The New GOP – Civil War, Principled Fights or Just Political Posturing?

Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between political games and political convictions. Recently, Rand Paul almost single-handedly derailed the newest iteration of the Patriot Act. Some in the GOP believe his actions were nothing more than a political stunt to galvanize his Libertarian base. For instance, Mike Lee of Utah, who is not running for president, thinks most of Paul’s legislative actions are designed to play into Paul’s presidential bid:

“The American people deserve better than this,” he said, after an intra-party squabble between GOP presidential candidate Rand Paul and Senate Republican leadership caused various counterterrorism efforts to cease. “Vital national security programs . . . should not be subject to cynical, government-by-cliff brinksmanship. If members of Congress, particularly Republican members of Congress, ever want to improve their standing among the American people, then we must abandon this habit of political gamesmanship.”

In other words, Paul and the rest of the presidential hopefuls, are allowing the political game to get in the way of good governance. I agree with Lee that candidates should not govern with only their political careers in mind. But I think he has it directly backwards as to who in the GOP is actually doing that.

take our poll - story continues below

How have you been greeting people this holiday season?

  • How have you been greeting people this holiday season?  

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Completing this poll grants you access to Eagle Rising updates free of charge. You may opt out at anytime. You also agree to this site's Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

Trending: Young Autistic Boy Screams for Help as Bullies Nail Wooden Plank to His Head

Rand Paul took a real political risk opposing the Patriot Act renewal, which had wide bipartisan support. All throughout his speech in opposition to renewing bulk collection, the Senate had to be called to order because almost no one in the Senate had good enough manners to let Paul be heard without constant noisy interruptions.

I agree that, from an outsider’s view, the Tea Party strategy looks like brinkmanship or gamesmanship. But the Tea Party represents a constituency within the GOP that is just plain fed up with the political process. If it looks like they are trying to break the system rather than fix it, perhaps it’s because they believe the system is too far gone to be turned around by “conservative” degrees.

And who can really blame them? Years of moderate conservatism, incrementalism, and compromise have left the GOP almost completely feckless. In other words, it’s possible that brinkmanship is not merely a political stunt. Perhaps it is just what uncompromised political convictions look like these days.


from Last Resistance

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by

About the author

Michael Minkoff

Michael Minkoff writes, edits, and typesets from his office in Powder Springs, Georgia. He honestly does not prefer writing about politics, but he sincerely hopes you enjoy reading about it. He also wonders why he is typing this in the third person.

Join the conversation!

We have no tolerance for comments containing violence, racism, vulgarity, profanity, all caps, or discourteous behavior. Thank you for partnering with us to maintain a courteous and useful public environment where we can engage in reasonable discourse.

Send this to a friend