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What Paul Hath Wrought

AP Photo / J. Scott Applewhite

Indeed, the only reason Paul -- or any senator -- would begin a marathon session like that is because he knew (or believed) the votes were there to end the Brennan debate and these were the only means at his disposal to slow the confirmation process down, and maybe marshal public pressure to convince other senators to join him.

As you saw yesterday, he used that tool to great effect. I imagine now that, for a combination of partisan and institutional purposes, Republicans will withhold their votes for cloture until Paul is satisfied that the administration has addressed his question of whether it considers it permissible under any circumstances to order drone strikes within the United States.

I'll have some more thoughts later today on why Paul's effort was such a success while other recent examples of senators exercising the same power with the same passion ultimately fizzled out.

About The Author


Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at brian@talkingpointsmemo.com