By Robert Capehert
President Obama may have blamed the gun lobby for his defeat, but he could just as easily have singled out Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and Mike Lee, the Senate’s most vocal and spirited opponents of the legislation. Those three lawmakers led an effort to filibuster the bill over opposition not only from the administration and Senate Democrats, but also from within their own party. They are now relishing what they consider an important strategic victory.
As the White House accused the three senators of ignoring the views of the American people, the Wall Street Journal’s editorial board dubbed the filibuster “the GOP’s gun-control misfire” and blasted them for shifting the burden off of Senate Democrats by making Republicans “the media’s gun-control focus.”
That, according to Senate insiders supportive of the filibuster effort, was the precisely the point. The Lee aide says that the trio hope to bring even more focus to the issue, and to do so from a constitutional perspective, much as Rand Paul raised awareness about drone policy by mounting his now-legendary 13-hour filibuster in March, or as Republicans did in 2003 when they made George W. Bush’s judicial nominee Miguel Estrada practically a household name, filing seven votes for cloture on his nomination.
“Last week’s filibuster was critical,” says a Republican Senate staffer who backed the move, “because it made clear that there was strong opposition to the legislation, that there was going to be a strong stand over this, it raised the issue in the public’s awareness.” Though the filibuster itself was defeated, it seems the senators behind it are counting this a victory.
We have said it before on this blog.
Until the refreshing group of young Turks took power in the senatorial chamber (Rand Paul, Mike Lee, Ted Cruz), opposing the statism of the Obama administration, the G.O.P. largely ignored the notion of building an issue outside of electoral cycles.
If there was not an election, went G.O.P. absurdity — Who gives a bleep!
It is one of sundry reasons why the G.O.P. looks like a jackass to urban voters when Republicans are out of sight and out of mind to the concerns of such voters, until an election arises, and Republicans are seen in the comfy confines of the city polis pinning for voters.
This had an obvious effect: the loss of the country — especially in heavily populated areas — to far left leadership, with the Republican Party bug-eyed and left naked out in the cold, it’s ass in the brisk breeze.
Republicans largely allowed Democratic leftists to steer the debate on sundry issues, thus momentum was lost, and defeat emerged.
The heckling rebuke from The Wall Street Journal only reminds us here at Libertarian Monks, how misguided the talking heads are in American politics. What looks like defeat to these folks — the mainstream media (even its conservative veneer) is defeat. If victory isn’t sudden and obvious many feel all is lost.
In a word, victory requires steady work — a pushing forward even when defeat looms upfront — because victory is just up ahead in many cases. Enter Rand Paul and his guard of free market gunslingers, bringing up the rear-guard and it could not have happened sooner in the mind of this author.
In Republican circles of late, there is no understanding victory is pulled out of working an issue long and hard and pulling the kind of ideological defense championed by this new team of young conservative, slash libertarian, Republicans.
It’s a joy to see. Probably the only good thing in American politics worth notice. The point is, issues must be prepared. Baked and then cooked. The ideological defense of a position has to be argued for and articulated before a debate, an election, or a vote surfaces.
One of the reasons Republicans are now stuck with the epic boondoggle of ObamaCare is because Republican’s did not address the issue of healthcare costs from free market premises generations ago. As such, the issue grew, and when Democrat’s had an opportunity, they solved the problem (by making it worse) with top-to-bottom statist healthcare legislation.
We call this stumble in the mud ObamaCare. Try wrestling out of that Judo hold on the free market economy. We better, because as Democrat senator Max Baucus said, “its [ObamaCare] a train wreck.”
So it goes with physics, it goes with politics — inertia matters.