Mike Needham on the future of the Tea Party and Republican Establishment

This month, Mike Needham wrote an article for National Affairs on the growing tension between the Tea Party groups and the Republican establishment entitled “Building a Real Reform Mandate”.

The excerpt below summarizes the conservative hope for Congress in 2015.

Aiming High

Unified Republican control of the Congress now presents an opportunity for a reset, perhaps making possible a fresh start for collaboration between the grassroots and the Republican leadership that has long been reluctant to govern from one house of Congress.

Having faced years of charges of obstructionism, Republican leaders are no doubt anxious to demonstrate to the American people their competence for governing. They will have opportunities to do so early in the next Congress by generating bipartisan coalitions on consensus issues like approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, potentially sending legislation to the president’s desk for signature.

They must, however, keep in mind that conservatives expect more than bill signings, particularly ones that primarily serve the interests of the business community. We got plenty of those in 2009 and 2010. The biggest problem facing the American people isn’t gridlock in Washington; it’s stagnation in America — slow growth in wages, poor economic mobility, weakening social cohesion, a high cost of living exacerbated by government distortions of crucial markets. The Republican Party’s primary concern must be advancing policies that change these trends and, to the extent that the policies of the Obama Administration are to blame, turning the page on the last six years.

The president and his party will naturally be reluctant partners at best in such a project, and Republicans therefore must conceive of their most important efforts as designed to operate around them. The prospect of enacting legislation, tantalizing as it may be, will be more of a distraction for the remainder of the Obama presidency than a tangible goal.

Winning the Senate should not cause the GOP to trim its own sails to accommodate the realities of the upper chamber. The budget reconciliation process allows conservatives an opportunity to bring legislation on an issue of maximum contrast like Obamacare to the president’s desk with 51 Senate votes. Meanwhile, conservatives maintain the power to advance a broader policy agenda without concessions to the left by passing bills and resolutions through the House alone with simple majorities.

This mechanism for internal consensus-building and platform development led in 2011 to the party’s embrace of premium support for Medicare. The House should continue this pattern in 2015 with an optimistic agenda addressing the real concerns of working-class Americans: the price and quality of health care; the state of our school system and the affordability of appropriate higher-education opportunities; unaffordable prices for food, gas, and housing; and the availability of well-paid jobs.

We know a Republican Senate would at least take up the pieces of this agenda if received from the House — an important departure from years past. The gridlock ensuing from a Democratic filibuster, while not ideal, would still provide opportunities to educate and persuade the nation of the merits of our vision — though only if the party offers a reasonably unified front championing solidly conservative legislation.

Through it all, the Tea Party can be an asset to conservative lawmakers committed to using their platform to articulate a reform agenda. As Democrats saw at their 2010 town halls, these activists can be a force to be reckoned with when turned on a recalcitrant left — as would ideally be the case in the event of Democratic filibustering of popular House-passed measures. But the Tea Party can devote its efforts to such tasks only if the Republican Party is discharging its own duties appropriately. Otherwise, it will continue to serve as a pressure mechanism on the right, demanding that conservative legislation be brought to the floor in each chamber, criticizing deal-making that undermines conservative priorities, and holding risk-averse Republicans accountable for squandering opportunities for productive interparty conflict.

Visit the National Affairs website to view the full article.

Please Share Your Thoughts

8 thoughts on “Mike Needham on the future of the Tea Party and Republican Establishment

  1. The Tea Party was 100 percent right about Obamacare. The Tea Party is right about Obama’s misguided over regulation binge. It’s time to put Obama’s incompetent agendas into the paper shredder.

  2. This all makes a lot of sense to me and I am sure to all of the people that voted in the midterms. The reality is can they do it ???If not it will not be good for 2016!!!.

  3. If it is true that the worst enemy of a good idea is a mediorce idea, it is fortunate that the Tea Party is resolute in this direction.

  4. Republicans seem to be crafting bill which they think would override a Presidential veto. I hear Aderholt Repeal Executive Amnesty, H.R. 191, has been watered down before it is even available on congress.gov. I believe the strategy must be to create the strongest conservative bill possible to Defund Executive Amnesty. If the president vetoes it, then Conservatives can compromise from a very conservative position rather than an already deeply compromised position

  5. Great Tea Party convention. I personally learned that love for your country is not enough. Instead of wasting time trying to be heard, use that time to educate the circle of the populace I am blessed to live within. Knowledge is power, involved knowledge is powerful, multiplied knowledge is a movement. My movement, there are untapped intellect’s in Upstate SC High Schools. Our Mission will be HS Academia Special Operations. Special Excellence Academia Leadership or SEALS-Students. SEAL TEAM#1 Academia Prayer and Biblical Principles in Excellence – SEAL TEAM#2 Academia United States Framing, Constitution, Amendments in Excellence, SEAL TEAM#3 Academia Bill of Rights, Articles, and Ratifications mis-steps in Excellence, SEAL TEAM#4 Academia Speech, literary, and presentation in excellence, SEAL TEAM#4 Academia in organization in communications (social media, newspaper, TV) in excellence, SEAL TEAM#5 Academia in Strategy coordination and execution, SEAL TEAM#6 Academia Rapid Response in excellence. Our mission will be present on the legislative floors, local and state in Academia Excellence. If our representatives do not know the process; we will respectfully explain it to them. High School Students future educated voters for a better America. We do not want to make a career, we want to make a difference. Leadership 101 For a Better Tomorrow

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