ROGER SIMON: Can Rand Paul Save the Senate?

Every day in every way I like Rand Paul better. He gives libertarianism a good name by standing for something, unlike almost all his colleagues, right and left.

Just the other day he stood up to the tedious hyper-partisanship of ABC’s George Stephanopoulos.

Tuesday he weighed in, to great effect, on the impeachment issue, although I suspect it wasn’t just his impassioned and eloquent speech, a point of order actually, that swung 45 Republican senators to his side.

The Kentucky senator pointed out the obvious, calling the Democrats’ second impeachment charade utterly unconstitutional and forcing the one hundred lawmakers to stand up and be counted on the question.

The result was 45 out of 50 Republican senators—whether reluctantly or not we will never know—agreed with him, making the coming trial moot (the two-thirds necessary for conviction nearly impossible) and most likely an embarrassment to the politically bloodthirsty Democrats and their addled president who keeps telling us he wants to bring us together.

But, as I mentioned, something else was going on.

As important, possibly more, was the new poll Rasmussen took for John Solomon’s Just the News of an imaginary 2024 presidential election. It’s ridiculously early, of course, but it showed Donald Trump’s as yet nonexistent Patriot party garnering 23 percent of the vote to the Republicans 17 percent. (The Democrats were at 46% with “other”—whatever that is— winning 14 percent, barely trailing the Republicans.)

This wasn’t really surprising—not to me and probably not to most of you—but it apparently was to a group of seemingly-clueless Republican senators who only a few days ago registered the possibility that they might vote to convict a president of their own party who was not even still in office.

The poll must have scared the proverbial bejesus out of them. Anyway it should have.

So we won’t forget the original Republican reprobates, they were, according to a Jan. 25, 2021 report here at The Epoch Times:

Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.)

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.)

Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.)

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine)

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska)

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah)

Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.)

Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio)

Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska)

Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.)

Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.)

Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho)

Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.)

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.)

Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.)

Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.)

How quickly things change. After Tuesday’s vote, sixteen were reduced to five in a flash!

Only Collins and Murkowski (perpetual outsiders), Toomey (not running for reelection), Sasse (looking for QAnon under every rock) and, of course, Romney remain. Call them The Five (not to be confused with Greg Gutfeld et. al.).

We needn’t belabor that only a day or so ago newly-ensconced minority leader McConnell was touting the inevitability of a trial he just voted against as unconstitutional. How embarrassing.

Another list exists at the same Epoch Times article of those whose leanings we did not know, at least yesterday. Today, of course, we can assume that are all squarely in Trump’s camp.

Whether it was Rand Paul or Rasmussen that finally woke those people up is ultimately irrelevant.

What is relevant is how few of them stood up for Donald Trump during what we might call “crunch time,” when he needed them to support Sens. Hawley and Cruz in their attempt to get a measly ten-day period with which to study the allegations of election fraud to see if they amounted to anything.

As Ed Morrissey wrote yesterday, Rand Paul can’t derail the Senate trial, but he “can take all of the suspense out of it” – and did just that.