A lot has been written today about the Tea Party and the problems it continues to cause the wing of the Republican Party that may actually be interested in governing. First, from “The Fix“:
Almost four years removed from its initial stirrings, the tea party movement finds itself riven by internal discord, without some of its most prominent leaders and faced with a party establishment that seems ready to abandon it – or at least buck its wishes – in the face of the 2012 election results.
“The Tea party has the opportunity to remain a leading force in American politics, but to do so, it must mature, take the next step and prove it can be part of a coalition that can actually govern,” said Jesse Benton, a longtime adviser to retiring Rep. Ron Paul and now campaign manager for Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell’s 2014 re-election race. “After two cycles, it’s not enough to just be the angry people waving Gadsden Flags and yelling about Washington.”…
…One senior Republican party strategist, granted anonymity to speak candidly about the future of the tea party movement, expressed concern that while the tea party was at a “low point” today, the coming legislative fights in Congress could lead to a renaissance in the movement.
“What I worry about is that the fiscal cliff/debt ceiling negotiations become like TARP, which is what started this,” said the GOP strategist. “We get a deal that is good for the country but our base goes crazy and it gets them all ginned up again.”
As we’ve written before in this space, moderate Republican leaders understand all too well that the Tea Party is crippling their chances of winning back control from Democrats on both the national and state level. Republican leaders are doing what they can to weaken the influence of Tea Party-backed elected officials, but we don’t see a happy ending here. As the Associated Press reports:
House Speaker John Boehner’s decision to take plum committee assignments away from four conservative Republican lawmakers after they bucked party leaders on key votes isn’t going over well with advocacy groups that viewed them as role models.
Reps. Tim Huelskamp of Kansas and Justin Amash of Michigan will lose their seats on the House Budget Committee chaired by Rep. Paul Ryan next year. And Reps. Walter Jones of North Carolina and David Schweikert of Arizona are losing their seats on the House Financial Services Committee.
The move is underscoring a divide in the Republican Party between tea party-supported conservatives and the House GOP leadership.
“This is a clear attempt on the part of Republican leadership to punish those in Washington who vote the way they promised their constituents they would – on principle – instead of mindlessly rubber-stamping trillion dollar deficits and the bankrupting of America,” said Matt Kibbe, president of the tea party group FreedomWorks.
When you add this news to the fracturing of Speaker Boehner’s caucus and the seemingly rudderless GOP Senate leadership, you’ve got a nice recipe for a crap casserole. We’ve said it before: The Tea Party is absolutely killing the Republican Party. They had a nice honeymoon in the 2010 midterm elections, but it’s been all downhill ever since.
And the GOP has no idea how to stop it.