TO: INTERESTED PARTIES

FROM: Isaac Wright, Director, Correct The Record by American Bridge
DATE: Tuesday, December 17, 2013
SUBJECT: Rand Paul, Paul Ryan and Republican rift

Rand Paul’s “Middle Flank”
Even as he publicly teases a Presidential candidacy, Republican U.S. Senator Rand
Paul is putting a greater distance between himself and the bulk of the American
electorate as he publicly criticizes an end to partisan gridlock in the budget impasse
that led to the federal sequester. He is out of touch with mainstream voters
pushing Congressional gridlock when the country wants Congress to get things
done. This is not only a direct vulnerability for a potential Paul Presidential
candidacy, but also a greater weakness for the Republican Party as it approaches
2016.

U.S. Senator Rand Paul’s (R-KY) self-promotion campaign for the 2016 GOP
Presidential primary has been as subtle as a megaphone in a library. Yet, his tact
regarding the country’s feelings about Congress’s perpetual gridlock has proven as
politically in-tune as a plagiarizer attending a copyright convention.

Paul has alluded to and blatantly discussed his own and his familial “considerations”
of the 2016 Presidential Primary publicly dozens of times. Yet in no way does that
seem to have moved him closer to mainstream voters or their priority on getting
Congress back to work again.

According to a recent CNN/Gallup poll, just 9 percent of Americans approve of
Congress. The record disapproval and frustration with Congress is primarily
because of Congressional gridlock, particularly related to the budget and fiscal
matters. Still, Rand Paul remains a proponent of Washington gridlock, recently
calling a proposed budget compromise “shameful” and saying he would do anything
he could to stymie it in Congress.

Rand Paul has found himself not in the situation of a statesman sticking to his
principals even when they are politically unpopular, but instead has created for
himself the reality of a political ideologue out of touch with the soul of the electorate
whose support he now seeks. In doing so, he has created a vast political
vulnerability in his likely pursuit of the White House. Rather than generating
vulnerabilities to his political “right” or political “left” he has left his “middle flank”
wide open to attacks of disconnect from mainstream America. If the 2012
Republican Vice Presidential nominee Congress Paul Ryan, a co-creator of the bi-
partisan budget compromise is a candidate, it only exacerbates the ferocity of the
debate.

Ryan’s dangerous abdication of bipartisanship will cost the GOP
Not to appear too mainstream himself, Ryan insisted that even after the budget
compromise Republicans would hold the full faith and credit of the United States of
America for ransom in debt limit negotiations. Even after being part of the
bipartisan budget compromise, he’s abdicating appeal to mainstream America
by taking the budget limit hostage and again pushing gridlock. This kind of
fiscal brinksmanship is part of the well-founded perception of Congressional
gridlock that has brought Congressional approval numbers to a record low. Playing
to his far-right base, Ryan has, in the long-term, abdicated much of the political
advantage he might otherwise claim for having been part of a budget compromise.
Again, he further alienates himself and the Republican brand from the desire across
the country to see that Congress gets back to work.

Conclusion
Both Paul and Ryan hurt the Republican brand going into 2016 by forcing fiscal
gridlock at a time when Americans are fed up with Congressional gridlock.

BACKGROUND:

Americans are fed up with Congressional gridlock, particularly related to the
budget and fiscal matters. “According to a Gallup poll released on Tuesday, only
9% of Americans approve of the job Congress is doing. It’s the lowest congressional
approval rating in the 39 years Gallup has asked the question. ‘The government
shutdown in October clearly didn’t help Congress’ image, and it appears that the
impact of that incident may linger, given the record-low approval this month,’ Gallup
CEO Frank Newport wrote. ‘This no doubt reflects the rancorous partisanship and
bickering that characterized the shutdown - the top reasons given by those who
disapprove of Congress.’ Earlier this year, Americans indicated the two top reasons
they disapproved of Congress was the incessant gridlock and partisan bickering, as
well as the fact that the legislative body is ‘not getting anything done’ and ‘not
making decisions.’” [CNN, 11/12/13]

Paul Called The Budget Deal “Shameful.” According to the Washington Times,
“Sen. Rand Paul added his name to the list of lawmakers opposing the bipartisan
budget deal carved out between House and Senate negotiators, saying it is
‘shameful’ to restore previously agreed to spending cuts in exchange for promises of
future deficit reduction. Mr. Paul, Kentucky Republican and likely 2016 presidential
contender, said that the two-year spending proposal is like many that have come
before it.” [Washington Times, 12/11/13]

Paul Said He Would Do Everything He Could To Slow Passage Of The Budget
Deal: “I Don’t Think There’s Going To Be Unanimous Consent On Anything
Until Hell Freezes Over.” According to CQ Roll Call, “Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., a strong
opponent of the budget deal, said he would try to slow it down and would object to
any efforts by Democrats to expedite floor action on the budget. ‘With the budget
deal, they will have to cross through all of the hurdles to get it passed next week. I
don’t think there’s going to be unanimous consent on anything until hell freezes
over,’ Paul said.” [CQ Roll Call, 12/12/13]

Ryan insisted that even after the budget compromise, Republicans would hold
the full faith and credit of the United States of America for ransom in debt
limit negotiations. “Republicans will return to debt limit brinkmanship with a new
set of demands to avert default early in 2014, House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan
signaled on Sunday. "We as a caucus, along with our Senate counterparts, are going
to meet and discuss what it is we want to get out of the debt limit. We don't want
nothing out of this debt limit. ….’ Ryan said on "Fox News Sunday," taking a victory
lap after his bipartisan budget deal easily passed the House on Thursday. The
Wisconsin Republican's remarks hint that while government shutdowns may be
averted for the next two years -- pending Senate passage of the two-year agreement
he struck with Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) -- the GOP isn't ready to lift the country's
borrowing limit without a fight. He indicated that Republicans will come up with
their ransom demand when they meet after the holiday recess. "We're going to meet
in our retreats after the holidays and discuss exactly what it is we're going to try and
get for this," he said. [Talking Points Memo, 12/16/13]

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