The Democrats keep trying to float the meme that the Tea Party is dead. Eighty-seven new GOP congressmen were elected in 2010; many of them Tea Party favorites. About 20 of those face tough races in 2012, either because of redistricting by Democrats or because they reside in moderate districts.
South Carolina Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy, a hardy conservative who was elected in 2010 and affirmed that although he espoused the same principles as the Tea Party, he wasn’t a Tea Party member, said, “”It’s a very delicious narrative that 80-something freshmen rode a tea-party wave into Washington. But I thought 2010 was as much a repudiation of the status quo as anyone loving us.”
Gowdy said in 2011 that the perception that Tea Party members were monolithic was incorrect:
“I decided to do something which doesn’t happen terribly often in Washington, which is, examine the facts. There are 67 members of the Tea Party Caucus. Fourteen voted ‘no’ on John Boehner’s debt ceiling deal, which means 80-something percent voted ‘yes.'”
Yet the Democrats are desperate to put the Tea Party out of business. Rep. Steve Israel (D., N.Y.), who coordinates the Democratic House campaigns bleated, “They got swept into Congress in 2010 on a tea-party tsunami. The tide has receded, and it has left them high and dry with right-wing voting records in more moderate districts.”
Both Republican and Democratic insiders point to the races of Tea Partiers Joe Walsh of Illinois, David Rivera of Florida, Ann Marie Buerkle of New York, Jeff Landry of Louisiana, and Jeff Denham of California as problematic.
Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.), who helped recruit many of the Tea Party congressmen, was still confident: “I think the freshmen are going to do quite well in this election, because they’re running on exactly what they [did] before–economic policies, fiscal issues.” And Buerkle was still extremely optimistic: “People are equally or more frustrated than they were in 2010,” she said.
And Allan West of Florida, who is in a tough fight for reelection, put it bluntly: “It takes about five miles to turn an aircraft carrier around. But I think we started the motion.”
Walsh, Rivera, Buerkle, Landry, Denham and West need our help. President Romney will need all the conservatives he can if he is going to reverse the direction of the country since the New Deal.