Close this search box.

Fears About Fallout From GOP Divide With Tea Party

teapTea party activists, once unquestioned as a benefit to the Republican Party for supplying it with votes and energy, are now criticizing GOP leaders at seemingly every turn.

They’re demanding that Congress use upcoming budget votes to deny money for putting in place President Barack Obama’s 2010 health care law, despite warnings the strategy could lead to a government shutdown.

They’re upset that Republicans didn’t block a Senate-passed immigration bill.

Many are outspoken opponents of any U.S. involvement in Syria’s civil war.

A recent Pew Research Center survey found that more than 7 in 10 self-identified “tea party Republicans” disapprove of the job performance of GOP congressional leaders.

Many of the major tea party groups are backing 2014 primary challengers against Republicans the activists deem too moderate, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. The Kentucky conservative once declared it his job to make Obama a one-term president.

That leaves some Republicans quietly worried that an intraparty tussle could yield a repeat of 2012. That year, conservative candidates lost winnable Senate races, and GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney struggled to win over conservatives while still appealing to moderate swing voters.

The health care debate puts the GOP in its tightest spot. Wary Republicans recall the 1995-96 government shutdowns under President Bill Clinton, who persuaded many voters to blame the GOP and House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a Georgia Republican, for that budget impasse.

McConnell, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and other GOP congressional leaders endorse the idea to “defund Obamacare.” But some also have tried to persuade core supporters that it won’t happen because Democrats run the Senate and Obama won’t gut his signature domestic achievement.

If Congress doesn’t agree on appropriations at all, then many core government functions, including some military operations and the processing of Medicare claims and Social Security applications, would stop.

But that doesn’t satisfy the tea party faithful, who say too many Republicans have welcomed their support in elections only to ignore their concerns in office.

Amy Kremer, the leader of the California-based Tea Party Express, spent much of the congressional summer break on a national tour intended to pressure Republicans into backing the defunding movement.

“My message to Speaker Boehner and (House Majority Leader) Eric Cantor and Senator McConnell is simple: If you’re not willing to fight for this, what are you willing to fight for?” she said at a recent stop in western North Carolina.

Her group has helped elected conservative favorites such as Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky, Marco Rubio of Florida and Ted Cruz of Texas, who have driven the campaign for cutting off money for Obama’s law.

After a similar event in Atlanta, Brent Bozell of the Virginia-based ForAmerica, said: “I’d like them to stop thinking about their own re-elections for five minutes. Someone should remind House Republicans that they have the majority for a reason. They should use it.”

Cantor this past week floated the idea of passing a temporary spending bill tied to a provision that would derail the health care law. But, in an unusual twist, the plan would allow Senate Democrats to separate the “end Obamacare” provision and forward the appropriations to the president. Conservatives quickly dismissed that strategy.

Americans for Limited Government President Nathan Mehrens called it a “gimmick” and “one of the most cynical political shell games seen … in years.”

The political arm of the Heritage Foundation, now run by former Republican Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina, has devoted more than $500,000 to an ad campaign against several Republican members who’ve resisted the push.

North Carolina Rep. Renee Ellmers, one of the Republicans targeted by the campaign, retorted on social media. “Why is @Heritage Action spending $550K to attack conservatives but not @KayHagan who was a deciding vote on #Obamacare?” she said via Twitter, referring to North Carolina’s Democratic senator, who is running for re-election next year.

At one stop in the state, Kremer called out Ellmers. “I haven’t given up on the congresswoman,” she said.

Another conservative group, FreedomWorks, has sponsored dozens of town hall meetings featuring cardboard cutouts of House members and senators who declined invitations to attend the “Defund Obamacare” sessions.

Several groups joined forces for a defunding rally at Boehner’s Ohio district headquarters. The conservative anti-tax group Club for Growth has already endorsed a handful of primary challengers, including against Boehner allies.

A political action committee called the Senate Conservatives Fund spent $340,000 on an ad criticizing McConnell. It’s set to run on cable and networks in Kentucky until Tuesday.

“Mitch McConnell is the key to stopping Obamacare,” an off-camera announcer states. “Republicans in the Senate have the power to defeat funding for Obamacare, but they won’t use it if their leader tells them to surrender.” McConnell, the announcer continues, “wants Kentucky voters to re-elect him because he’s the Republican leader, but what good is that title if he won’t use it to help Kentucky families?”

McConnell spokesman Don Stewart said the senator stands by his position. “He’s been very vocal back home over the need to repeal, dismantle, defund the law — you name it, he’s for it,” Stewart said.

While Stewart can tick off the number of speeches McConnell gave before the law’s passage and the number of Kentucky town halls he’s held to hammer the law, it, he also acknowledges political realities facing the movement to stop Obama’s health care overhaul. “The question,” he said, “is how to do it.”

In Atlanta, Bozell said that argument amounts to “trying to have it both ways.”

“They’ll vote to repeal it,” he said. “But they won’t stand up and do everything they can to stop it.”


6 Responses

  1. Lets hope they hang around long enough for the 2016 Presidential Elections. B’yh these right wing nutjobs with force the Republicans to nominate someone like Rand Paul or Ted Cruz and it will result in the biggest disaster for Republicans since Barry Goldwater. If they nonminate a moderate like Christie from NJ they could probably beat most Democratic nominees, but hopefully they will crash and burn with one of these right wingers leading the ticket to defeat.

  2. Its very simple. The republican establishment of Boehner, McConnell, the rep from Virginia, etc have become nothing more than RINOs. They do not represent us. We need true conservative leadership not some political hack who cares moee about his job than the country.

  3. A Tea party split from the real GOP would be the best news since the founding of the State of Israel.
    BTW A Teed Cruz candidacy for president (absurd as irt may be) should revive all the birthers who attacked President Obama. Mr. Cruz admits to being born in Canada, and is thus NOT eligible to become president (B”H).

  4. To Mark Levin and others: You know the expression “cut your nose to spite your face”? This is what the rightwingers are doing now. beofre you make changes, you must govern. To govern, you must be elected. To be elected, you must appeal to a wide range of people- not only the right wing. This is why present Tea party antics are dangerous for the Republican party. And I am a true conservative!

  5. If we has the Israeli system of proportional representation it would be different, but given our “first past the post” system, all the different factions of both parties will have to get their act together for the election. In all fairness, the neo-cons and the Wall Street Republicans and the Main Street (Sam’s Club) Republicans and the Tea Party have a lot more in common with each other than they do with the Democrats, but they don’t have to, and probably shouldn’t, get their “act together” until the convention in three years. Debate is good.

    And if foreign policy becomes the big issue, the whole debate collapses since the “internationalists” and the “isolationists” don’t correlate with the conventional breakdowns.

  6. The Democrats at least for president, usually if not always stick together to support only the most left wing radicals which Hilliary and Obama both are.
    They win through incrementalism.
    They are the ones who foisted the ‘big tent’ mythology onto the Republicans which has divided and ruined the party and destroyed it’s core of G-d based morals.
    The Tea Partiers are trying to bring those morals and values back.
    If the Republicans would go back to those, they would have plenty of votors who would put them back in the Whitehouse in a landslide victory.
    Trying to compromise with liberal Republicans or the liberal Republican Establishment is like trying to stop an arsonist who sets major fires by getting assistance from arsonists who help catch the major arsonist but who set their own smaller fires along thd way.
    These will of course just grow to eventually be as big as the ones set by the major arsonist himself.
    And then the smaller arsonists are supported by ignorant followers who “If you don’t take their help then you don’t want the major arsonist to be stopped”.
    This was what was wrong with the Tzuddikim.
    They said “We follow Torah, just not what you call the Oral Torah”.
    They were rejected by the Sages even though the Jews were few in number.
    In Colorado the anti 2n’d Amendment politicians were defeated even though the conservatives had far fewer then the necessary votes, because when the stood strong for their core values and did not allow others to water them down they gained supporters even from the opposing side.

Leave a Reply

Popular Posts