Yesterday, we noted for the record how many members of the Tea Party Caucus voted for and against H.R. 514 (reauthorization of the Patriot Act) on February 8, 2011. The outcome was not favorable for an organization claiming to represent a Tea Party movement that is concerned about upholding the Constitution: 38 members of Congress who had signed up for the Tea Party Caucus voted for the Patriot Act, only 8 Tea Party Caucus members voted against the Patriot Act… and then there was Rep. Doug Lamborn, a member of the Tea Party Caucus who didn’t even show up to cast a vote.
However, there is more than one way of measuring who is and who isn’t a “Tea Party” member of Congress. We could also go by the 2010 congressional election endorsement list of Tea Party Express. It should be noted that this “Tea Party Express” is a Republican Party front organization, but if the Tea Party Express really expresses the spirit of the Tea Party Movement — and if we take the Tea Party movement’s declarations against big government intrusion seriously — then its all-Republican list of 83 elected endorsees should have leaned heavily against the reauthorization of the Patriot Act on February 8 of this year. After all, in its rhetoric the Tea Party Express wholeheartedly embraced opposition to…
…government intervention in the lives of American families and businesses. These Members of Congress have infringed upon the freedom of the individual in this great nation, and its time for us to say: “Enough is Enough!”
But talk is cheap. What actually happened when it was time for members of Congress? What did the endorsees of the Tea Party Express actually do when asked to reauthorize the USA Patriot Act, which empowers government agents to violate the Fourth Amendment when they carry out sneak-and-peek searches of Americans’ homes and offices without probable cause, or carry out ongoing surveillance without any warrants or even suspicion of wrongdoing, on the basis of Americans’ protected First Amendment speech and political assembly? When it came time to act, not just to talk, did members of Congress endorsed by Tea Party Express stand with or against big government?
|Members of Congress Endorsed by Tea Party Express in the 2010 Elections who voted FOR reauthorization of Patriot Act provisions on February 8 2011:
Rep. Michele Bachmann (Republican-MN, District 6) — Yea
|Members of Congress Endorsed by Tea Party Express in the 2010 Elections who voted AGAINST reauthorization of Patriot Act provisions on February 8 2011:
Rep. Justin Amash (Republican-MI, District 3) — Nay
The numbers don’t lie: we have 71 Tea Party Express endorsees FOR the Patriot Act and only 10 Tea Party Express endorsees AGAINST the Patriot Act. Two more — Rep. Scott Garrett (Republican-NJ, District 5) and Rep. Doug Lamborn (Republican-CO, District 5) — didn’t bother to show up on the floor and cast a vote at all. I have no idea where Doug Lamborn was. Scott Garrett was catching some rays in Florida.
The ten endorsees of the Tea Party Express who walked the talk of opposition to big government should be recognized for their consistent choice. The other 88% should be facing some difficult and direct questions from constituents who took their campaign rhetoric seriously.