Reflections of the Tea Party, 5 Years In
It was five years ago today that Rick Santelli set off shock waves through the political universe with his call to action live from the floor of the Chicago Board of Trade on CNBC. The culprit at the time was a federal program to bailout home loans coming off the housing market collapse.
After five years, the Tea Party has seen ups and downs in the political world. Report from Roll Call:
The Rick Santelli rant heard ’round the world five years ago is credited with starting the tea party, and if you ask Republicans in Congress, the conservative movement has a mixed legacy.
But five years in, the political movement is not easy to evaluate. Among the sentiments we heard from Republican lawmakers as we assessed the tea party over the past week were that it’s been successful, that it’s pushed legislative change on spending issues, that it’s still experiencing growing pains, and even that it’s “dangerous.”
There’s not much of a central organization inside the Congress. (Bachmann’s Tea Party Caucus website hasn’t been updated since June.) Newer lawmakers, like Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, have taken over much of the tea party spotlight.
Still, many of the tea party’s goals have been thwarted — Obamacare still stands largely untouched and the president is moving forward with a vast regulatory agenda. But the one area where the tea party’s impact has been lasting and deep is in reversing the stimulus spending policies of the president and enacting the deepest discretionary spending cuts in memory.
“The tea party’s legacy is to really expose the spending that’s out of control in Washington,” said RSC Chairman Steve Scalise of Louisiana.
“We were elected as a restraining order,” said Michael C. Burgess of Texas.
And they gave Republicans what may be an enduring House majority.
Has the Tea Party helped or hurt American politics? Do you identify with the general causes of limited government and fiscal responsibility? Will the Tea Party wave of 2010 be replicated in 2014?
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