Likely presidential candidate votes against budget compromise; McConnell in trouble
US Senator Mark Rubio (R-Fla.) voted against the budget bill negotiated by Vice President Joe Biden and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). It will earn Rubio much support among fiscal hawks and Tea Party Republicans who will play a major role in the 2016 presidential primaries. US Rep. Paul Ryan is in the predicament to be a team player and vote for the bill or risk losing support to Rubio in a future presidential matchup. In some ways, Rubio has already outmaneuvered Ryan.
US Rep. and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) has been one of the first and most vocal critics of the Biden-McConnell bill. As of late Tuesday afternoon, no vote was scheduled in the House. There are growing discussions to amend the bill with spending cuts and then send it back to the Senate. This will inevitably delay the process. Noticeably absent in any leadership role so far has been Ryan.
Rubio has been out in front criticizing the bill further elevating his profile. He’s showing fire in the belly regarding the White House that seems to be currently absent in Ryan and will no doubt increase the perception the Floridian is a winner among those shopping for a strong presidential nominee.
Republican-Tea Partier Rand PaulRand Paul also voted against the Senate bill and in the process showed no confidence in the leadership of fellow Kentuckian McConnell. In 2014, it’s almost inevitable McConnell will face a tough primary against a candidate backed by Paul. McConnell, with strong connections to Wall StreetWall Street and the banking community in general, was politically humiliated when his candidate for the Republican Senate nomination, Secretary of State Trey GraysonTrey Grayson, was defeated by Paul, a political novice, by 20 points in 2010.
Paul, the founder of Kentucky Taxpayers United, won handily despite support Grayson received from Dick CheneyDick Cheney, Rick SantorumRick Santorum, and Rudy Giuliani. Up until that point McConnell was perceived as a powerbroker. Yet his well-greased political operation couldn’t deliver for Grayson.
The general election with Paul as the GOP nominee had been competitive up until the Democratic candidate made an outlandish attack against his opponent. It backfired, turning off even Democrats. It’s a lesson learned the next Democratic nominee for US Senate won’t likely repeat in 2014.
The budget stalemate in the House of Representatives may play well in individual Congressional districts, but on a state and national level it does not bode well for the GOP keeping House control in 2016. If the House doesn’t pass the bill by Thursday, it dies. Candidates elected in November are sworn in and a new session of Congress begins. Lost are the big picture and art of Machiavellian strategy.