By Monica Hesse
The Washington Post
WASHINGTON — What was happening to Sen. Rand Paul 12 hours into this windmill-tilting crusade against drones (but not against droning), as the sun set and the moon rose and he talked and he talked and he — oh, how he talked. What was happening to his vocal cords? To the soles of his feet? What was happening — don't pretend you don't want to know — to his bladder?
"I don't know if it's necessarily the best thing to do." Bill Frohna considers Paul's bladder. Frohna is the chairman of the emergency medicine department at MedStar Washington Hospital Center. "Your body gives you signals, and you really shouldn't ignore those. Stay hydrated. Obey the natural process of elimination." However (however!): "You're not actually going to be doing any permanent damage. A little urge to go, that's okay."
Phew. But there's still so much attendant discomfort in watching a filibuster, in witnessing a political figure be forcibly separated from his news bites and prepackaged slogans and just having to wing it. Wing it for hours, forever, like the relative who insists on giving an impromptu toast at the wedding — Dear god, now he's talking about grocery-hoarding survivalists? It could all go so terribly wrong.
Watch Paul's entire production, fully streamable at c-span.org. Better yet, fast-forward Wednesday's filibuster in the Senate to random intervals with the volume down low for the full Kabuki effect of this American political theater. Watch hour zero, minute zero when, red-tied and wide-eyed, the Kentucky Republican strolls to the lectern. Witness the progression:
3:06 p.m.: The whites of his eyes have begun to match his tie.
9:43: The reds of his eyes have begun match the sheen of the Senate mahogany.