New Tea Party Caucus launches in Senate — with three members

posted at 9:36 pm on January 14, 2011 by Allahpundit

I didn’t quite understand why Bachmann felt the need for one in the House and I understand this even less. It’s good retail politics to wave the TP flag, I guess, but the point of a caucus is to try to keep the members together to vote as a bloc as a way of maximizing ideological leverage over legislation. There ain’t much leverage with only three members, though, particularly when all three of these guys are already mortal locks to vote the same way on every fiscal matter to come down the pike. And since all three are already heroes to tea partiers, they don’t need to fly the Gadsden flag in the Senate to stay on their good side.

Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul on Friday announced the formation of a new Senate Tea Party Caucus, taking a formal step toward uniting members of the movement in the 112th Congress.

Paul and Sens. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) will be the group’s inaugural members, according to a joint statement released by Paul’s office.

“Republicans in the Senate have already made a pledge to end earmarks and fight for a balanced-budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution,” Paul said in the statement. “By joining with my fellow Senators, Jim DeMint of South Carolina and Mike Lee of Utah, as well as grassroots groups who see the need for government reform, the caucus will work to enact real change to protect our country and its taxpayers from an ever-expanding government.”…

The caucus is slated to hold its first meeting at 10 a.m. on Jan. 27, two days after the Senate reconvenes following a two-and-a-half-week break.

There are two reasons for this, I assume. One is that it’s a sounding board for grassroots tea partiers to make their concerns known to honest-to-goodness senators. And indeed, rank-and-file TPers will be present at the inaugural meeting. But do Paul, Lee, or DeMint really require instruction as to the base’s thinking? They’re perfectly in sync with it already; that’s how they attained hero status. This feels more like an exercise in good optics, i.e. inviting grassroots conservatives into the corridors of power, than some meaningful strategy session. Two: Having an official “tea party” brand for their coordinated action could be useful as a way to pressure Snowe, Brown, and other vulnerable RINOs on key votes. Remember, DeMint’s promised that he won’t oppose any GOP incumbents in the primaries in 2012 — but if the “Tea Party Caucus” issues a statement saying how “disappointed” it is in, say, Orrin Hatch for voting a certain way on a certain bill, that’ll be a signal to the base that it’s primary time. Does the base really need any signaling, though? They’re going to primary Hatch, Snowe, Lugar, et al. no matter what, right?

Exit question: Aren’t there a few people conspicuously missing from the membership rolls? Hmmm. And hmmmmm.


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Just keepin’ a promise.

Electrongod on January 14, 2011 at 9:38 PM

Whoa. I retract my previous post until I study this further. Still reading.

Electrongod on January 14, 2011 at 9:40 PM

Once again, AP is cynical for cynicism’s sake.

Every great movement starts with few.

You know that.

Barrack on January 14, 2011 at 9:41 PM

Cue Palinbots accusing Rubio of RINOism.

rickyricardo on January 14, 2011 at 9:42 PM

rand Paul has been sticking it to the left lately.

rob verdi on January 14, 2011 at 9:45 PM

I Asked Rubio if he was a Tea Party supporter about a year ago and his office returned my request with a ‘declined’ to comment… I had volunteered to assist with his campaign but after that answer i ‘declined’ to serve.
Just saying.

Amadeus on January 14, 2011 at 9:46 PM

Upside: They’ll save a bundle on meeting space.

JammieWearingFool on January 14, 2011 at 9:47 PM

Getting a bit ahead of themselves, mebbe. Rubio has bigger fish to fry down the road. Personal ambition starts to play a part so the music stops and everybody looks for a chair. Except there are too many chairs and not enough people.

a capella on January 14, 2011 at 9:47 PM

Rubio has never distanced himself from the TP. No worries.

Terrie on January 14, 2011 at 9:48 PM

Stir the pot.

Col.John Wm. Reed on January 14, 2011 at 9:48 PM

I Asked Rubio if he was a Tea Party supporter about a year ago and his office returned my request with a ‘declined’ to comment… I had volunteered to assist with his campaign but after that answer i ‘declined’ to serve.
Just saying.

Amadeus on January 14, 2011 at 9:46 PM

I believe Sharron Angle was known to say/believe that Rubio was too much a part of the Bushie wing of the GOP to be a true grassroots member of the Tea Party. Time will tell…

Firefly_76 on January 14, 2011 at 9:49 PM

Stir the pot.

Col.John Wm. Reed on January 14, 2011 at 9:48 PM

I’m not stirring the pot, if that’s what you mean. Answer my points.

Allahpundit on January 14, 2011 at 9:51 PM

This feels more like an exercise in good optics, i.e. inviting grassroots conservatives into the corridors of power, than some meaningful strategy session.

Almost like Obama inviting conservative magazine editors to the White House, eh?

SouthernGent on January 14, 2011 at 9:52 PM

But do Paul, Lee, or DeMint really require instruction as to the base’s thinking?

Uh, yes — from the base, and frequently. The longer one stays in Washington, the looser one’s grip on reality becomes, unless one undergoes frequent exercises of this nature.

unclesmrgol on January 14, 2011 at 9:53 PM

And hmmmmm.

Rubio needs a new webmaster. Badly.

unclesmrgol on January 14, 2011 at 9:55 PM

you don’t know why they want a caucus????? everyone has a caucus…there are a bizzion caucuses:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caucuses_of_the_United_States_Congress

r keller on January 14, 2011 at 9:55 PM

Come on guys, write to them and convince them to join

Kini on January 14, 2011 at 9:55 PM

I’m not stirring the pot, if that’s what you mean. Answer my points.

Allahpundit on January 14, 2011 at 9:51 PM

The atheist version of “feed my sheep”.

unclesmrgol on January 14, 2011 at 9:56 PM

Congressional Mental Health Caucus (2006(?)–)

100 members?

Inanemergencydial on January 14, 2011 at 9:57 PM

As we get closer and closer to primary season, membership will show an amazing increase.

huckleberryfriend on January 14, 2011 at 9:58 PM

It’s not necessary. The Tea Party is an ideological movement. Why formalize everything?

John the Libertarian on January 14, 2011 at 9:58 PM

Firefly_76 on January 14, 2011 at 9:49 PM

Yeah and we all remember how her candidacy went …

Ian on January 14, 2011 at 9:58 PM

Tea for three,
And three for tea,
A caucus for you,
A caucus for me…

mrt721 on January 14, 2011 at 9:58 PM

The guys who showed up at Lexington Green were few in number too, by the time Yorktown made the scene those originals had a lot of friends standing next to them.

If everyone jumped on board they would be accused of riding the wave and not being committed. Give it time.

Bishop on January 14, 2011 at 9:59 PM

100 members?

Inanemergencydial on January 14, 2011 at 9:57 PM

No. You are thinking of the Congressional Mental Disease Caucus.

unclesmrgol on January 14, 2011 at 9:59 PM

Yeah and we all remember how her candidacy went …

Ian on January 14, 2011 at 9:58 PM

Meh. Just because she didn’t run a stellar campaign doesn’t mean she didn’t have the bona fides.

Firefly_76 on January 14, 2011 at 10:00 PM

Aren’t there a few people conspicuously missing from the membership rolls?

Darn right there are a few missing. Well, at least it is a start.

AshleyTKing on January 14, 2011 at 10:01 PM

I agree that the caucus may well be a means to pressure Rinos to vote more consistently with the base, and it certainly will save meeting room space, as Jammie said. As for Rubio, he may be a bit more maverick than one always in lockstep with TP expectations, but he certainly isn’t a Rino.

anXdem on January 14, 2011 at 10:01 PM

What about my friend and newly elected Senator Kelly Ayotte? I would hope she would become a TP Caucus member.

shmendrick on January 14, 2011 at 10:04 PM

The MSM has exposed itself.

What a thing to see.

Key West Reader on January 14, 2011 at 10:06 PM

the caucus will work to enact real change to protect our country and its taxpayers from an ever-expanding government.”…
==================

That is what they were elected to do!!

canopfor on January 14, 2011 at 10:09 PM

But do Paul, Lee, or DeMint really require instruction as to the base’s thinking?
==========================

Well,umm,sometimes after awhile,they might forget and
stray,ahem!!

canopfor on January 14, 2011 at 10:11 PM

There ain’t much leverage with only three members, though, particularly when all three of these guys are already mortal locks to vote the same way on every fiscal matter to come down the pike.

au contraire, homey. Demint tripled his influence. If he does that again in 2012, he’s got 9 dudes and that’s p’rt near 20% of the senate.

proportions

ted c on January 14, 2011 at 10:12 PM

he’s got 9 dudes and that’s p’rt near 20% of the senate.

proportions

ted c on January 14, 2011 at 10:12 PM

pardon my math fail. 10%

ted c on January 14, 2011 at 10:13 PM

The Tea Party is an ideological movement. Why formalize everything?

John the Libertarian on January 14, 2011 at 9:58 PM

Excellent point!..That was what I thought too..:)

Dire Straits on January 14, 2011 at 10:13 PM

Two: Having an official “tea party” brand for their coordinated action could be useful as a way to pressure Snowe, Brown, and other vulnerable RINOs on key votes.
=========================================
Most brilliant,holding their feet to da fire,so to
speak,and the MidTerms were about accountability and
focusing on smaller government!!

canopfor on January 14, 2011 at 10:14 PM

ted c on January 14, 2011 at 10:12 PM

Just remember you are not supposed to cut Demint down..:)

Dire Straits on January 14, 2011 at 10:15 PM

Even if it is there just to irk the Dems that’s good enough of a reason for me.

Cookies Mom on January 14, 2011 at 10:15 PM

No complaints here. Every cause has to start somewhere. I only hope it grows in time.

itzWicks on January 14, 2011 at 10:18 PM

Upside: They’ll save a bundle on meeting space.

JammieWearingFool on January 14, 2011 at 9:47 PM

JammieWearingFool:Oh sh*t,Lol,your baaaaaaaaaaaaaad!:)

canopfor on January 14, 2011 at 10:19 PM

Marco and Pat are still trying to the old donkey smell out of their new offices.

They will be there.

tjexcite on January 14, 2011 at 10:21 PM

Rubio needs a new webmaster. Badly.

unclesmrgol on January 14, 2011 at 9:55 PM

It’s like going back in time to 1996.

Mark1971 on January 14, 2011 at 10:37 PM

No reason to have any of the other senators in it.

Spathi on January 14, 2011 at 10:48 PM

DeMint was all alone for two years. Now he has two more buddies. Eventually a few more will join. Yes, they do need to be reminded now and then and it helps to send cudos if they deserve it on a regular basis.

BetseyRoss on January 14, 2011 at 11:24 PM

Rubio would be dumb to join this group and he is not dumb. Some of you will never get it that the Country is CENTER RIGHT not far right. No way would any Senator who might want to run for higher office throw in with a far right group — would be political suicide.

PhiKapMom on January 14, 2011 at 11:30 PM

Its a start. And I’m glad Paul and Lee joined DeMint. Didn’t like seeing DeMint doing all of the heavy lifting in the senate.

Mirimichi on January 14, 2011 at 11:34 PM

Rubio: “Let me back you up on that for just a second. When you talk about the Tea Party- I am a Republican.”

Rubio stands on his own principles. He is who he is and if he decides to join DeMint and Paul then he will do it.

Nelsa on January 14, 2011 at 11:36 PM

Swell.

Valiant on January 14, 2011 at 11:39 PM

Toomey and Rubio’s failure to join the Tea Party caucus is a brilliant bit of positioning. They can be “stealth” conservatives. They can vote conservative all year long and then say, “But I’m a moderate, not a Tea Partier.”

Emperor Norton on January 15, 2011 at 12:26 AM

Stir the pot.

Col.John Wm. Reed on January 14, 2011 at 9:48 PM

I’m not stirring the pot, if that’s what you mean. Answer my points.

Allahpundit on January 14, 2011 at 9:51 PM

I don’t take it as certain that Col. Reed was addressing you when he made this comment. Perhaps he was encouraging the TP caucus to keep doing what they’re doing — that is, stirring the cauldron that is Congress just a wee bit.

That’s the way I read it. I may be wrong… again.

hillbillyjim on January 15, 2011 at 1:50 AM

There ain’t much leverage with only three members, though, particularly when all three of these guys are already mortal locks to vote the same way on every fiscal matter to come down the pike. And since all three are already heroes to tea partiers, they don’t need to fly the Gadsden flag in the Senate to stay on their good side.

Got to start somewhere. We all know most politicians are quislings, and outing yourself as a tea partier is a political risk in some states. These are solid guys and should attract some new members in 2012. Maybe even a Mama Grizzly or 2.

alwaysfiredup on January 15, 2011 at 1:55 AM

Plus it’s nice that they are proud to be tea party. It’s solidarity.

alwaysfiredup on January 15, 2011 at 2:00 AM

I think the numbers will grow. Rand Paul is going to make a mark on the Senate.

IronDioPriest on January 15, 2011 at 2:13 AM

Ya gotta start somewhere.

roflmao

donabernathy on January 15, 2011 at 2:43 AM

I like that there’s an actual caucus now. Here in Ohio we are finally free of Sen. George RINOvich, but his replacement Rob Portman isn’t exactly covered with Tea Party commendations. With this small beginning, we can now put pressure on Portman to join the movement. The more public commitments to Tea Party goals we can get from Portman, the easier it will be to counteract Washington’s leftward pull.

Baby steps.

OhioCoastie on January 15, 2011 at 2:58 AM

Why not have a caucus even if it is so small? Given the GOP’s propensity for sticking it to their own supporters (Cino for RNC chair was apparently a pro-Obamacare lobbyist- Boehner is tone deaf if he thought backing her made any sense whatsoever), this can only be a good idea.

We can only hope that more members- who actually believe in what the Tea Party stands for (and not ignoring the wishes of the people who elected them)- join as time goes by.

Jay Mac on January 15, 2011 at 6:19 AM

I sense Rubio’s finger is in the air, just a typicall politician. I predict he and Romney will be big buds.

wheelgun on January 15, 2011 at 7:08 AM

So, what was the size of the TP caucus 2 years ago?

Oh, that’s right, it didn’t exist then… so sorry!

As for the necessity of a caucus, if it is results oriented and offers ways to cut the budget and reduce spending, and publicizes those, then it will be a net good. We do not need another scold-a-thon caucus in either Chamber.

Do as you Say.
Say what you Mean.
Mean what you Do.

They are Doing as they have Said.

What is the problem with that?

Now they must prove what they Mean by Doing it from here on out. It need not have a large membership to be effective. It just takes one woman to mention ‘death panels’ to give Leftists hives… imagine what 3 Senators can do if they really Mean what they have Said.

ajacksonian on January 15, 2011 at 7:41 AM

“A half-century of political dirty tricks” seems pretty relevant.

Mark Levin – JFK’s Unknown Dirty Trick

Nearly Nobody on January 15, 2011 at 7:45 AM

Frm the writing, we now have confirmation that AP won’t stick his neck out unless he has overwhelming majority support at his back.

But then he won’t get the leadership position, it will be just part of a crowd.

Sir Napsalot on January 15, 2011 at 7:50 AM

I am a Tea Party member, and I support all 3 of the caucus senators. I do not think they are going after RINOs in 2012. There are too many democrats to be defeated first. It will take too much money and energy to rid Harry and company of their power. The focus must be on replacing the democrats with Tea Party Republicans. Grow the TPC!

Dennis227 on January 15, 2011 at 8:03 AM

As a tea partier – I totally understand this. When this block votes – the Repubs that vote the other way will suffer the consequences at primary time.

suzyk on January 15, 2011 at 8:16 AM

Dennis – we are totally going after Hatch, Lugar, Corker, Snowe – you bet we are….. We are out finding candidates to beat the democrats too. There’s alot of us out here and we are busy. We can’t wait for 2014 to get rid of Goober Graham.

suzyk on January 15, 2011 at 8:17 AM

DeMint = SC (Red)
Lee = UT (Red)
Paul = KY (Red)

Toomey = PA (Blue)
Rubio = FL (Purple)

Enough said.

kevinkristy on January 15, 2011 at 8:23 AM

I do not think they are going after RINOs in 2012. There are too many democrats to be defeated first
Dennis227 on January 15, 2011 at 8:03 AM

I hope you’re right. Two years of incessant internal squabbling is no way to take the Senate and W.H. back.

BTW, the one thing that worries me about the Tea Party is that they are too impatient, demanding abracadabra instant radical change. Some of their spokespeeps were noisily complaining about Boehner and company before they’d even been sworn in. This sniping by unelected heads of a grassroots movement has the effect of turning me off to the Tea Party (of which I considered myself a member) rather than embracing them.

We’re all anxious for and end to this out of control deficit spending, but the deficit will not go down without economic growth. We have to be sure we don’t do anything to restrain growth in our zeal for addressing the debt and deficit. For that reason, I oppose a balanced budget amendment because it does nothing to prevent tax increases which stifle economic recovery.

Buy Danish on January 15, 2011 at 8:28 AM

If they want to form a tea party caucus, fine. Words don’t impress us as much as action, like voting. Just shows us that a 3rd party is not the way to go. Taking over the Republican party is the way, kicking out the rinos and elites on the way.

Kissmygrits on January 15, 2011 at 8:37 AM

I didn’t quite understand……I understand this even less.

Bwahahahaha!!! You think like a elitist insider RINO! THEN, in the last paragraph, you get it right. Who did you call for the answer? Sarah?

We have MANY votes coming up in the next two years that will force Hatch, Snowe, Collins, etc to take a stand that will enrage the RINO base if they vote with the Tea Party. They MUST appease the RINO’s to get reelected. If they vote the way of the RINO, they will face primary challenges.

You see Allah, a conservative sticks to his/her principles and out of that comes the impetus to resist establishment thinking and solutions. The necessity to hold to their values is the mother of the invention of ways to do so.

End of lesson.

;-)

csdeven on January 15, 2011 at 9:15 AM

Founding members. Every organization requires a beginning.

Good, I’m glad for it.

maverick muse on January 15, 2011 at 9:16 AM

Once again, AP is cynical for cynicism’s sake

No-he’s ‘cynical’ here because he has disdain for the TP.
“In all fairness” does not apply for grass roots conservatism.
For this guy,though,giving the benefit of the doubt and giving frequent ‘reluctant’ props toward BO and other prominent libs and their actions is the default attitude.

Dr. Carlo Lombardi on January 15, 2011 at 9:19 AM

It’s just not Rubio’s style to join something like the Tea Party. It’s why he can appeal to a RINO like me and to Jim DeMint fans at the same time.

thuja on January 15, 2011 at 9:30 AM

Stir the pot.

Col.John Wm. Reed on January 14, 2011 at 9:48 PM

I’m not stirring the pot, if that’s what you mean. Answer my points.

Allahpundit on January 14, 2011 at 9:51 PM

I don’t take it as certain that Col. Reed was addressing you when he made this comment. Perhaps he was encouraging the TP caucus to keep doing what they’re doing — that is, stirring the cauldron that is Congress just a wee bit.

That’s the way I read it. I may be wrong… again.

hillbillyjim on January 15, 2011 at 1:50 AM

TEA PARTY:
Prior to serving, one stirs the pot.

Nonsense to play an overly sensitive victim, Allahp., as if to take offense where none was given.

As to your points, sounding board works fine. But it would be foolish to attribute insignificance, as if a bandwagon begins already filled rather than having it move along while people jump on board. This Caucus will not be dormant, nor will it function as mere pageantry for show. Its founders exercise determination to exert constitutional limits on governance.

I’ll be interested in finding how the House and Senate Tea Party Caucuses coordinate legislative efforts.

maverick muse on January 15, 2011 at 9:37 AM

DeMint = SC (Red)
Lee = UT (Red)
Paul = KY (Red)

Toomey = PA (Blue)
Rubio = FL (Purple)

Enough said.

kevinkristy on January 15, 2011 at 8:23 AM

This

txmomof6 on January 15, 2011 at 9:39 AM

Gotta stake your claim sometime. As the Tea Party Caucus introduces popular ideas that challenge the Legacy Congress America’s come to despise, then the ranks will grow.

I applaud these courageous few. They lead. My time and money will be directed right to them first – perhaps exclusively.

AnonymousDrivel on January 15, 2011 at 9:40 AM

Every caucus starts somewhere with a dedicated handful of members–even that pathetic bag of jello now known as the GOP Caucus.

Allahpundit–”but is it really necessary?”
Me: I have this thought about the GOP every day.

james23 on January 15, 2011 at 9:46 AM

kicking out the rinos and elites on the way.
Kissmygrits on January 15, 2011 at 8:37 AM

Ah, we must purge the GOP according to your narrow definitions. Brilliant way to increase our numbers and attract independents./

The “elites” comment is particularly troublesome. Beyond the very un-conservative class warfare element to this populist refrain, I have to ask: Do you know anything about world history? It is one thing to espouse principles of fiscal conservatism and fealty to the Constitution; it is quite another to speak in terms of purges. And yes, I realize you didn’t actually use the word “purge”, but it’s essentially what you’re advocating.

Candidates can run and win and lose on their merits but if having a college degree from an ‘elite’ institution, or being a second generation American success story is something to be denigrated and shunned, we’re in deep trouble as a political party.

Buy Danish on January 15, 2011 at 9:50 AM

It sends a signal to others. “Come on in, the water is fine”. It has to start somewhere, and down the road it will grow much more than three. It’s funny how when people stick to principles and act with courage it is so confusing to some people. “Why are they doing that?” hmmm.

Its the same way the tea party started off and grew, all of those people felt the same way, but once they started meeting publicly in big rallies they drew attention and the ranks grew as people took notice. Some people are leaders, and others kind of follow along because they’re not the type of people prone to take a stand.

exceller on January 15, 2011 at 9:51 AM

Buy Danish on January 15, 2011 at 9:50 AM

Mitt will rise again /just teasing.

I have to ask: Do you know anything about world history?

And as a student of history, you recall the feudal order and are aware of the current authoritarian similarity.

Kissmygrits wrote elites where you’d specify elitists. No?

maverick muse on January 15, 2011 at 9:57 AM

An “inaugural member” of the GWBush “reformed” Progressive Republican Party, Jeb Bush referenced those who disagree with his open borders amnesty for illegals NAFTA agenda as “stupid”.

Elite, elitist, or both?

maverick muse on January 15, 2011 at 10:01 AM

Buy Danish on January 15, 2011 at 9:50 AM

What needs distinction is between the rank and file party loyalists and the leadership.

Do you really think the party is better with the likes of Snowe, Castle, Lugar, et al?

I admit the class warfare view is not a healthy one and I am guilty of engaging it myself from time to time.

Yet, how many independent voters would want to join something that is a virtual image of what has led us to the point where a TP was even needed in the first place?

OkieDoc on January 15, 2011 at 10:10 AM

I’m not surprised. The Teaparty is fluid. Michelle was trying to codify it.

AnninCA on January 15, 2011 at 10:11 AM

maverick muse on January 15, 2011 at 9:57 AM

And as a student of history, you recall the feudal order and are aware of the current authoritarian similarity.

Progressive Democrats are authoritarian by nature. I see no evidence that mainstream Republicans or their leadership is “authoritarian”. If anyone is behaving like an “authoritarian” it’s people who advocate “kicking out” elements they (self-proclaimed standard bearers of true conservatism) deem unworthy.

Kissmygrits wrote elites where you’d specify elitists. No?

Good point. An “elitist” refers to an arrogant world view of moral and intellectual superiority, not one’s station in life. Mitt (for example!) is not an “elitist”.

To be clear, in no way do I believe a degree from an “elite” institution is a requirement for higher office, but it most certainly should not be a disqualifier.

Buy Danish on January 15, 2011 at 10:22 AM

OkieDoc on January 15, 2011 at 10:10 AM

I am not in any way a fan of Olympia Snowe or Mike Castle, but they are preferable to Marxist/Progressives (like Maryland’s new (D) Senator). f.w.i.w., When I lived in Maine and Snowe was running for re-election I voted straight Republican but left a blank by her name. For Snowe to be defeated would require an outstanding, fiscally conservative candidate, but a social conservative probably wouldn’t go very far. Who gets to define RINO and what is the definition? Meanwhile, Maine’s fabulous new Governor got help from Snowe’s ex-husband so he’s is going to be loyal to her. While few things would make me happier than ending her legacy, I don’t know who, if anyone, is on the horizon who could beat her in the primary and go on to win the general. In the interim she can be nudged to the right, as long as people use well-reasoned arguments on legislative issue, not pitchforky demands which would only serve to push her away from our mutual goals.

Buy Danish on January 15, 2011 at 10:35 AM

BD, I guess that’s just it.
Her leadership score hovers around the 40 mark, so she’s more likely to be “nudged” as you put it, along some squishy margins.
She’s always ready to vote, but has only passed 11 bills in her name and none of significance.

And while it appears that for the most part she is in step with the party platforms,
she is as likely to be co-opted for a deciding vote against the platform as she is for it.
This perhaps would lead one to equate the term “Rockefeller Republican” with RINO.
I can think of some others that could wear this badge.

OkieDoc on January 15, 2011 at 11:06 AM

I would be glued to the news if the Tea Party decided to primary Olympia. It would be an up hill climb but one so suspenseful that it would be better than a good book or, yes, even reading blogs. Beginning to look(since the LePage revolt)as if rural and ex-urban Maine are beginning to assert their long neglected ability to control the vote up there if they set their collective minds to it. Bless ‘em.

jeanie on January 15, 2011 at 11:16 AM

Hey AP—in 1969 the Congressional Black Caucus started with 13 representatives. If you do the math, the percentages are about the same. Got to start somewhere.

dirtseller on January 15, 2011 at 11:17 AM

While few things would make me happier than ending her legacy, I don’t know who, if anyone, is on the horizon who could beat her in the primary and go on to win the general. In the interim she can be nudged to the right, as long as people use well-reasoned arguments on legislative issue, not pitchforky demands which would only serve to push her away from our mutual goals.

Buy Danish: Great point — one of the most important aspects of the Tea Party is to get local, newbie political participants into political positions to garner experience and networks. In this way, there is a Tea Party “back bench” of quality and experienced people to challenge in primary and general elections.

Frankly, I don’t care who or who isn’t in a “Tea Party” caucus (and I am the co-founder of a good sized Tea Party group). I know our people plan to “caucus” all their representatives in DC.

Mutnodjmet on January 15, 2011 at 11:30 AM

she is as likely to be co-opted for a deciding vote against the platform as she is for it.
OkieDoc on January 15, 2011 at 11:06 AM

It’s more likely she will be co-opted by the right because that’s the way Maine and the country is moving, but we’re not going to do it by haranguing her – she needs to be persuaded.

Buy Danish on January 15, 2011 at 11:39 AM

Yikes! This is an example of what not to do.

Meanwhile, this story about Maine’s Andrew Ian Dodge is interesting. And I promise you I don’t read Mother Jones, but they do make the same point I made earlier:

As a recent report in the publication Mother Jones noted, the tea party appears to be influencing policy-making even when its candidates lose. The mere threat of a challenger has establishment politicians on edge, which, some say, is the point.

Buy Danish on January 15, 2011 at 12:05 PM

I don’t like Congressional politicians coopting the tea party “brand” one bit. I respect Jim DeMint, and I contributed to his PAC instead of the RNC last year, but that doesn’t mean I’m willing to hand him — or an unproven newbie like Rand Paul — the whip to crack in my name. Nor have I liked watching a loose cannon like Michelle Bachmann maneuvering for her own advancement as the self-annointed face of the tea party movement. Sarah Palin, Marco Rubio and groups like Freedomworks were smart enough to avoid claiming the mantle of tea party leadership. The real caucus is not the creation of Washington politics, and we must not allow ourselves to become its creature.

Conservatives could also use reminding that the tea parties themselves are a coalition which includes a large numbers of people who aren’t even Republicans in name only, let alone as far to the right as Jim DeMint on a host of issues. That is why the movement has been so successful where conservative purists have patently failed in the past. Opposition to Obamacare and federal encroachments on the body politic flowed to Washington through the Republican party because there was no other choice. Turning around and presuming a mandate to administer the usual anti-RINO litmus test is divisive myopia at its most self-defeating worst.

JM Hanes on January 15, 2011 at 12:11 PM

Form a Repeal Caucus please.

Rae on January 15, 2011 at 12:13 PM

No way would any Senator who might want to run for higher office throw in with a far right group — would be political suicide.

PhiKapMom on January 14, 2011 at 11:30 PM

(belief in fiscal discipline) == (far right group)

Huh?

mockmook on January 15, 2011 at 12:52 PM

Stir the pot.

Col.John Wm. Reed on January 14, 2011 at 9:48 PM

Smoking it is more fun.

MSimon on January 15, 2011 at 4:03 PM

Allah’s wrong of course.

We’ve got the same phony GOP leaders running the show. Great conservatives like Flake and the new Tea Party crowd will be used as window dressing on committees or turned into RINOs with bribes. The end result will be total failure of this Congress to address the will of the voters.

The TP Caucus is an important step. That there are only 3 members accurately reflects the sense of the Senate. The same in the House. These people are the core for a new party when Boehner and his pack of smarmy liars screws the pooch.

rcl on January 15, 2011 at 5:59 PM

rcl on January 15, 2011 at 5:59 PM

Oh Jeez. Are you psychic or something? Nothing much has happened yet in Congress but here you are making all sorts of uber-negative predictions and hurling nasty insults at Boehner and others. If you think this is an improvement over the status quo, you’re mistaken. Meanwhile, not to state the obvious, but please keep in mind that we don’t have a majority in the Senate and do not occupy the White House so we are constrained from checking off every item on our agenda.

Buy Danish on January 15, 2011 at 6:45 PM

The “Tea Party” is NOT a political party: it’s an ad-hoc group which shares certain principles and ideas.

Articles like this one which try to characterize the Tea Party as something it is not are completely off the mark.

landlines on January 16, 2011 at 12:09 AM