GOP leadership faces disapproval from the Tea Party


Graphic: Azwan Azhar/ Iowa State Daily

Basically, 71% of the Tea Party members disapprove the current GOP leadership.

Varad Diwate

A recent Pew Research Center poll found 71 percent of self-identifying Tea Party members do not approve of the current GOP leadership in terms of too much compromise with the Democrats.

This poll is not a surprise, just a confirmation of what we have been observing and writing about for at least a year,” said Steffen Schmidt, university professor of political science, via email. “The ‘Tea Party’ Republicans are, as the name implies, almost a separate entity and not really Republicans. … They would be a separate political party running its own candidates if this were Europe, Israel, India or many other countries that have multiple political parties.”

Schmidt said the Tea Party is formed by former Libertarian Party members and reinforced by Christian conservatives. This group has now confronted the Republican leadership and the divided party represents paralysis in government.

Schmidt said the problem now goes beyond partisan politics and threatens the economic stability of the U.S. with the debt ceiling issue.

“Those [Republican] leaders in the House and Senate understand that to make government work you have to compromise with the other party and negotiate doable laws,” Schmidt said. “That is, unless you have a majority in Congress, which the Tea Party/Libertarians do not.”

The Tea Party started as a grassroots movement in 2009. The movement was mostly decentralized with various local groups.  

“These self-proclaimed conservatives are working with [Barack] Obama in legislation,” said Jonathon Laudner, president of ISU College Republicans at Iowa State. “They are giving too much in compromise and have thrown up the white flag.”

Laudner said the rising dissatisfaction means that a lot of current Republicans would not be in leadership positions in the future. The incumbents would see more conservative candidates standing against them in the primaries.

Talking about the College Republicans, Laudner said the organization has people from the far right as well as slightly right of center.

“A third party won’t work at this time. We need to continue to educate ourselves and have our champions run for office. There are a lot of people being challenged across the country,” said Gregg Cummings, coordinator for the “We the People” Tea-Party group. “That’s the way we need to win back the Republican Party.”

The group works with similar groups in Iowa and across the country.

Cummings also said his group does not approve of the established Republican leadership. One of the main reasons he said was that the current leadership compromises with the Democrats on a lot of issues. He said he believes only in a few leaders like Allen West, Michelle Bachmann and Ted Cruz.

Cummings said fiscal issues were the trigger for forming his group. Smaller constitutional government, fiscal responsibility and free markets are the some of the core values for the Tea Party groups. Cummings said he believes all other issues fall within this basic framework.

Cummings said it is not true that the Tea Party has declined since the time it started. He says the movement does not have huge rallies it used to have. Instead, it now educating people about its ideals.