Notes on Mitch McConnell- For Paul and Romney, a strategic alliance between outsider and establishment – The Washington Post

This Washington Post story is interesting for its topic but what I found especially interesting is near the end in the discussion of Mitch McConnell and his role (and presumptuousness) in his state’s politics.

McConnell didn’t recognize the Tea Party people.  What greater testimony to his “establishment” Republican character?  What a tantalizing idea that the Tea Party might have been, after a few elections, the means of developing a new third party in the US had it not so closely allied itself to the idea of influencing the Republican party.  (I write as a liberal interested in seeing electoral choices greater than those the system now provides and one who has wished for but seen no chance of a real alternative party for either conservatives or liberals.)

“Paul’s infiltration strategy began in 2008, after his last presidential bid, when he saw the potential to continue building his movement by working within the Republican Party.

But the idea took off in 2010 when Paul’s son Rand ran for Senate. On an outsider, small-government message very similar to his father’s, Rand Paul won the Republican primary that year against an opponent who was handpicked by Mitch McConnell, the Senate minority leader and senior senator from Kentucky. (All emphasis added)

Then, quite strangely, the establishment and the Pauls came together.

At McConnell’s request, the National Republican Senatorial Committee sent an adviser to Kentucky to watch over Rand Paul’s general-election campaign — “to be the grown-up in the room,” according to one Washington Republican who spoke on the condition of anonymity to talk candidly.

The adviser, Trygve Olson, developed a friendship with Rand Paul, and the two realized that they could teach each other a lot — to the benefit of both candidate and party. Olson showed Paul and his campaign establishment tactics: working with the news media, fine-tuning its message. And Paul showed Olson — and by extension, McConnell — how many people were drawn to the GOP by his message of fiscal responsibility.

One day that year, at Paul’s request, McConnell joined him for a tea party gathering in Kentucky, according to a Republican who was there. “Who are these people?” McConnell asked, bewildered by the dearth of familiar faces at a political event in his home state.

And at Rand Paul’s suggestion, Olson joined his father’s presidential campaign this year, basically to do what he did for Rand: help bring the Paul constituency into the Republican coalition without threatening the party. It’s probably no small coincidence that the partnership helps Rand’s burgeoning political career, too.

“You can dress in black and stand on the hill and smash the state and influence nobody, or you can realize the dynamics and the environment and get involved in the most pragmatic way to win minds and win votes and influence change,” said Benton, the campaign manager. “That’s what we’re trying to do.”

For Paul and Romney, a strategic alliance between outsider and establishment – The Washington Post.

Why I will not vote for Obama again…probably…

No one had higher hopes for President Obama.  No one feels greater sympathy for him as he has had to cope with wars and an economic meltdown he did not begin against an intractable Republican opposition more committed to getting him out of office than to resolving problems that confront the country.  But he has not only followed his predecessors in allowing the violation of civil liberties and the expansion of un-reviewed executive authority, he has expanded upon both.  He has given precedental weight to behavior which, were it confined to his predecessor’s administration, might be thought of as another sad aberration from American ideals, similar to interning the Japanese, or the earlier imprisonment of Eugene V. Debs*, and by his doing so, made constitutionally prohibited behavior more acceptable to Americans and more to be expected by people from other countries dealing with ours and with us.

He has set a course that says to all, “Whatever we once wanted to be, which included living up to some high ideals, from which we sometimes fell woefully short, we now want something quite different:  to have our way, as the president sees that way, no matter what.

The single most egregious example is recounted in this post from Glenn Greenwald blogging for Salon.com. regarding the targeting for assassination of Anwar al-Awlaki, an American citizen.  Give this and the likely consequences in the future under either Republicans or Democrats a few minutes thought:

http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/story/?story=/opinion/greenwald/2011/05/07/awlaki

If you are like me, i.e. you have little formal tie to the ideals of the country or any role in its governance other than that which is yours through being a citizen, and particularly if you are young and reasonably able to anticipate living here in 50 years after future administrations have come to take the powers he is assuming unto themselves as simple working assumptions, validated by time in place and both parties, think about what Greenwald says for a few minutes.

Some will note that I left room with “probably” in the headline for changing my mind.  I did so for two reasons:  the first is that Obama himself might alter his path and come home to what I hope were once his values.  The second is that at the time I write this it is possible the Republicans will nominate, and significant numbers of Americans show themselves willing to elect, a candidate so outrageous that voting for Obama again requires a violation of English to express:  a choice between worst and worst.  In that case, I’ll vote for him again.  Remote though I think the possibility to be at this time, the Republicans could nominate a candidate committed to our ideals to a greater degree than is Obama.  I suppose I will have to vote for him or her.

*  Lest a reader point it out as vitiating my whole point, both these happened under Democratic administrations.  Falling short of our ideals is one area of non-partisan performance in our history and under the even the best of circumstances is likely to remain so.