Rozell: Gridlock could aid Tea Party

Roughly two-thirds of the candidates running on the Tea Party label went down to defeat in Tuesday’s congressional midterms. And yet the new voice of the conservative wing of the Republican Party will get its way almost from the moment the next Congress convenes in January.

One word: gridlock.

“There’s the irony. The Tea Party movement may not have the ability to push its agenda items forward given that the Democrats control the Senate and of course the presidency, but if the Tea Party movement is genuinely about less government, less involvement in people’s lives by government, fewer government programs, well, you can point to the likely gridlock of the next two years as sort of of an accomplishment of the Tea Party movement itself,” said Mark Rozell, a political-science professor at George Mason University, who has written extensively on conservative and Republican Party politics.

Nothing much of consequence will happen, indeed, in the next Congress, with Republicans in control of the House, and the Tea Party caucus, 40 members strong, making waves in the majority caucus, and Democrats in control of the Senate and the White House.

What we will see is a lot of hot air as both sides posture with an eye to 2012 in mind. The focus of Tea Party leaders, in Rozell’s reckoning, will be on pushing agenda items like the repeal of the 2010 health-care reform that many in the Tea Party set campaigned on this fall to try to force Democrats to take issues that can be used against them in the 2012 election cycle.

“What they’re going to have to do in the next two years is present their own vision to the American people and try to make the case that the country would be better off with a different president, presumably a Republican, and hope that down the road with a Republican majority in both houses of Congress and a Republican president, if they are so fortunate, that they can then have some significant policy influence later on. But in the next two years, I just don’t see any policy momentum coming out of the Tea Party movement,” Rozell said.

Story by Chris Graham. Chris can be reached at freepress2@ntelos.net.


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