The President has been co-opted by the tea party!” declared Senator Paul Rand (R-KY) to a boisterous crowd of tea party activists that braved the snow to attend the Senate’s public first meeting of the new Tea Party Caucus yesterday.
Senator Paul kicked off the event on a humorous note, joking about speculation before the election that he and other Tea Party-backed candidates would be “co-opted” by Washington. With a wry smile, he joked that it seems that the Tea Party has been the one co-opting Washington:
Some said that people who came from the Tea Party were elected, Washington would co-opts us. Are we going to let that happen? The interesting thing is that I think we are already co-opting Washington. Before we were even swore in, the Republican Caucus got together&emdash;and this isn’t thanks to me, it’s thanks to Senator DeMint who has been working on this for years—they foreswore and said no more earmarks. Now are they going to co-opt us? I went to my first State of the Union the other day and guess who is now against earmarks? The President of the United States has been co-opted by the Tea Party!
After his remarks, Senator Paul turned the podium over to Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) who explained the importance of returning to Constitutional government and the vision the Founders had for America. He was followed by Senator DeMint who thanked the crowd—and Tea Party members around the country—for sending him more conservative legislators and that they would continue to play an important role in holding Congress accountable. “You can keep on reminding us that what is rational and reasonable here is not rational and reasonable on the outside,” he explained, “That what seems doable here is not enough.”