WASHINGTON – (Newsblaze) Before the hearings into the Internal Revenue Service began in the Ways and Means Committee several weeks ago, I happened to run into one of the lead legislative representatives for Tea Party Patriots. It was outside the Longworth House Office building where the hearing was about to get under way. I remember telling her “it’s sicking what the IRS has done.” She responded back by taking me out of any inside the Beltway posture I may have displayed, by replying, “It’s chilling…”
The temperature, believe it or not, has been taken on the effect of the Administration’s IRS chill on the Tea Party. In a recent study by American Enterprise Institute Economist Stan Veuger, chronicled at realclearmarkets.com “… the Tea Party movement, when properly activated, can generate a huge number of votes – more votes in 2010, in fact, than the vote advantage Obama held over Romney in 2012. The data show that had the Tea Party groups continued to grow at the pace seen in 2009 and 2010, and had their effect on the 2012 vote been similar to that seen in 2010, they would have brought the Republican Party as many as 5 – 8.5 million votes compared to Obama’s victory margin of 5 million.”
Veuger goes on to say that in many of the key swing states, Obama only bested Romney by very thin margins, including only 75,000 votes in Florida. The painful quiet admission this scandal has forced the Adminstration to note is that these activists weren’t just a bunch of isolated cranks in the South hanging out after a high school football game – they were a political force to be reckoned with.
But the unsaid additional reality is those flying Gadsden Flags at Tea Party rallies were the target of the unindictable benefactor of the IRS scandal – the Republican Party Establishment.
Examining The 2010 Midterm Elections
To understand how that could be, an examination of the 2010 midterm elections is in order. The GOP not only captured the US House of Representatives but also 700 state legislative seats around the country. Political observers note the effects of the election will be felt for decades to come, but did it come as a result from helpful party stalwarts at the Republican National Committee?
Probably the biggest and most influential media organ of the Tea Party movement has to be World Net Daily, ranked by Alexa in the top 400 websites in the world. On April 9th of 2010, its editor and publisher Joseph Farah penned an editorial telling its readers where to put their money for the upcoming election.
“The best scenario for this year is the following: The RNC goes broke, and Republican congressional candidates win major triumphs Nov. 2 anyway.
What a message that would send.”
Farah’s readers heeded his call and the RNC did go broke, such that the organization went into turmoil despite elevating John Boehner into a West Front Office in the Capitol. Establishment Republican fundraisng firms struggled and shortly thereafter Michael Steele, its chairman, was ousted. They did send the message that they – not Washington – was the reason for their political stock rising.
Fast forward to last Friday’s American Enterprise Institute speech by Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, about his reaction to what he did when that new political force was attacked by the machinery of government.
“As for the IRS, my own concerns trace back to a phone call I got from a constituent early last year, who said he’d been subjected to excessive questioning and unreasonable deadlines from the IRS. When similar complaints followed, I sent a letter to IRS Commissioner Shulman asking for assurances that there wasn’t any political targeting going on. I said public confidence in the IRS depended on it. Six weeks later I got a lengthy response from the Deputy Commissioner, Steven Miller, in which he basically told me “move along, nothing to see here.'”
So McConnell knew this at the beginning of the campaign year? What does he do? He sends a letter. Not even mentioned in the campaign. That’s really small comfort to Becky Garrettson of the Wetumpka, Alabama Tea party, who had her tax exemption delayed during election season.
How many other letters are sent between officials in Washington? Sending a letter and then saying nothing seems to be a totally ineffective way to fight the “bully” that McConnell remarked on at the conclusion of his speech.
Follow The Money Trail
As Tea Party donors were drying up, the political money had to go somewhere, similar to how the Chinese government has to buy US Treasuries because there is no place else to put their money. It went back to the establishment. According to the Huffington Post, “In the 2012 election, the RNC beat the DNC in every category – large donors, small donors, transfers from the presidential candidate’s committees – to raise $409 million to the DNC’s $316 million.”
So there you have it, McConnell and the establishment are raking in the money and sitting on the sidelines, as Obama is attacking an enemy common to both – The Tea Party. How do we know that the Republican Establishment feels this way about its base? We can look to what Rush Limbaugh said on his radio show last week “The Republican Party is hanging by a thread. In fact, some actually do know it, and I think this whole notion that they’re embarrassed of their base and wouldn’t mind at all if the base left the Republican Party, even if it meant losing a couple of elections, I think there’s that element in the party. Don’t doubt me on that.”
McConnell was right to say, “waiting for a hand-signed memo from President Obama to Lois Lerner” was futile, because Obama’s appointees would need no such phone call to come after America’s most insurgent political grassroots force.
The bigger fear for the GOP and its establishment is if some political directive of their own ever turns up telling their mouthpieces to lay low while IRS agents are trampling on the Tea Party. And that would make them more than the unindictable benefactor in this whole drama.