Tea party activists condemn deal
By Matea Gold
The Washington Post
WASHINGTON — The bipartisan Senate deal to end the government’s fiscal impasse was roundly condemned Wednesday by tea party leaders around the country, who accused Republican lawmakers of capitulating to President Barack Obama and his Democratic allies in Congress.
Matt Kibbe, president of the FreedomWorks conservative group, called it “a total surrender” and said the tea party’s gambit to undermine Obama’s health-care law could have worked if GOP leadership had stood firm.
“We don’t have regrets,” Kibbe added.
“This was a very winnable fight, if the Republicans had been willing to fight.”
The deal struck Wednesday was a major setback for tea party groups such as FreedomWorks, Heritage Action for America and Tea Party Patriots, which backed a long-shot attempt to use fiscal legislation to defund the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare.
In the end, conservatives set in motion a two-week-long government shutdown and brought the United States to the edge of its borrowing capacity without achieving their original goal of hobbling Obamacare.
But activists said they were neither deflated nor defeated.
“Part of me thinks that sometimes you throw a ‘Hail Mary’ and just hope for the best,” said Joanne Jones, vice chairman of the Charleston Tea Party in South Carolina. “At the state we’re at now, I’m not sure how much worse we could have made anything. It doesn’t particularly bother me that it was attempted and failed. It was an opportunity for the American people to see a very petty and petulant president.”
The fight revved up the four-year-old tea party movement, which is now training its sights on blocking immigration reform and challenging incumbent Republicans up for re-election in 2014.