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Verbal Brawl Breaks Out Among Senators Vying For 2016 Nomination

Senators Rubio, Cruz and Paul tangled with each other during budget debates.
Verbal Brawl Breaks Out Among Senators Vying For 2016 Nomination
Image from: DonkeyHotey

I may have to queue up C-SPAN to watch this on the replay.

Four GOP senators are trying to gain the upper hand on the commander-in-chief test — Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz and Lindsey Graham — and their competition was on vivid display as the Senate took up a Rubio plan to pump tens of billions of dollars more into the Pentagon budget. Paul blasted the idea because the new spending wasn’t offset by other cuts. And caught in the middle was Cruz, who’s pitching himself as a fiscal conservative who can appeal to the hawkish and libertarian wings of the GOP but ultimately sided with Rubio and Graham.

The one I find most interesting is Rand Paul, who has gone from being a dove to a hawk, presumably in order to win.

In an interview with POLITICO, Paul lambasted his foes for engaging in “reckless” and “irresponsible” behavior, showing that they lacked the “courage” and conviction to rein in the country’s mountain of debt. He said there are now two camps in the GOP primary field: one that cares about the debt, and another that does not.

“I think there are a great deal of problems for people who want to argue that they are fiscal conservatives and yet would simply borrow hundreds of billions of dollars for defense,” Paul said. “I think it is irresponsible and dangerous to the country to borrow so much money to add into defense.”

Suddenly Rand Paul doesn't have a problem ramping up the defense budget as long as he starves Granny to pay for his dirty little wars.

Then there's poor Ted Cruz, caught in the middle like a kid having to choose between parents. Because leadership!

As the Rubio plan was moving forward, Cruz was clearly torn. The Texas senator stood quietly at the well of the Senate chamber for several tense minutes, reading the text of the Rubio amendment and checking his smartphone.

Finally, with his colleagues watching, Cruz gave a thumbs-up sign, siding with Rubio in the growing debate inside the party between fiscal hard-liners and defense hawks that has dominated the GOP’s budget fight.


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“I think it is critical that we allocate the resources that are necessary to provide for our national security functions,” Cruz told reporters Thursday.

Keep in mind that whatever it is they decide on this budget, it will be terrible for everyone. Everyone. The House passed their version today, which retains the sequester cuts and cuts deeper into other government agencies.

Whatever it is, it will be a disaster, but at least we can be somewhat entertained watching the 2016 contenders duking it out.

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