GOP Freshmen Step Onto The Tightrope

Recess is over, and now the incoming Republican class of the 112th Congress must pivot from talking tough to making tough choices.

Among their first decisions: How will they work with a Republican leadership team that is steeped in the ways of Washington?

“I don’t have a problem with disagreeing and voicing that with a leader if I truly disagree,” Rep.-elect Steve Southerland (R-Fla.) said in an interview with POLITICO. “I won’t do it just for the sake of it, and I find there are elements that want me to go to Washington, D.C., and disagree with leadership on every issue, just for the sake of disagreeing with it. That’s just not acceptable.”

The newcomers also may be forced to pick among their political patrons. Many of the Republican freshmen won their seats with help from tea party activism and Washington-based independent groups, fueled with millions in corporate cash.

Last year’s lame-duck Congress already exposed cracks in the coalition that proved potent for Republicans during the 2010 midterm elections.

The tax compromise negotiated by President Barack Obama and Republican leaders won plaudits from business groups such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers and The Financial Services Roundtable.

But the deal provoked outrage from the Tea Party Patriots, prompting co-founders Jenny Beth Martin and Mark Meckler to ask in a POLITICO op-ed last month: “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?”
Read more from Marin Cogan at Politico

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