Few expected Rick Santorum to do as well as he did in the 2012 Republican Primaries. Due to a confluence of events and a fair amount of stubborness on his part, he was the only serious challenger remaining against presumptive nominee Mitt Romney at the end. With the departure of candidates like Rick Perry, Herman Cain, and Michele Bachmann, Santorum became the last remaining “other than Mitt” in the race.
Apparently this bit of fortune has led Mr. Santorum, a true symbol of the worst side of conservatism if there ever were one, to think he has a shot in 2016. According to the Washington Examiner:
Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, who emerged as the conservative populist in the 2012 GOP presidential primaries, is already running for the 2016 nomination for president.
Santorum, who has been making the rounds at conservative media outlets, this week stepped deeper into the presidential pool when he said that he isn’t “doing anything inconsistent” with a 2016 campaign.
Say what? Now, I’m fully aware that there is still a sizable portion of the GOP that is perfectly fine with Santorum’s social views and willing to ignore his numerous sins against any notion of limited government. But it’s hard to see how Santorum could be a major player again in 2016. With the arrival of people like Marco Rubio and Rand Paul, it’s hard to see where he fits in. Both Rubio and Paul are social conservatives with unimpeachable pro-life bona-fides, and it’s clear that the tide has massively changed on the issue of same-sex marriage to the point where an anti-gay message in 2016 could prove even more anachronistic than it is today.
When Democrats bring their new anti-gun control measures to the Senate floor next month, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) will not be among the Republicans who are working to stop them.
During an interview yesterday on CNN’s State of the Union, Graham told Candy Crowley that he believed that any legislation including universal background checks wouldn’t pass the Senate, but he added that he would not join a filibuster against the measures:
Sen. Lindsey Graham does not support extending background checks to gun sales between two individuals, nor does he think such a bill would pass the Senate, but he said Sunday he will not hold the measure up with a filibuster
“The only way I would filibuster a bill is if Sen. (Harry) Reid did not allow alternative amendments,” the South Carolina Republican said on CNN’s “State of the Union with Candy Crowley.”
When Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) tries to bring President Barack Obama’s gun control legislation to the Senate floor next month, he’ll face opposition from a growing number of Republicans who believe the measures are a vehicle to infringe on the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans.
Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Mike Lee (R-UT), and Rand Paul (R-KY) have pledged to filibuster a procedural move by Reid to bring the gun control legislation up for debate. Though the White House has slammed the conservative senators, Paul said yesterday that they’re forging ahead with the filibuster — and it looks they’re going to get some help from Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Jim Inhofe (R-OK):
Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and James Inhofe, R-Okla., joined three other Republican senators threatening to filibuster any new restrictions on guns Thursday.
The two senators added their signatures to a letter previously signed by Sens. Rand Paul, R-Ky., Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Ted Cruz, R-Texas, vowing to protect the Second Amendment.
In a statement released Thursday, Rubio said he will oppose any legislation that could be used as a vehicle to impose new restrictions on “responsible, law-abiding gun owners.”
We’ve heard it before — Republicans have an image problem. There aren’t many who deny this, after a brutal election last year, and continued messaging problems this year. But with the fight over the FY 2014 budget still far from over and an important mid-term election next year, Republicans clearly have their work cut out for them.
And the problem Republicans have isn’t because of their ideas on fiscal matters. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Early last week, The Hill released a poll showing that voters actually responded well to the Republican budget message…as long as they didn’t know that it came from Republicans:
Respondents in The Hill Poll were asked to choose which of two approaches they would prefer on the budget, but the question’s phrasing included no cues as to which party advocated for which option.
Presented in that way, 55 percent of likely voters opted for a plan that would slash $5 trillion in government spending, provide for no additional tax revenue and balance the budget within 10 years — in essence, the path recommended by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) last week.
Only 28 percent of voters preferred this option, which reflects the proposal put forth by Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-Wash.) last week.
An even stronger majority of respondents, 65 percent, said U.S. budget deficits should be reduced mostly by cutting spending rather than by raising taxes. Just 24 percent said the budget should be balanced mostly by increasing revenue.
Yesterday, Matt Kibbe, President and CEO of FreedomWorks, and former Rep. Steve LaTourette, President and CEO of the Republican Main Street Partnership, joined Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday to discuss the direction of the Republican Party.
Kibbe and FreedomWorks have focused on supporting fiscal conservatives in primaries across the country, including backing primary challenges to more moderate members of Congress. FreedomWorks was essential to electing Rand Paul, Mike Lee, Marco Rubio, and Ted Cruz — all of which went up against establishment candidates or incumbents with questionable records. LaTourette and the Republican Main Street Partnership have tried to steer the Republican Party in a more centrist direction.
With the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) held near Washington, DC this past weekend and other events — including the sequester and Sen. Rand Paul’s filibuster — dominating the new cycle recently, there was plenty to discuss. Additionally, Kibbe and LaTourette represent two different views on how the Republican Party should fuction.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), who gave one of the most anticipated speeches at CPAC, has won a plurality of the gathering’s annual presidential straw poll, finishing just ahead of his colleague, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL).
According to CPAC, 52% of those who participated in the straw poll were between the age of 18 to 25, which highlights the growth of the youth participation. One would surmise that the liberty movement had a lot to do with this. Also, the poll found that 68% prefer targeted spending cuts to across-the-board cuts and an “overwhelming majority” oppose use of drones for strikes or spying.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) is giving the keynote speech at this moment, which will close out CPAC for 2013. You can view the full results of the straw poll, including the survey questions asked of attendees, in the embed below. The takeaway is that there is a shift coming and it’s undeniable.
It took me until about 2:30pm yesterday to realize that the American Conservative Union, the group that organizes CPAC, was putting up video of speeches and panels on its YouTube channel. While I can’t go through and transcribe each one, I thought I’d post some of the best speeches from yesterday. And in case you missed it, you can read my write-up on Sen. Rand Paul’s speech here.
Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA):
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL):
Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX):
You’ve no doubt heard about Sen. Marco Rubio’s stopping his speech for a few seconds to take a couple swigs of water — now known as “Rubio-ing,” because what the world needs is yet another meme. However, the substance of Sen. Rubio’s speech, in which he tried to present a distinction between the Republican Party and the vision of President Barack Obama, is vastly more important.
After the pleasantries and offering giving his extraordinary background, Sen. Rubio went right after President Obama’s economic agenda.
“Presidents in both parties – from John F. Kennedy to Ronald Reagan – have known that our free enterprise economy is the source of our middle class prosperity,” Sen. Rubio explained. “But President Obama? He believes it’s the cause of our problems. That the economic downturn happened because our government didn’t tax enough, spend enough and control enough.”
Sen. Rubio added that President Obama’s “solution to virtually every problem we face is for Washington to tax more, borrow more and spend more.”
He went right after the heart of President Obama’s proposed solutions to economic problems facing the country, explaining that more government isn’t going to get Americans ahead nor will it create more opportunities or inspire new ideas.
President Barack Obama will give the first State of the Union address of his second term tomorrow night. It’s expected that he will build upon the incredibly partisan, Leftist agenda laid out in his inaugural address at a time when Republicans in Congress are still struggling to find their message.
While Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) will give the Republican response to the State of the Union address, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) will offer a more stark contrast between the policies of the Obama Administration by giving the official Tea Party response:
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., will deliver the Tea Party’s official response to President Obama’s State of the Union address on Tuesday, Tea Party Express announced on Friday.
“Since the President has been re-elected, the debt has continued to skyrocket and unemployment has ticked up, but he has offered no solutions and has shown no leadership,” said Tea Party Express Chairman Amy Kremer. “In contrast, Senator Rand Paul has put forth solutions that would spur economic growth and rein in Washington’s out-of-control spending. We are excited that Senator Paul, a conservative leader and strong voice for the Tea Party movement, will be offering our perspective on the state of the union.”
In discussing recent comments made by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), who pointedly said that President Barack Obama doesn’t believe in the Second Amendment, Judge Andrew Napolitano explained that the officials in this administration “do not believe in parts of the Constitution.”
Napolitano, who frequently writes about breakdown of the rule of law, explained, “They don’t believe in the Tenth Amendment that reserves powers to the states and they don’t believe in the Second Amendment that guarantees us the right to keep and bear arms, and they will do everything they can to wear away those parts of the Constitution with which they disagree.”
Check out the segment, which appeared on Fox News last week, below: