Last week, Senator Rubio debated the necessity of the Tea Party Caucus. I wrote what I saw as the pros and cons of joining. It seems that he's decided to skip it. Javier Majarres reports Rubio's comment:
” Why do we need something in addition to the steering committee?…My concern is that politicians all of a sudden start co-opting the mantle of “Tea Party”. If all of a sudden being in the Tea Party is not something that is happening in Main Street, but rather something that’s happening in Washington D.C., the “Tea Party” all of a sudden becomes some sort of movement run by politicians…it’s gonna lose its effectiveness and I’m concerned about that. I think that the real power of the Tea Party comes from its ability to drive the debate and the issues from the grassroots up, as opposed to from the politicians down.”- Senator Marco Rubio
There's no question that some Tea Party folks will see this as a betrayal. Eh. The ideals of the Tea Party really are the Republican party planks. The problem is that the Republican Party has strayed so far from their ideals that the Tea Party became necessary. It is hoped that the election of a guy like Marco Rubio will bring back the fiscal discipline and other Tea Party principles that once made the Republican Party attractive.
Meanwhile, back in the House, Representative Michele Bachmann, leader of the Tea Party Caucus, invited Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia to speak on the separation of powers. From The Politico:
Though the Tea Party Caucus is a conservative group, Bachmann’s office confirmed to POLITICO that it invited all members of Congress to attend the lecture and that some Democrats indicated plans to be on hand.
“It is a special privilege to have him address the first of what will be regular seminars featuring constitutional scholars,” Bachmann said of Scalia in December when the event was first announced.
“In his 24 years of service on the high court, Justice Scalia has distinguished himself by his ‘originalist’ approach to constitutional interpretation,” she added.
The lecture is going on despite the objections of some observers. The New York Times editorial board called for Scalia to cancel his commitment.
This doesn't seem like a big deal. Especially in light of the ignorance on Capitol Hill regarding government basics, this seems like a good thing.
What it all boils down to is: Liberals don't like it that Scalia is on the Supreme Court. They've never liked it. And the NYT is especially dedicated to making people think that his being on the Court is something untoward, some abuse of power. I'm sure there are some NYT readers who are titillated by that sensationalism, but I find it embarrassing.
I would suggest that this issue is a two-fer for Liberals. They don't like Scalia and they don't like the Tea Party. Oh, and they hate conservative women like Michele Bachmann, so it's really a three-fer.
Anyway, once again, Tea Party ideals drive political debate. A return to fidelity to the Constitution would change a lot of what passes for government. How can it be a bad thing for House members to be educated?
As for Marco Rubio, it matters less that he's not a member of the Senate Tea Party caucus and more on how he'll vote and act. Hopefully, Senator Rubio remembers who stood by him when the Republican Party didn't, believes the words he spoke and votes the Tea Party ideals. The symbolism of the Tea Party caucus matters less than real actions of a Senator.