No laughing matter.
If you get a chance check out Dana Milbank’s column in today’s Washington Post. He uses it to make fun of the Rand Paul plagiarism situation. This is shows what the real peril is for Senator Paul as this story develops.
The problem isn’t that people like Milbank or Maddow don’t like Paul, if anything that helps him with the GOP base, it is that people start to think he is not ready for prime time. Especially as someone who is relatively new to national politics Paul can’t have potential supporters thinking he is not able to withstand the pressure and susceptible to careless mistakes.
You can also bet Paul’s opponents will use this to pile on. Prominent neo-con Bill Kristol is already using this to say Paul is not Presidential caliber. Don’t be surprised if this continues for a while.
Today the Washington ran two articles that seemed to contradict each other. In their front page story the Post talks about the supposed growing libertarianism in the GOP. They interview the usual suspects like Brian Doherty of Reason magazine, David Boaz of the Cato Institute, and mix in a few younger libertarians to give the history lesson and then convey how NOW is the moment libertarians finally become a real political force.
Of course the Washington Post has been doing this a great deal recently. Today’s article follows the path of articles like this.
Interestingly, on page A2 we get a little splash of reality to wake us out of this libertarian dream moment. Dana Milbank details how Rand Paul got stomped by his Senate colleagues in his effort to cut U.S. funding to Egypt.
His amendment was shot down 86-13 (which means at least 31 of 45 member of the GOP U.S. Senate caucus voted against Paul). Milbank also went into detail of showing of similar bills to cut foreign aid to Middle Eastern countries by Paul lost 81-10 and 74-25.
Just to underscore how Paul’s libertarian position is a real small minority in his own party, Milbank reported that Republican legislators from Oklahoma, Tennessee, and South Carolina were willing to go right at Paul’s libertarian-populist idea of cutting foreign aid to a country that burns our flag. Paul’s critics were not moderate internationalists from the Northeast or West Coast. Instead, they were from solidly red states in the South and Farm Belt – a.k.a the base of the party.
For Rand Paul and his supporters, if they are serious about 2016 they should ignore the Washington Post’s front page occasional love fest and remember Dana Milbank’s column as the cold slap of reality it is. Until votes that like are a thing of the past, Paul has a long way to go to win the nomination.
Dana Milbank’s column today details how much anger Marco Rubio is arousing in the Tea Party. Hard to believe a year ago he was the golden child of the GOP and its Tea Party activists. Now he is called a liar and a RINO.
All of this comes from his support of immigration reform. Keep in mind, this is an idea supported by Reagan, both Bushes, McCain, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Cato Institute (hardly a roll call of Hall of Fame liberals).
Right now, it’s too early to start throwing dirt on Rubio’s aspirations. First, it is very early. Second, as the Dana Milbank column shows this is a fickle bunch. One year they love you the next they can’t stand you. Who is to say in June 2014 Rubio will not be back in their good graces and Paul, Cruz. Christie, Walker or Ryan won’t be in the Tea Party’s crosshairs.