Rand Paul will deliver a "TEA Party" response to the President's State of the Union address tomorrow night. Paul, who is running for President, said he will not be opening up disagreement with Marco Rubio, who is delivering the GOP response, but rather addressing the concerns of the large grassroots movement Rand says he represents.
But in Rand's response look for something a bit harder to discern than his discontent with Obama. Look for a tone which means job security for him. It is a fact which all elected officials must deal with: it's easier to run from the outside.
Rand told POLITICO that "None of the things I ran on as part of the tea party have been fixed." On one hand that gives him a clear shot at both parties who the TEA party consider to be the problem. But on the other hand it doesn't say much about the effectiveness of the TEA party except as the party of constant discontent, constant complaining and whipping up blame.
Rand is 1/3 of the way through his first term in the Senate. A long list of accomplishments would be quite the exception for any Senator, but in Rand's universe of supporters, speeches are counted as accomplishments.
Saturday night as I was again attending the Friends of the NRA dinner in Northern Kentucky, I met and had a brief discussion with a long time, dedicated republican activist. He commented to me that he really liked the things he was hearing from Rand. And I get it.
For many conservatives we hear far too much from the liberals in the media, we are subjected daily to the pontifications of Obama, Reid and Pelosi which test our patience and manners and have caused serious scarring of our tongues from all the biting.
Rand has the ability to say many of the things a lot of people feel and he gets by with it. That makes many conservatives feel better. At least SOMEBODY is saying something without a mouth full of mush.
But Rand is merely preaching to the choir. He's not doing much to save the sinners within the party, nor to win any battles against the perceived evil of the far, far left.
And for those who hope that he becomes president so that he can save the entire country, every presidential election in the past would weigh heavily against anybody winning, by running from the far right edge of the political spectrum.
So what does Rand do tomorrow when he "responds" to the POTUS? He will say what a lot of people want to hear, he will sing his number one hits, he will inspire many of the same small group of people who support him to "like what Rand is saying", but will he accomplish anything else?
Yes. He will produce for himself some job security. Somebody has to be on the outside complaining. Lord knows that once you win you are measured by the alternate definition of the term "performance." No longer is "performance" just a show, once in power "performance" means effectiveness.
Rand's response will be part of his increasing media presence as he struggles to gain traction against a GOP which is itself struggling to find it's footing. And though many conservatives will be disappointed by what the President has to say, and maybe even left a little flat by Marco Rubio (also running for president as if you didn't know) Rand will probably provide some glimmer of hope that their view of the world is not without representation in Washington DC.
But if anybody thinks that Rand will deliver a speech which will calm down an already impatient group of patriots seemingly on the verge of Revolution, think again. His base is on the warpath, and what Rand will likely feed them will have an effect more like firewater than tea.