Paul was unhappy with the Obama administration’s incomplete response to his question about whether drones could be used to kill Americans in this country. He believes that an armed drone can legitimately be used in fighting the enemy abroad, but should never be used in this country to attack an American citizen unless that individual represents an imminent threat to innocent Americans.
Incredibly, the administration was unwilling to state categorically that such drone use was impermissible. After his filibuster sparked attention from across the country, Attorney General Eric Holder finally sent a letter to Paul answering his question of whether the President has the authority to issue a drone strike against “an American not engaged in combat on American soil.” According to Holder, “the answer to that question is no.”
With his dramatic filibuster, Paul showed that someone could stand up to President Obama and reframe the debate in Washington in the process. It was not only a victory for Paul, but it was most importantly a victory for all Americans concerned about the Bill of Rights.
This should have sparked a celebration involving all members of the Republican Party. Instead, members of the old guard establishment, specifically Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC), ridiculed Paul for his efforts. In fact, McCain claimed that Paul and other conservative Senators were “wacko birds.”
This dispute is indicative of the war that exists within the Republican Party. The conservative wing, which includes Paul and fellow Senators like Ted Cruz of Texas, are more in line with the base of the Republican Party. These conservatives represent the grass roots of the party and the Tea Party movement, which fueled the Republican revolution of 2010 and the helped the GOP take back control of Congress in 2010.
Unfortunately, the establishment wing of the Republican Party seized control after that mid-term election and forced a very moderate nominee on the party in the 2012 election. Not surprisingly, Romney failed to inspire millions of conservative voters in the 2012 election and they stayed home, insuring Obama’s victory.
The GOP will be doomed to failure and will eventually cease to exist if it continues to follow the path set by John McCain and Mitt Romney. The Republican Party must move in the direction of Rand Paul and other conservatives who are not going to be intimidated by the media or the Obama White House.
The battle for 2016 has already begun and there is little doubt that Rand Paul will be a presidential candidate. Opposing him will be moderate and establishment candidates like former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.
If the Republican Party is smart, they will give a conservative candidate a chance in the 2016 presidential race. The last time they did that it worked out pretty well. In fact, a guy named Ronald Reagan won two landslide elections. Reagan was hated by the establishment, who tried to defeat him in 1980 with George H. W. Bush. Fortunately, Reagan prevailed, but he was the last conservative nominee of the Republican Party.
It is time the Republicans embraced a conservative candidate like Rand Paul, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin or Texas Senator Ted Cruz as their presidential nominee in the next election.
As indicated by the fierce criticism that Palin regularly receives and McCain’s blast against Rand Paul, it will be a very difficult fight.
However, if the Republican Party wants to insure survival in the long term, it is imperative that a real conservative win the 2016 nomination.
From now until then, we should expect three years of intraparty fighting
It is clear that Sarah Palin is courageous enough to take on her opponents. Now, it is good to see there are a few more fighters in the U.S. Senate, led by the movement’s newfound hero, Rand Paul.