Debt Ceiling 2013: New Battle Pits Rand Paul Against John McCain
While Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) feverishly contested our government's "right" to execute us at will, the old guard Republicans were hatching a plan over after-dinner cigars and brandy to sell us out for an even bigger tax burden. Nothing could illustrate more clearly the battle lines for the coming debt ceiling debate and how they have changed with the collusion of President Obama and his new chums among the geriatric Senate set.
According to an Independent Journal article about Obama and the Republicans the dinner agenda, "A top goal for the president is to replace half of the automatic 10-year, $1.2 trillion spending cuts known as sequestration with a plan that would include tax increases..." (Daily Caller). The president's tax hike deal would essentially cut the effect of the sequester in half by dulling the need for the government to cut back spending. The $600 billion in tax increases would come at the expense of the private economy.
So as the next big showdown nears, we see the old mastodons of the establishment GOP squaring off against the young bucks. The average age of the senators at Obama's conspiratorial night of the long knives commemorative dinner was 61-years-old. Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) is 77. Compare this with Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.); 42 years old, Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) at 43, and Rand Paul, 50. It may not seem like much of a distinction but that decade or two represents the difference between a Republican who is tech savvy and tuned with laser-like precision to the social media and those who instead live in the golden era of graft and back-room deals oblivious to the fact that their cozy collusion would be exposed through the twitterverse and the blogosphere at the speed of light. This partially explains why old timers McCain and Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) committed the politically suicidal gaffe of appearing on the Senate floor to condemn Paul's audacity for standing up and demanding accountability from our government. Paul's filibuster was wildly popular with both sides of the political spectrum and Twitter traffic praising him ran some of the highest numbers ever; rivaling even the State of the Union buzz.
Still, if the old school does make a deal to sell us out and give back half the sequester, instead dumping $600 billion in new taxes on us, they can do it. They have the votes and will probably use that power to overwhelm their juniors. In exchange, I suspect they will be rewarded with a fat bonus for their military-industrial cronies. Rumors arose from Afghan President Karzai's contention that the U.S. is seeking to expand and lengthen its presence in Afghanistan; a move that would put some $800 billion per extra year on the Pentagon's books and in the pockets of defense contractors. Similar pushes for military expansion have sprung up in the context of North Korea and Iran (but that would just be a coincidence, right? Nobody would seriously imply a quid-pro-quo exchange of tax hikes for military expansion?).
This round in the tremendously unpopular budget ceiling debate will be cast as Democrat versus Republican, or House versus Senate, or the White House versus Congress. In reality, thanks to Paul and others who have exposed the money grubbing and power grabbing for what it is, it will now be a conflict between the corrupt status quo and the innovative new column.
Nothing will ever be the same in Washington. We used to watch contenders vie for political office as the staged caricatures of two different parties' champions. Elections were little more authentic than "big time wrestling." Now the holders of every elective seat will have to think twice before trying to undermine the interests of the citizenry. We will be among them. Our own elected cyborgs; flesh and blood libertarian congressmen melded with our neural net; darting, flickering electronic eyes examining every sleight of hand; every rhetorical nuance. Our mind-to-mind communications networks will shriek with rage when we catch them in the act.
Last week was a turning point. The prime time image of Obama with his GOP cabal juxtaposed with that of Rand Paul putting the administration on notice taught both we the people and the plutocrats where the power was shifting. The new paradigm will be truth versus deceit.