Posted by | February 10, 2011 10:42 | Filed under: Top Stories

by Stuart Shapiro

I have to hand it to the Tea Party (or at least a handful of their representatives).  They have temporarily scuttled two Republican initiatives this week, including an extension of the Patriot Act, and have had more success in making Speaker John Boehner look like a fool than the Democratic opposition.  And they have 2012 Republican candidates running scared.  Senator Orrin Hatch and Senator Richard Lugar both face probable tea party primary challenges.  They are taking different approaches.  Hatch crashed a Tea Party event and tried to convince attendees he was one of them:

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) showed up at tonight’s Tea Party Express town hall in downtown DC to take a few questions about the budget and push his tea party cred by sharing a stage with movement heavyweights like Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), Rep. Allen West (R-FL) and Sen. Mike Lee, the tea party Republican who booted Sen. Bob Bennett (R-UT) last cycle.

Lugar, by contrast, has come out swinging (h/t The Hill):

“I’ve been working systematically for 20 years going to Russia trying to help direct a situation in which we’re taking warheads off of missiles every day, destroying missiles that were aimed at us; destroying submarines that carried misslies up and down our coast,” said Lugar. “I’ve got to say ‘Get real’. I hear Tea Party or other people talking about they were against START. I said ‘Well, now, hang on here.'”

It will be interesting to see which approach is more effective.  Democrats will be rooting for Hatch, since whoever gets the Republican nomination will become the Senator in Utah; but against Lugar, because a Tea Party nomination in Indiana signals a possible Democratic pickup in Indiana.

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Copyright 2011 Liberaland
By: Stuart Shapiro

Stuart is a professor and the Director of the Public Policy
program at the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers
University. He teaches economics and cost-benefit analysis and studies
regulation in the United States at both the federal and state levels.
Prior to coming to Rutgers, Stuart worked for five years at the Office
of Management and Budget in Washington under Presidents Clinton and
George W. Bush.