Despite his best efforts, Senator Rand Paul was unable to tip the cart known as the Patriot Act over. The freshman senator gave it a valiant effort and developed some unlikely allies along the way. When you are mentioned as an ally of Dick Durbin on an issue, and you’re really a Tea Party favorite, then you give life to the cliche that politics makes strange bedfellows.
However, Sen. Paul may well have shown libertarians the path towards transforming the nation, despite the failure. From MSNBC.com:
Paul argued that in the rush to meet the terrorist threat in 2001 Congress enacted a Patriot Act that tramples on individual liberties. He had some backing from liberal Democrats and civil liberties groups who have long contended the law gives the government authority to spy on innocent citizens.
Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said he voted for the act when he was a House member in 2001 “while ground zero was still burning.” But “I soon realized it gave too much power to government without enough judicial and congressional oversight.”
Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., said the provision on collecting business records can expose law-abiding citizens to government scrutiny. “If we cannot limit investigations to terrorism or other nefarious activities, where do they end?” he asked.
“The Patriot Act has been used improperly again and again by law enforcement to invade Americans’ privacy and violate their constitutional rights,” said Laura W. Murphy, director of the ACLU Washington legislative office.
Paul has become known in his short time in Congress for building single issue coalitions of like-minded senators to try and shape policy that gives more power to the American people and strips it from the government. It doesn’t always work like he would want, but the effort itself is what’s important.
Let’s be honest for a second, my fellow libertarians. We’re not going to win a majority in the House or Senate any time soon. What we’re going to win is, at best, a few spots in government here and there. Personally, I think it will need to be people who are willing to work with whoever shares their beliefs on a given issue and move this nation down the right path.