Republicans vs. The Tea Party: The Power Clash Begins
The new Congress hasn't even convened, but the epic clash between the GOP and incoming Tea Party has already begun to gel–and instead of a winner, they'll most likely end up in governmental deadlock. Questions have already arisen whether the two factions will be able to work together, with the Tea Party's hardline stance against compromise abutting the Republicans' need to get something, anything done in the next two years. But their differences are already manifesting in the race to be the fourth most-powerful leader in the Republican House, with Minnesota's Michele Bachmann gunning for the position on the Tea Party ticket against Texas fiscal conservative Jeb Hensarling. Hensarling is backed by Eric Cantor and several other GOP power players and is the likely choice. But with Bachmann's temperament and the Tea Partiers' agenda, it seems as though if the GOP doesn't make some concessions on something next year, no one's getting their way.
This will have serious ramifications for the Republicans. The New York Times reported that FreedomWorks' Dick Armey and Matt Kibbe, in a memo to incoming Republicans, say that it is “nonnegotiable” that they repeal the Dems' health care law–and if they did not succeed, they would pay with their seats. “Politically speaking, your only choice is to get on offense and start moving boldly ahead to repeal, replace and defund Obamacare in 2011, or risk rejection by the voters in 2012,” said the letter.
While trouble brews, both sides are in a holding pattern until the election, but each understands its position. When Iowa's Steve King endorsed Bachmann for the position, his statement could have doubled as the Tea Party's view: "The new majority-makers need to have a voice inside the leadership team.”