I’m dying over here:
The New York Times reports that Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), a “Tea Party heroine,” plans to challenge Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) for the post of GOP conference chair, the fourth-highest House leadership position, in the new Congress. According to the Times, “her candidacy vividly illustrates the central tension facing [incoming House Speaker John] Boehner and his team: balancing the demands of new lawmakers, some of whom ran against the Republican establishment and advocate a no-compromise stance toward the Obama administration and Democratic policies, against the need to deliver some accomplishments at a time of economic distress.” Honestly, I’m not sure what that means, but the thrust of the story is that Bachmann represents bold newcomers supported by the Tea Party while Hensarling represents the wishy-washy old guard.***
In short, with the notable exception of his Medicare vote (a flaw shared by almost all of the Republican leaders who now claim to be budget cutters), Hensarling seems to be just the sort of legislator fiscal conservatives should want to see in a position of power. Assuming that the Tea Partiers’ preference for Bachmann, who seems not terribly bright and longer on rhetoric than action, is not merely a figment of her imagination, what good are they?
It’s almost as if the tea party isn’t really a libertarian minded grass roots uprising calling for more personal freedom, fiscal conservatism, and limited government, but actually might just be a slick re-branding of the lunatic wing of the GOP by wealthy billionaire businessmen to be used to propel the GOP back into power.