Rep Michelle Bachmann has gotten out in front of conservatives and received permission to establish the Tea Party caucus in Congress. She states it will be bi-partisan and offered membership to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi as verification of that claim.
Bachmann said the idea for the caucus originated when Republican Kentucky Senate candidate Rand Paul said that if he wins election this November, he would form a Tea Party Caucus in the Senate.
“’Well, we’re here. Why wait?” Bachmann said.“Lets go ahead and launch one.’”
Bachmann claims that 'average Americans' will be heard by the caucus, not a parade of experts normally called for testimony by caucuses. Never mind the irony that the Tea Party movement was founded on an independence of voters, not as an extension of either political party. The Tea Party activists enthusiastically criticize the GOP as loudly as the Democrats. Perhaps a natural home for them would be the GOP, as their premiere issue is financial responsibility, but that all remains to be seen.
If Bachmann and the politicians who have signed on to join the Tea Party caucus are most interested in speaking with and listening to "average Americans", there is a venue for that - town hall meetings. That is the Tea Party way. The caucus organization smacks of political opportunism by Rep Bachmann and the others. It is as though they are shouting, "see, we hear you and we'll pose for this photo together to prove that." Also, it is more publicity opportunities for Bachmann.
The Contract from America is a document used to demand candidate's loyalty to Tea Party principles. It's for show, too. Yet, politicians will fall for it. Purity tests don't work.