After Charles Kesler talked about the paradoxical character of the Tea Party and how it has sometimes fallen short in defending the Constitution, he gives an example of it.
Last fall, the Tea Party seized upon the latest Continuing Resolution to try to bring down Obamacare. Granted, Continuing Resolutions, the multi-thousand page omnibus spending bills that pass for appropriations bills these days, are abdications of Congress’s own budget process and derelictions of its constitutional duty to protect the public purse. Yet bad things can sometimes be used for good purposes. But mainstream Republican leaders warned that the Tea Party senators never had a realistic plan to obtain the votes to defund Obamacare in the Senate, or beyond that to overcome Obama’s veto pen. President Obama needed to fund the government, but he felt, rightly it turned out, that he could hold out longer than the GOP could. The architects of the government shutdown could never answer the question of how victory might be achieved.
Apparently their hope was that an outraged American public — fresh from voting in 2012 to re-elect Obama and to increase the Democratic majority in the Senate by two seats — would rise up and put such pressure on recalcitrant Democrats that they would defund the program that their party had been longing for since Franklin Roosevelt. In relying on such an unlikely outcome, the Tea Party showed its own populist brand of impatience with the separation of powers, bicameralism, and the legislative process that the Constitution prescribes. In imagining that the American public could be persuaded to reconsider the results of an election hardly a year old, the Tea Party surrendered to its own version of the “leadership theory” that liberals have long preferred to legislative – executive politics of the constitutional sort. The implicit argument was that by going over the heads of party leaders and constitutional officeholders to appeal directly to the people, the Tea Party could generate its own mandate to trump the mandate just awarded in the election.
With the failure of the Tea Party to stop Obamacare, they showed their impatience with the separation of powers that is provided in the Constitution. In my opinion it was not the failure to stop Obamacare but rather the concession of the Senate to the Democrats for 2 more years. It was people like Todd Akin in Missouri who could not keep on target with what the election was REALLY based on (jobs and the economy, plus the fact that every Democrat Senator up for re-election was the deciding vote on Obamacare) and instead tried to focus on issues (abortion, gay marriage, and other social issues) which made no difference in that particular election. Fortunately, in a little under a month (November 4) we have a chance to take back the Senate. So far, nothing had been made about social issues, which means that many of the Republican candidates have learned from the mistakes made in 2012. The Republicans need 6 seats to take control of the Senate in 2014. Then the gridlock in Congress (ie. 400 bills) which had been left on Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (Democrat from Nevada) desk, will finally get the fair hearing and vote that they had not gotten since 2010 when the Republicans regained control of the House.