Chris Graham: The Tea Party and ‘consequences’
Prominent Tea Party types are issuing not-so-veiled threats to congressional Republicans who joined in the bipartisan vote that cut taxes for 99 percent of Americans, but also, distressingly to the Tea Party, raised taxes on wealthy taxpayers.
“Through this fiscal cliff crisis Congress has demonstrated once again its incapability of actually cutting government spending and preventing tax hikes,” said Jenny Beth Martin, the head of the Tea Party Patriots.
“We elected the House of Representatives – we have the majority, the Republicans have the majority there. We still control part of the government, and the House controls the purse strings,” said Amy Kremer, the head of the Tea Party Express, in an interview on CNN.
Immediately after the vote, Kremer posted on Twitter that she was “extremely disgusted with what happened in the House tonight” and threatened that “there will be consequences.”
And there will indeed be “consequences” if Republican leaders continue to toe the Tea Party line. The movement’s 15 minutes of fame has long since passed, not long after the 2010 midterm elections that saw a Tea Party tidal wave push the GOP into control of the House of Representatives.
Efforts to take control of the Senate fell short, though, by and large due to the purge of moderates led by the Tea Party that allowed Democrats to retain several seats that had been considered vulnerable and even take seats in what had been viewed as GOP strongholds.
The reaction of Tea Party leaders to the fiscal cliff vote is an indication that the far right wing of the Repubilcan Party still doesn’t get it. President Obama won re-election; Democrats gained seats in the Senate and the House, and even as Republicans retained control of the lower chamber of Congress, Americans cast more votes for Democratic House candidates in the 2012 election than Republicans.
A Republican Party that sticks up for the top 1 percent of wage-earners at the expense of the other 99 percent is a Republican Party that won’t need a tent for its members to stand under; that GOP could put to good use now-outdated phone booths for future party get-togethers.