Candidates and supporters of the Tea Party have been loudly celebrating their victories and those of the Republicans in the recent elections. I have been publicly skeptical that Tea Party candidates are really any different than mainstream politicians. However, even I am surprised by how quickly these candidates seem to be exhibiting the "corruption" of power and office.
My evidence? Three of the most well known Tea Party candidates, all vocal and consistent critics of government spending, especially for "social welfare" programs, have all rejected appointment to the critically important House Appropriations Committe. For those who are unaware, this is the committe responsible for the actual budgeting of the federal government. They determine spending priorities and evaluate spending bills and decide what spending bills will be sent to a vote.
Why would Michelle Bachman (MN), Steve King (IA) and Lynn Westmoreland (GA), all of whom are adamant about controlling spending and reducing taxes pass on what has always been a prestigious assignment? Because it's easy to be critical of others who make spending decisions. It's easy to decry the abuse of social welfare programs. It's easy to attack popular programs to which you are opposed. It's quite another thing to have the courage to stand up and say I'll help make those difficult decisions. It takes courage to put yourself on the line when you know every decision you make will be criticized by someone. These three, and many others like them, lack the courage to put their political career on the line to do the right thing, regardless of how hard and uncomfortable it may be. Throughout the campaigns they adroitly avoided giving any specifics about where to cut spending and to preserve this ambiguity requires they avoid a position on this committee. There they would have to have actual ideas, actual alternatives and stand on real principles. Take this as the first of many examples of the Tea Party embracing politics as usual.