Paul baring

alice's tea party

A great deal of argument occurred in Alice’s Wonderland, yet as in Washington, DC, very little of it made sense, and apparent enemies were often the very best of friends (and contrariwise.) Tonight, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) will deliver the Tea Party rebuttal to President Obama’s State of the Union speech; meanwhile Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) will do the same (in English and in Spanish) officially representing the Republicans. This has been cast in US media as a sign of an intra-party coup. As RT reports:

A stingy libertarian and an opponent of Big Government and federal intervention of all sorts, Paul has been described by some members of the press as being capable of either reviving the floundering Republican Party or else killing it on his own. In comments delivered during the last year, he has made a handful of remarks that challenge the status quo of his own political party and has dared other right-wingers to make a change. He insists that his State of the Union response won’t be one that divides, though.

“I see it as extra response, I don’t see it as necessarily divisive,” Sen. Paul told CNN over the weekend.

Those seeking to magnify the differences between the two Senators would do well to note that both Marco Rubio and Rand Paul have received their heftiest donations from the same kind of sources — conservatives with deep pockets, and hedge fund managers. For example, Rubio’s top donor was the Club for Growth, which backed him in the Republican primary against the establishment’s pick, Charlie Crist, and right-wing sugar daddy Koch Industries also made his top ten.

Likewise, many of Paul’s most generous donors are out-of-state business owners who contribute to libertarian and conservative political causes. In second place on the Senator’s list was Corriente Advisors, a Fort Worth, Texas, hedge fund that closed its doors at the end of 2012; and fourth was New York City-based hedge fund Mason Capital Management. The now-famous Koch Industries, a privately-owned conglomerate focusing on petroleum, paper, and other products, ranked third, and the Koch brothers also gave the Senator $10,000 through their non-profit organization Citizens United. Also high on Paul’s list were insurance and investment company American Financial Group (fifth), run by billionaire Carl Lindner, Jr., until his death in 2011; and Texas real estate developers Huffines Communities (tenth).

Some of his future (and now current) colleagues in the Senate also kicked in a few bucks. Alamo PAC, the leadership committee of Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas), donated $10,000. So did those of Senators Mitch McConnell (R-KY), the Bluegrass Committee; Orrin Hatch (R-UT), OrrinPAC; and Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Tenn PAC.

A few of Paul’s major contributors were from Kentucky. Paul’s top contributor, giving $41,000 (more than twice as much as any other donor), was Alliance Resource Partners, owners of numerous coal mines in Kentucky and surrounding states. Murray Energy, with coal mines in the same areas, ranked sixth. Louisville-based distillers and distributors Brown-Forman, makers of Jack Daniel’s and other brands of alcohol, ranked seventh. Cold Spring’s animal fat rendering company Griffin Industries came in ninth; the University of Kentucky 11th; and Forcht Group of Kentucky, a group of companies based in Lexington and Corbin, ranked 12th.

Health insurance megacorporation Blue Cross Blue Shield ranked eighth with $13,000. The American Academy of Ophthalmology and the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery each gave $10,000 to Paul, an ophthalmologist, as did the American Bankers Association and the Credit Union National Association.


Image information:

Alice in Wonderland (Illustrator: Winter, 1924) Mad Tea Party

Copyright: Public Domain
Digital Rights: Copyright Toronto Public Library
Source Credit: Toronto Public Library (Osborne)

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