Paul Broun, Phil Gingrey and Tom Price are among the 28 charter members of the Tea Party Caucus in the U.S. House. The caucus so far includes only Republicans, but its purpose may not be exactly what you think. Reports CNN:
“We decided to form a Tea Party caucus for one very important purpose: To listen to the concerns of the Tea Party,” said Rep. Michele Bachmann, at a news conference Wednesday morning following the first meeting of the caucus.
“We are not the mouthpiece of the Tea Party. We are not taking the Tea Party and controlling it from Washington DC. I am not the head of the Tea Party.”
“We are also not here to vouch for the Tea Party, or to vouch for any Tea Party organizations or vouch for any individual people or actions or billboards or signs or anything of the Tea Party. We are here to listen and to be a receptacle.”
Bachmann says she invited Speaker Nancy Pelosi to join the caucus. I won’t hold my breath for that to happen. But given the events this spring just before the passage of ObamaCare, when Rep. John Lewis allegedly had racial epithets shouted at him — allegations, let’s note, which have never been proven despite the offer of a $100,000 reward for evidence — why not invite Lewis personally to join the caucus?
I’m being serious: What better way for the tea party, via its congressional supporters, to demonstrate the vacuity of the charges that it’s racist, than to reach out in this way? And what easier way for Lewis to bury the hatchet, than to accept an invitation to what amounts to a liaison group?
We’re talking about good faith all the way around — precisely the kind of thing that ought to be applauded by those who bemoan political polarization, and at a cost less than zero.