Posted 10 months ago on Feb. 12, 2013, 11:44 p.m. EST by WSmith
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After millions of newbie Dems pouted instead of voted in the 2010 midterm election GOP Tea Bagger nut cases swept into governments state and federal, Frontline's Cliffhanger sifts through the DC carnage.
February 12, 2013
As the nation faces yet another round of fiscal crises, FRONTLINE investigates the inside history of how Washington has failed to solve the country’s problems of debt and deficit.
The GOP Freshmen of 2010: “Spear Carriers” with a Mission
February 12, 2013, 7:41 pm ET by Jason M. Breslow
The 87 Republicans that propelled the House GOP into the majority in 2010 were a freshman class unlike any other [Completely Fucking Crazy Zombie Cultists]. Some had prior experience in politics, but many others did not. Renee Ellmers came straight to Washington after 21 years as nurse in North Carolina. Steve Southerland owned a Florida funeral home. Wisconsin Rep. Sean Duffy was a reality TV star.
Nonetheless, the freshmen of 2010 arrived on Capitol Hill with a mission. As Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.) told FRONTLINE, “We came not to do the same thing over and over, to change Washington, to change that conversation.” The debt ceiling offered an early opportunity, and as promised, the 87 helped shift not just the debate over spending, but also dynamics inside the Republican Party and Washington politics altogether.
For more on that legacy, FRONTLINE turned to Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein, authors of It’s Even Worse Than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided With the New Politics of Extremism. This is an edited transcript of that conversation:
Thomas Mann is a senior fellow in Governance Studies at The Brookings Institution. Between 1987 and 1999, he was Director of Governmental Studies at Brookings. Before that, Mann was executive director of the American Political Science Association.
Norman Ornstein is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and a long-time observer of Congress and politics. He writes a weekly column for Roll Call called “Congress Inside Out” and is an election analyst for CBS News.
How distinct was the GOP freshman class of 2010? What made them different?
Thomas Mann: It was distinctive in its size, which was enormous in relative terms, and its ideological orientation, which was further right of center than was the norm for the party. …
But perhaps most distinctive of all, it was a group that came to Washington believing they had a mission: That they knew what the problem was, they knew what the solution was, and it was just a matter of executing.
Norman Ornstein: Stu Rothenberg, who covers Congressional elections as well as anybody, asked one of the 2010 freshmen what made this group different from the class of 1994 — that was of course the Gingrich class. And he said: “Well, you know, we share a basic philosophy, an approach to the role of government. But they ‘went Washington’ and we won’t.” …
That’s going to grab your attention if you’ve been following politics for some time, because it’s not as if the class of 1994 became a group of establishment figures. And I think what he meant by that, this freshman, was they voted for something. They may have done something in a bipartisan way, they compromised, and that this was a class that didn’t come to Washington to vote for something or to compromise. They came to create a lasting revolution and to stick by their principles no matter what.
How representative of the broader GOP was this wing of the party?
TM: The rest of the Republican Party bought into the overall agenda of the new members coming in. I think they felt that was their route to power and they had to go in that direction.