Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) was one of the few Republicans actually standing in the way of the GOP’s spend-a-palooza last night, more or less making him the sole conservative in the Senate on Thursday night.
On Friday, after the smoke cleared, Paul wrote an op-ed for TIME, where he gave his feelings on the issue. Suffice to say, he was not at all kind to his Republican colleagues, and good on him for it.
“I simply asked for one thing in this broken process: a 15-minute vote on whether those caps should or should not be broken,” wrote Paul. “The furor this request set off among leadership, the wailing and screeching among Big Government advocates in Congress and in the media — well, you would think I had asked them to shut down forever.”
He is correct. People in both the media and his fellow Senators were so angry about Paul’s insistence that they all take a moment to hold up to the agreed spending caps that they were outwardly wishing his neighbor would come back to hurt him again.
Paul made sure everyone understood that he didn’t want to shut the government down. That wasn’t his aim. What he wanted was for Congress to stop acting like a teenager with their daddy’s credit card, engaging in relentless needless spending.
“Right now in the Senate, nothing seems to matter except the will of a small circle of Big Government, free-spending leaders who demand silence and “take it or leave it” votes,” wrote Paul. “I chose to leave it.”
Then Paul absolutely hammered Republican leadership, saying he wasn’t elected to be GOP leadership’s yes man, despite the fact that this is exactly what the GOP leadership expects out of Republican members.
I wasn’t elected to be anyone’s rubber stamp. I wasn’t elected to allow business as usual —whether it’s out-of-control spending or out-of-control rules that stifle debate and votes.
Seven hundred pages of bill, spending over 500 billion new dollars. It’s a lot to throw at someone the day of a shutdown deadline. But of course, the leaders knew that. They count on no one to challenge them. They count on rubber stamps and yes-men who will fight them “the next time.”
Paul said he voted for tax cuts with the understanding that spending would be curbed. However, Republicans and Democrats alike saw to it that they didn’t follow their own rules.
“We should plan for spending what comes in. In fact, per budget rules, the tax bill I voted on and supported was required to be paid for, and Congress had a year to figure out how,” wrote Paul. “Ninety-one senators, including all Democrats, later voted against my effort to keep it that way.”
Paul recognizes the fact that he’s not the most popular man in Washington, but it’s not as a result of him not following through with what he was elected by the people to do, it’s because he refused to play along while Republicans didn’t do that. For that, Paul has a warning.
You’ll read a lot of stories today, fed to a lot of reporters by a lot of tired staffers, and they’ll tell you all about how I wouldn’t play nice with them and let them get their massive spending bill in secret.
It didn’t work. Millions of people saw what they were doing. People tuned in to TV, followed on social media, and had the debate trending number one all night. Why does that matter? Because I wanted people to see what was happening. I want them to remember. And I want them to send more people up here who care about reforming our process and fixing our out-of-control spending.
Paul is 100 percent correct here. Thursday left a bad taste in the mouths of many Republican voters. I know it did mine. It’s my firm belief that some incumbents will find themselves with uphill slogs in the elections ahead.
Paul believes this lack of job security is a good thing.
“I hope this makes conservatives across the country realize that right now, they aren’t getting what they voted for in Washington. It’s not too late, but in Washington, nothing moves unless it’s pushed,” wrote Paul.