A dozen newly elected Republicans were the headliners at a "lavish" fundraiser on Tuesday, despite criticism that the $2,500-per-person affair made a mockery of the fiscally conservative Tea Party movement that helped elect them. The event, featuring a private performance by country singer LeAnn Rimes, came just hours before new GOP speaker John Boehner swore in the new House members at a ceremony designed to project a more austere image. Was the fundraiser's organizer, freshman Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Calif.), politically tone deaf?

The Tea Partiers are exposing their own hypocrisy: The new class of Republican lawmakers got elected "promising to shun the ways of Washington," says Kathleen Hennessy in the Los Angeles Times. "But even as they publicly bash the capital's culture," many of them are embracing it, and they aren't just partying with lobbyists and fat cats. Several GOP freshmen have "hired lobbyists — the ultimate Washington insiders — to lead their congressional staffs." This isn't Tea Party reform — it's "business as usual."
"'Tea party' freshmen embrace status quo"

Republicans do not have to apologize for raising money: "This kind of ginned-up controversy typifies the political double standards" of the liberal Washington media, says Robert Stacy McCain in The American Spectator. A Democrat can commit any "heinous crime" and journalists don't blink — yet let a Republican try to innocently raise some campaign funds, and it's a big scandal. This is the press "making nefarious Nixonian mountains out of the routine molehills of politics."
"The scandal of being Republican"

Actually, even many Republicans think the party was a bad idea: "The fundraiser's timing is questionable at best," says Ed Morrissey in Hot Air. Sure, these freshmen have to raise campaign funds, but with the GOP leadership taking "great pains to project an image of austerity," they probably should have done some work cutting the federal budget deficit before throwing such a flashy party. Sometimes "symbolism matters."
"Is the lavish fundraiser for GOP House freshman a bad idea?"