Tea Party Caucus in the House and Senate
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) has filed paperwork to start a Capitol Hill Tea Party Caucus, according to Minnesota Public Radio:
“The American people are speaking out loud and clear. They have had enough of the spending, the bureaucracy, and the government knows best mentality running rampant today throughout the halls of Congress. This caucus will espouse the timeless principles of our founding, principles that all Members of Congress have sworn to uphold,” Bachmann stated. “The American people are doing their part and making their voices heard and this caucus will prove that there are some here in Washington willing to listen.”
Rand Paul, the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in Kentucky, has also floated the idea, likely including Mike Lee and Sharron Angle as well as fiscally conservative senators like Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Jim DeMint (R-SC), but some of his possible colleagues are cool to the idea:
So who wants to join Rand Paul’s “tea-party” caucus?
“I don’t know about that,” Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) replied with a nervous laugh. “I’m not sure I should be participating in this story.”
Republican lawmakers see plenty of good in the tea party, but they also see reasons to worry. The movement, which has ignited passion among conservative voters and pushed big government to the forefront of the 2010 election debate, has also stirred quite a bit of controversy. Voters who don’t want to privatize Social Security or withdraw from the United Nations could begin to see the tea party and the Republican Party as one and the same.
Trent Lott, a former Republican Senator from Mississippi (who once was so upset with concerns raised by grassroot fiscal conservatives that he said, “I’ll just say this about the so-called Porkbusters. I’m getting damn tired of hearing from them. They have been nothing but trouble ever since Katrina), passes off tea partyers:
Former Senate majority leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.), now a D.C. lobbyist, warned that a robust bloc of rabble-rousers spells further Senate dysfunction. “We don’t need a lot of Jim DeMint disciples,” Lott said in an interview. “As soon as they get here, we need to co-opt them.”
But Lott said he’s not expecting a tea-party sweep. “I still have faith in the visceral judgment of the American people,” he said.
This is why the Republican Party has failed the last two cycles. They’ll get lucky enough to ride the back of voter dissatisfaction. However, if they continue the ways of the past, they way they abandoned fiscal conservatism and spent like Lyndon B. Johnson during the Bush Administration, they’ll end up right back where they are now…in the minority.