It begins: Some tea partiers unhappy with new Tea Party Caucus

posted at 7:22 pm on August 2, 2010 by Allahpundit

No surprise, as our own comments section split last week on the question of whether even reps as righteous as Mike Pence should be coopting the brand of a thoroughly grassroots, outside-the-Beltway movement. Here’s another question for you: What do the members of the caucus stand to gain in the long run from joining? People like Pence and Bachmann don’t need any labels to drum up support among rank-and-file righties; as for the rest, they’ll enjoy a little buzz headed into the midterms but long-term they’re going to be scrutinized by conservative activists even more closely than the average GOP member of the House is. If there’s already a “purity test” for congressional Republicans on most issues, why join a caucus where an even more exacting purity test will applied? Unless you’re a Pence or Bachmann and pretty much guaranteed to vote the conservative line on any issue, why box yourself in?

“If the tea party can stay in front of the caucus by vetting these members and monitoring their votes,” [Katrina Pierson] said, “it will be a good tool to hold these members accountable when liberal legislation is presented.”

Already, tea party activists have cried foul over one caucus member’s vote this month for the Democratic legislation overhauling financial regulations.

Pointing out that North Carolina Rep. Walter Jones was one of only three Republicans to support the bill, a writer on the influential Red State blog asserted “his membership on the Tea Party Caucus tells me they’ll take just about anybody. Kinda defeats the purpose, does it not?”

Bachmann has also come under tea party fire of late for her support of a pair of GOP congressional candidates opposed by tea partiers.

I assume that Paul Ryan, notwithstanding his attempt to deal with the entitlements crisis in a serious, systematic manner, would be drummed out of the caucus if he joined for having voted for TARP and the tax on the AIG bonuses. Am I wrong about that? Meanwhile, what happens on an issue like immigration reform or withdrawal from Afghanistan where there isn’t necessarily an orthodox “tea party position”? Will the caucus refuse to weigh in on those issues or will some sort of agreed-upon position be taken, even though it risks alienating some grassroots tea partiers? And what happens when, inevitably, some Tea Party Caucus member follows in Jones’s footsteps and votes for legislation that’s anathema to grassroots tea partiers? Is Bachmann prepared to actually kick people out of the caucus (and by what standard)? Or is everyone allowed to vote how they like, in which case there’s no purity test at all and the brand ends up standing for nothing?


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I assume that Paul Ryan, notwithstanding his attempt to deal with the entitlements crisis in a serious, systematic manner, would be drummed out of the caucus if he joined for having voted for TARP and the tax on the AIG bonuses. Am I wrong about that?

Nope. And you forgot the auto bailouts.

MadisonConservative on August 2, 2010 at 7:25 PM

When you refer to Mike Pence as “righteous,” are you being facetious, AP? Can’t tell…

cynccook on August 2, 2010 at 7:27 PM

:::eyeroll:::

So now AP is pushing the LSM meme that the Tea Party is fighting amongst itself?

So is the Democrat party. So is the Republican party. Are the 2 major parties going to fail because not every member of the party agrees?

OMG! This is the end of political parties! Everyone – you are on your own! AP says so!

Mr Purple on August 2, 2010 at 7:29 PM

tough call…I dunno.

Tea Party is still pretty young and I think Jan 2010 is a tabula raza…that’s where a lot of folks are going to work to turn this ship of state around, or at least get it floating again. These folks need to work at getting the Tea Party blessing—Bachmann already has it, few others, to my knowledge. It should be an invitation to join, not a voluntary join. These guys need to prove themselves and do some really heavy lifting and fire on all cannons. There’s a lot of work to do. Oh what the hell, get all hands on deck, if they’re going to say they’ll do it, get about doing it and go get some skin in the game.

/rantoff

ted c on August 2, 2010 at 7:30 PM

Creating an “official” caucus is dumb.

KeepOhioRed on August 2, 2010 at 7:30 PM

“I assume that Paul Ryan, notwithstanding his attempt to deal with the entitlements crisis in a serious, systematic manner, would be drummed out of the caucus if he joined for having voted for TARP and the tax on the AIG bonuses. Am I wrong about that?”

Paul Ryan has already made it pretty clear that he regrets those votes.

Do you think that the tea party faithful are unwilling to accept his mea culpas for those votes, or do you just think they are plain unwilling to support any but the most ideologically pure? Remember the “Moral Majority?” Whatever happened to those people? I am most definitely a supporter of the Tea Party, at least in its original, spontaneous incarnation….it just seems like lately, we’ve drifted apart…it’s like I don’t know them anymore…maybe the spark is starting to fade. Maybe we need couples’ counseling.

cynccook on August 2, 2010 at 7:33 PM

Uhhh, its “cooptition”

A cross between “cooperate” and “competition”, like what NASCAR multi-car team members do…

I saw DW coin this phrase on TV a few years ago during a pre-race show…

Khun Joe on August 2, 2010 at 7:33 PM

by trying to institutionalize the Tea Party, it reveals their lack of understanding of the movement. It doesn’t want to be, nor does it need to be institutionalized. If the elected representatives went about following the constitution, limiting the fed government and providing for defense (ie border control) that is what the Tea Party over archingly stands for and there is no need to institutionalize it.

Willie on August 2, 2010 at 7:33 PM

It is a philosophy, there is no unified voice. Ride the current like a Starfish… dude.

mjbrooks3 on August 2, 2010 at 7:33 PM

Creating a caucus runs counter to what the vast majority of Tea Party activists stand for.

Enough with the caucuses and beltway echo chamber.

ButterflyDragon on August 2, 2010 at 7:34 PM

so, what happens when the TP caucus does something dumb….does the greater TP (ie the grassroots) suffer because of it? I sense MB has this on principle that its a good thing and her heart is all in it, yet, TP lives in the hearts of the rest of us….

ted c on August 2, 2010 at 7:34 PM

Tea Parties started to remind Congress that the people are aware of what they are doing and they don’t like. By having a caucus, they aren’t elevating the Tea Parties, they are tainting them. Who wants to be linked to Congress? Vote new people in, if they don’t understand the concept of limited government, vote again. Stop pretending that D.C. is the real world.

Cindy Munford on August 2, 2010 at 7:38 PM

I’m ambivalent on this one…I feel like AP on the day an iPad gets rolled out. I dunno why, I just do.

ted c on August 2, 2010 at 7:39 PM

I see no one is complaining about the Bourbon Caucus. I’d prefer a Tequila Caucus. But, would that be racist?

joejm65 on August 2, 2010 at 7:42 PM

Just an improved ability to strategize and speak with one louder voice.

paul1149 on August 2, 2010 at 7:42 PM

I am Minnesotan who likes Bachmann but she jumped the shark on making a tea party caucus. I don’t see the upside of answering to a tea party caucus. The tea party is a political movement and I am not even sure I like the idea of “leaders” in it. Who elected them leaders and why. I wish people could have left it as a protest group but I guess people can’t help but jump in front of a parade that big.

Conan on August 2, 2010 at 7:45 PM

There is no conflict within the tea party, how can there be? The tea party is grass roots, no leaders need apply. You show up if you agree, you stay home if you disagree. Simple attendance metric.

And in the end you vote … the ultimate decision.

tarpon on August 2, 2010 at 7:45 PM

Can’t help but feel like some of these politicians (cough! Michele Bachmann cough!) are trying to turn the Tea Party movement into a personal little springboard for bigger and better things. It never fails that as soon as people start getting a little national name recognition, they begin imagining themselves sitting at that big trophy in the Oval Office…. And maybe, they’d be great for the country, but this just feels a little too much like…oh, yeah…co-opting to me.

cynccook on August 2, 2010 at 7:45 PM

Of course if they did not form some kind of a caucus there would be people miffed that the reps did not take them more seriously. No matter what they do, people will complain. And the idea of drumming Ryan out of any such caucus seems silly to me. As for TARP…well, most of that money has been paid back and initially there was an emergency to deal with. If someone like Ryan had been calling the shots instead of Obama there is no way, they would have kept piling on the spending. So people need to be rational about the differences here.

As for caucuses in general, I have my doubts. After all, what exactly did the Black Caucus do for blacks?

Terrye on August 2, 2010 at 7:47 PM

We don’t need no stinkin caucus so the libs can define and pigeon hole us and hold the entire tea party movement hostage to a few bad apples like they are trying to do with the Racism thing.
We don’t need to be beholdin to ANY politician or party rather we need to be free to donate and promote those whom we think are the best at upholding the constitution in each and every locality and in each and every election.

dhunter on August 2, 2010 at 7:49 PM

I’m reading a bio about Samuel Adams. The word “caucus” comes from “ship caulkers” who used to make up a bunch of the guys in ol’ Boston who worked in lockstep with one another to seal leaky ships n’ such. Adams worked himself into those “caucuses” and did a lot of cajoling, convincing, meet and greeting and worked up a lot of fiery speeches. There were lots of different types as well. So, the caucus idea has a good history of being useful to the types of things we are trying to get done today. Maybe its not such a bad idea since each iteration of the Tea Party, be it in DAllas, St. Louis, or wherever, is a caucus unto itself.

ted c on August 2, 2010 at 7:53 PM

Really, who cares. Most “tea partiers” are well educated and know that arguing over there should be a caucus or not is trivial compared to the power grabs this out of control government is doing.

GardenGnome on August 2, 2010 at 7:53 PM

If the Caucus exists only an avenue at LISTEN to the Tea Parties, then fine. If it’s to take the Tea Party label into the GOP for their use, I’ll fight them every inch of the way.

michaelo on August 2, 2010 at 7:55 PM

if any of you let the Progressive Liberal Socialist Democrat politico.com aka Journolisters drive a wedge between Tea Party members you should resign from the Tea Party because you are NOT supporting the Tea Party

mathewsjw on August 2, 2010 at 7:56 PM

The establishment of the Caucus is just a gesture. Most Tea Party people don’t mind. We don’t expect anything out of it, will not rely upon them for anything, will not depend on them for anything. We will not join any political party be it D, R, I or Libertarian. We’re a mish-mash of Patriotic Americans who seek to follow the Constitution and Common Sense. If you’re a D, R, I or L, it doesn’t matter to us.

And for the WH lackies that are reading, it doesn’t matter if you’re black, white, red, yellow, purple, blue, straight, gay, etc. You can have long hair, short hair, no hair, bald head, wear a wig, burn your bra, don’t wear a bra, wear leotards, wear leaopard skins, wear bear skins or just wear a loin cloth.

We don’t like Commies or Socialists or Statists, let that be clear. We welcome all who wish to return to our Constitution and recognize and enforce the limits of Federal Government, control spending, and for crying out loud, exercise good judgment and fiscal responsibility.

More than that, the ruling class needs to heel. Like a rabid out of control dog must be heeled.

The gesture itself was and is, purely symbolic and it’s appreciated. But: Don’t Tread On Me.

Key West Reader on August 2, 2010 at 7:57 PM

Caucus shmaucus.

Michelle Bachmann can knock herself out doing this if she wants. Anyone else can too. Makes no difference to me. Tea Party is a mindset that I happily enjoined because it happens to parallel mine. I don’t need an official party line or an official endorsed candidate. I know who I will vote for based on my tea party mindset. I don’t even need to go out and canvass my neighborhood, tho I am happy to attend a town hall and speak my mind.

As a vintage boomer, unhappy with where Obama is forcing us to go, I will speak with my vote…as will all my friends and family.

We are here, we are ticked, and we ALWAYS vote.

marybel on August 2, 2010 at 8:10 PM

dhunter on August 2, 2010 at 7:49 PM

<—- THIS

Key West Reader on August 2, 2010 at 8:10 PM

Underground movements are always way cooler when they’re loose, decentralized and unofficial.

Once they sell out, it ceases to be all about the music, so to speak.

I can understand grassroots-istas being miffed at having their baby co-opted by members of the worst Congress in US history, regardless of party.

But I can think of worse injustices than having politicians strive to pander to your common-sense economic principles – especially when some of them are at least halfway serious when it comes to sticking to said principles.

Good Lt on August 2, 2010 at 8:12 PM

I think it all depends on how the caucus is run. I can see good things possible and I can also see some precipices with no safe way down.

As for what to do on Afghanistan, social issues and the like, the caucus can easily refuse to comment on such because it’s outside of their declared portfolio.

Like other caucuses, it can serve as an indicator of commitment to strong fiscal constraint and small government, outside of that, representatives vote along their constituents views (hopefully).

Jason Coleman on August 2, 2010 at 8:21 PM

I’m taking a wait and see approach on the Tea Party caucus (though I like Bachmann).

But you know what I am pretty sure of? Allowing honest intraparty disagreement about the caucus to fuel MSM memes about “GOP infighting!1!1!!” will benefit the Dems more than anything Bachmann is doing.

Missy on August 2, 2010 at 8:31 PM

If the Caucus exists only an avenue at LISTEN to the Tea Parties, then fine. If it’s to take the Tea Party label into the GOP for their use, I’ll fight them every inch of the way.

michaelo on August 2, 2010 at 7:55 PM

I agree with you. From what I have seen in our local TEA party gatherings, the participants are not necessarily affiliated with the Republican party anyway. There are a lot of Independents and Democrats filling out our ranks. The unifying drive is a recognition that government is too big and intrusive, that the debt/deficit is out of control, that too many economic sectors are being taken over and controlled by Big Government, and that a loss of freedom is occurring with every power grab in DC. Nearly all recognize that the government is the cause of our job losses and weakening economy.

Bachmann has a good idea in being a clearinghouse for grassroots’ concerns, and I don’t want to thrash her for this move in setting up a caucus that can generate meaningful legislation.

Rep. Bachmann has a big target on her back, put there by Pelosi, who fears Bachmann’s brains and leadership. I, for one, do not intend to pile on and aid Pelosi in trashing Rep. Bachmann.

onlineanalyst on August 2, 2010 at 8:31 PM

Key West Reader on August 2, 2010 at 7:57 PM

You go, girl. Those are exactly the factors that have shaped this movement.

onlineanalyst on August 2, 2010 at 8:34 PM

It’s all good.

AshleyTKing on August 2, 2010 at 8:35 PM

Mistake all the way around.

The Tea Party was more effective without any formal connection to government or Washington DC.

Ricohoc on August 2, 2010 at 8:36 PM

It is a philosophy, there is no unified voice. Ride the current like a Starfish… dude.

Are we going to recognize each other by drawing stars in the sand?

humdinger on August 2, 2010 at 9:10 PM

Is this a real tea party complaint? The tea party is not a party. Its a protest statement like the original tea party was. thats all.

johnnyU on August 2, 2010 at 9:43 PM

I assume that Paul Ryan, notwithstanding his attempt to deal with the entitlements crisis in a serious, systematic manner, would be drummed out of the caucus if he joined for having voted for TARP and the tax on the AIG bonuses. Am I wrong about that?

My my my… arguing like a typical lefty. ANYONE can have a good idea that is worthy of consideration. Having a good idea doesn’t mean you are full-tilt pro-small government, less spending, less regulation (less socialism).

Voting for TARP is simply an indicator of that person’s willingness to grow government. That was a vote in the wrong direction. It will take some time to alter the landscape in DC to clear out the ruling class (regardless of party).

Getting back to a point where we no longer have to suffer these entitled idiots… where the constitution still rules is the objective. It creates a level playing field under the rule of law… not social justice.

CC

CapedConservative on August 2, 2010 at 9:49 PM

I know who I will vote for based on my tea party mindset. I don’t even need to go out and canvass my neighborhood, tho I am happy to attend a town hall and speak my mind.

As a vintage boomer, unhappy with where Obama is forcing us to go, I will speak with my vote…as will all my friends and family.

We are here, we are ticked, and we ALWAYS vote.

marybel on August 2, 2010 at 8:10 PM

And I WILL NOT GO ALONE! I will find two or three others who are former Dems or non voters and TAKE them to the polls to vote with me. I will get absentee ballots for those who chose not to go but will allow a ballot I will do it NOW before the nursing home convinces grandma or the college my kid to vote for the wrong candidate.

WE WILL REMEMBER TOGETHER IN NOVEMBER!

dhunter on August 2, 2010 at 10:31 PM

Whatever became of that stupid Coffee Party that the Liberals were so jazzed about? They thought they were so clever…those pathetic foolishly foolish fools.

redwhiteblue on August 2, 2010 at 10:54 PM

The “Caucus” inst’ doing themselves any favors in Missouri either… as they apparently gave a verbal support to Roy Blunt instead of the preferred conservative Republican (Pergason).

As much as I love Michelle, I’m definitely going against their “Caucus-supported” candidate tomorrow at the voting booth.

DaSaintFan on August 3, 2010 at 12:12 AM

My impression of the purpose of the forming of this caucus was more of a symbolic gesture. More of a ‘We hear you Conservative America’ collection of politicians banding together. A group that can, could, should discuss the concerns of TP participants and how best to address those concerns and give the people a voice or at least a sounding board. There is strength in numbers. Individual representatives can say they support this Conservative point, or that Conservative point and not have a huge impact. On the other hand 10, 20 or whatever number collectively supporting an issue ……….

Will we always agree with an individual members talking points or voting record on particular issues? No! Will we always agree with a ‘caucus’ decision? No! (ie: the mentioned Missouri verbal endorsement) But I’m willing to see where they go with this idea. The fact that Michelle Bachmann is the groups founder makes it more palatable to me that say some RINO (take your pick) representative forming the caucus – then I would no doubt feel the TP was being co-opted, being used to make them look better.

ladyhawke53 on August 3, 2010 at 5:37 AM

Are people really this stupid? Just because you are in the same caucus does not mean you vote the exact same way as everyone else in that caucus. Unless it is the Black Congressional Caucus of course.

Speedwagon82 on August 3, 2010 at 7:42 AM

Funny how some tea partiers are bitchin at other tea partiers for organizing themselves a bit.

Because somehow that makes the unorganized tea partiers look less ‘tea party-ish’ or something, or because the caucus is ruining the unorganized vibe…

To me, it looks like the non-caucus-unorganized tea partiers are upset at the caucused-organized tea partiers.

Thus, you have true disorganization, thus everyone should be happy since that should be grassroots-ish enough for everyone involved.

OR, the tea partiers that are bitchin about this are pissed that they aren’t the ones running the show.

hmm.

OR, those that are actually complaining are leftist plants who can all kiss my hairy white a$$

exsanguine on August 3, 2010 at 8:12 AM

It has always been my contention that, were the Tea Party ever to find in its midst a core of leadership, they should develop a set of positions on, say, ten issues, and list them on a website with every member of Congress, and literally rate each member on how they voted. This influence would trump attempts by Newt Gingrich or any other RINOs or pretenders to the throne, to co-opt the “Tea Party” label, as it would already have substance.

I’ve even got the web domain for it in my possession: “throwthebumsout dot org.” You know where to find me.

manwithblackhat on August 3, 2010 at 8:21 AM

From my perspective is that the “Tea Party” movement simply is saying the current system is broken and needs fixing.

There is nothing we can do about those who would want to co-opt “Tea Party” to provide the voters the impression that they are on our side so vote for them, except have the ability to spot the imposers – if we let ‘em get to D.C. and they are protected by the Bubble machine, they are more dangerous.

Keep your guide up.

MSGTAS on August 3, 2010 at 9:38 AM

Every time I see a candidate run as a TEA Party member, or see one try to slide into the front row at an event, I get a ‘well, there goes the neighborhood’ feeling. At the same time I do understand that at some point politicians are necessary to get things done, or undone as the case may be.
-
It’s one of those fine line things I think, let’s hope the line is not trampled by posers in the rush to get elected. Pay attention to the weasels that sneak in to the mix and oust them, and keep moving towards a constituently sound conservative governing majority in Nov, and again in 2012.

RalphyBoy on August 3, 2010 at 10:06 AM