Mike Lee: The Most Interesting Republican in Washington?

Unlike his Senate colleagues Rand Paul, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, Mike Lee isn’t running for president. But he may be doing something more meaningful: reshaping conservatism for the 21st century.

Writes Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry at The Week:

Lee is a very sharp conservative mind, and with a safe Senate seat, it looks like he can spend the next few decades shaping the direction of American government by becoming a new intellectual statesman on the right. It’s no coincidence that the sharpest conservative in the Senate is also a Tea Party guy. An insurgent movement brings in new blood and new thinking. Lee can take more chances without alienating conservatives because he has a solid record as an intellectual conservative. But more importantly, Lee shows how the Tea Party can improve the policies of the Republican Party precisely because he is trying to approach new issues creatively from a conservative worldview.

For years now pundits have attacked the right about for its intellectual exhaustion. They sometimes had a point. As recently as 2013 even Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal felt compelled to say that the GOP needed to “stop being the stupid party.” But politicians like Lee might represent a new direction. By applying timeless conservative principles to new challenges in a fresh and smart way, they show that that conservative principles have a real, positive future in a changing America.