On an episode of her show last week, Rachel Maddow tackled an issue Republicans seem to be trying to hide: the increasingly absent views and policy positions of open, prominent Tea Party politicians. While the Tea Party was formerly a force to be reckoned with in Congress (a force that divided the Republican Party, in fact), nowadays Tea Party opinions are more commonly expressed by people with tea bags hanging from their hats at Fox News-sponsored conservative rallies. The number of legitimate, successful mainstream politicians that associate with the Tea Party seem to be dwindling greatly from their 2010 height.
Not that you would hear that coming out of a Republican's mouth, though. The Tea Party is still the Republican Party's favorite scapegoat for everything that goes wrong in conservative politics. Maddow agreed when she said:
The House Tea Party Caucus established 2010 was founded in 2010 and by halfway through 2011 accumulated 60 members, 60. But then poof. As quickly as it emerged, it appears to have fizzled. slate.com‘s Dave Weigel says the Tea Party Caucus that was supposedly shaking up Washington and changing politics haven’t met since July of last year. Their website is still up and running, so somebody is paying web hosting fees but the membership page no longer exists. Apparently the group is refiling to try to make themselves exist again in Congress, but right now they’re just not there. Haven’t been there for months. Until today, nobody really noticed, which is fine, unless the Beltway wants to keep using their supposed existence as justification for why no one listens to the Republican Party’s so-called leaders. If you don’t have existence of the Tea Party Caucus to blame for that any more, who are you going to blame instead?
Here's the video where she discusses the not-so-present presence of the modern Tea Party: