The thuggish Ed Schultz ranted and raved that “Rand Paul is dangerous,” although he did not say to whom. He even took a poll of his brain-dead audience: 90 percent agreed that Sen. Paul is indeed “dangerous! Lawrence O’Donnell showed a video montage of sentences from Sen. Paul’s speech taken out of context, ranted that the Kentucky Republican is “ridiculous,” “paranoid,” and “sick,” and then invited his two guests – E. J. Dionne, and Huffpo writer Ryan Grim – to agree with him. They didn’t. Dionne opined that Sen. Paul’s performance was certainly effective, and gave him credit for bringing attention to a subject few Democrats will touch. Grim made a very good point that almost made the permanent smirk on O’Donnell’s face disappear:
“Frankly, if there is a classified kill list that includes American citizens — if you don’t want conspiracy theories to start circulating then publish that list. If the people on that list are dedicated revolutionaries or extremists they are not going to be surprised to find their name on the list. Publish the list and let people challenge them. As long as there is a secret list of people the President thinks he can kill, you are going to have people concocting all sorts of theories, and there is no way, beyond transparency, that you can challenge that.”
Sen. Paul and Grim are surely not the first people to raise this point: indeed, the same question the junior Senator from Kentucky insisted on getting an answer to was made by none other than MSNBC’S very own Rachel Maddow a few days before the Brennan hearings. Here’s Rachel:
“The questions themselves are so basic that they are almost more telling than some of the answers they could but probably won`t receive. Questions like, for example, how much evidence does the president need to determine that a particular American can be lawfully killed?
“Also – this is one that sticks with me – does the president have to provide individual Americans with the opportunity to surrender before killing them?
“And, are there any geographic limitations on the intelligence community`s authority to use lethal force against Americans? Including, can intelligence agencies kill people under this authority in the United States? Could the CIA or any other intelligence agency come kill you if the appropriate high-ranking official in the Obama administration, say President Obama, decided that you were affiliated with al Qaeda, and you were a threat, and you might act eminently to endanger their nation? Could you then be legally killed as you lay in your bed?“
If you read the transcript linked above, it’s clear Maddow imagined opposition to the Brennan nomination would come from the left – which is why she found the possibility “interesting” – but what happened was that, except for Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) – who wound up voting for Brennan – the “liberals” were mute (except for Dick Durbin, who came to the floor to defend the drone program). Instead, the opposition came from the right – which is why, after having raised precisely the same question brought to the Senate floor by Sen. Paul, Maddow pointedly ignored the #StandwithRand filibuster, leaving it to her MSNBC colleagues to trash it.