Rand Paul rises
By Bernie Quigley
For The Hill on 3/31/11
It is interesting how well and how fast Rand Paul, the new senator from Kentucky, has fit in. He comes after long advance in the tail of his father Ron Paul, who might be considered the Father Abraham of the Tea Party Movement. His speeches on the Senate floor are thoughtful, informed with history and tradition and appropriate to current events and so are his frequent conversations with Judge Andrew Napolitano on Fox Business. He calls on the heroic Cassius M. Clay as his avatar, the Kentucky anti-slavery iconoclast, who placed a Bible and Bowie Knife on the podium before he spoke and frequently used the Bowie Knife. And time appears to be opening up to him.
The invasion of Libya presents the perfect possible political moment to him. Father Ron railed daily against the invasion of Iraq, but America at first required vengeance. We are not a commonly vengeful people, but will respond as the bard Toby Keith so poignantly put it at the time, with “a boot in the ass” when we are injured, and that more than anything perhaps represented the heartland feelings about the Iraq war and 9/11. But Ron Paul had what might be called a “higher law” vision and it has now captivated almost 40% of younger Republicans.
We feel this time an active dislike but no particular vengeance against Libya about any specific hurt. Ron Paul’s arguments against the Iraq invasion might be listened to more thoughtfully when they come today from son Rand.
Harry Reid says the 49% support of the Tea Party shows Americans are disinterested in it. But President Obama’s approval rating is much lower. And the times are moving toward Rand. Invariably, widespread social movements like the Tea Party move to one champion and representative. She or he has not yet been found. But it will not be any of the so-far announced Republicans, nor will it be one like Scott Walker or Mitch Daniels who primarily serve the Republican traditions. The traditions are eroding. The world is beginning again. It may be Rand Paul.
And working in his favor is a President who no longer seems to want to be President; a President seen as one of the greatest orators on record who now speaks in Oprahworld jargon of “the conscience of the world”; a President who leads neither abroad nor at home and has no clue regarding Libya. Obama was the perfect man for the times just a few short years ago, but that time is rapidly passing and a new day beckons.