Rand Paul

Breaking Down Iowa: Your Guide to Tonight’s Presidential Caucuses

 

This is it folks. Today marks the kickoff of the glorious political playoffs that come around every four years, and I’m nerding out in a big way. But it’s not just because the primaries are starting; it’s because today’s results have so many important and fascinating dynamics that it’s impossible not to geek out over. Let’s break it down.

Setting the Scene

For starters, the political process unfolding in Iowa is distinctive. Iowans aren’t going to be filing in and out of polling stations across the state all day. Instead, declared party members will gather in precincts across Iowa at 7PM CST and talk about the candidates. Once supporters have made the case for their candidate of choice, participants will separate into groups based on which candidate they back. If one of the candidates fails to garner support from at least 15% of the participants, those who supported them will re-sort themselves into the other candidates’ groups. Once the dust settles, those caucusing will elect delegates to represent their selections. Those numbers are then tallied, and we get the results of the Iowa caucuses.

Caucus

Obviously, the main result we’re waiting for is who wins, but winning Iowa doesn’t guarantee a damn thing. Remember when Santorum won in 2012? Or Huckabee in 2008? Remember that time in 1992 when Bill Clinton only garnered 3% of the vote in Iowa? Today’s results will not be a crystal ball telling us who’s going to be crowned at the conventions this summer, nor who will be inaugurated next January. Don’t fool yourself into thinking they will.

But when you look at who wins, and by how much, and by whom, and relative to whom, Iowa matters in so many ways. The best way to understand this is by looking and what’s happening with each party.

State of the Republican Field

The GOP and Iowa are in an interesting position right now. With so many players vying for votes, many of the traditional election dynamics seen in past cycles are out the window. There’s more than one way to win and more than one way to lose this year.

The first person to look at is Trump. He’s held the lead for weeks and leads heavily among those who would be first time caucus goers. A win is expected, with Nate Silver saying he’s got a 46% chance of coming out on top — significant odds given the number of candidates competing.

Trump and Falwell

Right behind him is Cruz, who has tried desperately to paint himself as the religious, far right candidate of choice for Republicans in this cycle. That narrative took a hit when Jerry Falwell Jr. and Sarah Palin endorsed Trump, but Cruz has taken that disappointment and pumped it into an aggressive ground game. Though he trails behind prior Iowa champs Santorum and Huckabee in the number of events he’s done in the state, today he will be completing what’s known as the “Full Grassley” — an attempt to get up close and personal with voters in all 99 Iowa counties.

Senator Cruz and Senator Grassley

Cruz and Trump are within five points of each other, with Marco Rubio coming in ten points behind Cruz in the latest poll by the Des Moines Register — often regarded as a solid predictor of the caucuses’ outcome. Carson trails with only 10% and Rand Paul rounds out the top five with a mere 5%.  Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Carly Fiorina, Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum and John Kasich are all floundering below in single digits.

What happens if these polls accurately reflect the outcome at the end of the night? The answer is different for each side of the spectrum.

Though a huge loss in Iowa might have prompted candidates to drop out in past election cycles, those at the bottom of the list now are unlikely to do so. With so many candidates duking it out and money flying around wildly as influencers try to place their bets in what’s proven to be a very volatile electoral season, there’s just not a big incentive to pull out.

This is particularly true for five candidates. Santorum and Huckabee are well known for staying in races far past their expiration date. Paul is hoping that his ground game with younger voters will surprise people in a fashion similar to the Sanders surge. Kasich is hoping that all the candidates trying to out-conservative each other will leave him as the last reasonable (hah!) man standing. Bush has a war chest so big and backers with pockets so deep that Iowa won’t be enough to push him out.

In other words, a lot of the candidates are thinking that in a campaign this wild and unruly, you might as well stick around and see what happens. There are three candidates, however, who might consider dropping out if they crash in Iowa.

The first is Fiorina. Despite surging in popularity during early Republican debates, she has since plummeted in the polls to the point of near obscurity. If she’s really the shrewd business woman she says she is, she has to know the writing’s on the wall, especially if Iowa goes the way it’s looking like it will.

The second is Christie. He’s doing better than Fiorina in most polls, and has shown up in a big way in recent GOP debates, but no matter how many shining moments he accumulates, he can’t seem to pull ahead. Though his stated policies are extreme, his record is at least somewhat pragmatic. He makes decisions that make sense for his own survival. A poor showing in Iowa may cause those survival instincts to kick in, making him realize it’s time to bow out.

The last is Carson. Yes, he’s polling in the top 5 right now, but that doesn’t mean a whole lot. His fundraising momentum is dwindling. The supporters that do back him aren’t what you’d call enthusiastic. He’s had a rough couple months, being criticized by his own advisers for being clueless about foreign policy and faced a staff exodus in December. If he gets beaten by margins even wider than what the current polls show, he could be done for.

Speaking of margins, when you look at the top of the spectrum, that’s what may matter most. While Trump is predicted to win, the amount by which he wins could play a substantial role in the money given to Rubio or Cruz in the coming weeks and months. It could also significantly influence who gets endorsed by candidates exiting the field. Those margins will send a message, however flimsy the backing may be, about who is best positioned to beat Trump — one of the driving concerns of establishment Republicans. At this point, they’re just hoping it’s not Cruz. Rubio seems to be the trending pick, quite the upset for the prior heir apparent, Bush. Tonight will decide if that trend continues.

rubio

In interviews today, Rubio has come off as quietly stoic, as though he’s not expecting to win, and that’s probably pretty fair. Cruz, on the other hand, is fighting hard, and if his efforts are successful, he may deal one helluva blow to Trump. Though Trump has been really good at drumming up excitement, one of the concerns has been that he doesn’t understand the ground game or the mechanics of a solid campaign. If Cruz wins, it will be because he knows how to play and played well, which would add steam to the narrative that Trump is a caricature and not a candidate. In the end, this is about turnout for both Trump and Cruz, with the central question being what works better: hype or hoofing?

Turnout in general will be interesting to watch for Republicans, who have historically turned out in smaller numbers than Democrats to caucus in Iowa. The heat associated with this electoral season could bring out many more voters to caucus than ever before, which could have larger implications for the general election, where turnout will likely be a deciding factor in which party gets the presidency.

Even more interesting will be the demographics of those voters and the ways in which they align. The party is frequently seen as being what Rand Paul has referred to as, “lily white.” Will more minorities show up? What will the age split be? Who will these different segments of the population support? The answers to these questions may be extrapolated to implicate the size and scope of the base for upcoming primaries and the general, and shift electability conversations surrounding the candidates that stay in the game.

Perhaps the most important demographic for the GOP at this moment is the Religious Right. The conservative faithful have been a force to be reckoned with since the days of segregation, and in the past, they’ve backed the most religious candidates in the field; Santorum and Huckabee’s wins, for instance, are largely credited to the evangelical pull in Iowa. But in this election, Trump — despite having a religious message that can be described as discombobulated at best — is polling very well with religious conservatives. If they back him as substantially as the polls indicate, this may be a wake-up call for campaigns like Cruz’s who have been banging the Bible in hopes of waking voters.

State of the Democratic Field

The Democratic field, on the surface, may seem downright dull in comparison to the circus unfolding on the right. But it might be more accurate to say that the competition is more about depth than breadth. There are technically three candidates in the ring, but O’Malley is so, so, so far out of the realm of possibilities that I’m not even going to go there.

The Des Moines Register poll speaks to a two horse race between Clinton and Sanders, with Clinton holding a 3% lead over Sanders. Other polls, like the Quinnipiac poll, have Sanders in the lead, but there’s one thing that’s consistent across all of the polls: Sanders and Clinton are within the margin of error of each other. That’s how close this thing is.

On paper, the two candidates don’t have a lot of differences. Indeed, it’s unlikely that concrete issues will determine how the vote swings this evening. Instead, it’s likely to be sentiment regarding which candidate can be trusted to get things done.

Clinton may seem to have the advantage here. She fought ferociously on health care as First Lady, served in the Senate, and though she lost her presidential bid in 2008 to Barack Obama, she did end up as Secretary of State. It’s an accomplished resume, to be sure. Speaking last night in Iowa, her passion was the highest we’ve seen from her on the campaign trail yet.

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The Sanders resume isn’t light either, though. He was a civil rights activist in his youth, marching with Martin Luther King Jr. and actually getting arrested in Chicago for opposing segregation. He served as Mayor of Burlington from 1981 to 1989, then in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1991 to 2007, and then headed to the Senate in 2007 where he’s been ever since.

Though the Clinton campaign has insisted experience is the central question in the election, that’s really not the case in fact or sentiment. What it comes down to are the impressions generated by their experience.

Clinton is dogged with questions regarding her trustworthiness. Most Democrats roll their eyes at the theatrics of the Benghazi investigations, but the subsequent email scandal may have teeth, not necessarily because she used a personal email address, but because she may have been giving favor to influencers who contributed to the Clinton Foundation. Others feel uneasy about her ties to Wall Street and the Washington elite. Still others have a bad taste in their mouth from her husband’s tenure; one of the more slimy comments passed around is that she stayed with her husband out of political convenience.

Sanders, on the other hand, is often derided for being too extreme. A self-proclaimed Democratic Socialist, he is aggressively progressive, and has often alienated potential allies by being a vocal critic of both parties. His campaign has him looking a lot like Howard Beale in Network, with his supporters hanging out their social media windows to yell, “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!”

Sanders

The Clinton campaign has seized on this trend, saying this election comes down to evolution or revolution. Brass tacks? Clinton contends that a more centrist approach of building upon the successes we’ve already won is the only path forward in such a polarized political environment. Sanders argues that while those successes have been positive, they form an unsteady foundation, and the challenges we face today require a far bolder approach than the one Clinton is willing to embrace.

Sanders says he can change things, Hillary says he can’t. But that’s why Iowa matters so very much for the Democrats. The turnout demographics will help answer who’s right on this question.

While Sanders and Clinton are neck and neck among Democrats in general, Sanders is miles ahead among Millennial voters. Most recent Millennial polling with Reuters shows a gap that’s swung from a virtual tie at the beginning of 2016 to Sanders dominating Clinton at the end of January.

Millennial lead

Convention electoral wisdom would indicate this doesn’t matter, because younger voters tend not to vote, especially not in primaries and particularly not in a caucus setting. This assumption would appear to be validated by polls conducted in the past couple of years showing how “apathetic” Millennials are.

The Sanders campaign is premised on the the idea that it’s more complicated than all that. It’s not that Millennials don’t care about the issues; indeed, their social behavior demonstrates intense concern about issues like LGBT rights, abortion, healthcare, and the economy. The problem has been that there hasn’t been a candidate who they felt adequately reflected their values, so they haven’t been very excited about the political process. Sanders, with his intensely progressive campaign, is aiming to change that, and betting that if they can get Millennials to vote, they can help usher in a more progressive Congress to advance his more progressive agenda.

IF Millennials show up tonight in Iowa to give Sanders the win, it says a lot about what’s coming down the pike. It would demonstrate that Millennials are more engaged than conventional political wisdom would suggest, which weighs heavily in Sanders’ favor, not only in terms of primary results, but in terms of drumming up support among more establishment Democrats. It sends them the message that they don’t need to run from progressive ideals to win. Plus, if he can bring out Millennials, he’s not only suddenly electable; he also has the ability to bring some serious heat for down ticket election Democrats. To be fair, if Millennials show up in lower numbers but Sanders still wins, the news is less likely to spark that revolution he’s hoping for, but it will still speak to his competitiveness. Tonight is incredibly important for Sanders.

In either case, Clinton can’t afford to lose. Her trajectory up to now is already mirroring what happened in 2008. For her to be beat by another upstart of sorts right out of the gates despite the massive power of the Clinton machine behind her would be devastating, especially since it appears that New Hampshire is already out of reach for her. If Millennials pour in and show Sanders love, it would echo something made clear in Clinton’s loss to Obama: she’s not great at youth outreach, and never has been. It’s almost worse if Millennials don’t show up and she loses, though, because that shows she doesn’t even have a firm grip on a base that many assumed would be handing her a coronation.

And here’s the other thing: even if Clinton wins, she may still lose. If the margin of victory is as small as it’s likely to be if she wins, it’s still an embarrassment. She’s got better infrastructure and bottomless pockets behind her, and somehow the political equivalent of an old man yelling at people to get off of his financial lawn is within striking distance of her? The optics aren’t great. The best case scenario would be her coming away with a decisive win, but that’s incredibly unlikely, so she’s got to hope she at least eeks it out. If she can do that, slim the gap between her and Sanders in New Hampshire, and capture the minority vote in Nevada and South Carolina, she may just come out on top.

But taking a step back here, let’s be fair. While momentum out of Iowa could certainly change things, Sanders still faces an uphill battle. A victory would counter the narrative that he’s unelectable or would cost the Democrats if nominated, but Clinton still has a lot of support and is widely seen as the most likely nominee. For him to get the nomination, the reaction to Iowa has to be substantial.

The Third Party Voter: Weather

To caucus in Iowa, you have to declare a party, but Mother Nature doesn’t play by the rules. Snow is in the forecast for this evening, and though most think it shouldn’t hit until after the caucuses have wrapped up, fear of a storm may keep some voters away. It’s anyone’s guess who that impacts most. On one hand, you could say that inclement weather would keep people who are not dedicated participants in the system at home. On the other hand, you could say that first time participants are so fired up that they’ll show up come hell or high water.

So there’s that.

Personally, I’m not willing to make any calls about what’s going to happen tonight except to say it’s going to be interesting, which, for someone like me, is as good as it gets.

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Rand Paul and Offending… Almost Everyone

Rand Paul is a self-proclaimed libertarian, and most of the time, his policy platform reflects this. He’s not a fan of government interference in private lives. He loathes the NSA. He’s far more isolationist than his peers in the race. He favors simplifying the tax code down to a flat rate. And, much to the delight of stoners everywhere, he’s a fan of legalizing marijuana. While many of the GOP contenders shy away from the subject, not wishing to offend traditional members of the base nor isolate Millennials, Rand Paul has no problem standing loud and proud in the name of weed. As the Denver Post reports:

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul’s trip to Colorado this week includes a first for a presidential candidate: a fundraiser with the marijuana industry.

The Republican is raising money Tuesday at the Cannabis Business Summit in Denver in what an industry trade group is billing as a history making event. “Never before has a major-party presidential candidate held a reception at a cannabis industry event, and NCIA is proud to host Senator Paul,” the National Cannabis Industry Association said in an email promoting the event, which was first reported by Yahoo News.

The minimum donation to attend the Tuesday event is $2,700, according to organizers.

Taylor West, the group’s deputy director, said the private “VIP reception” is designed to let marijuana insiders hear from Paul, who supports legislation to legalize medical marijuana and give the pot industry access to banking.

Paul’s position may be popular with young voters and consistent with a libertarian worldview, but it’s another example of the uncomfortable demographic straddle he’s facing. Scaling back on practices associated with a police state and legalizing marijuana are incredibly appealing to younger voters, but on issues like access to abortion, he’s way out of sync. Apparently when he says small government, he means small enough to fit in my uterus.

And then there are issues where adherence to a libertarian philosophy of governance makes him unpopular with the majority of the electorate on both sides of the aisle. Paul’s reaction to the Supreme Court’s ruling on marriage equality is the perfect example of this. While the rest of the GOP field issued condemnations that ranged from curt to incendiary, Paul had to take it a step further, arguing that the government should get out of the marriage business altogether.

There are certainly good reasons to keep the government out of marriage. After all, preferential treatment in the tax code on the basis of relational status is arbitrary and unfair to those engaged in alternative relationships, and arguably cheapens what marriage is intended to mean. But in his op-ed for Time, Paul manages to offend basically anyone with an opinion on the matter, affirming his support of “traditional” marriage before going on to state:

The government should not prevent people from making contracts but that does not mean that the government must confer a special imprimatur upon a new definition of marriage.

Perhaps the time has come to examine whether or not governmental recognition of marriage is a good idea, for either party.

Talk about stepping in it. For those who oppose marriage equality for religious reasons, Paul’s characterization of marriage as a matter of contract law is an offensive minimization of what they view as a holy union. For those who believe in marriage equality, his steadfast commitment to the whole “marriage is one man and one woman” way of thinking is narrow-minded, antiquated, bigoted. And frankly, when considering historical context, it’s a classic, transparent form of marginalization that dates back to the days of separate but equal — a work around for those who oppose same sex marriage but don’t want to be accused of intolerance. Plus, while it might treat all potential unions the same, it also serves to reinforce class-based privilege. As Amanda Marcotte writes for Slate:

Paul’s plan to privatize marriage rather than share it with gay people is reminiscent of how segregationists reacted to Brown v. Board of Education. Rather than allow their children to go to school with black students, white people throughout the South started private, often religious schools, nicknamed “segregation academies.” It wasn’t just schools, either. As my colleague Jamelle Bouie explained recently, the decline of the public pool is also a symptom of this reactionary urge to privatize an institution rather than share it with people who conservatives consider undesirable. That the same logic is being whipped out by Paul is no big surprise. This is a man who famously opposed the Civil Rights Act that made the “privatize instead of share” goal harder to achieve.

But although this strategy has a lengthy conservative pedigree, it’s hard to imagine it really taking off as a way to shut gay people out of marriage. If the government really did stop issuing standard marriage contracts and couples were forced to write their own contracts, all that would do is make marriage a privilege of those who can afford lawyers. It wouldn’t preserve marriage as a right for straight people—it would just turn it into a benefit for the wealthy.

This is the challenge Paul faces as a Libertarian. When he sticks to his guns, he turns off the Conservative base AND alienates social issue voters on the left. It’s also representative of the dominant problem with Libertarian ideology. While the “hands off” approach to governance is appealing in theory to both small government enthusiasts and “live and let live” progressives, it doesn’t work in reality. Greed guides business. Privatization serves as a proxy for discrimination. Self-interest leaves the most vulnerable among us to fend for themselves on an uneven playing field. We don’t live in Utopia, which is why government intervention is often necessary, if imperfect.

Paul is unlikely to abandon his Libertarian ideals anytime soon. Unfortunately for his presidential bid, that leaves him in a precarious position with the electorate. But who knows? Get the nation stoned enough, and maybe he’s got a chance.

The Utterly Fascinating Rand Paul Filibuster

For those of you who have been busy or unplugged today, you’re missing a real show. Senator Rand Paul, Kentucky Republican, took to the floor of the Senate at 11:47 AM, and began to filibuster the confirmation of John Brennan as Director of the CIA. The vote wasn’t necessarily a controversial one, before Paul began. The Senate Intelligence Committee approved the nomination on a 12-3 vote. But Paul’s beef wasn’t with Brennan. It was with President Obama and American drone attack policies.

Rand Paul Filibuster

Image Source: CSPAN

Paul was pushed to filibuster by the release of a memo from General Eric Holder, detailing a justification for potentially using drone strikes to take out the enemy… even if it meant depriving a U.S. citizen of due process. The memo caused shockwaves when it was first released, but, with the Sequester in the spotlight, drones faded into the background. Paul, horrified by the idea that the President could so easily strip away Constitutional rights, decided to take a stand.

I have been watching all day – spellbound.

I am not a Rand Paul fan by any stretch of the imagination, but I can’t stop watching. When I first heard it was going on and tuned in, I was expecting to change the channel after a couple of minutes. I was anticipating the kind of vitriol that took the Benghazi attacks from tragedy to political circus – more partisan drivel during a time where Americans just want to see Congress do their job and stop playing games. I wondered whether he’d be reading from the Bible, the Constitution, the phone book, or some combination of all three to pass the time

Except Paul, for the first time since I became aware of him as a politician, was making a good amount of sense. His speech may be specifically targeting the contents of the now infamous drone memo, but his rhetoric has targeted American military and counter-terrorism polices as a whole. Yep, no reading of non-sequitur texts (unless you count Ted Cruz giving Paul a break by reading reactions from Twitter) here.

In fact, Paul has done a strikingly good job of walking the sometimes perilous line between eloquence and relateability.

His comments have been framed as an issue of Constitutional rights.  His argument is intuitive- the Constitution guarantees us a right to trial as American citizens. The government shouldn’t be able to take that away by labeling someone a terrorist. But to describe his remarks in that fashion doesn’t quite do him justice. I say this begrudgingly, but frankly, Paul has been rather remarkable.

He spoke about the important differences between a Republic and Democracy- the significance of leadership versus mob rule. He pointed to Jim Crow laws as an instance where politicians were called to rise to the challenge of shaping a Republic instead of finding themselves beholden to the popular beliefs of the time. He’s sounded more like a philosopher at times than an Senator, and while that type of self-importance is typically nauseating, Paul has come off as endearing.

But beyond the surprisingly adept turn of phrase here and there, Paul’s speech has been engaging because he’s come across as (gasp!) sensible. If you follow Paul’s political antics at all, you know that this is not a common adjective in sentences where his name appears. Yet, here he was, putting an issue that can seem very abstract into terms anyone might be able to identify with. He talked about Kent State, and wondered aloud about whether we’ll just send in the drones the next time we see surges of American protest. He rattled off circumstances that might trigger concerns unduly, and the consequences that could follow. He proselytized on the consequences of standing by as rights eroded in the name of “security.”

To Paul’s credit, it does seem odd to me that the drone policies haven’t drawn more ire from the public. These types of actions had people lighting their hair on fire during the Bush era. And yet, as Paul himself noted, since Obama took office, we have the NDAA of last year, the Tresspass Bill, these memos… and crickets in comparison from former advocates.

I was speaking with a friend this afternoon on the subject, and began to ponder if it might be an issue with Obama himself. After all, it’s sort of hard to square the image of a progressive champion of civil rights for same-sex couples who pushed through universal health care with that of a President who has greatly extended Presidential, military and law enforcement power. Maybe the cognitive dissonance is just too much. Either way, Paul is intent on making people deal with that, and it’s been electrifying to watch.

It’s also an important conversation. Yes, American rights are important. Yes, it would be a bad thing if those rights were infringed upon. But let’s also talk about drone use in general. We live in a world where the development of technology vastly outpaces our ability to think critically about its applications. By the time we get around to having the conversation, we’re usually already facing down a series of unintended consequences. We’re unlikely to be done fighting in the Middle East and elsewhere anytime soon, which means the time to ask questions about what we’re comfortable with is now, not after we add another 1000 lives lost to the growing drone body count overseas.

And on a broader note, let’s talk about how comfortable we are with American policy decisions as a whole with the same kind of gravitas we’re witnessing here. Paul noted the ambiguity of the term “enemy combatant”  and the fact that we consider any male over a certain age a potential enemy in conflict. Let’s talk about that. Let’s talk about the NDAA allowing indefinite detention of American citizens. Let’s talk about the Trespass Bill that severely restricted the ability of Americans to stage protests that target politicians. Let’s talk about how we really feel with Presidential power being continuously expanded, even if we agree for the temporary reasons.

Let’s have a few thoughtful, meaningful conversations about how policies shape our world, instead of quibbling like teeny boppers. Is that so much to ask?

But let’s be real. Paul is politician. As glad as I am that people are now paying attention to this issue, it’s also really smart politics for him to take this stand at this moment. His request is very simple: he wants a statement from the White House indicating that they never have, nor will they ever, use drone strikes against Americans in a deprivation of their Constitutional rights. He wants them to say, “I cannot just decide to kill an American on American soil.” That doesn’t seem like a very absurd request, particularly given the recency of the drone memo. It also doesn’t require any official policy actions, so it’s just about making a decision and polishing the language.

The White House is not returning calls. Color me surprised.

If the White House complies, this is a pretty big perceptive loss. They will have been bullied into making a statement by the Tea Party at a time where they need all the capital they can get in the Sequester battles. If they do nothing, they look unreasonable. It’s just such a simple request, and the framing of the topic as a black and white issue of civil rights doesn’t help with their image issues. Simple, but brilliant. Paul’s past comments may have earned him a reputation as a sometimes ignorant windbag, but you’ve got to admire the strategic excellence in play here.

Still, if we’re being honest, I think part of the reason I’ve been so engrossed is that it’s quite the romantic idea. A politician puts aside party beliefs (Republicans putting restrictions on the military?!) in order to take a stand for civil rights. It’s been eight hours now, and for a political junkie like me, it’s hard not to think wistfully about things like Mr. Smith Goes to Washington or Sorkin’s masterful episode of The West WingThe Stackhouse Filibuster. In an era of bullshit politics, it’s hard not to hope that there are still politicians willing to fight the good fight on our behalf.

I want Paul to keep going. I want him to make us ask questions that make us uncomfortable. I want him to deliver a swift kick in the ass to career politicians who have never spurred such an important discussion. I want him to shatter records on duration of filibusters, because Strom Thurmond currently holds the record after standing against the Civil Rights Act of 1957, and I’d love for a more admirable end to take its place in the history books. I want to believe that it’s still possible for politicians to do the right thing because it’s the right thing to do.

But most importantly, I want us to take a minute and think about what Rand Paul is doing. It can be easy to get jaded with American politics, but here’s a guy who believes so strongly in the Constitution that he’s been railing on our behalf for eight hours. This was supposed to be a pretty simple confirmation vote. Congress is already in the doghouse over their inaction on the sequester. Paul took a major risk by taking a major stand, but he did it because it’s his job, he loves his country, and he cares about the people in it. Paul would probably never get my vote, but after today? He’s certainly got my respect.

Alright, it’s time to tune in again. I suggest you do the same.