(Updated 12:15 p.m. 3/11)
When Sen. Rand Paul tied the Senate up in knots for a day last week to make a point about the Obama administration's controversial use of drones to assassinate enemies of the U.S., the libertarian Kentucky Republican was hitting on one of those rare issues that unites activists on the political left and right.
Evidence came when veteran Rep. John Conyers, who ranks as one of the most liberal Democrats in the House, tweeted out a "you go" about the Paul filibuster. The 83-year-old Detroit lawmaker was sufficiently hip to use the Twitter hashtag favored by Paul supporters: "I #StandWithRand and any others who support robust oversight & transparency for the armed #drone program," Conyers wrote. He linked to his own statement criticizing the drones program, delivered during a hearing last month of the House Judiciary Committee, on which he is the top-ranking Democrat.
But anyone going to Conyers' twitter stream won't see evidence of the intriguing aisle-crossing: His pro-Paul tweet was deleted eight minutes after it was issued Friday. Sunlight picked it up on Politwoops, a tool for monitoring the deleted tweets of politicians.
The notable absence of public support for the Paul filibuster from Democrats already has prompted some complaints from the party's liberal wing. Responding Monday to a query from Sunlight, Andrew Schreiber, a spokesman for the Judiciary's Democratic minority -- which Conyers heads -- said that "the tweet was taken down because we thought it made more sense to have it come from our Judiciary committee Twitter since we had just held a full committee oversight hearing last month on the drone program."
The new tweet was posted Monday morning. You can read it here.