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The Tea Party Caucus is Dead and That's OK

Posted by on Mar. 21, 2013 at 11:30 AM
  • 6 Replies

A couple years ago when the Tea Party was just getting started I read a column about how it wasn't something anyone would have to worry about long, that it would fizzle out and become irrelevant.  I'm not sure even the author of that piece could have known how quickly his prediction would come true.  


The Tea Party Caucus is Dead and That's OK



Your intrepid blogger speaks to a Tea Party activist dressed in Revolution-era garb at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland, on March 15, 2013.

Photo by NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images

Two-odd months ago, I asked a Republican Hill staffer what had happened to the Tea Party Caucus. Launched with great fanfare in 2011, it was often cited in Michele Bachmann's introductions on the presidential campaign trail—"she's the founder of the Tea Party Caucus!"—and it brought luminaries like Antonin Scalia in to educate Republicans. At its height, the caucus had 60 members, but 10 of them lost their 2012 elections.

So how many members remained in the caucus?

"We are actually in the process of re-filing the caucus," said the staffer.

Today, the membership page for the caucus is defunct. The caucus hasn't met since July 2012; it has posted no news since July 2012. In the press, "Tea Party caucus" has become an offhand way to refer to conservatives. In her speech to CPAC, which included a typically Bachmann-ian error about how much TANF money is wasted on administration, Bachmann didn't mention "the Tea Party." But the new relaunch date for the Tea Party Caucus is April 15, and according to Bachmann's spokesman, "the main purpose of the Tea Party Caucus is to listen to Tea Party leaders and activists, not be a mouthpiece for the Tea Party."

There's no way to un-spin this. Nationally, the Tea Party flag is so tattered that it's not in a Republican's interest to maintain it. (This isn't true in some states; the Texas Tea Party caucus is alive and well in Austin.) At the same time, the fade of the "Tea Party Caucus" itself is a positive development for Republicans. Ideological conservatives always had their qualms about the group. It allowed members who didn't have movement bona fides—Denny Rehberg, Todd Akin, Dan Burton—to "Tea-wash"* themselves.

When Bachmann's presidential campaign fell apart, for a lot of reasons specific to her, it damaged the movement. The Tea Party, when it works, is closer to a starfish than a spider. A spider dies when a leg is cut off, but a starfish grows a new leg. The caucus was not missed; we'll see how much attention is engendered by Version 2.0.

*Not sure if anyone uses that term but me.

by on Mar. 21, 2013 at 11:30 AM
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Replies (1-6):
NWP
by guerrilla girl on Mar. 21, 2013 at 11:37 AM

Yeah, but the yahoos voted in during the 2010 election are still writing bills and pushing through terrible legislation and acting as general obstructionist idiots....Here is hoping for a better 2014 election.

katy_kay08
by on Mar. 21, 2013 at 11:42 AM

slowly but surely we will see those idiots voted out of office.  

Quoting NWP:

Yeah, but the yahoos voted in during the 2010 election are still writing bills and pushing through terrible legislation and acting as general obstructionist idiots....Here is hoping for a better 2014 election.


smalltowngal
by Platinum Member on Mar. 21, 2013 at 11:44 AM
2 moms liked this

I really wish we could combine the original Tea Party and the original Occupy Wall Street people. Both had similar complaints in the beginning. 

lga1965
by Ruby Member on Mar. 21, 2013 at 11:46 AM

 Unfortunately, as long as Bachmann is active in politics, the Tea Party is always there, behind the scenes perhaps,but people like Michelle Bachmann and her buddies won't quit. They are obssessed , and not in a good way.  :-(

NWP
by guerrilla girl on Mar. 21, 2013 at 12:10 PM

Supposedly so...but unfortunately the Tea Party was conceived and funded by the conservative corporate machine as represented by the Koch brothers, creating a conflict of interest and specific baised trajectory from the beginning.

Occupy's problem was a lack of singular vision or clear leader.

Both were doomed because of these factors.

Quoting smalltowngal:

I really wish we could combine the original Tea Party and the original Occupy Wall Street people. Both had similar complaints in the beginning. 


Neon Washable Paint

furbabymum
by Gold Member on Mar. 21, 2013 at 12:14 PM

 Would be nice if the Tea Party was dead but it seems to have real roots in my stupid in laws at least.

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