The Senate vote last night was a touchstone event, a benchmark, if you
will, to mark the progress of history. It is, in that regard, much like
the Senate vote to approve George W. Bush’s trillion-dollar vengeance
assault on Iraq to bag Saddam — and in retrospect it is hard to see any
other purpose for that adventure. But the Senate vote to approve the
invasion in October 2002, told us who was brave when it was time to be
brave and those lions of the Senate, Hillary Clinton, John Kerry and Joe
Biden, who approved, then disapproved, were not. It has been zero-sum,
no-fault politics ever since; we continue to vote them in and advance
them to greater leadership — even after astonishing incompetence and
systemic state failures in the Middle East — because we are familiar
with them, because they have been around so long, because we have become
a blindly partisanized nation, because we don't really care. But we are
at 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.
Three other Republicans voted against: Old souls Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Richard Shelby of Alabama and young’un Marco Rubio, whom the old-line nostalgicos see as one of their own. That is, as George W. Bush and Dan Quayle were selected by a passing generation in its twilight years, they would like to be Rubio if they could be young again. But they will not be and they will not get to choose this time. The Tea Party has laid a new footing in the heartland and it will find its bearings now and heading into 2016.
And Rand Paul in particular might consider a conspicuous trip to Israel, as all do who look to the Oval Office. It would clarify things about Dad. Because Ron Paul, who opposed the Israeli lobby’s efforts and the neocon adventures in wonderland, was unfairly caricatured as an anti-Semite in his opposition to the invasion of Iraq. And Rand Paul would find kinship with Moshe Feiglin, the liberty candidate for the Knesset who opposed American influence in Israel since 2001. Feiglin’s rise to the Knesset this month has already changed the culture and historical trajectory of Israel. Israel rises to a new phase and a generational shift this year and potentially America does as well. These two, Rand Paul and Moshe Feiglin, rise in the world together and possibly fate intends for them to do so.