Now that John Boehner is Speaker of the House, we’re about to find out just how SERIOUSLY conservative this new GOP Congress will be. It’s one thing to say you’re a constitutional conservative. It’s another thing to vote that way.
The Tea Party freshman in both the House and Senate did not come to Washington to cut deals. They came to vote their conscience and stand on principle. The GOP leadership’s principles may be roughly the same as those new Tea Party members, but McConnell and Boehner have an additional responsibility.
They need to show that they are honest brokers and are trying to get some bi-partisan legislation passed on behalf of the American people. That philosophy will attract Independents who are tired of the bickering.
Having said all that, I wouldn’t count on much getting done. Don’t hold your breath looking for major bi-partisan legislation like when Welfare Reform was passed back in 1996 between Clinton and Gingrich.
Why? Well, it’s pretty simple. President Obama is running for re-election. Clinton was not. President Obama’s agenda is seen today as a much bigger threat to the country than Clinton’s agenda back then. Clinton wasn’t being defined as a socialist.
Here’s the point: For the GOP, this is all about electing a Republican President in 2012 and electing more Tea Party type candidates. The midterm tsunami in 2010 was simply the first act in a play. With an awakened and energized Tea Party, 2012 will be the second act.
The goal here is to transform the Congress into a more constitutionally conservative body. That takes time. So while Boehner and McConnell will have some internal spats with Tea Party members over ideological purity. Eventually the end game here is to flip the Congress to where GOP leadership becomes Tea Party-driven with a substantial majority to back that agenda.
If that scenario is to happen, it will require convincing Independents in this country that the Tea Party, free market, constitutionally conservative message makes a whole lot of sense.
The battle isn’t really in Congress as much as it is in the living rooms in America.