In an interview with National Review, Sen. Mike Lee, who was elected in 2010 in a wave of backlash against Obamacare, says he has a duty to his constituents to fight for a constitutionally limited federal government.
Mike Lee is not trying to position himself in front of a camera. Unlike his high-profile tea-party colleagues Cruz, Rand Paul, and Marco Rubio, Lee has no presidential ambitions. He looks unremarkable and talks unremarkably, eschewing the grandiose flourishes and flamboyant displays of his ideological allies and seeming content to let them take center stage. As a popular senator from Utah, a Republican state in little danger of turning purple, Lee is looking to hold down the Senate GOP’s right flank for the long term. “I’d like to see us moving more in a direction of being highly skeptical of any effort to expand the federal government’s role, any effort to expand the cost of government, any effort to increase taxes,” he told me last month in an interview in his Senate office. “I’d like to see us continue to move in a direction that’s more in favor of constitutionally limited government — perhaps more important, more devoted to federalism, regardless of what the courts will let us get away with.” One of his aides puts it more bluntly: “The minority of the minority” of the Senate GOP, he says, referring to the ascendant Tea Party Caucus, “is going to run things until our leadership gets some backbone.”