November 10, 2010
-- by Dave Johnson
I have been writing about the Tea Party, and asking what they will do if/when the DC Republicans betray them. CAF has set up a page for the Tea Party Getting Played series. This is the latest in the series.
The Tea Party candidates vowed they would be different, would stick to basic principles and not waver, and not back down.
It is safe to say that Kentucky Senator-elect Rand Paul is one of the leaders of the Tea Party movement. Here is what was on his campaign website, and I want tp put the whole thing here so there is no mistaking what voters were led to believe:
Rand Paul has made a ban on wasteful earmark spending in Washington D.C. one of the key points of his campaign. He has supported Sen. Jim DeMint’s vocal support for an earmark ban and he supports news that House Democrats are even coming around on the idea of a partial ban.
“The Tea Party movement is an effort to get government under control,” Rand said. “I’m running to represent Kentuckians and to dismantle the culture of professional politicians in Washington. Leadership isn’t photo-ops with oversized fake cardboard checks. That kind of thinking is bankrupting our nation. Senator DeMint understands that and has taken action to stop it.”
Rand’s emphasis on reform has ruffled a lot of establishment feathers, but it is clear that the more regular citizens are getting the message every day as his campaign continues to grow.
That's a pretty solid, unequivocal statement, isn't it? That was what Tea Party supports and voters were told. Unequivocal.
Now he is elected. And how is this for equivocating? Rand Paul Suggests He'll Fight For Earmarks He Earlier Promised To Ban:
Less than a week after his election, Kentucky's Senator-elect Rand Paul already appears to be making a rapid departure away from one of his campaign promises: an earmark ban that stood as a conservative cornerstone, a position Paul touted to indicate he was serious about tackling the reckless spending practices of Washington.
Here's what Paul told the Wall Street Journal over the weekend:In a bigger shift from his campaign pledge to end earmarks, he tells me that they are a bad "symbol" of easy spending but that he will fight for Kentucky's share of earmarks and federal pork, as long as it's doled out transparently at the committee level and not parachuted in in the dead of night. "I will advocate for Kentucky's interests," he says.
So, here's the record. While campaigning the new Senator from Kentucky took the Tea Party position against earmarks. But one week after the election he says he will fight for Kentucky's share of earmarks and federal pork. From Tea Party hero to DC Insider in a week! What are the Tea Party supports going to do about it?
And that is the question I have been asking: What will Tea Party members do when their politicians betray them? For decades the game on the conservative side was to campaign against abortion, gays and other "culture war" issues, or appeal to raw fear, but then once in office to ignore those issues and always, always reward the big corporations -- and, oh, yeah, more tax cuts for the rich. Now it looks like the same thing is happening to the Tea Party supporters as well. So what are they going to do about it?
And on the "liberal" side we've seen campaign after campaign promising to do things for the middle class and for labor and for the elderly and for the poor but then once in office reward the big corporations instead. This is a serious question for democracy: what are we going to do about it?
Take a look at the growing list of posts here in the Tea Party Getting Played series.
Posted by Dave Johnson at November 10, 2010 8:21 AM
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