Monday, July 26, 2010

Why Have None Of The Minnesota Or Wisconsin Republicans Joined Bachmann's Crackpot Tea Party Caucus?


Minnesota and Wisconsin share a stake in Lake Superior, the largest of the Great Lakes, in fact, the largest freshwater lake in the entire world. Several years ago Minnesota's most environmentally unfriendly politician, Michele Bachmann, signed on as a co-sponsor to a bill, the No Excuses Act, to drill, drill, drill, drill. Bachmann is one of several Republicans eager to lift the ban on drilling under the Great Lakes. She claims "offshore exploration of oil and natural gas will be very helpful in the short term to resolve our energy crisis, and I also understand that alternative energy solutions are the future. But living in the here and now, we need to take all steps within reason to help drive oil costs down." 40 million people get their drinking water from the Great Lakes. Most rational politicians, including some Republicans, oppose drilling under the Great Lakes. But not all. As Senator Russ Feingold told DWT this morning, "The possibility of drilling for oil in the Great Lakes has been a serious threat and may well be again. I absolutely oppose it and my opponent, Mr. Johnson, specifically said he was open to it." And as Bachmann assumes a great role in the leadership of the Republican Party, especially now that she is the founder and leader of the far right Tea Party Caucus, will her view take on an aura of political respectability even if just inside the GOP? As Joe Barton can tell you, Big Oil pays very, very well for those willing to espouse those views and push that agenda.

Minnesota and Wisconsin share more than a long border and some Lake Superior shoreline. Each state has 8 congressmen and each state currently has 3 Republicans in Congress. But not even far right Minnesota colleagues Erik Paulsen or John Kline have joined Bachmann's Caucus. And none of the Wisconsin Republicans have either. Neither Paulsen nor Kline is willing to comment on why they won't join the Tea Party Caucus. Milwaukee's Journal Sentinel, however, reached the 3 Republicans who represent Wisconsin in Congress and asked them why they haven't made common cause with Bachmann and other lunatic fringe Republicans like Steve King (R-IA), Louie Gohmert (R-TX), Joe Wilson (R-SC), and Paul Broun (R-GA).

Sensenbrenner, the dean of the delegation, tried to duck the question sensing a political sticky wicket. His spokesperson said he joins caucuses on a "'very limited basis' given his demands in Congress as the top Republican on two committees."
Rep. Tom Petri of Fond du Lac said that although he agrees with tea party groups on a number of issues, "most are concerned about maintaining their independence from politicians and parties."

"The Tea Party Caucus implies a formal relationship between politicians and the tea party, which I think should remain informal," he said. "I think the right attitude is that we should talk with each other, but neither of us should try to speak for each other."

Rep. Paul Ryan of Janesville did not explain why he hasn't joined the caucus but says he loves the message of the tea party movement and has "been inspired by their tireless efforts to advance America's timeless principles. It is truly grass-roots and will continue to flourish with or without an official organization in Washington."

None of them mentioned an even more obvious explanation. The Tea Party claims as a primary organizing principle opposition to big government bailouts. The Mother of All Bailouts was the 2008 no-strings-attached Bush bailout of Wall Street. This was the doozy and this is the one that was defeated one week and then passed the following week mostly because John Boehner, Eric Cantor and Paul Ryan were able to twist enough GOP arms to switch from no votes to yes votes. In all 91 Republicans voted for the Bush bankster bailout. Ryan may claim he "loves the message of the tea party movement" but all he loves is that they're stupid enough to help him push his 100% Wall Street agenda. Ryan was unable to get either of his older Wisconsin colleagues, Petri and Sensenbrenner, to vote for the bailouts but John Kline also supported it and voted for it.

Among the other Tea Party Caucus members who voted for the bailout are hypocritical Wall Street shills Rodney Alexander (R-LA), Pete Hoekstra (R-MI), Gary Miller (R-CA), Pete Sessions (R-TX), Lamar Smith (R-TX) and Joe Wilson (R-SC).

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At 5:31 PM, Blogger Zach W. said...

I get the sense that none of Wisconsin's three Republican Congressmen will join the Tea Party Caucus because they're simply not that stupid. The tea party represents the fringe right, and while joining a Congressional tea party caucus may get them a few votes in the short term, joining could come back to bite them in the ass later on, especially someone like Paul Ryan, who likely has national ambitions.


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