Now that Tea Party candidates have won elected office, how do they work within a system they have described as bloated and corrupt. Senator-elect Paul, who (probably accurately) describes himself as a Tea Partier before there was a Tea Party, has expressed a strong almost-libertarian commitment to forging a much more limited government.
On ABC’s This Week, Senator-elect Paul reaffirmed his commitment to shrinking government and balancing the budget. This must include, he said, consideration of cuts to the defense budget and entitlement programs. Of course, Paul is too smart to think that a budget can be balanced and taxes cut without dramatic reductions in what the United States government spends the most money on. And it can’t help but strain a limited government to support hundreds of military bases around the world.
Other members of Congress must be smart enough to know this as well, but few Republicans (with the notable exception of Rep. Ron Paul) have been willing to bring cuts in the military budget or overseas commitments more generally to budget negotiations.
In taking this libertarian view to Congress, Rand Paul is representing the beliefs he campaigned on. It’s doubtful, however, that many of his Republican colleagues will join him. (Ron Paul’s last ally on cuts to the military budget was Barney Frank.) It’s also doubtful that his Republican colleagues will want Kentucky’s new senator to be out front publicly on foreign and military policy.
Will Rand Paul disappoint his colleagues or his Tea Party base?