What began as a policy divide over the United States’ use of drones and whether John Brennan should be confirmed as Central Intelligence Agency director led to a social media slugfest aimed squarely at GOP opponents of Sen. Rand Paul.
Rallying around the hashtag #StandWithRand, supporters of Paul from around the country tweeted their support, calling Paul, among other things “the future of the Republican Party,” following his marathon 13-hour filibuster on Wednesday.
“GOP establishment demeaning conservatives,” wrote @AllRepublicans of Woodbridge, N.J., whose profile indicates his/her “utmost objective is to expose President Obama’s goal to destroy our Constitutional Republic.”
Republican Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham, who criticized Paul and the Republican leadership for supporting the filibuster were mercilessly attacked.
“Really? REALLY??? You attack Rand Paul, rather than #StandWithRand? Sir, you are on the WRONG side,” wrote @ulikemike in defense of Kentucky’s junior Republican senator.
Twitter user @divadoll123, a woman from Pennsylvania who calls herself “a recovering attorney,” issued a strong warning for Republican leaders who may not want to take Paul seriously.
“Dear Senators,” she writes. “We’re paying attention. We’re taking names.”
Several also took to Twitter to encourage Republicans to get behind a primary opponent to Graham, who is up for re-election in South Carolina in 2014 using the hashtag #PrimaryGraham.
“#PrimaryGraham should announce soon and strike while the iron is hot. People will donate, PACs will support,” wrote Jake Humphrey of Lumberton, N.C.
Graham may find himself vulnerable to a challenger from the right, as his willingness to work with Democrats on immigration reform had already made him a target of some conservatives.
Leandro Teixeira was among dozens of Twitter users who copied the same Tweet designed to let Graham know Republicans are now aiming for his defeat in the 2014 Republican primary.
“@LindseyGrahamSC You are a disgrace for refusing to #standwithrand for the #constitution, #primarygraham You retire #2014 :),” he wrote.
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