I want to get in what will be one of if not in fact the last of my commentarys on the Tea Party because if my analysis is right, they will not be around much longer. You see, the Tea Party has worn out their welcome in the Republican Party. The only slight measure of success of the Tea Party was to temporarily rebrand the Republican Party to the point where they could oppose some of Obama's initiatives. Had they stopped there and let the Republicans run their own candidates, election 2010 would have been an even bigger success for the GOP.
Instead, almost all of the big name Tea Party Senate candidates who were in competitive races lost their elections this past Tuesday including Sharron Angle in Nevada, Christine O'Donnell in Delaware, Ken Buck in Colorado, Joe Miller in Alaska. These candidates cost the GOP the senate. Had the GOP been able to run candidates that did not strike the electorate in these states as crazy radical wingnuts, the Republicans would have won those races and Mr. McConnell would be Senate Majority leader.
While some would argue that the Tea Party helped win the House of Representatives, that logic also doesnt work because Democratic Presidents and indeed most Presidents of either party typically have large losses in the mid term elections following their election to their first term. As this graphic by Steve Benen of the Washington Monthly illustrates, the chances are that the Republicans would have taken the House and by large numbers even without the Tea Party. Its something that just usually happens.
Typical Midterm election effect on House of Representatives by Steve Benen
That isn't the only failure of the Tea Party. The Tea Party also failed in one of the key reasons it was created and that is to oppose President Obama's initiatives like the stimulus and Health Care Reform. As we all know, both of those measures passed.
This failure is not lost on the powers that be in the Republican Party and the fact is that the folks at the two big Republican thinktanks, Freedomworks and Americans for Prosperity, control all of the Tea Party's infrastructure and funding. All that has to happen is for the leadership of those two thinktanks to turn the funding key to 'off', shut down the websites that help organize the tea parties, and the Tea Party Express would come to a quick and wordless stop. That is what I predict will happen in the next few weeks. They are going to try to do it as quietly and innocuously as possible, but they are going to do it. The Republican Party has nothing left to gain from the Tea Party and everything to lose. The grass roots members of the Tea Party actually expect the Republicans to cut spending and close the budget deficit and the GOP has no intention of doing that.
As I mentioned in my opening paragraph, Republicans have announced they intend to push $220 Billion in additional spending and reduced revenue for the next two years over what is the current situation and plan. First, they intend to stop President Obama from bringing an end to the Afghanistan war in 2011. That war costs $80 Billion per year. I've been generous in my calculations and only charged the GOP congress who are pushing for the extension with the cost of the war in 2012 but truthfully, Obama plans to end the war in the summer of 2011 so we could add another $40 Billion to the increased expenditure for which the Republicans are advocating.
Second, the Republicans are pushing to make the tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans permanent. Those tax cuts cost $70 Billion per year. So, before anything else has happened, Republicans are advocating for an increase in the deficit for the time between now and election day in 2012 by $220 Billion dollars. Republicans would have to find that amount of cuts to take effect in the next two years just to offset what they are already proposing.
As I have said repeatedly in debates with my right wing friends over the last two years, Republicans have no credibility on Fiscal Responsibility. They have no credibility in the past and they clearly intend to go on having no credibility in the future. See these videos of me discussing the Tea Party in April of 2009 and November 1, 2010 where I make this and other points.
That isn't all, the Republicans have had two years on the sidelines to plan for what they would do if they got the likely chance to return to power in one or both houses of congress and with all of that time, they have no detailed proposals for what to do about the economy. They cannot articulate a single item in the budget to cut, not a single one. They squirm, spin and run from the question everytime they are asked. See these videos for prominent GOP members of congress asked about what they intend to cut:
Now, we have already heard that cuts of defense are off the table as far as Republicans are concerned. Before the election, the common theme you heard was that everything was on the table including defense because our budget was so out of control. After the election, we are hearing that defense cuts are verboten, so, what large items does that leave in the budget to cut? It leaves things like Medicare and Social Security. If Republicans are going to try to cut something, and I am not convinced that they are, they are going to try to cut Medicare and Social Security.