Sunday Roundup

This week, Rand Paul mounted an old-fashioned, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington-style filibuster against President Obama's nominee to head the CIA, John Brennan. The primary issue at hand was the new-fashioned issue of drone strikes. During the marathon monologue, Paul asked, "Where is the Barack Obama of 2007?" In fact, one could also ask: where were the Democrats of 2007? Paul was joined by only one Democrat, Sen. Ron Wyden, even though if the Bush administration had acted on drones the way the Obama administration is, there would have been dozens of Democrats up in arms. Of course, the hypocrisy extends to Republicans, many of whom -- after having supported the Patriot Act, warrantless wiretapping, show-your-papers laws, and torture -- have suddenly discovered civil liberties. Brennan wound up getting confirmed but, at least in the process, the bone-headed right/left way of looking at American politics was rather spectacularly scrambled.