Tales from the Trail

Republicans create caucus ‘to listen’ to Tea Party

July 21, 2010

There are scores of U.S. congressional caucuses that focus on specific issues — including ones to combat hunger and cancer, advance the arts, protect the environment and promote the rights of black, Asian, Hispanic and other Americans.

The conservative Tea Party movement scored a milestone on Wednesday in its drive to be heard in Washington when two dozen Republican members of the House of Representatives held the first meeting of the new Tea Party Congressional Caucus. USA-HEALTHCARE/

“We decided to form a Tea Party Caucus for one very important purpose, to listen to the concerns of the Tea Party,” Representative Michele Bachmann, chief organizer, told a Capitol Hill news conference afterward.

“We are not the mouthpiece of the Tea Party. We are not taking over the Tea Party,” Bachmann said. “We are to listen.”

Like many Tea Party-related events, this one drew more members of the news media than participants.

Republican lawmakers were joined, however, by several private citizens who spoke up for the Tea Party movement and its push for less government, more freedom and no new taxes.

They also rejected criticism of the Tea Party. “I’m here because I want to tell America we are not terrorists, we are not racists,” said Danielle Hollars, a black Army veteran and mother of five. “We are Americans who care about our country and the future of our children and our grandchildren.”

As of Wednesday there were 28 members of the Tea Party Congressional Caucus, all House Republicans. They include some, but not all, of the party’s House leadership.

Caucus members expressed hope that many of the other 150 House Republicans would eventually join.

Bachmann made it clear that Democrats are welcome and that she would like to see the caucus, like many of those on Capitol Hill, become bipartisan.

The Tea Party Congressional Caucus could become much bigger after the November election. The movement has endorsed a number of congressional Republican candidates for the House and Senate.

Photo credit: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque (Bachmann at a healthcare rally November 2009)

Comments
5 comments so far | RSS Comments RSS

I don’t understand why this is news. The “Tea Party” is strictly a Republican movement already. It’s not separate in any way… these people ARE Republicans.

I wish the media would stop referring to them as something other than what they are.

Posted by JackMack | Report as abusive
 

I personally don’t see this movement as party related. Although the reps have an early lead on listening and maybe deciding this voice should be heard. I think it would be wise for all politicians to start listening because these people are not going away and if a leader for this movement arises you are going to see some sweeping changes in the U.S. I do not believe the way the media is portraying this movement because let’s face facts, the media is also partisan. Common sense and a back to basics approach in politics is what is needed and the Tea Party movement may be the last chance for anything like that to happen. Personally I would like to see more democrats joining in to listen to mainstream Americans. I am ready for change and I am tired of paying for it through the nose.

Posted by ThePup | Report as abusive
 

I agree with “ThePup”. This is NOT a “Republicans only” sanctuary. This is grassroots emotion from an America that is fed up with politics as usual.

Posted by Alex1953 | Report as abusive
 

“grassroots” “mainstream Americans” “back to basics” “fed up with politics as usual” “common sense” “movement”

so many false cliches

Posted by Rfairb | Report as abusive
 

In case anyone’s still thinking that the teabaggers are “independent” middle of the road types who disdain both the right and the left equally,this new Quinnipiac Poll should finally put that to rest.

Looking at voters who consider themselves part of the Tea Party movement:

•74 percent are Republicans or independent voters leaning Republican;
•16 percent are Democrats or independent voters leaning Democratic;
•Only 5 percent are solidly independent;
•45 percent are men;
•55 percent are women;
•88 percent are white;
•77 percent voted for Sen. John McCain in 2008;
•15 percent voted for President Barack Obama.

A total of 19 percent of American voters trust government to do the right thing “almost all of the time” or “most of the time,” compared to only 4 percent of Tea Party members.

While only 33 percent of all voters have a favorable opinion of Sarah Palin, 72 percent of Tea Party members have a favorable opinion of her.

But it really doesn’t take a poll to see that these tea partiers are ill-informed, Beck watching right wingers. All you have to do is read their signs and listen to what they say. They are the hardcore GOP base. And they are very, very sore losers. It’s one of their most defining characteristics.

Posted by Yellow105 | Report as abusive
 

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