Top of the Ticket

Political commentary from the LA Times

« Previous Post | Top of the Ticket Home | Next Post »

Social media wrap: Bachmann rallies support in D.C. for Tea Party Caucus

July 20, 2010 |  4:30 pm


In or out? That’s the question Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann effectively posed to every member of the GOP -- and indeed the Democrats -- with her founding of the Tea Party Caucus in Congress.  

Pols on Tuesday took to the social-media networks to say whether they’ll join or not, but in keeping with the “tea party" ideological perspective, no overriding consensus was apparent.

Georgia Rep. Paul Broun, a Republican, tweeted that he’s definitely in. As did John Carter, a Texas congressman -- and secretary of the House Republican Conference -- who tweeted that he’d become a “charter member.”  

Outside of social media, Republican Mike Pence of Indiana affirmed he’d be joining, as did Pete Sessions of Texas, although House Minority Leader John A. Boehner demurred. Somewhat mischievously, Bachmann even asked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to join -- to a deafening silence.

Utah Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz, who is considered a tea party enthusiast, tweeted that he’s out because ...

... of his suspicions that D.C. is not a particularly good place for tea partyers to look for leadership.  

He tweeted: "If any one person(s) tries to co-opt it, the Tea Party will lose its identity and effectiveness. Go Tea Party! But not with DC "leadership.”  He added: "Formality will be counter productive."

Bachmann tweeted on Monday the news that her request to form the caucus had been accepted by the House Administrative Committee, which was retweeted more than 100 times among her more than 8,000 Twitter followers (she also has more than 40,000 Facebook friends).   

In a statement, Bachmann wrote that American voters have “had enough of the spending, bureaucracy and the government-knows-best mentality running rampant today throughout the halls of Congress.”

She said later the measure was for "real housewives, real farmers, real businessmen, real plumbers." (For more on what's real and what's not in the Georgia GOP gubernatorial race, click here.)

It remains unknown why Bachmann thinks Washington is the best place for such a group, but a high-profile move won’t do her reelection chances any harm. She faces a tough fight against Minnesota state Sen. Tarryl Clark in November.

Republicans may have found the in-or-out, with-us-or-against-us mentality a little uncomfortable, although Connecticut Democrat Jim Himes tweeted Tuesday that Democrats are facing a similar divide over government spending and perceived overreach, and he’s joined three others in a breakaway group choosing to “go rogue” like perhaps the most famous tea partyer of them all.

-- Craig Howie

Click here for Twitter alerts of each new Ticket item. Or follow us @latimestot or @craighowieLAT. Our Facebook Like page is over here. Also available on Kindle now with two-week free trial.

Photo: Getty Images