Two days from now, President Barack Obama will deliver the State of the Union Address, detailing his priorities for his second term.
Immediately following Obama’s address, Florida Senator Marco Rubio will deliver the Republican Party response, and Time Magazine has called Rubio the “savior” of the GOP.
But now, to steal Rubio’s and the Republican Party’s thunder, the Tea Party Caucus in Congress is also to give a response to the State of the Union Address, which will highlight the growing split within the Republican Party.
And the man who will be challenging Marco Rubio is a person who is clearly planning to run for President in 2016, as much as Rubio seems likely to run. That is Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, the libertarian inheritor from his father, former Texas Congressman Ron Paul.
Rand Paul has his loony followers, but his movement represents a threat to any possibility of Republicans regaining the US Senate, keeping control of the US House of Representatives, and having any chance to regain the Presidency.
While Rubio “flirted” with the Tea Party Movement when he ran for the Senate in 2010, he has attempted to separate himself from the destructive image that group represents. But now, he will be in mortal combat with Paul and others who have no scruples in their desire to bring America back to the 19th century, a time of laissez faire economics, and to a pre World War II foreign policy of isolationism.
So the biggest news of Tuesday’s State of the Union Address may come not from Barack Obama, but instead from the competing ambitions of two new Senators who both see the other as one of his leading rivals.
Rubio not only faces the threat of Rand Paul, but also of Texas Senator Ted Cruz, as outlined in a previous entry on this blog a couple of days ago. And Cruz is also a committed member of the Tea Party Caucus.
Oh, and by the way, this is the third time that the Tea Party Caucus and Movement has had a response to the State of the Union Address, with the two earlier statements being by Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann and by businessman Herman Cain, both embarrassing candidates for the GOP Presidential nomination in 2012. Enough said!