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Crash of the dodo birds

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'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Saturday, March 9, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
 

A few years ago, in advance of the 2008 presidential election, we sat down with Sen. John McCain. Among our questions were those prefaced by his decidedly unconservative positions on a number of major issues. Among them was his steadfast advocacy for unconstitutional restrictions on political speech.

How, we asked the Arizona Republican, could he claim to be a conservative while holding such views? “Because I say I'm a conservative,” he retorted.

It was a window on Mr. McCain's true, unprincipled nature. And it was on ugly display again last week following Sen. Rand Paul's drone filibuster.

Mr. Paul, the libertarian/conservative of Kentucky, staged a 13-hour filibuster that, in the end, forced a hemming and hawing Obama Justice Department to affirm that the administration was constitutionally barred from using drones to kill noncombatant Americans on American soil. It's a seminal victory for the Fifth Amendment — no person shall “be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law.”

But McCain and Sen. Lindsey Graham (who, as Paul was fighting to preserve this fundamental right, were doing the chummy-chum-chum with President Obama at dinner) incredibly took to the Senate floor to blast Paul. McCain called the filibuster a “disservice” and “a political stunt.” And he called the new GOP vanguard “wacko birds.” Mr. Graham, of South Carolina, said Paul posed a ludicrous question that did not deserve an answer. How dare they.

A new era dawned for conservatives and the Republican Party with the Paul filibuster. And it is an era in which Sens. McCain and Graham have proven they are dodo birds.

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