Skip to comments.Tea Party Class More Confrontational Than Ever
Posted on 02/04/2014 1:31:21 AM PST by Cincinatus' Wife
he atmospherics offered plenty of clues, but the numbers dont lie: The House was an even more polarized and partisan place last year than it was when the tea party class of Republicans took over the place two years before. And thats in part because those lawmakers have grown even more antagonistic to President Barack Obamas agenda and even more willing to toe the party line.
That is among the central takeaways from CQ Roll Calls analysis of 2013 congressional voting patterns, the latest installment in an annual study that began six decades ago.
While Obama got his way on 57 percent of the congressional votes on which he staked a position, a fifth-year success rate exceeded only by George W. Bush among the past four re-elected presidents, that was almost entirely because of a record amount of support from his Democratic colleagues running the Senate.
In the House, Obama had his way on just 21 percent of the votes he clearly cared about, and that was because the average member of the Republican majority voted his way only 12 percent of the time, the smallest measure of presidential support any caucus has ever recorded for a Democratic president.
Twelve percent was also the exact amount of support Obama received from the 65 members who remain from the Class of 2010. (Eighty GOP members who had never before served in Congress were elected that year.) But its notable that the median went down a whopping 9 points since 2011, the first year those lawmakers were in Washington.
In other words, the group who voted against Obama 4 out of 5 times as brand-new freshmen disagreed with him 7 out of 8 times as first-year sophomores. The substance of the votes taken over the two years was different, so I cant make a precise apples-to-apples comparison. But the trend would seem to contradict a conventional wisdom about the modern Congress: Even those who arrive with the most revolutionary fervor tend to buff away some of their roughest ideological edges after a couple of years.
In fact, 30 of those elected in the tea party wave saw their presidential support scores decline by more than 10 points from 2011 to 2013, suggesting that many have concluded they are safe in shifting their voting patterns further to the right now that they have secured their first re-election.
The steepest plunges belonged to a pair of the bigger upset winners of 2010: Ohios Bill Johnson backed Obama just 9 percent of the time last year, down 17 points from his first year in office; the drop by North Carolinas Renee Ellmers was 16 points.
By contrast, only two members of that class backed Obama more often in 2013 than in 2011. The scores edged up only a few points for both the iconoclastic Justin Amash of Michigan and the electorally imperiled Chris Gibson of New York. (Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call rates his race, in territory Obama carried in 2012, as Tilts Republican.)
The significant drop-off in support for Obama among the Class of 2010 is echoed, if far less dramatically, in CQ Roll Calls studies of party unity how often members stick with the bulk of their caucus on roll calls in which a majority of Republicans are on one side and a majority of Democrats are on the other. (Thanks for number-crunching help are due at this point to vote studies major domo John Cranford and researchers Ryan Kelly and Jay Hunter.)
People with an eye on the Capitol every day wont be surprised to learn that 69 percent of all the 2013 votes in Congress fell mostly along party lines, a number exceeded less than a handful of times since the start of the Eisenhower administration. But, at a time when it often appeared that Speaker John A. Boehner was struggling to hold his troops together, the average House Republican stayed in the fold on 92 percent of those votes a record level of party unity for that caucus. The number of times the group was unanimous also was in record territory, another reflection of how GOP leaders put a priority on proposals that would unify the troops.
And sophomores were among the most likely to back their party. Their median party unity score was 96 percent, an increase from their 94.5 percent average during the groups first year in office.
Five of them supported Obama often enough and strayed from the party line often enough to make those Top 10 lists: Amash, Gibson, New Yorkers Richard Hanna and Michael G. Grimm, and the retiring-after-just-two-terms Jon Runyan of New Jersey.
Still, the takeaway about the Class of 2010 is tough to dispute: They have become a bit more partisan and markedly more confrontational since the first year they had voting cards. Given that the numbers are pushing close to the statistical extremes, these are trends that will be tough to continue, but are sure to bedevil Boehner and Obama in the meantime.
We need to send conservative reinforcements in 2014 and 2016 and defy with overwhelming participation any GOP-e attempts to depress our vote.
"RUSH: Look, I ran into something over the weekend that I want to run by you very soon here after we get through with this segment and at the start the next segment. Everybody's trying to figure out, "Why in the world are the Republicans acting suicidal with this amnesty business?" Everybody. It doesn't make sense no matter how you slice it, unless the Republicans are trying to damage themselves.
That's the only way it makes sense. The only way a Republican push for amnesty and immediate citizenship and all that makes any sense is if, for example, they don't like the Tea Party base and they're gonna do anything they can to anger them and get rid of them. So I ran across a theory that's being bandied about out there, and I'm gonna run it by you, just to show you how wacko this is getting.
One of the theories to explain what the Republicans are doing is they are nervous at the possibility, nervous at the prospect of winning the midterms in November in landslide. They don't want to win that big. There's too much pressure involved winning that big. So they're doing amnesty to anger a lot of their own voters to stay home so that they win narrowly and do not have a huge mandate.
And, at the same time, they are trying to win an election without the Tea Party to demonstrate that it can be done. That is a theory I ran into. Now, part of that theory makes some sense, but I have never heard that -- and I don't know how you would do it in politics, in an election, structuring things so that you barely win it. I don't know how you would go about doing that. There are too many variables.
I'll telling you, we'll get your phone calls in but I just wanted to tease you with the theory that I have run into explaining why the GOP leadership is pushing immigration reform, is because they don't want to win in a landslide. Apparently, the polling data is so bad for the Democrats in the midterms, and I think that's true, that the Republicans (so goes this theory) are afraid to win too big. I'm gonna explain the theory to you.
Let me just get to this theory here. I've teased you enough with this. Let me explain to you what this is. I'm gonna give you the theory. There are many sources for this. I first came across this sometime during the day on Saturday. I'm doing a little show prep, because I figure once Sunday and the Super Bowl comes around, I'm not gonna be doing any show prep.
So I was getting some stuff done on Saturday, and I ran across, in a blog, a reference to some other blogger who thinks that the Republicans are doing what they're doing with immigration because they really don't want to win, or they don't want to win in a landslide. But the blogger that made that reference had no details. So I said, "What is this?" And I had to hunt it down.
I had to start using search algorithms, and I came across a piece at RealClearPolitics by a young man named Sean Trende, or pronounced Trende. It's the word "trend" with an E on the end. I've not heard it pronounced so I don't know how he pronounces it. It's Trende or Trende or Trende. I hope I've gotten it right in one of those attempts. He has a very, very lengthy piece at RealClearPolitics on this.
Point five here is: "Republicans are afraid of winning." I read this, and it dovetails with a couple/maybe three other places. Here, in a nutshell, is the thinking -- and the thinking, by the way, derives from people who can't make head nor tails of the Republican strategy. They think it makes so little sense that there's got to be some conspiratorial reason. There has to be some hidden reason that we wouldn't figure out immediately to explain this because it doesn't make any sense.
When, in fact, the simplest and most easily understood explanation is probably the reason. But since that's so unacceptable, people have had to search and come up with theories to explain this. And again, it's: Why are the Republicans committing suicide? Why are they advancing an issue that otherwise is dead? Why are they advancing an issue that the base of their party opposes virulently?
Why are they advancing an issue that only 3% of the population deems important right now, given everything else going on? This is "amnesty" or "pathway to citizenship" or "comprehensive immigration reform." Why are they doing it? The simple answer is that moneyed Republican donors, as epitomized by the Chamber of Commerce, are demanding it, and money is the mother's milk of politics.
These donors are saying, "If you want our money -- and further, if you want a high-paying job with my trade association when your career is over in Congress -- then you'll give me this." That's the simple explanation. They're simply responding to the money people. But that's not good enough for some. "It's got to be more. It can't be that. They wouldn't be willing to commit suicide."
Well, they're not. The people who are gonna score with high-paying jobs after doing this are not committing suicide. They are, in effect, greasing the skids. The party ends up having suicide committed for it, but because the simple and most logical explanation doesn't fly, theories have been concocted to explain it. So here it is, the grandchild to 2010 big, Republican landslide win, brought on by who? The Tea Party.
In 2010, the Tea Party comes to life outta nowhere. Nobody saw it when it was happening; nobody knew what it was. When it was growing, nobody knew how to define it because there wasn't a single leader. There wasn't a headquarters. There wasn't a policy statement, position paper, anything like that. It was just mom and pop showing up at town halls, and they were upset about Obama.
They were upset about all of the spending, the stimulus bill and everything. They were upset about the rising level of debt, and what that meant for them and their kids and grandkids. They saw an unresponsive political class in Washington. They didn't see an opposition party in the Republican Party. They didn't see anybody trying to stop Obama. They saw a party paralyzed by media criticism.
They saw a party paralyzed by the president's race. So they, for the first time in their lives, got involved in organizational politics -- and, as a result, the Republicans picked up 50-some-odd seats when they weren't even trying to. A lot of those new seats were held by people from this new so-called Tea Party, and they were real conservative Republicans -- and the Republican leadership, the Republican establishment was not happy, it turns out.
I mean, they liked winning, htey liked getting the House back, but they didn't like the fact that the reason for it was the Tea Party. And the 2010 midterms, if you go back and look, happened not because the Republicans put forth any ideas. I mean, there wasn't a Contract with America people could vote for. There wasn't a single person on the ballot people could vote for. That was strictly an anti-status quo election.
It was people voting. I mean, they were rising up in opposition to Barack. They were rising up in righteous anger to the Democrat Party. I should have seen then... Well, I did, but I should have put two and two together a lot faster. Here you have brand-new people in politics, never before involved in organizational. Yeah, they voted, but they hadn't participated in get-out-the-vote; they had not participated in voter-registration drives.
They hadn't done anything but vote.
Now, all of a sudden, they're organized.
Here's a massive new bunch of people, and they exist solely because of Barack Obama.
It would seem to me an automatic match-up for these people with the Republican Party. And, therefore, it would make sense to me if the Republican Party began outreach to 'em. Try to bring 'em into the fold, make 'em Republicans. That didn't happen. In fact, just the opposite happened. As the Democrats mounted their criticism and began calling them "teabaggers," the Republicans themselves expressed suspicion and consternation and anger with these people for one reason or another.
So they remained isolated, even though they were the sole reason there was any pushback against Barack Obama. Well, the theory begins with the notion the Republicans do not want that happening again, because the Republicans are trying to get rid of the Tea Party influence within the party, because the Tea Party doesn't understand the role of government in politics or in people's lives.
The Republican establishment right now happens to believe that the game is over in terms of Big Government being involved in people's lives. Some very astute -- well, not astute. Some intellectual Republican theorists, commentators, writers, journalists really believe that the debate over big and small government is over and that Big Government has won. And they believe that the vast majority of the American people want a Big Government. Therefore, the Republican establishment believes that their future success is tied to convincing Americans who want an active, involved government, that they are better at running such a government than the Democrats are.
But at no point and at no time are Republicans to talk about limiting government or reducing it because, standard operating procedure today, Republican establishment, Democrat establishment is that you and the low-information crowd and whoever else, Americans have accepted and want an actively involved Big Government in their lives. The Tea Party is devoted to the exact opposite premise. And therefore, the Tea Party is a problem. And so, therefore, are conservatives a problem, because conservatives and the Tea Party, to the extent that they differ, are now the old-fashioned fuddy-duddies, out of touch and out of tune with the mainstream of America.
So goes the thinking. Which, again, has bought the notion that Americans, by large majorities, want an active, Big Government with a strong executive, but doing it smartly and wisely and with the proper respect on limits. That is how they're trying to differentiate themselves from the Democrats. So now if you come forward to 2014, the polling data is such -- I mean, when Henry "Nostrilitis" Waxman announces his retirement, when Pelosi alludes to it and then has to call it back, which she did last week. "No, you misunderstood me. I'm gonna be here," she said.
George Miller, another congressman from California who has been there since before the Sandinista days. George Miller was the Sandinistas' liaison in Congress. George Miller was the liaison for communists in Nicaragua -- well, wherever he could find them. George Miller is resigning, and a bunch of Democrats who do not want to be in the House if they're not running it or retiring. So it tells us that the Democrats' own polling data is such that it's lost in 2014. The House, the Democrats don't have a prayer getting it back. In fact, the same polling data shows that the Republicans could win the Senate.
But let's stick with the House because the theory is that it's so bad for the Democrats that the Republicans are again going to win by default simply because they're not the Democrats, because they didn't have anything to do with Obamacare, because they hold no responsibility for anything that's happened, because they just haven't. I mean, there's no way you can put Republican fingerprints on anything because the media has spent the last five or six years bashing the Republicans for not helping, for not doing anything constructive, and not helping the president. There's no way you can turn around now on a dime and do a 180 and blame any of this on the Republicans.
Obama's tried to get their fingerprints on stuff with tricks, on debt ceiling increases and so forth, but there aren't any. Until you get to amnesty. And then that's being set up that if that happens, that's gonna be only the Republican's fingerprints. The only owners of it will be the Republicans. Now, theory holds that the Republicans were not happy with what happened in 2010 because of who made that majority possible, who made that landslide possible, and they don't want to go through it again. They're trying -- you know this is true -- Republican leadership is trying to get rid of Tea Party influence in the House, trying to get rid of conservative influence, trying to get rid of anybody who believes government should be limited. They're trying to get rid of anybody who believes the role of government should be rolled back.
So reading now from Mr. Trende: "In the course of my musings on Twitter, AmishDude suggested that the real motive here is that the GOP leadership is actually concerned about the implications of a landslide. Of all the suggestions put out there, this seems to make the most sense, and synthesizes the above theories reasonably well while addressing most of my pushbacks on them. The idea is twofold. First, a landslide would present as much of a problem as it does an opportunity for those who might want to revisit the issue in 2015."
Oh, that's another thing. If there is a landslide for the Republicans brought on by the Tea Party in 2014, it's not good for people like Christie and others who want the Republican nomination in 2016. If the Tea Party delivers another landslide, then the Republican establishment is in deeper trouble when it comes to time to nominate their presidential candidate because the Tea Party is going to demand one of them, a conservative, limited government, roll it back.
So the theory is the Republicans will do anything to limit the power and influence of the Tea Party, including championing an issue that's designed to make them so mad, they don't vote in 2014. And that the Republicans' position is so strong that they can still win the midterms while ticking off the Tea Party. The best of all worlds would be if the Republicans hold the House, minus Tea Party votes, by passing amnesty. They get their money from the Chamber. They get to say they've run out and bridged the gap to the Hispanics, and they get their high paying jobs with the Chamber and its companies and related businesses when they retire, and the Tea Party has no influence in the win and therefore no influence when we get to 2016 and presidential nominee time.
Now, I haven't finished in this theory business, and I'm not gonna be able to in this segment, and I'm gonna start taking phone calls before I wrap up the theory presentation, just because I don't want to lose the calls. They're good and people have been waiting for a long time and I've gotta get it in. So just sit tight. There's not that much more to go on this. I mean, you basically heard everything except what I think of it. And one of the two glaring things wrong with it, who in the world ever plans to run a prevent offense?
Have you ever heard of anybody trying to win a squeaker in politics? There's simply too much that cannot be accounted for. "Yeah, we want to win, but we don't want to win by 10 or 12 percent; we only want to win by two or three percent." How do you do that? The second thing, you really gonna bank on the fact that polling data now shows you a landslide win and you're going to start implementing a policy that you know is going to cut the rug out of your support by 20 or 30%? You really gonna do that kind of thing? I don't know anybody who ever plans to win a political contest by a squeaker.
Let me just wrap up this theory bit 'cause it's not my theory, but a lot of people hold it because they're unable to look at what is probably the simple logical explanation and reject it because it's too simple and too logical. And the simple, logical explanation for why the Republicans are pushing amnesty is because their moneyed donors want it.
Pop quiz. Mr. Snerdley, who said, "Money is the mother's milk of politics"? Who authored that phrase? It was Jesse Unruh in California. He was some head honcho. He was a honcho, not a governor. Willie Brown pronounced his name "Un-rah." But he came up with it. Money is the mother's milk of politics, and there it is. The Chamber of Commerce, who may, in fact, have been infiltrated and taken over by the left, 'cause this is very un-Chamber-like. But we want it, we want it now, we're paying for it, here are the donations and you're not getting the money if you don't.
And then, as Ann Coulter said, who is more likely to hire John Boehner at 400 grand a year when he leaves the Speakership, you or somebody at the Chamber of Commerce who's satisfied with amnesty? It's a question that she raised in trying to explain, 'cause it's party suicide, not to mention what it's gonna do to the country. If you want to find out what it's gonna do to the county, look at California. If you want to find out what it's gonna do to the Republican Party, look at California.
There is no reason to do amnesty. You're not gonna get the Hispanic vote with it; the Democrats own that. The polling data shows these people do not believe in smaller government. There's no reason to do it, and yet they're hell-bent on it. So there must be something we don't know. And in servicing that, has arisen the theory, well, the Republicans really don't want to win in a landslide. They don't want the Tea Party to have any role in the 2014 victory where they might pick up the Senate and hold the House.
So that theory is being bandied about out there and it's got some support. Now, my problem -- (interruption) -- well, yeah, but it makes sense that they would want to limit Tea Party influence. It makes sense they weren't happy with what happened in 2010. They didn't like the fact the Tea Party won, because it is established, folks. I wasn't trying to irritate or make you mad. I mean, fact of the matter is, at the Republican establishment level, party level, consultant level, in many Republican so-called conservative media level, it is now accepted that the people of this country want a Big Government, and therefore, the idea of a limited smaller government is a guaranteed loser.
This is what the Republican establishment thinks, and this is one of the many reasons they want to get rid of the conservative influence in the party, because the conservative influence, of course, is defined by the limited role of government as defined in our founding. And that's not where the Republican establishment is now. Some of the gurus in the Republican Party firmly believe that the American people want an active executive, very engaged, like Obama, except smarter, with more respect for the private sector, and that's us, they say. We Republicans, we know how to do Big Government smarter, in less obtrusive ways, so here comes the Tea Party and conservatives say, "No, no, no, no. It's limited government, smaller government, get it out of our lives, and so they've gotta go."
So any election where the Republicans win, if those limited government people have a role in the win, yeah, you could see the Republicans don't want that to happen. That makes sense. But this is essentially the prevent offense, where, "Yeah, yeah, yeah, we want to win but we're not gonna run up the score." The problem is an election is not a game where you know how it's going in the middle of it and can make adjustments. And it's certainly not something that you can forecast in February or March and make policy based on, yeah, we know we're gonna win, but not by too much. And then, thirdly, I don't know anybody in politics who ever really plans to win a squeaker.
The natural inclination in politics, win as big as you can. That's where you get your mandate. There's too much that can't be accounted for, and even if you could pull it off, where would they be? If they pulled this off, if they win getting amnesty, they're done. The same level of anger that's directed at them now will exist. In fact, it'll be worse. The day-to-day life of a Republican will be worse if they win while guaranteeing the Tea Party has no role in it. And I know they've gotta be thinking about that.
Now, I'll tell you what I could believe, put it over here on a little island. I could believe, because I've seen this -- you know the old Pascal. It's easier to believe that something that has been can be again, than it is to believe that something has never been will be. Well, I have seen entities not care about winning. I've seen it in sports teams. I have seen it in certain politicians. Some don't want to win. And I could believe that some of the Republicans don't care about winning. I don't believe they want to win small. I just think there's some that are indifferent about winning 'cause it's harder. When you win, you've got pressure. When you win, you have to be aggressive and do things. When you win, the people that voted for you expect you to carry out the mandate. And that's hard.
"The media's gonna criticize us and they're gonna call us bigots and racists and, oh, man, we don't want that."
I wonder if the Broncos last night were trying to win, but not by too much. That makes no sense, right? It's like, yeah, the Seahawks, they wanted to win, but they didn't want to trounce them that bad. It just doesn't make any sense, does it? So why would it make sense in politics? But somebody not wanting to win is an entire -- for some of them, it's comfortable. You go back to the old Bob Michel days. They were comfortable in the minority. There was no pressure. They could never be blamed for anything that went wrong. It was a safety net, in a way, and it was a low-pressure existence, and they didn't have to do any work. They didn't even go to half the meetings 'cause the Democrats wouldn't let 'em in, and that was okay, too. Back when we had 135 members in the 435-seat House. That's just recently as 1987, '88.
So you can certainly see where some RINO Republican types would be saying "Yeah, okay, we're gonna do some things that are gonna tick off the base, might cause us to lose, but so what. The media might love us then. The media might love us if we bleed all over the Tea Party. The media might actually love us if we kick the Tea Party around." And believe me, they want to be loved by the media. Oh, folks, do not doubt that for a moment. Oh, could I give you some lessons in this, just with news events that happened over the weekend that had nothing to do with politics. Just do not doubt me. They would love to be loved by the media. They would love to be able to go, for example, to the White House Correspondents Dinner and be heroes, or be popular at the White House, rather than, "Oh, no, here come the Republicans," and everybody starts making jokes about 'em. They love to be loved by the media.
So if they can secure a defeat by killing the Tea Party off, they might be heroes. Any number of possibilities for believing that, but I don't think anybody ever plans to win -- but not by too much. So I don't think there's some diabolical plan here. I just think it's run-of-the-mill indifference by people who are worn out. They're tired of being ripped and criticized. They just are, and they want to get some praise from the people ripping 'em to shreds.
They don't care about being ripped by the Tea Party 'cause they don't particularly like the Tea Party anyway. They would love to be loved by the media. (Donna Summer: Love to Love You, Baby.) Well, John Boehner and the media, "Love to have you love me, Baby." Don't doubt me on this.
Frankly, as long as my Congressman would vote NO for each and every bill that Obama would be happy with, he would be good as gold to me. I do not want ANYTHING this President wants, period.
I heard this yesterday, too. I don’t believe it. GOPe is too stupid to pull something like this off. They are more interested in being just plain old horse a$$es when it comes to conservatives.
I don’t think it’s anything more nefarious than that. They are too comfortable and too lazy in their joy of second-tier power and ease to be devious at anything other than “show votes” and lying outright.
Ca$h > principles. There is no grand strategy here. The Gelded OLD Pansies ain’t that bright.
I think the NSA HAS BLACKMAILED every republican they can find,it’s that simple
“every Republican” ?
> “and even more willing to toe the party line”
Um.... no. Unfortunately Boehner is representative of the party line. Conservatives are bringing principles back to the party.
You’re probably right.
Awww, come on guys! Why won’t you give us amnesty?
Attention Speaker Boehner: Impeach Obama in 2014, PERIOD!
That line cracks me up. They want to blame a small minority for the ills of congress and say they're being partisan when it's the dims that are toeing that line. The GOP won't stand up to them and have become soft. The TP has the spine to say "no" and I applaud them for it.
The CFR types running both parties may have used the NSA snooping and/or bohemian grove video, but it is that globalist cabal that is doing the blackmailing.
TEA party class... it's good to be a member of the class.
Is the TEA party class, low class Bible tot'en, gun carry'en conservative rednecks? If so, I'm in, and we are watching how OUR congress critters vote... I don't trust a single one.
Politicians are like kids, they will get away with as much as the parent lets them.
We must be better parents with our political children, and watch'em like a hawk.
Damn right we are
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