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As usual, the best discussion on THE FILIBUSTER is Pete’s, especially when supplemented by our most thoughtful threaders.

I agree that it was A WORK OF GENIUS by a very able politician contending for the soul of the REPUBLICAN PARTY.

The “neocons” from McCain to Graham to Bill Kristol are failing to get any traction by dismissing it as either WACKO or just IRRESPONSIBLE.

It might well have been some kind of GAME CHANGER or PARADIGM SHIFT. But even with Pete’s help, I’m not sure what to think about it.

I certainly agree with Pete that LIBERTARIANISM—some combination of the Rands (Paul and Ayn)—isn’t the ticket to Republican victory. But I also agree that Rand did touch a nerve that connects PARANOIA (or deep suspicion that’s wholly justified?) about BIG DOMESTIC GOVERNMENT with paranoia about BIG (IMPERIAL) FOREIGN POLICY. The power of that connection, of course, is why Democrats didn’t get behind AND didn’t diss the FILIBUSTER.

The subtextual Randian allegation is something like the Obama Administration is an unconstitutional combination of “neocon” foreign policy and run-amok socialism. Who can deny that the point of view of THE AMERICAN CONSERVATIVES was mainstreamed a bit? Who can deny that there was no effective resistance from either party to Rand’s eloquent grandstanding?

All in all, it still wasn’t a bad couple of days for THE PRESIDENT. He can take the hit of being open to choosing PRUDENCE (or necessity) over abstract constitutional principle. He can even say that he doesn’t even really disagree with Rand Paul and that he would never do any of the evildoing things the senator said he had in mind. Meanwhile, the Republicans are now closer to lacking a foreign-policy consensus or orientation. And the field is left more open for the president’s second-term evolution away from continuity with Bush’s policies.

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