There’s growing rumors that the Tea Party isn’t quite dead, or at least the fiscal conservative anger is coming back with a vengeance. From the Daily Beast:
Until last night, the conventional wisdom in Washington was that the Tea Party was on the wane. Congressional leaders of the nascent movement, like Allen West and Joe Walsh had lost reelection, or, like Jim DeMint, had decided to leave politics altogether. House Speaker John Boehner had stripped some of the more outspoken members of the Tea Party caucus of their congressional leadership posts, a sign that the GOP establishment was no longer going to be led by its ultra-conservative tail. The big money groups backing the Tea Party were falling apart in a spate of post-election season squabbling.
President Obama thanked Speaker Boehner after the House passed the Senate’s fiscal cliff legislation.
But after 85 House Republicans joined Boehner in raising taxes without spending reductions during the end game of Monday night’s fiscal-cliff negotiations, Tea Party leaders and conservative activists from around the country are dusting off their tri-corner hats and “Don’t Tread On Me” signs, and now say that their members are as energized as they have ever been since the first Tax Day protests in 2009. And the Republican Party, they add, had better beware.
“We now have 85 members of the House who have shunned their noses at us,” said Dustin Stockton, a Texas- and Nevada-based operative and the chief strategist of The Tea Party.net. “Our job now is to recruit and inspire and motivate people to run against those Republicans who did it.”
Anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist — during a Meet the Press panel with financial commentator Jim Cramer in early December — was among the first to sternly warn the Republican establishment that fiscal cliff and tax hike negotiations would breed dissent among conservatives:
“Tea party two is going to dwarf tea party one if Obama pushes us off the cliff,” Norquist said. “Let’s not pretend who’s pushing us over the cliff.”
Thanks to his anti-tax pledge, Norquist has been a prime target since fiscal cliff discussions picked up steam in November. Democrats have gone so far as to create an online petition against Norquist.
Whither Ron Paul? He’s taking a new tack in his rhetoric, hinting at the end of fiscal reform and the begin of a much more turbulent stage of America history:
“We have passed the point of no return where we can actually get our house back in order,” Paul begins, adding that “they pretend they are fighting up there, but they really aren’t. They are arguing over power, spin, who looks good, who looks bad; all trying to preserve the system where they can spend what they want, take care of their friends and print money when they need it.” With social safety nets available to rich and poor, there is no impetus for change and “the country loses,” but Paul concludes, the markets are starting to say “there is a limit to this.”
When the shoe drops on the next credit rating cut (and it will), I believe it will be the spark that ignites the whole powderkeg.