Tea Party Candidates Run to the Right of Boehner on the Budget

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April 11, 2011; Source: Politico | Think of how close the country came to a partial budget shutdown last week. Then think about what would happen if there were more Tea Party-oriented members of the Senate. According to a Politico survey of Republican candidates for Senate seats in 2012, the majority would have rejected the budget deal negotiated by House Speaker Boehner and Majority Senate Leader Reid, undoing the compromise that passed the Senate by a voice vote early Saturday morning.

Only two of the candidates said they would have supported the agreement – “a minuscule step . . . in the right direction” according to one – though none of the budget-naysayers would explicitly come out in favor of shutting down the government. Some candidates dodged the Politico survey, notably Virginia’s George Allen and New Mexico’s Heather Wilson, both having to balance their Tea Party constituencies with the independent wing of the party.

The nonprofit infrastructure that supports the Tea Party movement’s most extreme fiscal positions, notably FreedomWorks, is doing its best to keep the Tea Party movement alive when some people might think that it has lost some of its oomph going into 2012. The problem for the Tea Party candidates, besides simply getting elected as the economic picture brightens over the next year or two, is how to distinguish itself from a Republican Party that some Tea Partiers think is too moderate and conciliatory.

It is a fine line FreedomWorks walks. It uses the salutation, “Dear Tea Party Activist,” in its communiqués, but also has to remember that the upcoming general elections will be dominated by independents increasingly dissatisfied with both extreme wings.—Rick Cohen

  • David Cearley

    All this concern over $38 billion in cuts? Where’s the outrage over the 1.7 trillion borrowed this year to pay current bills? How about the $58 billion dollar deficit for the WEEK the budget passed? How about some forward looking thinking about how future generations will have to cut essential services just to service the debt Obama is creating? Or about how excessive regulation at the local, state, and federal level is slowing business formation and job creation, putting added pressure on cash short non-profits to pick ip the slack? If you’re biggest worry is $38 billion in cuts, you’re ignoring the enormity of the damage done to our economic engine. After all, before the government can collect taxes or non-profits collect donations, wealth and jobs must be created by the private sector.

  • Ron Kensey

    Very well put! Non-profits and donors will likely be need to pick up the safety net for the least among us when the government can’t pay it’s bills. As my mother used to ask,”you think money grows on trees?

    I don’t know many taxpayers who want to intrust the federal gov with more money. I would rather give it to well run voluntary organizations. The ones that actually have donors and volunteers and do more than belly up to the troth.