Will House GOP Break Apart the Tea Party Coalition?

November 8, 2010

Contributed by Eric Erickson (Redstate.com)

It is undisputed that the Tea Party Movement helped drive the renewed Republican momentum this past year. But for that energy, the Republicans would not have seen the gains they saw. The exit polls reflect that data.

So now the House Republicans have some crucial decisions to make. They, unlike the Senate GOP, which appears to have learned nothing and forgotten everything from their 2006 defeat, are going to embrace an earmarks moratorium. Incoming Speaker Boehner, man I love the sound of that, announced the House will definitely have an earmarks moratorium. Mitch McConnell says no way in the Senate.

But an earmarks moratorium is only one sign that the GOP gets it in the House. It is time for some fresh faces.

Jeb Hensarling as Conference Chair is a great start given his conservative bona fides and economics based background. I am hearing today that MIchelle Bachmann wants that too, but I hope she might be pursued to go for Vice-Chair and tag team with Hensarling. Having Rep. Bachmann in that position over Cathy McZero Rogers would be a wonderful thing.

A good fit at Policy would be Dr. Tom Price. Given that healthcare helped elect Republicans, having a doctor in that position over Connie Mack, whose wife voted for Cap & Trade, would be a good sign the GOP is serious about getting us out of the Obamacare hole.

Then there is the matter of the Appropriations Committee. Jerry Lewis is term limited. They should give him no waiver and consider instead someone like Jack Kingston. The alternative would probably be someone like Harold Rogers of Kentucky, who would not, given his record, be a good shift right from Lewis. Likewise, Kingston is the only man on the committee who, as an Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman, delivered a balanced budget, or one in surplus.

But that’s not enough. With new seats open, tea party backed members like Jeff Flake, Tom Graves, and others should have seats on the Appropriations Committee.

Then, of course, there is the House Energy and Commerce Committee. I do not believe in Committee waivers, which means Joe Barton should not be allowed to stick around.

Unfortunately, Fred Upton is lobbying heavily for the seat and that choice would be absolutely atrocious. Upton is a union lackey. As Powerline notes

His voting record leaves no doubt of this. For example, Upton was one of only three Republicans to oppose extending the Bush tax cuts. He also voted with the Democrats in their effort to make future tax cuts harder to pass. And he opposed Republican amendments to the stimulus bill which would have substituted tax cuts for stimulus money. Upton also voted against an amendment to cut $355 billion out of the stimulus legislation.

By the same token, Upton voted in favor of the Democrats’ $409 billion Ominbus Appropriations Act of 2009, which increased federal spending by 8.4 percent and gave President Obama $19 billion more than he had requested. Twenty Democrats voted against this Act, but (as Hubert Humphrey might have said) not Congressman Upton.

If a man like Upton becomes Chairman, it will be a clear sign that the House GOP is all bluster.

Lastly, the new House leaders need to make themselves less powerful. A willingness to give up power will be a positive sign.

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