Is it a caucus if it only has three members?

Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul on Friday announced the formation of a new Senate Tea Party Caucus, taking a formal step toward uniting members of the movement in the 112th Congress.

Paul and Sens. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) will be the group’s inaugural members, according to a joint statement released by Paul’s office.

“Republicans in the Senate have already made a pledge to end earmarks and fight for a balanced-budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution,” Paul said in the statement. “By joining with my fellow Senators, Jim DeMint of South Carolina and Mike Lee of Utah, as well as grassroots groups who see the need for government reform, the caucus will work to enact real change to protect our country and its taxpayers from an ever-expanding government.”

Lee described the tea party movement as “a movement of everyday Americans who have grown tired of Washington playing by their own set of rules.”

“Americans have elected us to be responsible caretakers of their hard-earned money and freedom, and the formation of this caucus gives us the opportunity to listen to the American people and do what they elected us to do,” he added.

Mike Lee has been off most people’s radar because he didn’t have a competitive race in November, but he’s probably going to be one of the most annoying senators in living memory. It’s interesting that Tom Coburn isn’t a member of the Tea Party Caucus. I wonder why Dr. No declined to be associated with them. Maybe he is like everyone else and thinks Jim DeMint is an asshat.

What will define this little caucus is a view that almost nothing the federal government has done since the onset of the Great Depression should be considered as constitutional. That means that they will filibuster virtually everything. I know we’re already used to that, but these folks plan to take it to eleven. They might even cause anguish for the next Republican president or Senate Majority Leader. It’s another reason to change the rules.

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