[VIDEO"S] Hope in Rubio and Paul’s State of the Union responses
Posted By W. James Antle III On 6:56 PM 02/13/2013 @ 6:56 PM In Opinion
But the speeches that came afterward painted a somewhat different picture. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, delivering the official Republican response, noted that it wouldn’t be the millionaires and billionaires who would lose their jobs or be denied their raises as a result of tax increases.
“So, Mr. President, I don’t oppose your plans because I want to protect the rich,” Rubio said. “I oppose your plans because I want to protect my neighbors.”
Marco Rubio gives GOP response to SOTU
Rubio then turned to the spending programs that are the main drivers of the long-term debt.
“I would never support any changes to Medicare that would hurt seniors like my mother,” the senator from the retiree-heavy state remarked. “But anyone who is in favor of leaving Medicare exactly the way it is right now, is in favor of bankrupting it.”
This last point bears repeating. Defending the status quo on entitlements based on the programs’ past accomplishments is like praising General Motors’ 1950s pay and benefits while the company was going under in 2009.
GM got a taxpayer bailout. Who will bail out the federal government?
According to recent projections, Medicare’s largest trust fund will be flush with red ink beginning in 2024, a little more than a decade from now. Social Security is expected to start having difficulty funding its current obligations in 2033, three years earlier than anticipated as recently as 2011.
The window for making changes without affecting Americans at or near retirement age is closing. The Congressional Budget Office projects that over the next decade Social Security spending will rise 62 percent while mandatory health care spending will climb 94 percent.
In his tea party response to Obama, Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul went a step further. Chastising bipartisan hand-wringing over the sequester (a creation of both parties), Paul noted, “Even with the sequester, government will grow $7 trillion over the next decade. Only in Washington can an increase of $7 trillion in spending be called a cut.”
Paul then called for a “new bipartisan consensus,” challenging Democrats to “admit that not every dollar spent on domestic programs is sacred” and Republicans to “realize that military spending is not immune to waste and fraud.”
By the end of his speech, he expanded his critique of unrestrained government spending to include unrestrained government spying, wiretapping, and killing.
No more situational constitutionalism.
It’s a stark choice between two visions. One where debt doesn’t matter, where gargantuan government programs can be fixed with only the most minor tweaks, and where more spending will stimulate the economy enough to reduce the deficit, versus another where the Constitution and the basic rules of math still apply.
The major television networks didn’t bother to show Rand Paul’s speech. After Marco Rubio’s, the mainstream media coverage focused on the senator sipping water more than his ideas about the proper size of government.
Washington still has politicians in both parties pushing big government. The rest of the country is filled with millions of voters demanding it.
Even as the national debt threatens to explode to $20 trillion, as the federal government’s unfunded liabilities soar, the constituency for big government remains intact. Some of the country’s brightest liberal journalists, academics, and economists are living in debt denial. Paul Krugman is perhaps one of the most prominent examples.
They promise the American people that the spending can be never-ending. (Though at least Krugman is honest enough to acknowledge that the spending won’t be free.)
But Tuesday night’s speeches by Rubio and Paul, however little watched, offered hope, however faint, for a real limited government party in this country.
It’s time to finish the argument Goldwater and Reagan started.
W. James Antle III is the editor of The Daily Caller News Foundation and author of the forthcoming book “Devouring Freedom: Can Big Government Ever Be Stopped?“ Follow him on Twitter.
Here’s What They’re Saying – Tea Party Delivered Strong ResponseSacramento, CA – Tea Party Express, the nation’s largest tea party political action committee, hosted the Tea Party response to President Obama’s State of the Union speech, which was delivered by Senator Rand Paul. (Click here to view the speech in its entirety.) Here is what online and conventional media outlets are saying about it:
“It’s an excellent, vigorous speech aimed at the GOP base, a clever companion to Rubio’s effort to recast the GOP more broadly within the electorate. Before yesterday, most news accounts cast this as a competition between the two men, and that competition may arise electorally at some point. To me, though, these two speeches look more complementary than competitive, as Republicans attempt to grow their influence and enlarge their tent rather than just shift the tent pegs over.”
“Where Rubio was careful to say that the Republicans’ Medicare plan would hold current beneficiaries harmless, Paul made no such promise. He said, ‘Big government’s not your friend. The president offers you free stuff, but his policies keep you poor.’”
“In the tea party rebuke to President Obama’s vision of the state of the union – and some in his own party – Republican Sen. Rand Paul laid out a deeply conservative alternative that includes cutting corporate taxes in half and slashing trillions in federal spending….. He called for ‘a new bipartisan consensus’ to cut spending, starting with leaders from each party being willing to take on their own sacred cows.”
-The LA Times
“U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., on Tuesday night issued a tea party critique of President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address and his policies that called for smaller government, deep federal spending cuts and congressional term limits….The Kentuckian’s address was to be his most highly visible to date, delivered on a national stage not only as an answer to Obama but also as a possible prelude to a White House bid in 2016.”
“If Paul and Rubio’s speeches are any indication of where the Republican Party is heading, it looks like the 2016 nominating season will be more substantive than 2012. In 2012, only one candidate raised enough money and built a strong enough organization to run a real campaign thus precluding debate over positions or issues. Paul and Rubio are both sitting US senators with national name recognition, so it is certainly possible that they can both build real campaigns.”
-The Huffington Post
“Sen. Rand Paul scolded Democrats and Republicans alike for spending money the government doesn’t have as he delivered the tea party response to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address to Congress.”
-The Kansas City Star
“Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., speaking for the tea party, delivered essentially the same message that Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., did in his official Republican response: They charged that Mr. Obama is interested in growing government and increasing taxes, to the detriment of the struggling economy.’President Obama believes that government is the solution,’ Paul said in his response, sponsored by the Tea Party Express. ‘What America needs is not Robin Hood but Adam Smith.’”