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Hell hath no fury like a Tea Party scorned
Here’s what Nick Carey had to say today about his special report “Stuck between the Tea Party and a hard place.”
Not long after the battle over the 2011 fiscal budget in Washington ended in mid-April, I received a few emails from Tea Party groups expressing frustration with the apparent failure by the Republican Party establishment to follow through on promises that they would cut spending in that budget by $100 billion.
I passed on one of those emails to an editor in Washington and we agreed that it would be a worthwhile exercise to talk to Tea Party groups across the country to see if that frustration was widespread, or if it was merely restricted to a few groups.
My very first call was to a Tea Party member in the South whom I had talked to before for previous special reports on the movement. I told him about the emails I had received and asked if he was frustrated by the budget deal. His answer: “Frustrated? I’m f***ing angry!”
At that point, I knew I was onto something. Dozens more interviews followed with Tea Partiers in 20 states, with all of them to varying degrees expressing anger and disappointment at what they see as an act of betrayal by the Republican Party.
Tea Partiers worked hard for a Republican win last November, driven by rage at President Barack Obama’s health reforms and egged on by Republicans many of whom professed that they, too, were Tea Partiers who would fix the mess in Washington with massive spending cuts. That message was simple and clean cut.
Unfortunately perhaps for Republicans now that they have won control of the House of Representatives, little remains clean cut in the world of compromise that comprises Washington, DC. The Republicans do not control the Senate or the White House, but in the eyes of members of the Tea Party movement the Republicans have failed miserably to hold the line on spending.
According to accounts from Tea Party groups in several states, since late March Republican Congressmen have been trying to manage expectations on the debate on the U.S. debt limit, by warning Tea Partiers that there would be “dire consequences” if America did not raise its debt limit.
But the Tea Party is adamant that the Republicans win this debate and force massive cuts before they agree to raise the debt limit. This is what they worked hard for during the 2010 election campaign and they have no intention of compromising on spending cuts now.
The Republicans appear therefore to be stuck between forcing spending cuts that could have far-reaching consequences and further angering the army of volunteer activists who helped them win the House in November.
Tea Party anger now may be nothing compared to the fury that is likely to accompany a Republican failure to win major cuts in the debt limit debate – fury that Tea Partiers say will lead to primary challenges in 2012 for Republicans who do not make the grade.
“As the old saying goes, ‘Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned,’” said Ralph King of the Cleveland Tea Party. “That just about sums up how we feel already. And we’re not even done with the debt limit debate yet.”
To read the special report in multimedia PDF format, click here.
In this video, Chris Littleton, head of the Ohio Liberty Council, talks about his disappointment.