I had a discussion with a friend yesterday and the conversation came around to Rand Paul. We both agreed that he looked good when he was first elected. Then we tried to think of any accomplishments. We were at a loss. While Paul has generally been considered to be conservative, he has failed to implement those philosophies. The one thing that we could remember was that he supported Ted Cruz’s and Mike Lee’s cloture filibuster last year on a bill and stood up to filibuster a gun control bill.
All that was last year. This year Rand Paul, the junior Kentucky Senator, has an opportunity to rid the Senate of a liberal elite, Mitch McConnell. He has remained silent for the most part and when directly asked about McConnell, skirted the issue.
Leon H. Wolf (Diary) |
Rand Paul enjoys talking a big game about being a fundamental change agent in Washington. He likes to line up for publicity stunts like filing a lawsuit against the NSA which will almost certainly be dismissed (and send out handy list-building emails based on these publicity stunts), or staging an almost completely pointless filibuster on drones, but when it comes to actual accomplishments that have changed the way things are done in Washington or even within the Senate GOP caucus, Paul’s cabinet is pretty empty. One area where Rand Paul might actually do some real good would be to help oust cancer Mitch McConnell, who last week singlehandedly gave Obama a blank check on the debt ceiling, and who fought tooth and nail for Rand Paul’s opponent in Paul’s primary. Here Paul might be able to do some real good where he is popular with the base in his home state in terms of using his national profile to raise awareness for Bevin’s campaign and help combat McConnell’s fundraising machine.
Instead, of course, Rand Paul has punted on his most significant opportunity to change Washington and is endorsing McConnell. What is most insulting about this decision is not that Paul made it, but the extraordinarily flimsy reasoning behind it. Look at this mealy-mouthed explanation allegedly given by Paul to Glenn Beck:
“You know things are complicated with endorsements. I’d say one because he asked me, and two because he asked me when he did not have an opponent, it wasn’t a choice at that time. And three I am someone that likes to bring people together.”
Wow. Well, that’s three compelling arguments, I guess.
First, he was asked. And who is he to say no to anyone? When someone akss you to do something, the answer always in all circumstances must be yes. To say otherwise would be impolite. One does not change the culture of Washington by being impolite, I guess.
Two, he was asked when McConnell did not have an opponent. Okay. Did he not consider that one might emerge? Were there literally no indications that this might be so? If not, why was McConnell calling in the first place? Now that a challenger has emerged, does he have any thoughts at all as to whether McConnell is better than this challenger?
Three, folks, Rand Paul has just said with a straight face that he’s a uniter, not a divider. Circle status: squared. Who can doubt Rand Paul’s reasons at this point?
The longer Rand Paul continues appearing at McConnell’s side, he is lending support to the very forces he purports to oppose, and that he loudly berates in his numerous fundraising and list-building pitches. If Rand Paul wants to make an actual difference in Washington instead of just talking about it, he needs to at the very least withdraw his endorsement of McConnell and remain neutral in this race, if not support Bevin’s campaign outright.
I had great hopes for Rand Paul as a saner version of his father. Saner, yes. More effective, no. Talk is cheap, Rand, but it is action that is important.
And, it is his actions that creates more disappointment. I would expect, if Rand Paul won’t support conservatives against McConnell, he would at least remain silent. Unfortunately, Rand Paul is on record attacking Matt Bevin as a McConnell surrogate. Such acts makes me wonder what McConnell has on Rand Paul.