Bernie Quigley, writing at the Pundit’s Blog for The Hill on Wednesday, considered the fiscal cliff bill that became the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (ATRA) as a “touchstone … a benchmark … to mark the progress of history.” He considers the law as a
sea change and two to watch at the quiet turning of the tides today are Rand Paul and Mike Lee, Senators from Kentucky and Utah, who voted against the fateful “fiscal cliff” agenda last night.
The century might start this year with them.
He added that these two junior senators, supported by Tea Party conservatives and remaining loyal to and consistent with its beliefs and principles, “have brought the Tea Party’s passionate rants to responsible and effectively engaged government … both of them should have their eyes on the Oval Office in 2016.”
It’s possible that Paul, the son of retiring House member Ron Paul (R-Texas), has had his eye on that prize long before he voted against ATRA. Just a few days after the November election, Paul was asked by ABC’s Jonathan Karl about his presidential ambitions for 2016 and Paul responded:
Am I interested in thinking about that? Yes.
I’m not going to deny that I think we have to go in a different direction because we’re just not winning.
Scarcely a week later Paul was interviewed by CNN anchor Brooke Baldwin where he clarified and expanded on his thinking about 2016:
I want to be part of the national debate. I think my party, the Republican Party, is shrinking. We’re in danger of becoming a dinosaur.
We’re not competitive in huge areas of the country. Some of the biggest states: California, New York, Illinois … we’re not competing there anymore. In fact, we don’t even advertise there.
So we need a new type of Republican. I think that involves some of the ideas of Libertarian-leaning Republicans: people who believe in a less aggressive foreign policy, people who believe that we’re not going to deport 12 million Hispanic folks.
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Photos of Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah)