Kentucky’s new Senator-elect Rand Paul is already questioning whether establishment Republicans will take him and his fellow Tea Partiers seriously.
“You think they’re going to listen to me, Joe?” Paul asked on MSNBC’s Morning Joe.
Paul called the Tea Party movement “a rebuke of both parties, equally” — but he ran on a GOP ticket. Tea Partiers and establishment Republicans now must address how they are going to work together.
Paul was asked on MSNBC whether he would “go to Washington, D.C. and talk to old Republican bulls in the Senate and tell them, ‘We’re not going to make the same mistakes we made during the Bush era’?” to which the senator-elect retorted: “You think they’re going to listen to me, Joe?”
Few have openly acknowledged the likely tension between Tea Partiers and establishment Republicans. Republicans, for the most part, have downplayed the differences between the two groups. They have been quicker to note similarities between the two groups, such as cutting taxes and balancing the budget.
Democrats and Tea Partiers, on the other hand, have come out and said, in the words of Florida senator-elect Marco Rubio, “We make a great mistake if we believe that tonight these results are somehow an embrace of the Republican Party.”
Rubio went on to call this election “a second chance for Republicans,” and John Boehner, the likely future House Majority Leader, promised the Tea Party, “I’ll never let you down.”