Tea Party Congress
Wave goodbye to members of the U.S. House of Representatives. Doing nothing has taken a lot out of them, so they have left Washington for five weeks of rest, relaxation and campaigning in the hope that voters will return them to office to do more of the same.
This is especially the case for the large Tea Party contingent among the several score first-term Republicans. They set out to change Washington but settled for simply paralyzing it.
They repealed Obama’s health-care law 33 times but didn’t change one word of its 2,700 or so pages. They stopped the Grand Bargain over the debt and deficit even at the cost of exposing Speaker John Boehner as a scaredy cat. They haven’t been able to curb the excesses of Wall Street, keep the debt ceiling from rising, or end government subsidies to NPR or Amtrak — but by God, they can bring the capital to its knees. Nearly everyone hates Congress (well, about 80 percent of Americans do) yet the Tea Party — fortified by Sarah Palin, Senator Jim DeMint and the Club for Growth — is about to do for the Senate what it did to the House.
Look at what has happened so far in the Republican primaries: Only the purest, most virginal conservatives are being chosen as the party’s standard bearers in November…
Each victor campaigned against Washington insiders who had impermissible contact with the enemy. Nominating your most conservative candidate in the primary is more satisfying than letting another weak one get in. And if these candidates do get elected, inactivity is preferable to approving legislation that even contemplates the possibility that any American could get so much as a food stamp he is not entitled to.
This is what the Grand Old Party has come to…Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell could become majority leader but actually lose power: Boehner, his weakened counterpart in the lower chamber, doesn’t lead his troops so much as try to keep from being run over by them.
The Senate, as George Washington is supposed to have told Thomas Jefferson, was designed in part to calm the tempers and passions of the House, just as a saucer is used to cool off hot tea. If the saucer itself is scalding, then the whole brew will be too hot to sip.
If the paintywaist Dems don’t muster enough of their base to reduce the harm presently being done to responsibility and governance in Congress, this is what we get to look forward to. Though, the addition of another war or two – as we wind down the last couple of Republican adventures in imperialism – is also a possibility, as well.
I don’t see any patriots in the Kool Aid Party speaking out against invading Syria, Iran, Quemoy, Matsu, China and Mexico.