It may not seem all that significant at face value, but Rand Paul won the Republican Party nomination for the state of Kentucky in the Senate primary this week. Rand Paul is not your garden variety Republican. Aside from being the son of another prominent Republican, Ron Paul, he is a member of a growing flock of Tea Party followers.
Yes, Mr. Paul describes himself as a Libertarian (with a capital "L") and not as a Tea Partier, but that may be because there's no place on the ballot for Tea Partier. More importantly, the so-called Tea Party is closer to independent in that it is neither Republican nor Democrat. Make no mistake, Rand Paul wants to be the new face of the Republican Party as does Sarah Palin.
Combined with the miraculous victory of another who drew large support from the Tea Party, Scott Brown, who won the seat of legendary Massachusetts senator, Ted Kennedy, this is further proof that the President must now forget any illusions he may previously have had about a spirit of bipartisanship. It's safe to say that, with Rand Paul's victory today, the myth of bipartisanship has been officially laid to rest.
Let me be perfectly clear for those unable to read closely. Bipartisanship in this country has never been anything more than a myth, but we're rapidly approaching the point of another civil war, only this time it will be about class more than race.
Should he choose to accept it, this is a chance for this President to grow his agenda in a direction that is not only more likely to win him reelection in two years but, more importantly, one that will protect and defend labor, as well as safeguard those constitutional protections we still have left like a woman's right to choose, the Fourth and the Fourteenth Amendment which guarantee due process, and suffrage.
Whatever you might say about Elena Kagan, pro or con, one thing is clear. Her nomination, and near certain confirmation, makes it clear that this administration still believes it is dealing with moderates on the other side of the aisle, but guess what, Mr. President, whatever moderates there are left in the Republican Party are now hiding under their desks in fear of what the radical right wingnuts might be cooking up next.
After all, it was another right winger, Barry Goldwater, who laid the groundwork for the insanity that is trying to pass itself off as law in Arizona, and everybody knows who Barry Goldwater's biggest fan was--George W. Bush. How many more Goldwater moments can this country afford, Mr. President?
By not appointing a boldfaced progressive with a strong environmental track record, someone who has been outspoken on climate change, human rights, and defending habeas corpus, and one who doesn't think the First Amendment applies only to corporations, the President has missed one opportunity in his nomination of Elena Kagan who has managed to be amorphous enough not to be pinned down.
The Senate primary in Kentucky victory can be seen as good news if it makes a strong enough impression on the White House, and this President decides to take control of the steering wheel away from McChrystal and Gates, and steer us out of the quagmire in Afghanistan and Pakistan in which he's allowed himself to sink deeper in the name of bipartisan cooperation.
Give it up, Mr. President. You can't win this one. You've got to stand up for the things people elected you to stand up for like accountability, transparency, restoring the rule of law, insuring equal opportunity for all Americans, and not just for bankers. You've got to win back the middle class by bailing out the working class, and not Wall Street.
There can be no negotiating with thosewho cling to their dogma and their shotguns at the same time.
This is yet another opportunity this presidency cannot afford to miss.