Rand Paul is having a moment. The junior senator from Kentucky has become something of a sensation since his marathon filibuster on Wednesday night, in which he warned against the threat posed to civil liberties by the Obama administration's secretive drone campaign. While Paul has won plaudits from both the left and the right, he has also come under some withering criticism from defense hawks within his own party. Here, five condescending Republican responses to Paul's filibuster:
1. "Political stunts that fire up impressionable libertarian kids"
"If Mr. Paul wants to be taken seriously he needs to do more than pull political stunts that fire up impressionable libertarian kids," Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) thundered from the Senate floor the day after the filibuster. For what it's worth, McCain's line, while sure to sting, was lifted from a Wall Street Journal editorial.
2. "He needs to know what he's talking about"
In that same editorial, the Journal implied numerous times that Paul isn't the brightest bulb in the Senate. "If only his reasoning matched the showmanship"; "He's apparently serious, though his argument isn't"; "He needs to know what he's talking about." And just for good measure, the Journal flaunts its cool superiority by deploying the ne plus ultra of passive-aggressive gibes: "Calm down, Senator."
3. "It sort of reminds me of young kids when they first read The Fountainhead"
Serious foreign policy thinkers in the GOP enjoy comparing Paul's filibuster to the rant of an adolescent. "It sort of reminds me of young kids when they first read The Fountainhead or Atlas Shrugged," opined John Yoo, who famously penned the so-called torture memos that authorized the Bush administration's harsh interrogation techniques. "They suddenly think that federal taxation equals slavery and they're not going to pay any federal taxes anymore."
4. "Jumping on the Rand Paul black helicopters crazy-train isn't good for our party"
Ozzy Osbourne would be proud. An unidentified aide to McCain told BuzzFeed that "unlike many of these guys, [McCain's] actually been involved in a few national security debates over the years. He knows that jumping on the Rand Paul black helicopters crazy-train isn't good for our party or our country, no matter what Twitter says." It appears McCain's staff have not heeded Ozzy's appeal "to learn how to love, and forget how to hate."
5. "Wacko birds"
This is McCain again, lashing out specifically against Paul, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), and Rep. Justin Amash (R-Texas). "It's always the wacko birds on right and left that get the media megaphone," the maverick tells The Huffington Post.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Half the world's population lives in these 6 countries
- How a degree from Duke University dashed my dreams of buying a home
- This is why you can't trust the NSA. Ever.
- Innocent before proven guilty? The bizarre bipartisan rush to clear Rick Perry
- Why you should stop believing in evolution
- The secret to handling pressure like astronauts, Navy SEALs, and samurai
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- ISIS and the echoes of the West's religious terror
- 4 things NASA can teach you about a good night's sleep
- The real-life events that inspired Game of Thrones' Red Wedding
Subscribe to the Week