Republican Insiders to Tea Party: You’re Not Helping Us

Democrats are egging on tea-party challengers, while Republicans are all but begging them to stand down.

One of the most visible tea partiers, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, waits for an elevator off the Senate floor on Thursday.
National Journal
Dec. 13, 2013, 6:21 a.m.

For Demo­crats, the tea party is the gift that keeps on giv­ing. For Re­pub­lic­ans, the group is something akin to a flesh-eat­ing vir­us that threatens to chomp away at the GOP.

The civil war between es­tab­lish­ment and tea-party Re­pub­lic­ans in­tens­i­fied this week when House Speak­er John Boehner slammed out­side con­ser­vat­ive groups for “ri­dicu­lous” push­back against the bi­par­tis­an budget agree­ment, which cleared his cham­ber Thursday. Tea-party-sym­path­et­ic or­gan­iz­a­tions, Boehner later said, are “push­ing our mem­bers in places where they don’t want to be.”

Wash­ing­ton in­siders agree. Sixty-five per­cent of Re­pub­lic­an in­flu­en­cers on the Hill called tea-party chal­lengers to Re­pub­lic­an law­makers “very un­help­ful” to the GOP, ac­cord­ing to a Na­tion­al Journ­al Polit­ic­al In­siders poll pub­lished Fri­day. Their pres­ence on the cam­paign trail leads to fur­ther splin­ter­ing of the Grand Old Party, whose widen­ing rift between es­tab­lish­ment and tea-party mem­bers has not gone un­noticed by both Demo­crat­ic op­pon­ents and the gen­er­al pub­lic. “Let’s shoot at the op­pos­i­tion, not our own troops,” one In­sider pleaded. “Most Re­pub­lic­ans think they’re idi­ots,” said an­oth­er.

On the oth­er hand, 78 per­cent of Demo­crat­ic In­siders find tea-party chal­lengers to be “very help­ful.” Demo­crats de­pend on ul­tracon­ser­vat­ives can­did­ates like Steve Stock­man, who is tak­ing great pains to la­bel his Re­pub­lic­an op­pon­ent for a Sen­ate seat in Texas, Sen. John Cornyn, a lib­er­al. For them, a di­vided Re­pub­lic­an party means more legroom for Demo­crat­ic can­did­ates to sweep voters fed up with ideo­lo­gic­al de­bates.

Polit­ic­al fig­ures like Stock­man do the job of drag­ging the na­tion­al Re­pub­lic­an im­age away from the main­stream — and voters — for the Demo­crats. With midterm elec­tions more than 10 months away, there’s still time for more tea-party chal­lengers to step up to the po­di­um and ex­acer­bate the situ­ation. “For every Rand Paul and Marco Ru­bio, you get five Ken Bucks and Todd Akins,” said one in­sider in the poll.

Come next Novem­ber, the biggest tea-party sup­port­ers could be the lib­er­als they want to squash. “We should be form­ing in­de­pend­ent-ex­pendit­ure com­mit­tees and su­per PACs to sup­port any tea parti­er in­ter­ested in tak­ing on Re­pub­lic­an in­cum­bents,” joked a Demo­crat­ic In­sider. An­oth­er summed up simply, “Thank you, Steve Stock­man.”

What We're Following See More »
RARE STATEMENT FROM SPECIAL COUNSEL'S OFFICE
Mueller Denies BuzzFeed Report About Trump Directing Cohen to Lie
10 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s office on Friday denied an explosive report by BuzzFeed News that his investigators had gathered evidence showing President Trump directed his former lawyer, Michael Cohen, to lie to Congress about a prospective business deal in Moscow. 'BuzzFeed’s description of specific statements to the special counsel’s office, and characterization of documents and testimony obtained by this office, regarding Michael Cohen’s congressional testimony are not accurate,' said Peter Carr, a spokesman for Mueller."

Source:
ABOUT THE BORDER
Trump to Make Announcement Saturday Afternoon
14 hours ago
THE LATEST
MORE PRESSURE ON WHITE HOUSE
NY Fed Chief Says Shutdown Could Cut Growth by 1%
18 hours ago
THE DETAILS
SCHIFF CALLS ALLEGATIONS THE MOST SERIOUS TO DATE
House Intel Will Probe BuzzFeed Report
21 hours ago
THE LATEST

"The top Democrats on the House Intelligence and Judiciary committees said they will investigate the allegations that President Donald Trump directed his former attorney Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about negotiations in 2016 to build a Trump Tower in Moscow are true, as BuzzFeed News reported late Thursday. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff said the allegations underlying the BuzzFeed report are “among the most serious to date” and indicated he will direct committee investigators to probe them."

Source:
BLAMES TRUMP FOR LEAKING COMMERCIAL AIR TRAVEL PLANS
Pelosi Cancels CODEL
22 hours ago
THE DETAILS
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login