If Rand Paul goes on to become President of these United States one day, we will look back on the events of March 6th, 2013 as the catalyst for making that happen. And because of those events, Rand Paul now has more political capital to spend than any elected Republican in the country.
Rand Paul’s 13-hour filibuster on the Senate floor over the issue of whether or not a White House can unilaterally determine to kill Americans using drone strikes, with no regard whatsoever for the 5th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, did something on a national policy level that hasn’t happened much in recent years—it united the right-of-center coalition in America around principled leadership.
The only other two recent examples of this I can think of were what Scott Walker did to the unionistas in Wisconsin and what Mike Huckabee did for Chick-fil-a. But those events, important as they were, didn’t accomplish what Rand Paul did last week. What we saw was one man’s crusade – if for only one night – bringing the ruling class to its knees. We saw Rand Paul bend Washington, D.C. to his will. We saw him grab them by the throat and force them – milquetoast RINO Mitch McConnell and liberal statist Dick Durbin alike – to respond to him.
When was the last time a Republican in the nation’s capitol did that on a matter of public policy? Has McConnell, the Republican leader in the U.S. Senate, ever done that? What about Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner? We already know the answer. The last time a Republican in the beltway moved heaven and earth on a matter of public policy was when George W. Bush wanted to invade Iraq.
Let’s hope this turns out better than that.
You may wish Rand Paul had done this on an issue you care more about than this one, and you may doubt his sincerity (when isn’t it a good time to doubt a politician’s sincerity?), but you also can’t deny the potential political power of this moment. There were the GOP’s other bright shining and emerging stars, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, side-saddling up next to Rand. There was John Thune, who looks like Tarzan but plays like Jane when it comes to politics, hopping on the bandwagon to do something that looked hard for once. Then the next morning, there were the hackneyed symbols of RINO face palms, John “little ball of hate” McCain and Lindsey Graham, predictably lining up to condemn Rand—which only adds to his conservative street cred.
Do you know why what Rand did was so powerful? First, because we are starved for anything that resembles leadership, and leadership is what Rand was showing. We are like parched throats in a desert desperately seeking anything that resembles a drop of water. So many of you have called or emailed me the last few years wondering when someone will stand up and fling the monkey poop right back into the face of a corrupt ruling class. Rand has now done that; and secondly, he did it professionally with no gimmicks and no anger. Rand and his cohorts gave us a clinic in Americanism that would’ve made the Founding Fathers proud. It was a 13-hour lecture on the U.S. Constitution, most of which many Americans had probably never heard before. Rand didn’t need to be cool or chic; Rand just needed to be real. It turns out substance still wins. Who knew?
If you were constructing the perfect storm scenario for Rand Paul to catapult himself to POTUS, you couldn’t have drawn up a kickoff any better than this.
The sequence of events also drew the attention of Bryan Fischer at the American Family Association, which is probably the largest pro-family group in the country in terms of political activism. Fischer tweeted: “Rand filibuster his first campaign speech for 2016. Was a winner on all counts. He’s now the leader of the pack.” That’s significant because Fischer is a prominent voice within a large faction of the conservative grassroots Rand is working hard to forge a coalition with.
There’s no question Rand is now in position to shatter a glass ceiling his father was unable to penetrate despite being a U.S. Congressman for decades. It’s what he does next that will determine whether he closes the sale.
See, Rand Paul has now raised a standard he must meet on a consistent basis. Notice I didn’t say he has to be perfect because nobody is, but he has to be consistent. That doesn’t mean he has to filibuster the U.S. Senate for 13 hours every time they trash the Constitution because you can’t walk through the same river twice anyway. That would just come across as grandstanding.
But what it does mean is that when issues arise that clearly violate the scheme of the Constitution, Rand Paul has set an expectation that he will be among the first to charge the hill in some way, shape, or form. If he doesn’t, he’ll look like a one-trick pony; and a cynical conservative base tired of being taken advantage of will lose interest.
Rand has also raised a standard for his likely 2016 campaign rivals to meet as well. Traditional GOP campaign clichés no longer suffice. We want action. We want somebody to stand up and show they’re as concerned about losing this constitutional republic as we are. For 13 hours last week, Rand Paul did that. Let’s see if he and others can continue to do so.
(You can friend “Steve Deace” on Facebook or follow him on Twitter @SteveDeaceShow)
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