“Helms and DeMint, and now the three, are the kind of senators who put principle first over politics, and when you do that you upset those who always put politics over principle,” Heritage’s Dr. Edwards told TheDC. “The big difference is that Jesse, and then more recently Jim DeMint, were pretty much alone — pretty much were lonely voices crying out — whereas today you have not just one but a group of Young Turks who are willing to stand up and, therefore, they draw strength from each other. And this infuriates and angers the politicians all the more.”

And the impact is visible.

“They’ve forced better behavior for the Republicans, which in turn forces better behavior from the Democrats,” Club for Growth’s Keller told TheDC. “Every Republican senator knows why Ted Cruz is there, not [David] Dewhurst; why Rubio, not [Charlie] Crist; why Toomey, not [Arlen] Specter. Now they’re held accountable and they know who’s leading the charge, so there’s a ripple effect for the election of someone like that. Just look at Orrin Hatch after Mike Lee won — he is a liberal Republican who started voting to the right of Jim DeMint.”

Republicans better wise up. Conservatives and libertarians won’t be able to agree on every stance that Lee, Paul and Cruz make, but anyone concerned with the direction the United States has been going for the past 80 years can agree that business as usual cannot continue.