By the time he ended his nearly 13-hour filibuster around 1 a.m. Thursday morning, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., had turned his opposition to John Brennan's nomination to the CIA into a rallying point for Republicans.
From the New York Times:
At a certain point, as the hour edged closer to midnight, participating in the filibuster seemed to become the gold standard among Senate Republicans, with a parade of Republican senators — Jeff Flake of Arizona; Ron Johnson of Wisconsin; Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader in the Senate; and Tim Scott of South Carolina — emerging for the first time to show their support for Mr. Paul’s cause, not to mention the C-SPAN cameras.
Paul, who was protesting the White House policy on drones, also received visits from multiple Republican leaders, including Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn of Texas, Policy Committee Chairman John Barrasso of Wyoming and NRSC Chair Jerry Moran of Kansas. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Ky., also made an appearance and urged Republicans to support Paul and oppose Brennan. “At whatever point we get to a cloture vote to extend debate on the nomination of Brennan, it is my view that cloture should not be invoked." McConnell said. “This is a controversial nominee. Should cloture be invoked, I intend to oppose the nomination and congratulate my colleague from Kentucky for this extraordinary effort.”
As the Times points out, others like Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas made mini-speeches during the filibuster, with Cruz quoting from "Henry V" and "Patton." Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida also joined in, with quotes from rapper Wiz Khalifa, "The Godfather," and “that modern-day poet by the name of Jay-Z.”
Meanwhile, the NRSC sent out a fundraising email to supporters, urging them to donate in support of Paul. “[I]f you want to really help secure a Senate that believes in upholding the Constitution, donate below to help us gain the 6 seats needed for a Republican Majority,” the NRSC wrote.
RNC Chair Reince Priebus called on Republican senators to show their support as well:
And conservatives and Tea Partiers on Twitter backed Paul:
Though Paul got some bipartisan support from Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., an outspoken critic of the drone program, he also took some flack from the right, in the form of an op-ed on the conservative editorial page of the Wall Street Journal that told him to "calm down."
"The country needs more Senators who care about liberty, but if Mr. Paul wants to be taken seriously he needs to do more than pull political stunts that fire up impressionable libertarian kids in their college dorms. He needs to know what he's talking about," the op-ed says.