12 Examples of Stunning Hypocrisy from Tea Party Republicans In One Short Month
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It's only been a month since the new Tea Party lawmakers took office, but the entirely predictable results of their ascension are already coming in. The Republican Party's newest class of “mavericks” have again stormed into office intent on proving their theory that government is inherently evil by screwing up everything in sight.
Before we embark on our tour of the Tea Party politicians' early moves – and those of the party they were supposed to be “taking back” -- let's recall exactly what they promised: they were relentlessly focused on economic issues – and, we were told, would eschew the kind of social issues that had long marked Republican politics in the era of the Religious Right. They would bring greater transparency and accountability to government. They promised to be good fiscal stewards, respond to the wishes of the people and, above all else, they swore up and down to obey the letter of the Constitution.
Let's see how they did in the early going.
I Hate Government Health Care. Also: Where Is My Government Health Care?
The hypocrisy began before the new class of pols was sworn in. When it was reported that “a conservative Maryland physician elected to Congress on an anti-Obamacare platform surprised fellow freshmen at an orientation session by demanding to know why his government-subsidized health care plan takes a month to kick in,” it raised eyebrows.
When Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, the titular inspiration for the Tea Party movement, was asked if he thought it was hypocritical for members of Congress to accept government-subsidized and regulated health plans, he replied simply, “[c]ould be.”
Violating the Constitution on Day One
The Constitution is the answer to every policy debate for the conservative wing of the GOP – or at least their tenuous grasp of what it says. But they didn't take long to trash the document. As Ryan Grimm reported for the Huffington Post:
Two House Republicans have cast votes as members of the 112th Congress, but were not sworn in on Wednesday, a violation of the Constitution on the same day that the GOP had the document read from the podium.
As if that weren't enough, the two lawmakers, incumbent Pete Sessions, R-Texas, and newcomer Mike Fitzpatrick, R-Pennsylvania, couldn't make the swearing-in because “they were attending a fundraiser at the U.S. Capitol even though lawmakers are barred from using official resources for campaign or fundraising activities.” That's illegal, and they did it on day one!
And Their Own Rules
The new GOP majority in Congress was supposed to be different this time. Heavily influenced by the Tea Partiers' message, they promised greater transparency. “Leaders overreach because the rules allow them to,” said newly minted Speaker John Boehner in a speech to the American Enterprise Institute. “Legislators duck their responsibilities because the rules help them to. And when the rules don’t suit the majority’s purposes, they are just ignored.”
That was before he took the speaker's gavel, however. Later, as Politico reported, “the new majority is already showing these promises aren’t exactly set in stone.”
After calling for bills to go through a regular committee process, the bill that would repeal the health care law will not go through a single committee. Despite promising a more open amendment process for bills, amendments for the health care repeal will be all but shut down. After calling for a strict committee attendance list to be posted online, Republicans backpedaled and ditched that from the rules. They promised constitutional citations for every bill but have yet to add that language to early bills.