As I read over the post former Governor Sarah Palin placed on Facebook, I have conflicting thoughts on how I feel about the message and the messenger. The message is sound. The freshmen members of the GOP were elected, in part, by Tea Party activists and other Republicans, Independents and yes even some Democrats to deal with the mess of the national debt and the deficit caused by massive overspending on items such as entitlements, subsidies and pork projects throughout the country. The reminder needed to be sent to these members to communicate the importance of this moment and how their decisions will help to either fix the problems or finally put this country in an economically perilous position for the next few decades.
However, the messenger is curiously absent of any consequences that may occur except stating a warning to members if they should not take heed to her reminder. Sarah Palin may or may not be running for President (my money is on that she will eventually run but don’t tell anybody). In the limbo of hedging her political bets, she has the ability to say anything she wants – get the spotlight of the media and support from her base without the scrutiny of being an actual candidate. It is an enviable place to be and allows a wide area of latitude to speak on a variety of issues in the political arena without most of the headaches.
The problem, of course, is that the members of the “Tea Party Caucus” has a real set of consequences to consider.
1) If they do not pass a bill, and the country goes into default, the American people will blame the Congress. Why do I say that? Because only 6% of the American people give Congress a good job approval rating vs. 43% for the President. When things go south, the Congress has always taken the PR hit all the way back to the Civil War. The House Republicans will take the approval rating hit and John Boehner will be looking for a new job in the minority party leadership.
2) Speaking of Speaker Boehner… I would think that the Speaker would not be very pleased with freshmen members who defied him in this critical point in the debt / deficit debate. A second consequence may be the removal of key resources from the NRCC for these disloyal members which could mean their defeat in the 2012 elections.
3) On the flip side, if these freshmen do not hold up their part of the bargain and force action on the budget by their continued defiance to the Speaker, they could find themselves facing the wrath of the very same Tea Party activists who helped to propel them into their current seats. As Wayne Gilchrest (R-1, MD) found out sometimes it is activists in your own party that can cause you to lose your seat in the House of Representatives. The P.S. line in Palin’s FB post about contested primaries was a little hint.
In this occasion, Palin’s truth comes with Consequences. If there is not a solution by August 2nd, 2012 the effect of their failure will determine the type and extent of the consequences that will be faced by the current freshmen House class.