House Speaker John Boehner’s battle for budget cuts has not won him many points with the cost-conscious tea party, particularly in light of a Congressional Budget Office study that indicates the latest spending bill will not cut the deficit nearly as much as advertised. Tea partyers who claimed credit for helping the Republicans take over the House majority last year now complain they have been shut out of the decision-making process. The divide between “establishment” candidates and those endorsed by the tea party will carry into the 2012 elections as disenchanted movement members shun centrist leaders. —KDG
Fed up with “broken promises,” some Tea Party activists have already moved beyond the fantasy stage and aim to “primary” Republicans who have let them down—that is, challenge them in primaries. Some talk of long-shot attempts to unseat leaders like House Majority Whip Eric Cantor.
Led by Boehner, Republicans in Congress are at odds with Democrats and the White House over how to raise the limit on how much debt the United States can afford. President Barack Obama’s administration warns of global financial chaos if lawmakers do not increase the current cap of $14.3 trillion.
Boehner, in a May 9 speech in New York, did insist that any increase to the debt limit include “cuts in trillions.” But conservatives expect the Republicans will not uphold his demand.
If the Republicans lose the debt limit battle, more Tea Party groups say they will aggressively seek candidates to challenge establishment figures in the 2012 primaries.
“At this point, all of them are potential targets,” said Dawn Wildman, president of the SoCal Tax Revolt Coalition, who lives in San Diego. “All the way up to Boehner.”