topics he covered.

    This was planned and scripted for maximum effect, period.

  17. Why is it important that this was planned or "spontaneous"?

  18. Surprising Mr. Wenzel can not distinguish a plan from the execution of the plan. How do you get through a day? Of course Mr Benton wants to present his boss, Mr. McConnell, as aware of the activities of one of his caucus; that is more like what leaders do. No lying, simply the way politicians spin the politics into theater.