Don't blame tea party for U.S. Senate intransigence

by The Oklahoman Editorial Board Published: August 5, 2012
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TED Cruz's victory in the Republican U.S. Senate primary in Texas notches another political triumph for the tea party movement. Cruz is expected to win in November, as are several other tea party-aligned Senate candidates, including Nebraska's Deb Fisher and Indiana's Richard Mourdock. They'll join others already aligned with the tea party, including Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky, Mike Lee of Utah, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Jim DeMint of South Carolina.

Senate Democrats claim an increased tea party presence will lead to legislative paralysis. U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., said, “We have seen the problems that has caused for our ability to govern and find compromise.”

It's true that the U.S. Senate has struggled to govern, but that problem lies entirely at the feet of Senate Democratic leadership. For more than three years, the Senate has failed to pass a budget for the federal government even though one is required by law. The Democrats have been in control the entire time.

Tea party Republicans didn't cause the Democrats' failure to meet one of the most basic requirements of competent governance. In fact, tea party-aligned senators are among those pushing for a budget.

In the House, where Republicans are in charge and tea party concerns respected, lawmakers have repeatedly approved a budget. In the House, the tea party influence has resulted in better governance and forced discussions required to reach compromise. It's also worth noting that Democrats rammed through Obamacare on a party-line vote that required extraordinary parliamentary maneuvering. Those aren't the actions of a political party trying to reach consensus on important issues.

In comparison, the House vote to repeal Obamacare drew bipartisan support. Apparently, those “strident” tea partiers could teach Senate Democrats a thing or two about reaching across the aisle.


by The Oklahoman Editorial Board
The Oklahoman Editorial Board consists of Gary Pierson, President and CEO of The Oklahoma Publishing Company; Christopher P. Reen, president and publisher of The Oklahoman; Kelly Dyer Fry, editor and vice president of news; Christy Gaylord...
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