It may not be what the Democrats and their amen chorus in the media want to hear, but the fact is that the Tea Party is rapidly declining as a political force in America. And it is not the Democrats, or the liberal media that loved to ridicule them, that is finishing the Tea Party off; it is the voters who tired of their wacky candidates. But the damage over the past four years has been done; the Tea Party has greatly empowered President Obama and come close to destroying an effective Republican opposition.
In the next four years Obama will probably have an opportunity to place a fifth liberal on the U.S. Supreme Court thus changing it for decades. His nominee will need Senate confirmation and that he or she will get it. This is a direct consequence of the loss of five United States Senate seats that should be Republican today but are not because of Tea Party candidates. Let’s review the record. In 2010, the Tea Party foisted a woman named Sharron Angle on the GOP in Nevada to take on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Reid was so unpopular in his own home state that any one of the first 200 names in the Las Vegas phone book would have won that race. But Angle blew it and Reid, the cleverest Senate Majority Leader since Lyndon Johnson, is still in power.
That same year there was Colorado, where Ken Buck, another Tea Party favorite, ran a campaign that gives buffoonery a bad name. But the Tea Party princess of 2010 was Christine O’Donnell of Delaware, who seems to have risen from some witches coven to blow a safe GOP pick-up there.
But the Tea Party was not through. In 2012, they helped give the Republicans Mr. “Legitimate Rape”, Senate candidate Todd Akin in Missouri, and Mr. “God Loves Rape”, Senate candidate Richard Mourdock in Indiana. Voters are not idiots and they won’t vote for an idiot; Akin and Mourdock lost in 2012 just like the other Tea Partiers in 2010. And now Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has 53 Democrats to 45 Republicans and two independents who vote with the Democrats, whereas the Senate should be evenly split at 50 Senators for each party. Reid has in his back pocket the votes to eliminate the filibuster to make sure the Obama agenda gets through.
In the House, Republican Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) began the just completed lame duck session on equal negotiating level with Obama, but after the Tea Party radicals undercut him, he ended up largely surrendering control of the House to Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco. The New Year’s Day “fiscal cliff” bill to save 99 percent of the Bush tax cuts (and avoid a tax increase on 100 percent of Americans) was shepherded through the House by Pelosi with Tea Party members opposing the deal worked out in the Senate, and therefore voting for a massive tax increase on every American.
How did we get here? The Tea Party brooks no compromise, and the Democrats simply figured out how to box them into corners. The Bush tax cuts were going to expire, Tea Party or no, so Obama offered to extend them for everyone but those making over $400,000. The bill had to pass, so the non-Tea Party Republicans in Congress had to support it.
Who was the Tea Party helping by opposing the high income tax increases; well, let’s start with people like Tom Steyer, the Silicon Valley multimillionaire who paid for Proposition 39 to make “polluting corporations pay their fair share of taxes.” I am sure he appreciated the Tea Party concern that his own taxes not go up. And let’s not forget the Hollywood millionaire liberals whose taxes the Tea Party fought so valiantly to keep low. Had the fiscal cliff bill not passed they would have more money to use for their next great liberal cause, confiscation of everyone’s guns.
Politics have a way of dismantling those who put fanaticism before reality. Not only did the Tea Party make fools of themselves by fighting to keep Barbra Streisand from paying more taxes, their own tactics are leading to their self immolation. Consider FreedomWorks, a Tea Party front. In 2011, it launched a Super PAC designed to “empower the leaderless, decentralized community of the tea party movement as it continues its hostile takeover of the GOP establishment.” The PAC then supported such losers as Mourdock in his U.S. Senate race. But that is not all. In late 2012, former House Majority Leader Richard Armey resigned as Chairman of FreedomWorks in exchange for $8 million in consulting fees paid in annual $400,000 installments from FreedomWorks coffers. Armey had been paid $500,000 per year as Chairman and regularly flew first class on the FreedomWorks dime.
It remains to be seen whether the true believing fiscal conservatives that have funded the Tea Party will continue sending money to groups like FreedomWorks so their officers can continue flying first class. Fewer new Tea Partiers are in the new Congress and no doubt they will have a harder time making an impact in 2014 and going forward. But from the perspective of President Obama and the Democrats, the Tea Party has been a great run. They won’t be happy to see it go.