This Won’t End Well: Republicans Trying to Control Tea Party

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.

9 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. ParkHill says:

    Seriously. I don’t know what Republican leaders you could possibly label as “moderate”.

    We have three political parties, Republicans, Conservative Democrats and Liberal Democrats.

    What would the moderate Republican position be on:

    – Global Warming

    – Gay Marriage

    – Universal Health Care

    – Immigration Reform

    – Solar, Wind Energy and Insulation

    – Mass Transit

    – Social Security

    – Science in Schools

    – Banking Reform

    – Demand Side Spending in a Recession.

    I don’t know of any Republicans you could call moderate on ANY of these issues.

  2. parsingreality says:

    The Republican party of yore (or our figurative fathers) has let it be run by the religious zealots and then later, the Tea Baggers.  Chasing votes for the short haul regardless of impact with the so-called average voter in the long haul.

    The old Will Rogers joke about “I don’t belong to any political party…..I’m a Democrat,” no longer applies.  We are far more unified than even four years ago, and the Pubs are in disarray.

    BTW, where are those blue dog Dems?  

  3. Or at least he is now; his American Conservative Union voting scores have dipped perilously low. He’s being removed for being uncooperative from the left.

    Jones is famous as being one of the chief promoters of “freedom fries” – a position he later recanted.

  4. Colorado PolsColorado Pols says:

    Republicans are moving the bar on the definition of “moderate.”  

  5. especially on Social Security and, I suspect, on gay marriage and immigration reform.

    But considering that yesterday Senate Republicans defeated a UN Treaty on the rights of the disabled, championed by former GOP Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole, there isn’t much hope for them IMHO.

  6. DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

    The Republican Party welcomed the bigots with open arms when the Democratic Party took on support of civil rights and lost the Southern Democrats.

  7. parsingreality says:

    Gotta hand it to them to see the opportunity.  That the segregation wing of the Democrats was ripe for the picking after the Civil Rights era.

  8. ParkHill says:

    On social Security. Let us see if the austerity slope crisis will pull any Republicans into voting to preserve Social Security. It would be some interesting judo if the Republicans tried to outflank the “fiscally conservative” Democrats on the left. It would make sense if they wanted to preserve older, white voters for their coalition.

    On gay marriage. I think the Republicans will simply stop talking about it except in fund-raising letters.

    On Obamacare. The hospitals and doctors’ associations are ready to kill the Republicans in those states where they are preventing the insurance exchanges. The Republicans will milk that one for electoral votes, but eventually drop the issue.

    On immigration. I don’t think any Republican can survive a primary if they vote for immigration reform. Texas & Florida are the long game, as in game over.

  9. Duke Coxdukeco1 says:

    On immigration. I don’t think any Republican can survive a primary if they vote for immigration reform. Texas & Florida are the long game, as in game over.

    must be particularly perplexing for the Republican leadership. When Dubya reaches “statesmanlike” status for his remarks on immigration, you know these fuckers are in trouble.

    They are looking to George to help them establish credibility…umm…no.

    The Christian Right/Tea Party won’t buy it from him, or anyone else.

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