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Rand Paul: The Justin Bieber of Libertarians

Independent’s Eye by Joe Gandelman

A national political star is born. Kentucky’s’ Republican Senator Rand Paul became the political Justin Beiber of libertarians everywhere and a role model for GOPers who want to grab media attention by staging a dramatic “talking filibuster.” And, suddenly, Republicans who had steadfastly resisted the idea of bringing back talking filibusters were falling all over themselves to get involved and praise it.

Paul’s 12 hours and 52 minute televised Senate talk-fest designed to extract promises from the Obama administration on the use of drones in the U.S. ended only when his bladder demanded it. By the time it ended, Paul had successfully seized the torch from his libertarian favorite dad, Ron Paul — and led some to declare him a front-runner for 2016 and the GOP’s new face. His rock star status also sparked a strong warning by a top Republican establishment pundit.

Paul’s filibuster resonated and attracted attention and praise on Twitter and Facebook and appealed to younger Americans. The filibuster in recent years has become the political coward’s way out, where politicians simply vote to stop a bill. Just as lobbyists hide behind politicians, Republicans hid behind the voting filibuster while breaking historical filibustering records. It led, centrist blogger Robert Levine notes, to a “tyranny of the conservative minority” controlling the legislative process.

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