Not So Wild About A Tea Party Caucus

I’ve long been a fan of Michele Bachmann. She’s conservative, fearless, pays attention to the grassroots, and I really believe her heart’s in the right place. That being said, I have to respectfully disagree with her decision to create a Tea Party Caucus in the House,

Congress has strayed from the fundamental principles of the Constitution and Americans have noticed. Your federal government is recklessly overspending and vastly expanding its reach and powers the likes this country has never seen. More than a year ago, Tea Party groups started springing up all over the country. Their members cried for adherence to the Constitution and they looked for lawmakers to listen.

I formed the Tea Party Caucus here in the House to serve as a means for everyday Americans to express their views to Members of Congress. Congressmen will not be setting the rules; rather Americans are encouraged to share their thoughts and frustrations with the direction our country is heading. This Caucus is not a mouthpiece of the Tea Party. We are not vouching for the Tea Party. And most importantly, we are not leading the Tea Party. We are merely here to listen to hard working Americans who are concerned about the future of this great country.

There is one significant advantage to having a Tea Party caucus: It’s a way for the GOP to fight the false portrayal of the Tea Party as a fringe group by helping to legitimize the movement as part of the mainstream of conservative thought.

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It also sends a signal to Tea Partiers that there are people in the GOP who are listening to them.

Those are the pluses.

However, there are a lot of potential issues and negatives to having a Tea Party caucus as well.

First off, isn’t the whole idea of having a Republican Tea Party caucus a contradiction in terms? How do you take a people’s movement that prides itself on being comprised of fiercely independent citizens who put their country first and transform it into just another Republican political caucus?

Moreover, let’s face it: It is just another caucus. So, what happens when a RINO wants to join because he has a primary against a conservative? Do they let him in? Do they kick him out if he keeps voting like a RINO? What happens when a big chunk of the Tea Party caucus inevitably supports some proposal that many Tea Partiers disagree with? Why do we even need a Tea Party caucus? It’s not as if there aren’t genuinely conservative caucuses in the House. Moreover, the Tea Party is, by its very nature, a leaderless group without a clear command structure or set of guiding principles on every issue. How well does that really translate into a Republican caucus?

So again, respectfully, while I think Michele Bachmann’s intentions were good, I don’t think a Tea Party caucus is a step in the right direction.

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