A very modern filibuster

Rand Paul's filibuster has a hashtag, was tweeted from the Senate floor and has sourced bloggers and livestreamers

Published March 6, 2013 9:34PM (EST)

At the time of writing, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., is still holding the Senate floor with a good old-fashioned filibuster to block John Brennan's confirmation as CIA director. Although a traditional tool for parliamentary intervention, Paul's filibuster based on (well-founded) civil liberties concerns about the president's reserved ability to execute U.S. citizens with drone strikes on U.S. soil, is a particularly modern affair.

It's certainly the first filibuster with a Twitter hashtag -- #filiblizzard (in reference to the D.C. snowstorm today, in case you were wondering). And not only did viewers watching live on C-SPAN broadcast Paul's comments, he sent out tweets himself (at least whoever operates his Twitter account did):

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And Paul did not read from the phone book or the Constitution to expend time. He relied on up-to-date, digital media sources to support his arguments on unchecked executive power. He cited, for example, the work of Firedoglake blogger Kevin Gosztola and our friend Glenn Greenwald. He also referenced a video by livestreamers and videographers Luke Rudowski and Sierra Adamson in which Robert Gibbs is interviewed defending the targeted killing of 16-year-old U.S. citizen Abdulrahman al-Awlaki. Paul decried Gibbs' comment, caught on video, that the teen "should have [had] a far more responsible father" than Anwar al-Awlaki (the U.S. citizen and al-Qaida propagandist killed in separate drone strike from his son).

Our own Alex Seitz-Wald has a guide to other historic filibusters.


By Natasha Lennard

Natasha Lennard is an assistant news editor at Salon, covering non-electoral politics, general news and rabble-rousing. Follow her on Twitter @natashalennard, email nlennard@salon.com.

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Cia Civil Union Filibuster John Brennan Livestreamers Rand Paul Senate Twitter Video