Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) won permission Monday to form a Tea Party caucus in the House. Long a champion of the grassroots movement, she explained that the new lawmaker caucus would "promote the timeless principles of our founding, principles that all Members of Congress have sworn to uphold." Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) has already volunteered to head up the group. Will Bachmann find many other takers? (Watch Bachmann recruit members)
Republicans need to jump this train: With a whole class of Tea Partiers on its way in this November, says Jason Pye in United Liberty, Bachmann should have plenty of takers. But other "possible colleagues are cool to the idea" — offering a perfect example of "why the Republican Party has failed the last two cycles." The party got "lucky enough to ride the back of voter dissatisfaction" this year, but if the GOP keeps spending like LBJ, their ride will be a short one.
"Tea Party Caucus in the House and Senate"
This puts the GOP in a bind: Bachmann is hardly "doing her party any favors," says E.J. Dionne in The Washington Post. Most Republicans have been counting on the Tea Party to "rally as many right-of-center voters" as possible, while brushing off its "more radical stands." With a Tea Party Caucus, they have to choose: Join and "turn off moderate voters," or don't, and watch their backs in future primaries.
"Are Democrats chuckling about Michele Bachmann's Tea Party?"
Will this be more than talk? "It be fascinating to see who does — and doesn’t — want to join," says Allahpundit in Hot Air. But Bachmann's first test is deciding who'll she'll let in. Will she only take "pure" Tea Partiers, or will she let in nervous "House RINOs in red districts," too? And when push comes to shove, and Republican leaders need their votes on centrist bills, will they end up "caving" like the Democrats' "lefty caucus," or stand on principle?
"House approves Bachmann’s plan for Tea Party Caucus"