Stop Blaming GOP Freshmen for a Shutdown

I was about to write an item about how it's a little misleading to blame the Tea Party for a shutdown, since cultural issues like Planned Parenthood funding are what's at stake in the 11th-hour negotiations. But Dave Weigel at Slate beat me to it. (Now we're even.) So let me add a sub clause: it's also a little misleading to say that "Tea Party freshmen are forcing Boehner to shut down the government." In fact, a lot of the freshmen have stuck with Boehner. Only 21 of the 54 Republicans who voted against the latest continuing resolution were freshmen. "But, but"--you might stammer--"the media keeps insisting that it's the Tea Party freshmen causing all this chaos! What gives?" What gives is that Boehner raised a lot of money for a lot of freshman, Tea Party-affiliated and otherwise. And it looks like it's paying off, at least to an extent. (Certainly more than I thought it would.) Many of them have stuck with him on the CRs, and they're generally not the ones who all fired up over Planned Parenthood. It's older, movement conservatives like Mike Pence who are gunning for a shutdown. Just worth noting.

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Joshua Green is a former senior editor at The Atlantic.

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