Less than 12 hours after Senator Rand Paul ended his 13 hour filibuster, John McCain offered up this response reported in the Washington Times:
“The country needs more senators who care about liberty, but if Mr. Paul wants to be taken seriously he needs to do more than pull political stunts that fire up impressionable libertarian kids in their college dorms. He needs to know what he’s talking about.”
Perhaps Senator McCain has forgotten how quickly fortunes change in DC. Because if he was counting on support for his remarks on the basis of being the GOP’s presidential nominee in 2008, he is in for a rude awakening at least insofar as the grassroots and activists of the party are concerned.
Without a doubt, Senator Paul’s filibuster contained the element of theater to it. No national politician worth his salt says the things Paul did without considering how that will play in Peoria, as the saying goes.
But that sentiment holds true for Senator McCain as well. His ignoring of the feigned collegiality of the Senate and referring to “Mr. Paul” rather than “Senator Paul” and the mere fact that he himself was on camera talking make his remarks both rude and little better than a bad political stunt.
But the real outrage lies in McCain’s complete and utter ignorance regarding who Rand’s audience was and what their response has been. Senator McCain dismisses the audience as “impressionable libertarian kids in their college dorms.” While I am sure there is that element in Rand’s audience, it is far more than that.
It is GOP kids in their rooms, too. More to the point, all of my discussion on the matter in the last 24 hours has taken place with people over 35, most of which either are Republicans or vote that way. John McCain has just dissed, missed and dismissed a lot of people he asked to vote for him a few years ago.
A lot of those people stayed home last year because, among other things, they were tired of the same old politicians offering the same old platitudes over the same old issues. Enter Rand Paul…
What voters, activists and Americans saw yesterday was the most wonderful wind of leadership to blow out of the GOP in years. Brennan and drones were just the particulars. The message was that there is a right and a wrong and we ought to be advocating for the right; in this and every other instance.
Rand Paul and the handful of Senators that joined him stood up to Barack Obama and his administration’s outrages and excesses in exactly the way we have been looking for someone to stand up for 4 years. Instead, we have been fed a steady dose of compromise, surrender and outright collaboration with policy and legislation our Founders never envisioned in their worst nightmares.
Paul took on the President from an opposing party. McCain took on a Junior Senator from his own party. Paul was talking about ideas and principles. McCain was gossiping about a person. Paul was leading. McCain was following. Senator McCain implies that Senator Paul should be ashamed for his remarks. He has it exactly 180 degrees off. It is Senator McCain who should be ashamed.
For someone who doesn’t know what he’s talking about and who should avoid such stunts, for the last 24 hours it is Senator Paul who is dominating print, radio and TV along with the issues, policies and principles he is now proclaiming to an audience numbering in the tens of millions.
John McCain sounds like nothing so much as a bitter, jealous bride jilted at the altar.
The nation’s right of center grassroots have been wondering when their views would be given a voice. They may have just gotten their answer. A lot needs to happen before that can be said for sure. But it’s a heckuva start …
And for John McCain, it’s a shameful and disappointing end to what should have been remembered as an illustrious career. He has no one to blame but himself …