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Confounding “Old-Line Republicans” Confounded

Genuinely Progressive Senators Cruz, Lee and Paul Confuse and Bewilder the Outdated Status Quo

Credit as due: this was inspired by, and originally appeared as a (much shorter) comment after, Daniel Horowitz’ 5/22 RedState diary entitled “It’s the Wacko Birds vs the Wackos Again.”

Two pieces of information from a Huffington Post Article article (to which Mr. Horowitz also provided a link) tell the story.

First, the Huffington Post writer, Michael McAuliff, referred to Senators John McCain (AZ) and Susan Collins (ME) as “old-line republicans.” I don’t know what that means to others, but to me it means they’re part of the problem: the “old-line” senate (surely not only these two republicans, but it’s their turn in the barrel) that serves itself, not the nation; that expects to serve itself and not the nation.

That, in the eyes of the “old-line” senate, is its natural, God-given purpose: to serve itself, and its friends. What other way can it be? Certainly not to serve others!

Second, Collins’ and McCain’s comments, as quoted in the Huffington Post article, explain what I mean. Both Collins and McCain find it strikingly unconventional that Senators Cruz, Lee and Paul are questioning, and even preventing, the “old-line” senate’s normal means of conducting its business. The “old-line” senate is not used to being even questioned, let alone prevented, from doing things the way it always has. The “old-line” senate so unswervingly believes in its imperious authority that it does not seem to even know how to respond to those who might merely question it, let alone block it.

“We’ve always passed laws this way,” says McCain, befuddled by the actions of those younger senators whom, I’d not be surprised to find, are at best heartily disappointed with him and his ilk. He thinks those who would question or block his “old-line” senate ways must be “whack-o.”

“We must have a return to order,” says Collins, equally perplexed by question of her “old-line” senate’s imperious rule.

For what it’s worth: according to the Huffington Post article, all Cruz, Lee and Paul are asking is that when the shiny, new (and unconstitutionally rare) senate budget goes to the House for hashing out, those senators who accompany it be prevented from agreeing to tax or deficit increases. Given the “old-line” senate’s long-standing proclivity for increasing taxes and spending more than we have, despite very public and heartfelt assurances to avoid same, that sounds reasonable, even necessary, to me.

But it has McCain and Collins standing next to themselves, astonished that Cruz, Lee and Paul actually don’t trust their fellows to do the right thing; as if that’s an unsupported, outlandish suspicion.

My analogical imagination has always been, if nothing else, a source of entertainment. None the less, I can just see some bespectacled, fleshy old English Lords in 1770s Commons or the Parliament, sputtering and harrumphing in disbelief as those “cheeky, colonial commoners of the lower order” contest their dictatorial decrees.

“What? They disdain our taxation? Preposterous! Send the troops.”

Personally, I wonder if McCain and Collins are thusly confounded because . . .  well, how in the world can they increase taxes and deficit spending if other senators–senators, of all people–won’t allow them to? Don’t Senators Cruz, Lee and Paul know: higher taxes and deficit spending are what senators are supposed to do? That is, after all, what they’ve always done.

“Why else,” the “old-line” senate seems to be asking, with no small measure of incredulity, “do you think we became senators, if not to raise taxes and increase the deficit? Of course we said we won’t, but . . . we want the money! Duh!

That might not be how the “old-line” senate sees itself, but that’s the image it presents: a regression, to when the people served the entitled rulers, instead of attendant to the United States’ most radical new idea; that those elected serve the people and are entitled to only the honor of serving . . . and a kick in the pants if they forget in what country they serve and in what century they live.

Alas, the “old-line” senate does as it pleases, with regard only for its privileged members’ welfare and authority, as God does thusly decree. The “old-line” senate doesn’t regard the nation’s health or the welfare of the nation’s citizens. The “old-line” senate doesn’t pass budgets, as it is constitutionally mandated to do, until it pleases and, when it finally does, it is “proud” (McCain’s word) of itself and pats itself on the back.

“Good show! We did our jobs! Shall we not be congratulated?”

Oh, please . . ..

Furthermore, when the “old-line” senate passes a budget, it always allows itself to spend more of “the other people’s” money than “the other people” have, thus plunging “the other people”—“the little people,” who darest not question the “old-line” senate’s imperial wisdom—ever more deeply into debt.

The “old-line” senate says, “Everyone must unite . . . in support of us.”

Clearly, the “old-line” senate—like the “old-line” House of Representatives—is responsible for much, if not all, of the nation’s woes: monstrous debt, unsecured borders, unsettling inner conflicts, a foreclosure crisis, doubts about the future, costly-yet-ineffective education, corporate/political bed-sharing, mountains of regulation, burgeoning and burdensome bureaucracies, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. Clearly, we cannot trust the “old-line” senate, and it has to go before it—with its view only toward its own welfare, with its desecration of all that makes us great—completely destroys the country and, in the doing, makes a mockery of all for which this nation stands.

Cruz, Lee and Paul must oppose them: must stand firm. They must put a stop to the “old-line” senatorial status quo–”as much as we want to spend, whenever we want to spend it; whatever we want to do, whenever we feel like doing it”–that has for too long been dragging this country down.

I think it’s necessary that we show vocal support and encouragement for Mr. Cruz, Mr. Lee, Mr. Paul, and other rightly-principled senators (Mr. McConnell? Mr. Scott? Any others?) who stand with them.

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