Excerpt: Rand Paul's 'The Tea Party Goes to Washington'


It is worth pointing out that my political philosophy, which values the importance of the individual over the collective, is the antithesis of the mind-set of not only bona fide racists but race-obsessed liberals, both of whom always see people as belonging to a group. A left-wing columnist like Maureen Dowd sees in the Tea Party "white malcontents," implying that somehow their race disqualifies their outrage - while never noticing that not all of these people are white, and they have plenty of reasons for their malcontent. The Tea Party sees only big government. It is the movement's critics who continue to see only race.

My father is fond of saying that "freedom brings people together," and this has been my experience with the Tea Party, where people of all races, backgrounds and walks of life have come together to address the pressing problems of astronomical spending and debt. The Tea Party doesn't see politics in black and white, but black and red—even as its critics continue to see racism where it simply does not exist.

The Tea Party Is Shaping the National Debate

Some have compared the Tea Party to the Ross Perot phenomenon during the 1992 presidential election, but the difference is the Perot movement actually took votes from Republicans and the Tea Party brings more votes. Both movements represent a backlash against the party establishments, but differ significantly in their results. The question has been posed as to what the Republican establishment will do with Tea Party candidates who aren't willing to toe the party line? What will Tea Party candidates do if the GOP doesn't trend more toward the movement's agenda of balanced budgets and constitutional government? Good questions both, yet it must be said that regardless of what the future holds, the Tea Party is already shaping the national debate and directing the political narrative. The Republican caucus is already talking about our debt more than they used to. Republicans are already beginning to understand that something must be done about spending. You now hear repeatedly from candidates across the country—some sincere, some not—that it is a "spending problem, not a revenue problem." I've had Republican politicians from Kentucky and across the country come up to me and say, "We're not going to mess things up again!" They claim that if the GOP gains control again, they're not going to waste their electoral victory this time. Do they mean it? It would be easy to say "time will tell," but right now time is not a luxury. Before the midterm election, the Wall Street Journal published a report claiming that many establishment Republicans were cheering the Tea Party for political expediency during the elections but were prepared to compromise with the Democrats once in of?ce. This will not do. We've been down this road before and every Republican who has claimed in the past that their particular spending bill or surrender of conservative principles was done with good intentions, must be sharply reminded how the path to hell was paved. My approach to politics is that you simply stand up for what you believe in. This should be any serious conservative's starting point. If your first impulse is to compromise, and Obama and the Democrats are far to the Left, but you start in the middle, then you'll end up somewhere between the middle and the Left. Hasn't this been the Republican Party's problem for too long and precisely the reason we now have a Tea Party?

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