Rand Paul: "a libertarian with tea party tendencies, or a tea partier with libertarian impulses?"
Mother Jones' Josh Harkinson and Nick Baumann contemplate the prospects of Senator-elect Rand Paul:
If the hardcore libertarians who support Rand Paul get their way, he'll act much like his father, Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), who is known as "Dr. No" for his practice of voting down almost every spending and tax bill to cross his desk. Ron Paul has referred with pride to the fact that he's often on the short end of 434-to-1 votes in the House. But when a House member casts a lone nay vote, it doesn't gain him much except credit with his followers. In the Senate, a single opposition vote—expressed via a hold, a filibuster, or some other parliamentary maneuver—can block legislation and bring the chamber to a standstill. Look at how Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.), whose vacated seat Rand Paul is filling, held up unemployment benefits for millions earlier this year all on his own. In the Senate, Paul—or other incoming tea partiers—could do that again and again, freezing both legislation and appointments. If Rand becomes the "Son of Dr. No" in the Senate, that would further gum up the already dysfunctional chamber and ensure even greater gridlock in Washington.