During a fundraiser for Ed Markey, a Democratic running for the vacant Senate in Massachusetts, Vice President Joe Biden attacked Senate Republicans for the sway over legislation that Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Rand Paul (R-KY) hold in their caucus:
At a high-dollar fundraiser [Tuesday] night in Washington, D.C., Vice President Joe Biden warned his fellow Democrats about the Republicans.
“It’s a pretty simple proposition: The United States of America, and the state of Massachusetts, does not need another Republican in the Senate,” Biden told the assembled donors, according to the press pool report. “I’m being straight about this. This is not your father’s Republican Party. It really is a fundamentally different party. There’s never been as much distance, at least since I’ve been alive, distance between where the mainstream of the Republican congressional party is and the Democratic Party is. It’s a chasm. It’s a gigantic chasm.”In particular, Biden shared his distrust of two young Republican senators, Ted Cruz and Rand Paul.“I’m not talking about the character or even the quality of the minds of the people I’m going to mention. But the last thing in the world we need now is someone who will go down to the United States Senate and support Ted Cruz, support the new senator from Kentucky — or the old senator from Kentucky,” said Biden.
“Think about this. … Have you ever seen a time when two freshman senators are able to cower the bulk of the Republican Party in the Senate? That is not hyperbole.”
“On the gun issue, I don’t care what your position is — I called 17 senators out, 9 of whom were Republicans. … Not one of offered an explanation on the merits of why they couldn’t vote for the background check. But almost to a person, they said, ‘I don’t want to take on Ted Cruz. I don’t want to take on Rand Paul. They’ll be in my district.’
“I actually said, ‘Are you kidding? These are two freshman,’” Biden said, according to the pool report. “This is a different, party folks. They’re not bad guys, and they’re both very bright guys. And I’m not questioning their motive.”
The comments are both stunningly arrogant and show just how out of touch Biden and other members of this administration are. Those “two freshman” are indeed powerful. But the reason they’re powerful is because they represent a voice that hasn’t had much influence in Washington in the past. Moreover, their stances on civil liberties enable them to reach across ideological lines.
There are big two issues where Cruz, Paul, and Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) motivated the grassroots to fight back against Washington’s political establishment. The first was Paul’s 13-hour filibuster against President Obama’s drones policy. These three spoke eloquently and stood strong on civil liberties in the face of opposition from the White House and members of both parties.
The other issue, as Biden noted, is President Obama’s gun control proposals. There was a time that it looked like these measures were going to sail through the Senate. But then Cruz, Lee, and Paul threatened to filibuster. Though they didn’t gather enough support for the filibuster, their opposition once again motivated the grassroots which ultimately led to the the proposals being shot down on the Senate floor.
Cruz and Paul, both of whom are mentioned as potential GOP presidential candidates, should probably write a letter thanking Biden for his remarks, because a political attack from the Vice President will go a long way when it comes to raising campaign funds.
The problem isn’t that we have too many voices of freedom in Washington; we have too few. We need more elected officials like Cruz, Lee, and Paul. These guys are willing to take on the establishment and hold them account when they’re threatening civil liberties and spending too much.