There are a handful of things about the United States Senate that anybody can enjoy. liberals, progressives, libertarians, conservatives, centrists, and the average citizen who doesn’t actually even care enough to identify as anything. Among these things are the constant silliness that our senators have chosen to descend slowly deeper into every decade since its inception. Take for instance the glorious twitter hash tag “SenateMadness” during the ACA repeal effort this summer it became so insane some otherwise rational people couldn’t keep track of real events and the trolls who were literally making things up. Or for another example there is Ted Cruz’s social media staffer apparently surfing porn from his government account, hilarious.
I would like to bring to your attention the most consistently wonderful thing about the senate though. That thing is the social media savvy and branding ability of the Kentucky junior senator Rand Paul, or as he shall be known going forward (B)Rand Paul. He consistently brands himself as a libertarian in the more mainstream sense, as opposed to the hard Austrian fringe of his father. This is mostly cover so that he can act act as a conventional Republican without damaging this image he has cultivated.
Every once in a while he must act directly to protect this liberty friendly reputation that he has so effectively created for himself. These occasional outbursts of liberty rooted antics are the genesis of (B)Rand Paul. There have been two cases of (B)Rand appearing just this year.
You may recall that during the House of Representative’s initial push to begin the process of repealing the ACA the leadership of the Republican Caucus committed a major faux pas. They did exactly the same thing that their Democratic counter parts had done years earlier had done and began drafting the bill entirely in secret. Well (B)Rand, in his dedication to government transparency decided to do something about this. What did he do? If you don’t remember he set up a twitter account for his office copier and hauled it around the offices of various other Republican congressmen looking for the text of the bill and taking selfies. If you don’t remember this try looking it up. I am fairly certain the account is still active.
This effort was ultimately unsuccessful, but it accomplished it purpose. It drew a fairly large amount of media coverage to the issue and it boosted his profile and stock as a believer in government transparency.
Now just in the past few days, these government transparency antics have cropped up again. As before, so once more it results in him agitating against his own team as well for what that is worth. This time with a debt ceiling show down looming, the Republicans are trying to pass a blank check defense authorization bill. As part of this bill is the implicit acceptance that the use of force authorization for the war on terror would continue. (B)Rand in a move to protect his libertarian credentials and hopefully out of legitimate anti-war sentiment took to the Senate floor and twitter to disrupt all proceedings until the Senate leadership allowed him to make an amendment to the bill personally.
This amendment would have required that the use of force authorization be approved once more. There is almost conceivable way that it wouldn’t have been reauthorized, but this would have allowed us to have on a record a list of officials whose jobs we could have taken for continuing to war monger. As anyone reasonable could have guessed, he got his vote and the amendment was defeated in committee so it never even made it into the final bill.
I tend to be fairly optimistic by nature. I think we are all deeply flawed just by being human in the first place. That said I do also believe that when (B)Rand acts out like this with no elections anywhere on the horizon that it is probably coming from a genuine place. One good-hearted politician could never be enough. I don’t even know if he truly does have a good heart. I can say definitively, and I hope you can all join me in this, that the Senate and the U.S. as a whole are a better place when Rand is being (B)Rand and doing things to live up to his own labeling and for better or worse his family legacy. Long live (B)Rand Paul.