The Tea Party does protesting quite well. Governing, not so much.
The firestorm that is building on the budget, and down the road on the debt limit, will sow the seeds of their destruction.
They don’t get that Americans don’t want a government shutdown; Americans don’t want to eviscerate Head Start and slash Pell Grants and cut the heart out of the Environmental Protection Agency.
The American people care about jobs and the economy. They want something done. They are not railing against government that works and performs. They are tired of the hard right ideology of the Tea Party, nationally and in the states. [Check out a roundup of political cartoons on the Tea Party.]
Read the polls in those states where Republican governors are drinking the Kool Aid tea. They are tanking—in Wisconsin, Ohio, and Florida. In the five short months since their elections, Governors Walker, Kasich, and Scott are in the mid or low 30s with their favorable ratings. They lose hypothetical matchups to the Democrats they beat last November.
Republicans had proposed cuts in this fiscal year in the neighborhood of $30 billion until the Tea Party folks ratcheted it up to $61 billion. Efforts at compromise have hit a wall.
According to CBS, here are some comments on any budget compromise that were reported yesterday:
“If Boehner fails to cut enough from the budget, Mark Meckler of the Tea Party Patriots told the Associated Press, Tea Partyers could mount a primary challenge against the Speaker. Meckler said 'you're going to see massive amounts' of primary challenges against Republican lawmakers, including Boehner, next year if Republicans go along with the plan to cut $33 billion." [Check out a roundup of political cartoons on the federal budget and deficit.]
Judson Phillips of Tea Party Nation already said in a message to his organization today that "Boehner must go."
"The Tea Party must unite and make sure Boehner is replaced in the next election," he wrote. "We need people in leadership who are committed to cutting spending and eliminating these programs."
Rep. Joe Walsh, who spoke at Thursday’s Tea Party rally, was quoted on a government shutdown: “Might it be a good thing? Hopefully it won’t happen, but who knows, maybe America needs to be jolted a bit. I think the American people are ready for this.”
No, Joe, we are not ready to see our servicemen and women denied pay checks, we are not ready to see employees sent home, we are not ready to see a “food fight” in Washington, as one other member referred to it, result in chaos. [Read the U.S. News debate: Should Congress raise the debt limit?]
For some reason, the Tea Party members think they are driving the bus—they are barely passengers. Their extreme views now are hurting Republicans. The latest CNN poll has 47 percent of Americans disapproving of them, the highest unfavorable that they have recorded.
Five-thirty-eight.com has examined the trend line over the past year and half and found a fairly steady increase in the Tea Party’s unfavorables, from less than 20 percent in November of 2009 to mid and upper 40s now. Interestingly, the favorable rating has always hovered in the low 30s. The undecideds and those who could not rate the Tea Party are almost all going into the negative category.
So, the more likely they are to wreak havoc, the more extreme their rhetoric, and, of course, the more the economy improves, the more their support will wilt. In the meantime, Speaker Boehner is pulling his hair out as he hears the loud sound of hooves from the angry riders echoing in his ears. The angrier and more vocal the Tea Party gets, the more they will hurt the Republicans.
- Check out a roundup of political cartoons on the federal budget and deficit.
- Read the U.S. News debate: Should Congress raise the debt limit?
- See a slide show of the 10 cities who give the most to politicians.