Rand Paul is the first Washington politician since Paul Ryan to seize an opportunity on a controversial issue that cuts across partisan lines — in this case, the Obama administration’s use of unmanned aircraft to target and kill terrorists — and run with it. Like Ryan, he did it with supreme competence.
I watched six hours of his 13-hour marathon filibuster, and the clarity, calm and sangfroid with which he spoke was so literally exceptional it was a sad demonstration of just how bad most politicians are when it comes to making an elementary case about anything.
You could see, on Twitter and elsewhere, how instantly galvanizing Paul’s stunt was — so much so that as the day passed, more and more members of his party showed up to show support and ask him questions so that he could relax for a moment.
And yet, while Paul’s brilliant advocacy and command of the public stage were remarkable, in the end it is his opinions that matter. And they are highly problematic at best and genuinely worrisome at worst.