The Republican establishment’s war against the Tea Party has gotten off to a rocky start, as Politico, the beltway scorekeeping publication, has declared that the Tea Party has gone “unscathed” after the first battles.
The Republican establishment that just realized the Tea Party was not a “fad” is “just starting to see how much it will take to reclaim the power it has ceded to the movement in recent years.”
As Politico notes, “the National Republican Senatorial Committee’s first big play” was to blacklist Jamestown Associates, a consulting and ad-making firm, but they are still standing and have not lost business.
In addition, big-business groups and the Chamber of Commerce were to join forces with the Republican establishment and get “big money” to support candidates to take on Tea Party candidates, particularly those who oppose comprehensive immigration reform. The result, Politico notes, has been “early interest but no coordinated effort to take out challengers.”
“So far, the threats have done little to scare conservative activists or bring them any closer to working with the party,” the publication writes.
Though the establishment has had a small victory in getting a bookkeeper to stop doing business with the Senate Conservatives Fund (SCF), groups like SCF and Heritage Action said they will not be discouraged by the attempted “bullying.”
“It’s sad that Mitch McConnell is now bullying bookkeepers in his quest for power, but it won’t stop us. Mitch McConnell refuses to fight for conservative principles and it’s time for a change,” SCF’s Matt Hoskins said. “Lisa Lisker has been a valuable part of our team, but we understand that her livelihood was at risk. We hope to be able to work with her again after Mitch McConnell is defeated.”
Former RNC Chair Michael Steele told the outlet that the establishment thought they could co-opt the Tea Partiers that put them back into power in 2010 and believed, “Oh, once they get to Washington, we’ll wrap our arms around them, we’ll put a shrimp in one hand and a committee assignment in the other and they’ll be ours,’ and they were like, ‘Keep your shrimp, I don’t want your committee assignment and I’m not voting for the same old crap you put out every year.'”
Heritage Action’s Dan Holler pointed out the frustrations of many conservatives when he said that the Republican Party “loves them when they go and knock on doors and make phone calls, but after the election, they pat you on the head and say, ‘We’ll call you in two years when we need manpower on the ground.'”
“Folks are tired of that,” he said. “The signals those tactics send to conservatives outside of Washington is that the Republican Party is not on their side, and that’s a terrible signal to send.”