McCain Joins DeMint’s Tenther Tea Party Rebellion
March 5, 2011
(ChattahBox Political News)— So much for the “handshake agreement” to make the Senate a bit less dysfunctional, due to the Republicans’ abuse of the filibuster and secret holds. A rogue group of senate teapartiers led by ultra-conservative Sens Jim DeMint (R-SC) and Tom Coburn (R-OK), have declared they will block any bill they deem unconstitutional. On its face that may seem non-controversial. But these states rights’ radicals believe just about everything the federal government does is unconstitutional, including child labor laws, Social Security and the minimum wage. So, their little tea party rebellion is sure to lead to more dysfunction and obstructionism in the Senate. But what’s a little surprising is the fact that the former Maverick and once respected sane person, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) has joined DeMint’s right-wing tenther campaign. Apparently, there is no turning back, once a lawmaker drinks the kooky Bircher Kool-Aid.
DeMint and his group sent out a letter to every senator and issued a press release announcing their intention to “Hold Unconstitutional and Fiscally Irresponsible Bills.” Besides DeMint, McCain and Coburn, tea party freshmen Ron Johnson (R-WI), Rand Paul (R-KY), Mike Lee (R-UT) and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) signed the letter, as well as Sen. John Ensign (R-NV).
The tenther brigade say they plan to refuse to vote for any bill that fails to meet their outlined five-point criteria. They are specifically demanding that new spending be offset with cuts to other programs, that all new programs include a “sunset” date, that duplicate programs be eliminated and that the cost and text of every bill be made public prior to a vote.
But the tenther language is sure to provide plenty of zany tea party moments on the Senate floor.
“Congress Must Not Infringe Upon the Constitutional Rights of the People: Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution grants Congress a very limited set of enumerated powers. Far too often, Congress infringes upon the rights and liberties reserved for the people and the states provided elsewhere in the Constitution. These overreaches are no more than an afterthought when most bills are debated. To restore the intended balance of powers between the states and the federal government and to preserve the freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution, all bills must have a clear and obvious basis connected to one of the enumerated powers and must not infringe upon any of the rights guaranteed to the people.”
Remember, Rand Paul said he believed forcing private property owners to do away with their whites-only lunch counters was unconstitutional, until he later sanitized his anti-Civil Rights and radical libertarian rhetoric.
So, this tenther tea party cabal should prove to be interesting.
Photo Source:Wikimedia/Library of Congress, National Child Labor Committee/Public Domain.