There have been many studies out on the "tea party congress" and just how tea party it actually is. One study last year noted that 70% of candidates who went to Congress under the tea party banner were voting just like the Republican Leaders they ran against.Probably one of the best places to get a sense of this is the Club for Growth. Why? The Club ignores social votes and focuses only on fiscal votes — spending issues more than anything else. The tea party candidates went to Congress not just to repeal Obamacare, but were really motivated by out of control government spending, bailouts, etc. Remember, it was Rick Santelli of CNBC on February 19, 2009, who predicted this grassroots army of activists would rise up and say enough to out of control government spending and bailouts. Santelli said, in part,
The government is promoting bad behavior. Because we certainly don't want to put stimulus forth and give people a whopping $8 or $10 in their check, and think that they ought to save it, and in terms of modifications... I'll tell you what, I have an idea.You know, the new administration's big on computers and technology-- How about this, President and new administration? Why don't you put up a website to have people vote on the Internet as a referendum to see if we really want to subsidize the losers' mortgages; or would we like to at least buy cars and buy houses in foreclosure and give them to people that might have a chance to actually prosper down the road, and reward people that could carry the water instead of drink the water?…We're thinking of having a Chicago Tea Party in July. All you capitalists that want to show up to Lake Michigan, I'm gonna start organizing.
Things sort of spiraled from there sending a wave of candidates to Washington embracing the concerns of the activists who showed up to the tea party.
They wanted to cut spending because of out of control debt, stop Barack Obama, end Obamacare, and they were willing to primary Republicans to do it. A number of Republicans lost. In some open primaries, the candidates who were supported by the GOP out of Washington went down in flames.But what of the candidates who actually went to DC on a wave of tea party support. Turns out some of them were liars and a lot of them behaved like the pigs in Animal Farm with some of them deciding they were more equal than others.The Club for Growth's new study of this Tea Party Congress paints a rather depressing picture. You can see how the freshman of the Tea Party Class of 2010 preformed by clicking right here.If you want a more in depth look at the Congress as a whole, one of the best places to go is Heritage Action for America's comprehensive score card. What you'll find is not much better there.I'm afraid if the tea party is not much more successful in primarying Republican candidates and then having those guys practice what they preach, the GOP is within a decade of going the way of the Whigs.