In what will ultimately be a beneficial series of events for conservative America, John McCain and Lindsay Graham inadvertently emerged from the shadow of Rand Paul’s stellar performance and unequivocally reminded the nation of why their version of the GOP is on the road to extinction.
In the immediate aftermath of the 2012 election disaster, the Republican Party grew extremely introspective, with many of its key figures postulating that the party needed to shift leftward if it was to have any hope of future successes. This effort was encouraged in part by the liberal media along with Democrats, who readily understood the long term political hegemony they could enjoy if their opposition wallowed in uncertainty, self doubt, and ambiguity. Mitt Romney, we were told, had ultimately been a bad choice to run against Barack Obama specifically because his support of traditional values and personal responsibility in lieu of the “nanny state” made him unpalatable to the nation’s increasingly dependent culture.
For several excruciating weeks, America was bombarded with prognostications from news anchors, warning that if the GOP did not immediately embrace the fiscal and social policies of the Democrats and abandon its extreme right wing, it would drift off into political irrelevance. Of course amnesty for illegal aliens and the wholesale embrace of the homosexual agenda, including same-sex “marriage” topped the list, not that the Republican Party could actually gain anything by embracing those precepts, but precisely because doing so would alienate its traditional base, thus ensuring unassailable Democrat advances for the foreseeable future.
Since that time, other professed political “experts” of the conservative movement have moved into the limelight, unveiling their plans to shift the GOP back to the political “center” (meaning to the left) so that it can ostensibly gain a broader appeal among voters. In particular, former Bush political strategist Karl Rove recently unveiled his bogusly named “Conservative Victory Project,” the purpose of which is to confront and undermine Tea Party candidates during Republican primary races, in order to secure victories for candidates who are more moderate and thus, in his opinion, more electable.
Possessing an abundance of money, connections, and publicity, this cabal of Republican “centrists” have everything they need to wage a successful war on conservative and “Tea Party” candidacies, except any evidence that their strategies could ever work. While they revel in pointing out the failed candidacies of conservatives such as Christine O’Donnell of Delaware and Todd Akin of Missouri, candidacies which by the way, they did their best to undermine, no historical example can be offered as proof that their strategizing might have fared any better.
Certainly, Rove would point to the presidency of George W. Bush who defeated Al Gore for the presidency in 2000 and John Kerry in 2004. And it must be remembered that Bush actually lost the 2000 popular vote and would likely not have achieved re-election in 2004, were it not for the sobering effect of the World Trade Center attacks in September of 2001. Yet even that was an aberration in an otherwise unbroken string of abject failures stretching back to 1992, when the senior George Bush lost to Bill Clinton. Also among the rubble of unsuccessful “moderate” candidacies over the past three decades were those of Bob Dole in 1996, along with John McCain in 2008 and Mitt Romney in 2012.
Against this dismal track record, and with the Obama onslaught moving ahead at breakneck speed, conservative America has increasingly despaired of ever again prevailing against those on the left who would remake the nation in their own sordid image. Nanny state encroachment and collectivism appeared to be the unstoppable wave of the future.
Yet on Wednesday March 6, 2013, one irrepressible individual rose to the occasion and successfully took on the entire Washington establishment. Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, with assistance from a handful of other Republican Senators and one Democrat, effectively shut down the confirmation of John Brennan, Barack Obama’s nominee for CIA chief. Waging a thirteen hour filibuster over the Administration’s unwillingness to unequivocally proclaim the lethal use of drones against Americans on American soil to be unconstitutional, Paul promised to continue speaking for as long as his voice would endure.
From every perspective, the event was a stunning success. On the following day, Attorney General Eric Holder issued a statement reassuring Paul that the Obama Administration concedes that the use of drones in question is indeed unconstitutional. However, even beyond that specific issue, Rand Paul’s success in taking on the Executive Branch and demanding accountability from it proved to be a pivotal moment for the nation. What had been the burgeoning monster of unchecked power in the nation’s highest office was suddenly thwarted and put completely on the defensive. As a result, grassroots conservatives were rallied and energized in a manner they have not enjoyed since the electoral rout of congressional Democrats in 2010.
Against such a backdrop, it would seem predictable that the Republican establishment in Washington ought to be celebrating its newfound momentum. However, to the dismay of Heartland America, key players in the GOP displayed a much different and extremely telling response. In particular, Senators John McCain (R.-AZ) and Lindsay Graham (R.-SC) castigated and demeaned Senator Paul in a manner they never employ against Democrats. Graham openly expressed his “disappointment” with the filibuster, while lauding the “good judgment” of the Obama Administration. Disparaging Paul and his motive for the filibuster as “totally unfounded,” McCain went on to express his concern that Paul’s conduct might fuel criticism over noncompliance with “the rules of the Senate.”
In what will ultimately be a beneficial series of events for conservative America, John McCain and Lindsay Graham inadvertently emerged from the shadow of Rand Paul’s stellar performance and unequivocally reminded the nation of why their version of the GOP is on the road to extinction. While Barack Obama flagrantly trashes the Constitution and continues his onslaught against America’s founding principles, John McCain frets over possible negative repercussions on the “rules of the Senate.” As the people on Main Street seek a leader around whom they can rally, McCain and Graham remind them of the inevitable failures awaiting them if they once again coalesce under the insipidness of a “mainstream” Republican.
Contrary to the supposed wisdom of the self-proclaimed “experts” inside the Beltway, it was not conservatism that lost in November. Nor was the nation drawn to the irrefutable disaster of Barack Obama’s “hope and change” platitudes. What America rejected was a continuance of the tired and uninspiring prospect of “business as usual,” to which the GOP invariably retreats as perceived politically safe ground. Senators McCain and Graham can certainly remain there as they and their version of the Republican Party fade into obsolescence. An emboldened conservative element, reflective of the Tea-Party and real conservatism at the grassroots, is ready to assume leadership.
Christopher G. Adamo is a resident of southeastern Wyoming and has been involved in state and local politics for many years. He writes for several prominent conservative websites, as has written for regional and national magazines. His contact information and article archives can be found at www.chrisadamo.com, and he can be followed on Twitter @CGAdamo.