The below Op/Ed piece from TPP Co-Founders, Jenny Beth Martin & Mark Meckler ran in Politico --
House Republican leaders are making bold statements about what the public can expect during their tenure in the majority. In addition to the “backroom deal” tax compromise, last week, through their appointments to chairmanships of the Energy and Commerce and the Appropriations committees, they sent a clear message that despite an electoral victory driven by the tea party movement and fueled by public disgust with incumbents, Washington is back to business as usual.
The large incoming freshman class is filled with tea party representatives. Yet the GOP’s old paradigm leaders are daring this new class to stand for the principles on which it was elected.
By appointing the most liberal possible choice to chair Energy and Commerce, Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), the leaders indicated they are not serious about expanding the nation’s energy-producing capability. Upton, after all, is most recently famous for highly unpopular legislation banning the incandescent light bulb. He is hardly the choice for a nation desperate for energy through an expansion of domestic oil drilling and the relaxation of regulations on nuclear, coal and other energy sources.
When Upton changed his position on the bulb issue during his run for the chairmanship, it made him look like a politician who does not plan to act on principles but on what can help him get reelected.
Do Republicans really believe that the best choice for this important committee chairmanship is a flip-flopping liberal Republican? Stuck in the politics of the past, Republicans went for seniority over principle — and ignored the clearly expressed will of their supporters.
At the apex of the tea party movement is the issue of fiscal responsibility. In what can only be interpreted as a direct affront to the millions of tea partiers who provided much of the fuel that brought them to the majority, Republicans balked at the chance to put a fiscal conservative in charge of the Appropriations Committee.
Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) was a qualified and proven fiscal conservative, supported by tea partiers nationwide. Yet instead of Kingston, Republicans decided to put the powerful panel under the control of a liberal Republican — one with a seemingly insatiable appetite for pork.
If things stand as they have been announced, Kentucky Rep. Hal Rogers is likely to continue the big-spending, pork-barrel ways that lost Republicans the majority four years ago.
The choices were clear, and GOP leaders have chosen the paradigm of the past over the future.
Reversing this situation is up to the freshmen, who are now presented with a distinct choice. House rules allow the full Republican caucus to vote to approve or reject the choices for chairmanships put forth by the Steering Committee. It is now clear that the existing leadership refuses to lead the charge for real reform in Washington.
So what will the freshmen do? They have a mandate from the people to step up and lead. Will they lead by principle? Or will they go along with Speaker-elect John Boehner (R-Ohio), like so many sheep to the slaughter?
Our bet is on the freshmen. Many promising representatives will be sworn into office for the first time in January. With a national army of Tea Party Patriots behind them, and public opinion in their favor, they have the power to force an early showdown with the existing Washington power structure.
This is a defining moment for the freshman class. Will these new members be bullied into accepting committee chairmen who represent the mistakes of the past? Or, as millions of Americans watch and hope, are they really in Washington to resist the status quo and bring government back to the people?
Many Americans stand ready to fight with them. To buck the status quo and make concrete changes in Washington is the choice before them. If they choose wrongly, there may well be more housecleaning in 2012.
Mark Meckler and Jenny Beth Martin are co-founders of the Tea Party Patriots, a national grass-roots organization with more than 3,000 affiliated local groups.