Rand Paul: OH NO HE DI’INT!
OH YES HE DID!
Well kids, we’re now seeing the impact of the Tea Party Movement on the political process and the coming mid-term elections and not surprisingly, all indications are that it will be an unmitigated disaster for not only the Teabaggers themselves and their so-called movement, but also for their politically expedient allies in the GOP.
Rand Paul, son of libertarian Ron Paul, won the Republican primary for the Senate seat being vacated by Jim Bunning of Kentucky to much celebration by the right wing and mainstream media eager for a compelling narrative as we approach November. The 24/7 talking heads on cable and radio went on and on about how this was going to be a referendum on the current state of affairs and how the power of the Tea Party was going to change the landscape of American politics, ushering in a new era of conservative and libertarian dominance that would sweep out incumbents. Come November, we could expect to see the repeal of healthcare and financial reform, the extinction of the progressive movement, and the death of the Democratic majority in Congress thus ending the dictatorial and socialist reign of Pelosi and Reid. Yes, a new revolution was in the offing, one that would forever change the Republic.
And then the shiny new Republican Senatorial candidate from Kentucky opened his mouth to speak…
As the old saying goes, ‘be careful what you wish for’ because right now, there are a lot of Republicans, and probably a fair number of Tea Party advocates who wish they had thought this thing through a bit more before going all in with Rand.
Now old Rand has basically come out and said that individual businesses should be allowed to practice racism, or sexism, or any kind of ‘ism’ they want to because it is their right to do so as free individuals. He also now questions whether or not it is appropriate for the Federal government to impose a minimum wage because as we all know, employers put the well-being of their employees before profits and should be trusted to pay people a livable wage. And then there is his defense of BP and their disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico because clearly, big oil companies should have the right in a free market to cut employee safety and operational security corners to maximize profits.
So now, typical of the principled and courageous stand by GOP politicians who opposed the stimulus but now take credit for the jobs it created, or who staunchly fought against healthcare reform but who now tout the benefits it provides to their constituents, GOP candidate Rand Paul is changing his principled tune in the face of outrage and condemnation from not only those on the left side of the political spectrum, but from those in the middle and on the right as well. But of course, it is already to late. There are too many juicy sound bites from only a few days as the official candidate for the Republican Senate seat in Kentucky, let alone all of the statements made during the campaign and over the years as he espoused his puritan libertarian views.
Early on in the life of this blog, I wrote a piece about how the current Tea Party movement was actually seeded by the senior Paul’s legions who tried to promote the self-described libertarian’s presidential campaign by flying a blimp with Ron Paul for President plastered on the side over Boston Harbor and dumping tea into the water from above. While the stunt never actually took place, legend has it that this is where the idea for the Tea Party concept as a political movement against big government got its start.
Of course, we now know that this movement, started by well-meaning people concerned about big government, was hijacked early on by big corporate interests more concerned with protecting their profits from government regulation and oversight than with any true political or social change. As proof, one need only look at the ‘so-called’ grassroots effort that occurred when lobbyists and corporately funded interest groups launched websites and organized Tea Party chapters in the well funded and well coordinated aftermath of Rick Santelli’s scripted rant on CNBC.
But things have gotten way out of hand, and now the GOP and the corporate interests behind the Tea Party are faced with the stark reality that they are basically destroying any hope of regaining control with candidates like Rand Paul making it impossible for mainstream Republican candidates to be heard.
So like what has happened in Kentucky, what happened in New York’s 23rd congressional distrct last year, and is likely to happen in Arizona and god knows where else, candidates with extreme and dangerous rhetoric, holding positions that are too pure for effective governance, will be looked at by the majority of American voters who have only a passing interest in the details of politics and they will be shocked by what they hear and see.
Yes, there will be a big change this November, and many will be surprised by the outcome, but it will be less about Tea Party success and more about the death of a movement that was stolen from the people and used by rich and powerful forces to try to manipulate the electorate to gain even more corporate control over our lives and our government. Sadly, this does not mean that these rich and powerful forces have failed; it only means that they will now look for another means for achieving their ends because one thing is certain…they will stop at nothing to insure the gravy train of excessive profits continues.