As Tea Party politicians prepare to take their seats when the 112th Congress convenes this week, they are already taking issue with Republicans for failing to hold the line against the flurry of legislation enacted in the waning weeks of Democratic control of the House of Representatives and for not giving some candidates backed by Tea Party groups powerful leadership positions.Welcome to the club, ladies and gentlemen! It's awfully frustrating when you get all excited about sending your folks to DC, voting them into office with your eyes shining in happy expectation, only to find that your agenda gets attenuated and ignored and alloyed during the political gamesmanship that happens once they arrive. Being that I voted for Obama largely because of W-era human and civil rights abuses, it was a bitter little pill to swallow when he codified indefinite detention and averred that the President has the right to order the murder of American citizens. It sucks, does it not, to see the very candidate positions that propelled you to campaign offices and into the polls ignored or reversed entirely. Get used to it!
Just a month ago, Tea Party leaders were celebrating their movement’s victories in the midterm elections. But as Congress wrapped up an unusually productive lame-duck session last month, those same Tea Party leaders were lamenting that Washington behaved as if it barely noticed that American voters had repudiated the political establishment.
Oh, and another thing you're going to have to get used to?
“We sent them a message that we expect them to go home and come back newly constituted and do something different,” Mr. Meckler said. “For them to legislate when they’ve collectively lost their mandate just shows the arrogance of the ruling elite. I can’t imagine being repudiated in the way they were and then coming back and saying ‘Now that we’ve been repudiated, let’s go pass some legislation.’ ”Yeah, um... sometimes the "messages" that you "send" get ignored by the opposition, which uses every parliamentary trick in the book to advance its ends at your expense. One might have interpreted the results of the 2008 election, wherein the electorate gave the Democrats hefty majorities in both houses of Congress as well as the White House, as a "message" that we "sent." As it happened. the GOP caucus in both houses proceeded to obstruct every single blessed thing the Democrats put forth; in the Senate, they used the filibuster to an historic degree. "Message" ignored, it would seem. On the flipside, the Democrats used their time in the recent lame duck session to pass legislation they wanted to get passed, despite the "message" sent. Once again, "message" ignored. (Since I happened to disagree pretty strongly with the implied message, I'm not at all unhappy that it was thusly ignored.)
“I’m surprised by how blatant it was,” he added.
As Jonathan Bernstein will happily tell you, this is how Congress works. (Or, if you prefer, "works.") Love it or hate it (and he certainly seems to like it just fine), it's the way things work. No matter how much of a mandate you think you've got, it's not going to get everything you want done.
On that note, I find this (from another article in the Times) confusing:
Soon after the 112th Congress convenes Wednesday, Republicans in the House plan to make good on a campaign promise that helped vault many new members to victory: voting to repeal President Obama’s health care overhaul.Er... OK, then. Go for it, I guess. But I generally try to avoid demonstrating how puny my muscles are. I guess maybe the House Republicans like to show off the constraints on their power?
The vote, which Republican leaders pledged would occur before the president’s State of the Union address later this month, is intended both to appeal to the Tea Party-influenced factions of the House Republican base and to emphasize the muscle of the new party in power.
Because the Democrats still control the Senate, and the President will veto anything that somehow lurches out of Congress that threatens his signature piece of domestic policy. (Oh, hey, Tea Partiers! Another thing I was disappointed to watch die? A public option. See how I came full-circle there?) The House GOP will come nowhere near actually accomplishing a repeal. And, as the article goes on to point out, at this time the Democrats have nothing to lose by defending health care reform and talking it up, so demagoguing on this issue seems like a risky strategy at best.
Given my place at the opposite end of the political spectrum from the Tea Party, it doesn't hurt my feelings to see them frustrated. But I still feel a little bit of sympathy, as they're going to watch their new reps fail them in myriad ways over the next couple of years. It can't be helped, and it kind of sucks. Oh, well.