RIP to Bachmann, Tea Party
With the election of Barack Obama in 2008 came the new political phenomena the Tea Party.
Founded in Republican grass roots with no initial platform other than anti-government and anti-tax, the Tea Party became a political force quickly by wisely gaining control in several states of the Republican primaries, where small numbers of voters controlled nominations for political office.
As a consequence of this strategy ultra conservative candidates like Alan West of Florida and Joe Walsh of Illinois were elected to serve in congress. They served briefly, expelled by voters when their views became better known.
Likewise, Michelle Bachmann, a two-term congresswoman from Minnesota, identified with the Tea Party and helped to from the Tea Party Caucus in the House, serving as its unofficial leader.
Bachmann almost singlehandedly created the fact check industry with her too numerous to mention fact free statements in the media.
One of Bachmann’s earliest claims, in 2008, was that then-candidate Obama held “very un-American views.”
Bachmann later posed that democratic congressional leaders should be subject to “an expose” by the media for their liberal views.
For a short time the influence of the Tea Party within the Republican Party was strong. Recently the Republican Party has come considerably closer to acknowledging division within the party between its ultra conservative tea party contingent and those seeking to advance legislative goals.
The Tea Party, as symbolized by Bachmann, has generated virtually no legislation that has moved through congress. Bachmann’s congressional claim to fame (other than her quotability entertainment factor) was attempting to pass legislation protecting the older energy spending light bulbs. Her proposal did not make it into law.
The Congressional Tea Party is now led within the Senate, notably by new Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, a Tea Party candidate elected over the more favored Republican candidate as a result of the Tea Party primary power.
Senator Cruz, in his brief time in the senate, has managed to offend only those individuals with whom he has come into contact, including those within his own party.
Cruz, who has never served in the military, recently attacked decorated Secretary of Defense Hagel and decorated Secretary of State Kerry for not supporting the military.
Rand Paul, noted for his statement that it should be illegal to oppose racial segregation within the private sector, is another Tea Party favorite, again elected with Tea Party success in the primaries over a more party supported candidate.
Neither Cruz nor Paul has demonstrated success in passing legislation or in governing in general. Their focus is solely to oppose…and to oppose anything and everything government, including but not limited to taxation, social change and foreign policy.
Senator Paul recently sponsored a bill to “permit voluntary economic activity.” Now there is something someone should have thought of in the most capitalistic society on the planet.
Senator Cruz has shown his legislative moxy by sponsoring the senate version of the 40 times proposed House bill to end Obamacare. Yet another bill destined to mean nothing and go nowhere.
And there we have it; with Bachmann’s leaving the House and its tea party extremist club, there is a changing of the guard within the elected Tea Party folks.
The change is significant, for now the Tea Party is finding its political maturity as the party of nothing. It is the people elected to “gum up the works”, nothing more, nothing less.
As Shakespeare once noted in “The Comedy of Errors”:
“Was there ever any man thus beaten out of season,
When in the why and the wherefore is neither rhyme nor reason?”
Neither order nor sense shall infuse the Tea Party on its path to destruction.
Jim Crawford is a retired educator and political enthusiast living here in the Tri-State.