Senator-elect Rand Paul actually came up with the original idea for a Tea Party Caucus in Congress. Even before he stood up on stage to accept his party’s nomination back in May of this year (uttering those now-famous words “I have a message from the Tea Party…”) the Kentucky doctor would stump for a Tea Party Caucus on his campaign stops.
Rand Paul’s vision was for a caucus that would form a link between grassroots Tea Party leaders around the country and their representative voices in Congress to keep them accountable to the principles of limited government, even using modern technology to receive grassroots input and hold online town hall meetings.
Now he’s working to make that vision a reality in the U.S. Senate, and also hoping to create a bicameral caucus, which would hold joint meetings with both Senators and Representatives committed to limiting the size, role, and influence of Washington.
But his father, Congressman Ron Paul has elected not to join Rep. Michele Bachmann’s Tea Party Caucus in the U.S. House, over concerns that it would result in the Washington establishment hijacking a grassroots movement. His chief of staff Jeff Deist wrote in an e-mail to The Daily Caller:
“Congressman Paul decided not to join the Tea Party Caucus. He strongly believes the Tea Party movement should remain a grassroots phenomenon, rather than being co-opted by Washington or any political party.”
It should be no surprise that Ron Paul would disdain the centralization of anything, including a movement committed to de-centralizing Washington, especially when so many of the 52 official members of Bachmann’s Tea Party Caucus have a record of voting to actually grow government.
Take Zach Wamp, who is a member of the Tea Party Caucus, yet voted for the $700 billion Wall Street bailout that launched the 2009 Tea Party protest movement, a vote he was only able to cast because he broke an earlier promise he made to his district that he would term-limit himself after serving six terms, effectively slaughtering another sacred cow of the Tea Party movement.
Or look at Pete Hoekstra, who also voted for the $700 billion TARP bailout and even approved a bill for nearly $200 billion in additional stimulus spending just a year before joining Bachmann’s caucus. He’s also a cheerleader for the budget-busting wars in the Middle East and voted to allow electronic surveillance without a warrant in 2006.
It’s voting records like that on matters of bailouts, civil liberties and America’s commitment to open-ended occupations of other countries that led Ron Paul’s former chief of staff, Lew Rockwell to recently call the Tea Party Caucus’ members pro-police state, pro-war, and pro-empire, which precludes them in his opinion from truly being “limited-government.”