In his little red book, Chairman Mao wrote “revolution is not a tea party.” The GOP leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives has already started to learn this lesson the hard way.
The 112th Congress has been in session for less than a month and already there are already signs of the sharp divisions between the GOP House leadership and rank and file Republican members in the Tea Party caucus. The leader of the Tea Party caucus in the House is Rep. Michele Bachmann. The first sign of trouble came when Speaker of the House John Boehner denied Congresswoman Bachmann a minor post on the GOP leadership team. [Check out a roundup of political cartoons on the Tea Party.]
The representative from Minnesota was not pleased and returned the favor by staging her own unofficial response to President Obama’s State of the Union speech. By doing this, Rep. Bachman upstaged the official response to President’s speech by the leadership’s budget guru, Rep. Paul Ryan who chairs the House Budget Committee.
Well played Congresswoman Bachmann.
This tempest in a teapot is a sign of things to come. The excrement will really hit the oscillating cooling device when the House has to vote on raising the federal debt limit. Speaker Boehner will try to find a way to force the president to accept severe budget cuts as part of any deal to raise the debt limit. This will give the GOP leader some political cover but I doubt that Bachmann or the members of the Tea Party caucus will be will be happy with any compromise. But more than anything else, the new speaker wants to avoid suffering the same ignominious fate as former Speaker Newt Gingrich who caught the blame for shutting down the federal government in 1995. Seniors apparently like getting their Social Security checks on time. I'm not old enough to know for sure.
Is it just wishful thinking on my part or will John Boehner have more trouble working with his colleague from Minnesota than he does with the president? Inquiring minds want to know. I can’t wait to find out.
- Follow the money in Congress
- Check out a roundup of political cartoons on the Tea Party.
- See photos of the Obamas behind the scenes.