Have Marco and Rand Switched Sides? - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Have Marco and Rand Switched Sides?

Have Marco Rubio and Rand Paul gone over the side? 

To Marco Rubio, all those tens of thousands swarming to Donald Trump rallies in places like Arizona, Alabama, Texas, and well beyond (New Hampshire, Iowa, and South Carolina) are part of a “freak show.”

To Rand Paul, the real problem in the GOP Senate is not Mitch McConnell but, yes indeed, Ted Cruz, saying Cruz is “done for” in the Senate. Rand declined an opportunity supplied by Sean Hannity in a radio interview to join with Cruz and even say a negative word about McConnell.

In other words? Marco Rubio and Rand Paul, once the shining stars of the Tea Party, seem now to have switched sides. The Establishment — whether represented in Paul’s case by Mitch McConnell in the Senate or, in Rubio’s case, all those increasingly nervous Bush donors starting to look for someone else to pull the Establishment’s bacon out of the Trump/Outsider fire — is delighted.

Amazing. Once upon a time — that would be the long ago past of 2010 — Marco Rubio and Rand Paul were two of the bright stars of the Tea Party rebellion against the GOP Establishment. Rubio upset the Establishment favorite, Florida Governor Charlie Crist, the latter finally abandoning ship altogether to run as an independent against Rubio. Not only did Crist lose, but in the final stage of revealing his true colors Crist switched to the Democrats outright, running a losing race for governor just last year. Rand Paul, memorably, took on the Kentucky GOP Establishment led by Mitch McConnell, who fervently opposed Rand and tried to defeat him with Kentucky GOP Establishment darling Trey Grayson. Grayson lost, and went on to join Democratic ex-Congresswoman Gabrielle Gifford’s “Gabby PAC.” The Washington Post wrote this of Grayson’s alliance with Giffords:

Grayson, notably, lost a 2010 primary to now-Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.). After that, he resigned his office to accept the chairmanship at Harvard University’s Institute of Politics. By chairing Giffords’s PAC, Grayson is now effectively raising money for the other party.

Or, in other words, like Charlie Crist in Florida, Grayson was everything Kentucky tea partiers believed him to be. Namely, the two are liberal Establishment darlings.

But who would ever have thought the same about Rubio and Paul? They ran as outright opponents of the GOP Establishment. There was endless gnashing of GOP Establishment teeth about their respective successes. And now?

From Rubio and his dalliance with the pro-illegal immigration “Gang of Eight” to Paul’s condemnation of Ted Cruz, one can only say: Marco and Rand, we hardly knew ye.

Speaking of Ted Cruz, yet again true to his word to his fellow Texans, standing alone — say again alone, with the ever valiant exception of Utah’s Mike Lee — on the Senate floor trying to get Planned Parenthood defunded. Over at Breitbart, Cruz’s fight was headlined as follows:


The story begins:

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) slammed Republican leadership on Monday for slavishly serving the interests of major corporations — and worse, leading attacks from the Left on its conservative grassroots base.

The Democrats are “relentless” in pursuing their principles, Cruz said, which include ever-increasing government spending and unlimited abortion rights. They’re “willing to crawl over broken glass with a knife between their teeth to fight for their principles,” Cruz said.

Republican leadership “reflexively surrenders,” Cruz said. “President Obama simply has to utter the word shutdown and Republican leadership runs for the hills.”

Cruz explained three types of votes take place in the Senate: “show votes,” a limp-wristed attempt to placate voters by staging a pre-ordained surrender to Democrats; votes that simply grow government; “must-pass” votes that include continuing resolutions, appropriations bills, and debt ceiling raises.

The Texas senator compared GOP leadership to an NFL coach that declares “we forfeit” at every single coin toss. The “clean” continuing resolution rubberstamps Obama’s hard-left agenda.

“It funds 100 percent of Obama’s agenda, executive amnesty, Obamacare, the Iran nuclear deal. It is essentially a blank check to Barack Obama,” Cruz said.

Over at Politico the GOP Establishment’s Senate handmaidens tangle with Cruz was reported as follows: 

Cruz sternly rebuked by GOP

The Texas senator’s internal criticism of his leadership is what animates his presidential campaign, but his colleagues appear to be no longer listening. 

The story begins:

Ted Cruz can’t even get a protest vote in the Senate anymore.

On Monday night, Cruz’s colleagues ignored his attempt to disrupt Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s efforts to fund the government without attacking Planned Parenthood. In an unusual rebuke, even fellow Republicans denied him a “sufficient second” that would have allowed him a roll call vote.

Then, his Republican colleagues loudly bellowed “no” when Cruz sought a voice vote, a second repudiation that showed how little support Cruz has: Just one other GOP senator — Utah’s Mike Lee — joined with Cruz as he was overruled by McConnell and his deputies.

Got that? Cruz’s Republican colleagues “loudly bellowed “no.” And Rand Paul says of this:

“He is pretty much done for and stifled, and it’s really because of personal relationships, or lack of personal relationships, and it is a problem.”

And right there is the problem. It’s no big deal for the Senate Majority Leader to look a member in the eye and not tell the truth. No, that’s OK. The problem is when the guy on the receiving end of the lie tells the rest of us out here with the Great Unwashed what really happened. Now that’s a problem. Which is another way of saying what the Republican majority in the United States Senate is all about is… their egos. 

Good to know. 

Similarly, this is exactly the challenge that Trump and his supporters are posing to the GOP Establishment. They’re talking about the country — and Marco Rubio disdains them as followers of a “freak show.” Not unlike John McCain . dissing his own constituents who showed up for a Phoenix Trump rally by the thousands as “crazies.’

Is it any wonder that Politico reports that as a result of Jeb Bush’s sinking fortunes we see the following (bold print for emphasis supplied):

“I don’t know if it’s panic or paranoia in Miami, but they are losing [Scott] Walker people to Marco, and if you say what’s true, they get mad,” said one Bush donor, who spoke to POLITICO on the condition of anonymity. “I think it’s just reflective of what’s been going on for the past month or so and the way the race, at least in the establishment lane, has shifted. It’s really Jeb or Marco now.”

Got that? Establishment Bushies nervously reconsidering Jeb’s fortunes and in “the establishment lane” are saying the GOP Establishment choices are “really Jeb or Marco now.”

Does anyone really believe that a member of the GOP Establishment would even consider backing Marco Rubio — if they didn’t think he had become one of them? The idea is laughable on its face. Notice: That unidentified Bushie in the Politico story above did not say that the Establishment choices are “really Jeb or Donald” or “Jeb or Ted,” did they? 

Of course not. With reason.

The plain fact here is that none of this has to do with form — form here meaning Cruz being blunt on the Senate floor about McConnell or Donald Trump saying a blunt A, B, or C about anybody else. Nor is this about, as Rand Paul is also saying, tactics.

No, what’s at issue here is serious substance. Being willing to use the power of the purse, the Constitution, to draw the line in Reagan-style “bold colors” about the differences between conservatives and the Obama left.

And the hard fact of the matter here is that Senators Rubio and Paul, once each a Great Hope of the Tea Party, have not simply fled the field. they seem to have gone over to the other side. Neither will be demanding McConnell’s resignation. Neither will be coming to the aid of Ted Cruz with a pro-Cruz speech on the Senate floor or anywhere else. And in Rubio’s case, he has made clear his opinion of Trump supporters — those freaks. What was Rubio thinking? Uncharacteristically, not much. Disappointing to say the least. But perhaps the Trump campaign has flushed out Rubio’s true colors as Rubio himself once did to Crist.

Meanwhile there is yet another new poll in the hopper. This USA Today/Suffolk University poll, which shows Donald Trump leading with 23% and way down there at 9% is Rubio and 2% for Rand Paul.

Whatever else this latest poll illustrates it is clear yet again that if one choses to get aligned with the GOP Establishment, the results will not be happy. 

No wonder.

Jeffrey Lord
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Jeffrey Lord, a contributing editor to The American Spectator, is a former aide to Ronald Reagan and Jack Kemp. An author and former CNN commentator, he writes from Pennsylvania at jlpa1@aol.com. His new book, Swamp Wars: Donald Trump and The New American Populism vs. The Old Order, is now out from Bombardier Books.
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