Here’s a thought experiment: imagine a candidate saying that if we want to balance the federal budget, we need to cut warfare as well as welfare. Throw in some talk about the military-industrial complex. Then try to picture that candidate gaining the support of Sarah Palin, James Dobson, and Sen. Jim DeMint’s Senate Conservatives Fund—en route to winning a closed Republican primary in a Southern state by a landslide margin. With this impressive victory, the candidate becomes the face of the grassroots conservative activists who make up the Tea Party movement.
No experiment is necessary, actually. This describes Rand Paul, the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in Kentucky. “[W]e have huge budgetary problems and the Republicans often say, ‘Oh it’s just that welfare queen, if she’d go back to work we’d balance the budget,’” Paul observed during the campaign. “Well, the truth of the matter is, if you look at the numbers, there’s not enough money just in welfare to cut to balance the budget. You have to look at the entire budget, and approximately 40 percent of that budget is military.”
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Matt Collins, Regular Columnist
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