Voters with tea party leanings ruled congressional elections in 2010, handing the GOP a strong majority in the U.S. House on the basis of opposition to Barack Obama’s “let’s-make-big-government-bigger” plans.
The tea party then mostly blended into the Republican Party, with its agenda maintained by only a few prominent candidates in 2012. While the U.S. House makeup changed little, the GOP also made virtually no gains across the electoral spectrum.
So at least one group, TheTeaParty.net, has decided it’s time to move on the offense again, just as in 2010.
Today it announced it has created a new advocacy arm – the first of its kind – with a new team that will be headed up by longtime conservative voice J.D. Hayworth.
“For years business and interest groups have had lobbyists pushing their agendas in Washington,” said Todd Cefaratti, founder of TheTeaParty.Net.
“They advocated big government, big spending and big deficits. The voice of the taxpayer and those who believe in limited government has been crowded out. With the creation of a national advocacy team, we aim to change that.”
The organization, which has more than 600,000 members and more than 1.3 million supporters on Facebook, said it will continue to be a leading opponent of any legislation that would raises taxes or raise the debt.
That includes this week’s “resolution” to the so-called “fiscal cliff,” when old tax breaks and tax holidays were set to expire while mandatory spending cuts were to kick in. Congress avoided it by agreeing with Barack Obama to raise another $600 billion in taxes.
“The total failure to make any progress on reducing the nation’s deficit and debts with the ‘fiscal cliff’ tax-and-spend legislation demonstrate what happens in the absence of strong voices pushing for smaller government,” the organization explained.
“If our elected representatives won’t heed our concerns, then we will help find new leaders who will.”
Hayworth served six terms in the U.S. House representing Arizona’s 5th and 6th districts. He challenged Sen. John McCain in the 2010 GOP primary and has remained involved in conservative politics in Arizona.
Also on the team will be Niger Innis, who has been the national spokesman for the Congress of Racial Equality, one of the “Big Four” civil rights groups. He’s a frequent commentator on Fox News, CNN and MSNBC.
Rounding out the team will be Bob Adams, who has served as a senior media consultant and campaign adviser to a number of conservative groups and candidates. He’s founder of Revive America PAC and former executive director of the League of American Voters.
The organization recently announced that it would lead a grassroots coalition to identify and support primary challengers to GOP members in Congress who voted for the largest tax hike in years.
“This is war. Congress is going to learn that the Tea Party has not lost its bite,” said Cefaratti. “We expected Democrats to vote for the largest tax increase in decades and to not cut a dime from the federal budget. We didn’t expect Republicans to do the same.”
Hayworth said the “only thing worse than ‘taxation without representation’ is ‘taxation with ineffective representation.’”
“We invite citizens to join us in reclaiming Congress,” he said.
A dissatisfaction already has set in within the U.S. House. U.S. Rep. Walter Jones, R-N.C., for example, is open in his opposition to House Speaker John Boehner, who agreed with Democrats on the tax increase.
“America cannot afford to continue down the path we’re on,” he said, confirming he did not support Boehner for speaker.
Instead, he said, he “voted to replace current Speaker of the House John Boehner with a new speaker more committed to fixing the defining issue of our time.”
Rather than supporting Boehner, Jones cast his ballot for former Assistant Secretary of Labor under Ronald Reagan Gen. David Walker.
Jones described Walker as a man who “has dedicated his life to cutting wasteful government spending, balancing the federal budget, and eliminating the debt.”