It’s interesting to note that nearly everyone who has given the Tea Party response to the State of the Union Address has ended up seeking the Republican nomination for president – Michelle Bachmann, Herman Cain and Rand Paul.
Now comes Utah Senator Mike Lee. Lee, who has already been endorsed by the Tea Party Express for re-election in 2016, delivered that groups response to President Obama’s address Tuesday night – one of three such responses from the GOP to the speech. Lee’s speech was streamed online, but not picked up by the major cable networks.
Not surprisingly, Lee recalled the Boston Tea Party’s protest against an unjust government in 1773, and said we’re in a similar situation today – as most Americans have a sense “something is wrong.”
Lee’s speech was mostly well worn conservative boilerplate – limited government, NSA spying and Obamacare. But he also continued his call for a “conservative reform agenda” and stressed how inequality was hurting the country. But, Lee’s definition of inequality included a shot at environmentalists, and touched on marriage equality and abortion.
Lee said that inequality, fueled by government, is hurting the middle class. He said that government is blocking middle-class jobs in the energy industry as “a favor to partisan donors and radical environmental activists.”
Lee also said that inequality denies states the rights to “define marriage…as traditionally or as broadly as their diverse values dictate.”
Touching on abortion as inequality, Lee said it’s “denying viable, unborn children any protection under the law, while exempting unsanitary, late-term abortion clinics from basic safety standards.”
Lee also called Obamacare the “inequality Godzilla” that has robbed families of insurance and their doctors.
Lee touted the ideas of conservatives like Sens. Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Rand Paul as a way to reform welfare and education to help lower-income families.
While again calling for the end of Obamacare, Lee did admit returning to the old system was not an option because it gave too much power to insurance companies. But he says reformers in Congress are “hard at work developing new, patient centered reforms to control healthcare costs, ensure access to affordable coverage for all Americans, and provide extra help for the poor and the sick.”
Lee wrapped up his speech with a call to fix a broken government.
“I am confident that our best days as a nation are ahead of us – not because of government, but because within America’s diverse society of individuals and families, neighborhoods and churches, businesses and communities, freedom doesn’t mean you’re on your own. Freedom means we’re all in this together.”
As to whether Lee parlays his State of the Union appearance into something more…well, that remains to be seen.