Bachmann: Tea Party caucus will provide input to Congress from “real people”

posted at 2:20 pm on July 20, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) got approval from the House to form a Tea Party Caucus, an official and voluntary organization within Congress.  The TPC will join other special-interest caucuses like the Congressional Black Caucus, the Hispanic Caucus, and the Progressive Caucus, which mostly overlaps the previous two examples.  Unlike the other caucuses, Bachmann intends to use the TPC to give a voice to ordinary Americans who feel cut out of the wheeling and dealing on Capitol Hill:

The idea is for the caucus to bring in “real people from various walks of life” to speak to its members about issues resonating within the Tea Party movement. “Usually we invite experts in,” Bachmann said of other caucuses in the House. “Well, these are experts in just being regular Americans,” she said.

The caucus is quickly evolving: Bachmann filed paperwork at end of last week to form the group, it was approved by House administration Monday, and now, the Minnesota congressman is out recruiting members for Wednesday’s inaugural meeting.

Bachmann was en route by air to Washington when the caucus was approved. “When I flew in, I was handing out invites to members of Congress to invite them to come to our first Tea Party Caucus tomorrow, and it’s all been very positive.”

I can hear the pushback now: Is Bachmann saying that progressives aren’t “regular Americans”?  Where’s Journolist when we need it? No, that’s not what she’s saying, of course.  The Tea Party movement started because of the massive disconnect between Congress and the people, a disconnect that hit critical mass when Democrats spent nine months taking over the American health-care system while most Americans not only opposed the effort but also wondered why Congress wasn’t addressing the real priorities: jobs and the economy.  Instead, as Americans not in DC boggled at the size of the debt run up by the 111th Congress, Democrats passed Pay-Go only to promptly and repeatedly ignore it.

The sad part is that the House is supposed to be the people’s branch of government.  Instead, it has become a den for a myriad of special interests.  Want to guess how many caucuses there actually are within the House?  Kathryn Jean Lopez links to the list of active caucuses, which appears interminable.  Some of the more memorable caucuses are:

  • African Great Lakes Caucus
  • Algae Energy Caucus
  • Bipartisan Congressional Refugee Caucus (for refugees from Congress?)
  • Caucus for Congressional World Bank Dialogue
  • Community College Caucus (wouldn’t that be a community issue?)
  • Congressional Apparel Manufacturing and Fashion Business Caucus
  • Congressional Bike Caucus
  • Congressional Bourbon Caucus
  • Congressional Caucus on California High-Speed Rail (why would this be a federal issue?)
  • Congressional Caucus on Distracted Driving Awareness

And so on.  The list is almost endless, and one would have to consult with the Bourbon Caucus to alleviate the headache that investigating this produces.

Bachmann makes one point about the TPC and its relation to GOP leadership, which is that it’s not designed to oppose or undermine it:

“No, I don’t see it that way,” Bachmann, of Minnesota, told The Daily Caller when asked if she envisioned the caucus offering a conservative counterpoint to the GOP establishment. “I think it’s really just complementary. … Usually the purposes of the caucuses are to promote an idea or issue — whether it’s the shellfish caucus, the potato caucus, the missile defense caucus. It’s members of Congress who are interested in an idea and they want to promote it. Well, this is no different.”

We’ll talk with Michele tonight on the Hugh Hewitt show, so be sure to tune in, starting at 6 pm ET!


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Not an end-around to GOP leadership.

Unfortunately… That might actually be effective.

bj1126 on July 20, 2010 at 2:24 PM

Hey, it’s worth a try and the basic idea behind it is good. I hope it takes off and has some positive effects.

jeanie on July 20, 2010 at 2:25 PM

I hope that, if nothing else, it proves useful for outing the spineless RINOs who are too spineless to out themselves. The first time Lindsey Graham shows up, he should be wedgied just like when it happened to him in college.

AubieJon on July 20, 2010 at 2:29 PM

This is why Bachmann actually gets the tea party movement and is popular as a result, it isn’t about political power plays but about the rest of us being heard in between elections.

Daemonocracy on July 20, 2010 at 2:31 PM

Too many GOP elites and bad actors out there who would co-opt the TPC in order to destroy or diminish the whole Tea Party movement. I’m willing to wait and see what happens but I don’t have a good feeling about this right now.

Extrafishy on July 20, 2010 at 2:32 PM

Let us know if Mike Pence, Paul Ryan, or John Boehner signs up.

Steve Z on July 20, 2010 at 2:34 PM

According to reports from KLopez at NRO’s The Corner blog, so far:

Mike Pence is IN
John Boehner is OUT
Paul Broun is IN
Jason Chaffetz is not only OUT but he opposes it
Eric Cantor is UNDECIDED, which I classify as OUT

hrh40 on July 20, 2010 at 2:36 PM

Too many GOP elites and bad actors out there who would co-opt the TPC in order to destroy or diminish the whole Tea Party movement. I’m willing to wait and see what happens but I don’t have a good feeling about this right now.

Extrafishy on July 20, 2010 at 2:32 PM

Concur

paragon27x on July 20, 2010 at 2:36 PM

If it was someone other than Bachmann, I’d be leery, too. But as long as she maintains leadership over it, I’m not too worried.

She herself would welcome our keeping an eye on it, keeping them accountable, however. So I will.

hrh40 on July 20, 2010 at 2:39 PM

•Congressional Bourbon Caucus

•Congressional Caucus on Distracted Driving Awareness

Neither has had many meetings since Ted Kennedy died.

Cicero43 on July 20, 2010 at 2:39 PM

Sign me up for the Bourbon Caucus!

irishspy on July 20, 2010 at 2:40 PM

I’ll be interested to see what transpires from this caucus. Interesting. Gotta give her one thing: She’s creative and busy!

AnninCA on July 20, 2010 at 2:43 PM

The Tea Party doesn’t need a house caucus. It started with just regular people, not a beltway thing. If fact, the Tea Party goals could be acheived without any caucus at all.

It was people taking these “Reps” to task during townhall meetings that one of the resasons that started this movement.

Oil Can on July 20, 2010 at 2:44 PM

Wish her luck, it’s a good idea starting from a viable premise. We all were screaming about the health care plan, we will be screaming about cap and trade but not one either listened or heard or both. Could be the start of a good thing and she’s a good one to lead it, tough and smart.

jeanie on July 20, 2010 at 2:51 PM

Seriously…

Iraqi Women’s Caucus
Afterschool Caucus
Congressional Arts Caucus
Congressional Bike Caucus
Congressional Caucus on Cote d’ Ivoire
Congressional Caucus on Global Road Safety

All these caucus and thing still run like crap. Just vote for low taxes and get out of the way.

Oil Can on July 20, 2010 at 2:53 PM

The Tea Party doesn’t need a house caucus. It started with just regular people, not a beltway thing. If fact, the Tea Party goals could be acheived without any caucus at all.

It was people taking these “Reps” to task during townhall meetings that one of the resasons that started this movement.

Oil Can on July 20, 2010 at 2:44 PM

True. These groups tend to get very little real attention, eventually.

But then again, people can’t constantly do nothing but attend protests, either.

AnninCA on July 20, 2010 at 2:57 PM

People in Washington could not be further removed from the averages person’s life outside of The Beltway.

Cindy Munford on July 20, 2010 at 2:57 PM

How about real people in congress?
Term limits, accountability and a rail just in case

Hening on July 20, 2010 at 2:59 PM

In your list of caucuses you seemed to have forgotten the very, very powerful Black Caucus.

jeanie on July 20, 2010 at 3:00 PM

And so on. The list is almost endless, and one would have to consult with the Bourbon Caucus to alleviate the headache that investigating this produces.

And this is why I keep reading. :)

Brass on July 20, 2010 at 3:01 PM

“Is Bachmann saying that progressives aren’t “regular Americans”?

I’m saying it

Sugarbuzz on July 20, 2010 at 3:01 PM

NO from Cantor….

Cantor Takes a Pass on the Bachmann Caucus [Kathryn Jean Lopez]

The House Minority Whip tells Politico that “part of the beauty of the tea party movement” is that “it’s organic. And it’s certainly not Washington. So I think it’s better left with the people.”

shomegirl on July 20, 2010 at 3:04 PM

Congressional Bourbon Caucus

Well that one I approve of.

rbj on July 20, 2010 at 3:06 PM

The idea of having real people filling the halls of congress sounds darn good to me until the elites start deciding what real people are.

fourdeucer on July 20, 2010 at 3:08 PM

I can hear the pushback now: Is Bachmann saying that progressives aren’t “regular Americans”?

I don’t about Bachmann but I’ve been saying that for years.

Guardian on July 20, 2010 at 3:09 PM

The House Minority Whip tells Politico that “part of the beauty of the tea party movement” is that “it’s organic. And it’s certainly not Washington. So I think it’s better left with the people

Cop out!! Nicely worded, but still a cop out. The thing about this though is that either way someone’s going to be offended. If one joins, then some wishy, washy moderate will take umbrage, if you don’t, then some zealot like myself will call you coward. LOL!!! How about principle though, neither group can argue for long about that.

jeanie on July 20, 2010 at 3:10 PM

Cicero43 on July 20, 2010 at 2:39 PM

Bravo!

DOOF on July 20, 2010 at 3:25 PM

•Congressional Bourbon Caucus

•Congressional Caucus on Distracted Driving Awareness
Neither has had many meetings since Ted Kennedy died.

Cicero43 on July 20, 2010 at 2:39 PM

Thread winner!

Archimedes on July 20, 2010 at 8:07 PM

OT slightly, but I was in DC over the weekend at an industry meeting, part of which is visiting your representatives on Capital Hill.

At the dinner last night, we had a first term Congresswoman address us on her adventures. The person introducing her gave us the obligatory backstory, which included owning a business in our industry. She was warmly received as she made her way to the lectern.

She then dove into an long-winded explanation of her vote for the health care overhaul, sounding as though she were Nancy Pelosi’s puppet. You should have seen the looks on the faces in the audience. Faces turned red, jaws were clenched, some people actually got up and walked out (OK to be fair, the bar was in the lobby). She sensed the tension in the room and tried to make a light hearted remark to relieve it – it was met with stone silence.

When she finished, only a scattering of unenthusiastic, obligatory applause – not from me, that’s for damned sure.

My boss was sitting next to me and I leaned over to him and said, “Who’s running against her? I’m sending him/her a check”.

turfmann on July 20, 2010 at 4:15 PM

Well, they’re wetting their pants over at the Strib about this.

‘Cept it won’t help Taryl Clark one bit. She’s doomed.

Heh.

Bruno Strozek on July 20, 2010 at 4:29 PM

For now keep grass roots, keep away from the toxic congress.

Wade on July 20, 2010 at 4:34 PM

I don’t blame the Leaders for not joining up.

I just want the Leadership to listen when the Caucus speaks, take it seriously. They don’t have to be in it, because they are leading the whole Republican Caucus.

They should be encouraged to attend some of the meetings, and stay up on what the Tea Party Caucus is doing, and help them when needed.

That is good enough for me.

Brian1972 on July 20, 2010 at 4:40 PM

Congressional Caucus on California High-Speed Rail (why would this be a federal issue?)

Only to throw federal money at it.

shick on July 20, 2010 at 5:01 PM

•Congressional Bourbon Caucus

•Congressional Caucus on Distracted Driving Awareness
Neither has had many meetings since Ted Kennedy died.

Cicero43 on July 20, 2010 at 2:39 PM

heh..I likey!

Since Patches is bowing out, who will lead?

Tim Zank on July 20, 2010 at 5:16 PM

Let’s just make Bachmann the Speaker and be done with these petty spats :-)

DaMav on July 20, 2010 at 5:58 PM

Way to go Michelle, luv yuh…
Forget about the digs, and idle pillow talk. It may take a strong woman like yourself, to give Washington some badly needed house cleaning. The stench is coast to coast, and border to border. So good luck and God Bless in your task!

byteshredder on July 20, 2010 at 6:41 PM

The Tea Party worked best as a grass roots movement. Having the thumb of politicians in it now will weaken it and reduce its effectiveness. It will now be perceived as a wing of the Republican Party, which is NOT a good thing.

Ricohoc on July 20, 2010 at 8:50 PM

I didn’t see a Term Limit Caucus or a Reduce The Size of Government Caucus, maybe we can get those started too. That would let us regular people see where our representatives are willing to stand.

jackal40 on July 20, 2010 at 9:34 PM

Michele Bachmann GETS IT.

Metro on July 20, 2010 at 10:52 PM

That might actually be effective.

bj1126 on July 20, 2010 at 2:24 PM

It’s not Unfortunate, it is inevitable.

Kini on July 21, 2010 at 5:32 AM

Tea partiers are barely organized enough to be co-opted by the repugnicans, but plenty stupid enough to let it happen.

borntoraisehogs on July 21, 2010 at 2:11 PM