Rethinking the Tea Party Republicans

by Ramesh Ponnuru

According to the caricature, the tea partiers elected a group of freshmen Republicans who want government slashed right now, can’t compromise, and are ready to let the heavens fall for the sake of ideological purity. They are, to use E. J. Dionne’s unfortunate phrase in his column today, “fire-eaters.” In reality, most freshmen voted for the continuing resolution. Most of them voted for the last one, too–the one that the Club for Growth, Heritage Action, and other conservative groups were whipping against. Maybe you’re disappointed by the way the freshmen are behaving, or maybe you’re pleased, but either way they’re not conforming to the storyline.

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