Tags: rubio | refuses | senate | tea | party | caucus | demint

Rubio Refuses to Join Senate Tea Party Caucus

Monday, 24 Jan 2011 06:56 PM

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., has refused to commit to joining a new Senate Tea Party Caucus. Rubio, who engineered a come-from-behind victory with tea party support, questioned the need for the caucus and wondered whether it would co-opt the movement, the Florida political blog The Shark Tank reported.

Rubio did not rule out joining the caucus that currently includes Sens Jim DeMint, R-S.C., Rand Paul, R-Ken., and Mike Lee, R-Utah, and said he would continue to have conversations with those involved in the Tea Party Caucus to get a better understanding of how it would work.

rubio,tea,party,senate,caucus,demint,rand,paulRubio, who said he would join the Conservative Steering Committee, wondered if something in addition to the steering committee was needed and said the “magic of the tea party, the power and the legitimacy of the tea party, is that it is every day people from all walks of life many of whom have never participated in politics who are finally fed up with the direction of our country they think both parties are to blame and they’re raising their voices and taking action.”

“My concern is that politicians all of a sudden start co-opting the mantle of tea party. If all of a sudden being in the tea party is not something that is happening in Main Street, but rather something that’s happening in Washington D.C., the tea party all of a sudden becomes some sort of movement run by politicians,” he told the Shark Tank.

“It’s going to lose its effectiveness and I’m concerned about that. I think that the real power of the tea party comes from its ability to drive the debate and the issues from the grassroots up, as opposed to from the politicians down.”
Unlike its counterpart in the House that has signed up nearly 52 members, the Senate version has been slow to catch fire. Its first meeting is set for Thursday and it counts only three members, Politico reported.

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