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Tea Party’s Allure Dims. Its Zealots Shout On.

| January 26, 2014

Ron DeSantis and other tea party congressmen are casting a less visible shadow in Washington of late. DeSantuis found a few people to pose for pictures with when he appeared at a Chamber of Commerce lunch in Palm Coast last week.(© FlaglerLive)

Ron DeSantis and other tea party congressmen are casting a less visible shadow in Washington of late. DeSantuis found a few people to pose for pictures with when he appeared at a Chamber of Commerce lunch in Palm Coast last week.(© FlaglerLive)

Something unusual happened in Congress last week. The House of Representatives passed a bill. Not just any bill, but a budget bill. And it didn’t just pass it with one of those nose-holding majorities of one or two votes. It passed it with a crushing majority. The 332 yes votes against just 94 against included 166 born-again Republican, the same Republicans who not so long ago had been happily stillborn in the dead ends of the Party of No. It was an even larger majority than the one that finally reopened the government after last fall’s 16-day shut-down.

pierre tristam column flaglerlive That shut-down proved mostly disastrous for the Republican politicians who orchestrated it  after lending too slavish an ear to the tea party extremists who’ve been holding the Republican Party hostage for the past few years. It looks like those Republicans, the majority of them anyway, learned a lesson. Good for them, and thank you. Americans don’t like cry-babies, especially cry-babies willing to put their ideological never-never lands ahead of the nation’s welfare.

Governance isn’t pretty. It never pleases all the people all the time. It doesn’t happen without compromise. The art of compromise appeared to have vanished since Barack Obama’s election, replaced by a fanatical attempt among House Republicans especially to defeat him and anything he stands for, come what may. But just saying no isn’t governing. It’s suicide. The 113th Congress that just finished its first year is on pace to be the least productive in history. That’s saying a lot when you think about the Congresses that preceded the Civil War, the Great Depression or even the lost years of the recent Bush administration.

By Christmas, the current Congress had passed just 58 bills, many of them the sort that grant honors or rename a stretch of Interstate after sports heroes. There’s been no reform of the country’s barbarous gun laws. No reform of the country’s racist immigration laws. No reform of the country’s debilitating tax laws. Forget about climate change or farm subsidies, corporate welfare or even a little compassionate help for the unemployed. Whatever may have passed the Senate was decapitated in the House, where that minority of tea party zealots held sway. It all culminated with the shutdown.

But on Jan. 16, the House approved a $1.1 trillion budget even though the 1,500-page bill was dropped in members’ laps only two days before. When they want to make a political issue out of it, members of Congress who’d never read a two-page bill make a big to-do about fat bills, claiming that they’re never given time to read them, as if their staffs of two dozen and Washington’s machinery of analysts don’t have every word combed and parsed within a few hours of any bill’s release. But cry-babies will seize on any red herring to make their case. They did that again on Jan. 16.

This time, they were ignored, as most of their colleagues have decided to grow up, at least for now. Just 64 diehard Republicans opposed the budget, among them, sadly but unsurprisingly, our own Ron DeSantis, who thinks being a Congressman is a game of grandstanding and TV time rather than dealing with the more prosaic business of compromising in Washington and constituent services in his own district.

In his recent appearance at a lunch hosted by the Flagler Chamber of Commerce DeSantis went on and on about the ills of Washington and how nobody up there gets it, he complained about the last minute budget bill, he repeated his rote speech about the evils of Obamacare and the presumptions of government (the government he is a part of), and of course not once proposed the sort of reasoned, compromising solutions that might get him or us somewhere. That’s been the tea party method. Shout down, but never deal. Then play the victim. For a moment last week Congress managed to look past the shouting. It’s unlikely to last as midterm elections approach.

DeSantis by the way also voted against the relief bill after Hurricane Sandy, forgetting that he lives in Florida, and he voted against the Violence Against Women Act, forgetting that he doesn’t live in Afghanistan. Here’s one bill that passed that he did vote for: the Pandemic and All-Hazards preparedness act of 2013. We may yet be protected from the hazards of tea party nuts after all.

Pierre Tristam is FlaglerLive’s editor. Reach him by email here. A version of this commentary was broadcast on WNZF.

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30 Responses for “Tea Party’s Allure Dims. Its Zealots Shout On.”

  1. confidential says:

    Since 2000 thanks to the wealthy self service demands and their yessing Conservatives our USA finances and economy have gone down the tubes.
    Over 42,000 factories took our jobs overseas to increase their profits with slave labor, but still sell their foreign produced wares to us all while receiving federal grants (our taxes) for expansion. About the time that Enron got away with federal regulation and monitoring by majority GOP vote to allow giants like JP. Morgan, Goldman Sachs and other banks to start consolidating trades of oil futures contracts making them the real Barons, that gouge us at the pumps, contrary to the fraudulent reports that our gas guzzlers, OPEC, gas stations and supply and demand are to blame for the heist at the pumps.

    Also another square Conservative waste of time is concentrating against women’s choice and gays rights other than concentrating in ending our useless financially disastrous foreign wars initiated by Conservatives based on lies and instead use the wars dollars to repair our decaying infrastructure creating millions of jobs that will improve our faulty tax revenues and fix our pathetic economy recovering workers buying power and indeed generating sales.
    We all pay plenty of taxes for the services that we are “supposed to receive” and we don’t, simply because the square GOP agenda lauds for cuts and more cuts of the government workers that are supposed to give us those services….and when they are unemployed the Conservatives vote to cut their unemployment benefits!! How more square cardboard box thinking their agenda could be?
    2014 is here and is up to us all to vote for change. Day after day we see the thousands joining the unemployed lines while the GOP keeps battling against women, gays and USA born children of illegal immigrants, in Washington DC.
    The sad reality is that forty percent of our citizens do not vote in election day… exercise your rights make a change and vote. Better do it if want to have a job again.


    • Genie says:

      @ Confidential: You need to go back and look at the 80′s in Congress. Before NAFTA, Congress would not even allow a foreign company to bid on a US contract. It was made in US, BUY in US all the way.

      Both sides have allowed this mess to happen and the fact that people are still trying to place the blame anywhere else is a travesty to what has happened to every American family in this country. And as long as you are allowed to get away with that, NOTHING is going to get better, unless you like servitude and Communism.

      The fact that Congress has refused to follow our immigration laws has nearly killed this country. We have been overrun with people who have come to suck this country dry and take the jobs. If you believe that crap that they are only taking menial jobs, shame on you for being so ignorant. Ask anybody in the construction industry what is happening in this country. Ask anybody in the high tech business what is happening. Ask anybody who used to work in travel reservations what is happening. The ONLY people being enriched by any of this are CEO’s, Congress and the administration.

      And now we have a President and GOP getting ready to legalize these law breakers, with MILLIONS out of the jobs market. And you keep sending these SAME politicians back to Washington.

      It is WE, in our own ignorance and unwillingness to talk things out, that are killing this country. NONE of the issues in your comments should even be on the radar….they are, for the most part, meaningless political claptrap. They may be important to someone, but they are not OF PRIMARY IMPORTANCE. Survival of our families is of primary importance. Being able to pay our bills is of primary importance. Being able to afford to pay for medical insurance is of primary importance.

      Divided we fall. Why are you so eager to see that?


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