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
Marina Koren
Add to Briefcase
Marina Koren
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 »
FOSTER FREISS TO MAKE ANNOUNCEMENT TODAY
GOP Megadonor Running For Governor In Wyoming
3 hours ago
THE LATEST

"Republican megadonor Foster Friess has told party leaders in Wyoming that he plans to run for governor," and is expected to make an announcement this afternoon. Friess has donated "millions of dollars to Republican candidates and causes over the last decade, according to federal campaign finance records," including over "$1.7 million to boost Santorum's [presidential] campaign" in 2016. Gov. Matt Mead (R) is term-limited, and "a handful of Republicans are running in an open primary to succeed him in one of the reddest states in the country."

Source:
DEATH TOLL REACHES 38
Israeli Army Kills Four Palestinian Protestors
4 hours ago
THE LATEST

Four Palestinian protestors have been killed by Israeli fire near the Gaza-Israel border, bringing the death toll to 38, in what marks the "fourth consecutive week of Gaza's March of Return mass protests." The marches are part of a "month-and-a-half-long protest organized by Hamas near the border fence," which organizers have said will not stop before May 15. The marches are intended to emulate anti-apartheid protests in South Africa, and to commemorate the forced expulsion of Palestinians from their homes in 1948, during the establishment of the State of Israel.

Source:
NO TIMELINE SET
McCabe To Sue For Wrongful Termination, Defamation
5 hours ago
THE LATEST

"Former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe is looking to sue for defamation, wrongful termination and other possible civil claims, his lawyer told reporters Friday." McCabe's attorney Michael Bromwich said that his team "hasn't managed to find any witnesses to corroborate McCabe's version of the story," although they have not had enough time to do so. "McCabe’s lawyers are also seeking ways to release the emails between McCabe and Comey, which would offer insight into their communication about the leaks to the Wall Street Journal."

Source:
SEEKS COMPENSATORY DAMAGES
DNC Files Sweeping Lawsuit Over 2016 Election
6 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

"The Democratic National Committee filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit Friday against the Russian government, the Trump campaign and the WikiLeaks organization alleging a far-reaching conspiracy to disrupt the 2016 campaign and tilt the election to Donald Trump. The complaint, filed in federal district court in Manhattan, alleges that top Trump campaign officials conspired with the Russian government and its military spy agency to hurt Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and help Trump by hacking the computer networks of the Democratic Party and disseminating stolen material found there." The DNC is seeking "millions of dollars in compensation to offset damage it claims the party suffered from the hacks," and is arguing the cyberattack" undermined its ability to communicate with voters, collect donations and operate effectively as its employees faced personal harassment and, in some cases, death threats."

Source:
BIGGEST FINE OF TRUMP ERA
Wells-Fargo Fined $1 Billion For Defrauding Customers
7 hours ago
THE LATEST

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency have fined Wells Fargo $1 billion dollars for convincing customers to buy insurance they did not need, and could not afford. "In October, the bank revealed that some mortgage borrowers were inappropriately charged for missing a deadline to lock in promised interest rates, even though the delays were Wells Fargo's fault." The bank has also apologized for . "charging as many as 570,000 clients for car insurance they didn't need," and found that about 20,000 of those customers "may have defaulted on their car loans and had their vehicles repossessed in part because of those unnecessary insurance costs."

Source:
×
×

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