The Filibuster, The Dinner, and The Brennan Vote

Three of the public intellectuals I admire most, my friend, the gifted prosecutor (Andy McCarthy), my colleague, the comedic genius (Mark Steyn), and my dear friend, the brilliant writer, and wonderful host (Diana West), have opined thoughtfully on the Rand Paul filibuster. Please read and digest what McCarthy, Steyn, and West have written.

I am duly impressed by, and deferential to, McCarthy’s legal understanding, although uncomfortable with the practical effects of his conclusions. In my mind, the counter arguments proffered by both Steyn and West are more compelling. This is because my worldview as a physician, and clinical investigator, is data, and outcome driven.

Acknowledging the constraints on what one can (or should) extrapolate from any single dataset, I found these clear trends from the confirmation vote on John Brennan quite relevant to the ongoing debate about the Rand Paul filibuster. Deliberately limiting my assessment to only the Republican Senators, I compared the yes/no votes to confirm Brennan’s nomination as CIA Director to both active support for Rand Paul’s filibuster, and attendance at President Obama’s “dinner with Republicans,” shortly before the final vote.

The full table is provided below, but here are the summary findings:

  • 12/31 “No voters” on Brennan’s confirmation = 39%, supported the Paul filibuster
  • 2/12 “Yes voters” on Brennan’s confirmation = 17%, supported the Paul filibuster
  • 6/31 “No voters” on Brennan’s confirmation = 19%, attended the Obama dinner
  • 5/12 “Yes voters” on Brennan’s confirmation = 42%, attended the Obama dinner


1) Supporters of Rand Paul’s filibuster were twice as likely to reject Brennan’s nomination

2) Those who voted to confirm Brennan were twice as likely to have attended the Obama dinner


R-Senator ConfirmedBrennan Supported Filibuster Attended Dinner with Obama
Ayotte (R-NH) No Yes
Barrasso (R-WY) No Yes
Blunt (R-MO) No
Boozman (R-AR) No
Chambliss (R-GA) No Yes Yes
Cochran (R-MS) No
Cornyn (R-TX) No Yes
Crapo (R-ID) No
Cruz (R-TX) No Yes
Enzi (R-WY) No
Fischer (R-NE) No
Grassley (R-IA) No
Heller (R-NV) No
Hoeven (R-ND) No Yes
Inhofe (R-OK) No
Isakson (R-GA) No
Johanns (R-NE) No Yes
Johnson (R-WI) No Yes Yes
Lee (R-UT) No Yes
McConnell (R-KY) No Yes
Moran (R-KS) No Yes
Paul (R-KY) No Yes*
Portman (R-OH) No
Risch (R-ID) No
Roberts (R-KS) No
Scott (R-SC) No Yes
Sessions (R-AL) No
Shelby (R-AL) No
Thune (R-SD) No Yes
Toomey (R-PA) No Yes Yes
Wicker (R-MS) No
Totals n=31 n=12 n=6
Alexander (R-TN) Yes
Burr (R-NC) Yes Yes
Coats (R-IN) Yes Yes
Coburn (R-OK) Yes Yes
Collins (R-ME) Yes
Corker (R-TN) Yes Yes
Flake (R-AZ) Yes Yes
Graham (R-SC) Yes
Hatch (R-UT) Yes
Kirk (R-IL) Yes
McCain (R-AZ) Yes Yes
Rubio (R-FL) Yes Yes
Totals n=12 n=2 n=5

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