Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) founded the Tea Party Caucus in Congress as the Tea Party rode a wave of anger, bigotry, bad grammar and clashing metaphors to a 2010 landslide. Then they failed to stop Obamacare from passing. Then Bachmann ran for President and the caucus fell silent.
Since squeaking past Jim Graves to win reelection in 2012, Bachmann has been silent and so has the Tea Party Caucus. Either because Bachmann is laying low or because she doesn’t have a huge communications staff like in the past.
“To say we haven’t been real active is an understatement. We haven’t done anything,” said Texas Republican Rep. Joe L. Barton, a member of the group.
That’s not to say Bachmann has been inactive over that period of time — the Minnesota Republican was a contender for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination from June 2011 to January 2012, during which time the group held no public meetings. After dropping out of the running for the presidency, she was narrowly re-elected to her seat in the House.
Since then, she has been keeping a low profile and trying to rebuild her brand in her district; that may have something to do with the group’s silence, caucus members said.
“There have been a lot of other things going on,” Georgia Republican Rep. Lynn Westmoreland said. “Let’s face it: She had a tight race, a tough race, so she was probably paying attention to that.”
But you can’t keep a good right wing nut job down for long. She’ll be restarting it soon.
But spokesman Dan Kotman said the group plans a 113th Congress kickoff meeting next month around tax day, a symbolic date for the tea party, which espouses lower taxes. He said the group has been meeting with activists “behind the scenes” and will ramp up its activity this Congress.
“The main purpose of the Tea Party Caucus is to listen to Tea Party leaders and activists, not be a mouthpiece for the Tea Party,” Kotman said in an email.
Really? Not a mouthpiece for Bachmann? Funny. I thought she’d appointed herself Queen of all Teabaggers.
But there is evidence that members could shy away from the label. In a CNN/ORC Poll published this month, 48 percent of respondents said they have an unfavorable view of the tea party movement.
Those numbers could be daunting for a member such as Bachmann, who struggled to maintain control of her seat in the November elections.