The midterm elections have garnered international attention fueled in no small part by the widespread interest in the Tea Party movement. Editor-in-chief of National Journal’s Hotline, Reid Wilson and Vice President of Government Relations for The Heritage Foundation, Mike Franc looked beyond November 2 in a discussion with foreign media lead by Tim Chapman, Chief Operating Officer for Heritage Action for America.
Many people worry that “America is at the edge of something very catastrophic,” and they fear, “we can’t afford to get it wrong anymore,” according to Franc. Wilson points out, “This is our third straight angry electorate.”
Fueling this fear and anger is a federal government that has a hand in nearly every decision Americans make, from health care options to what kind of light bulbs they can use. “The government is getting involved in areas they never thought,” Franc said.
Earlier this week, Franc coauthored a WebMemo for Heritage which “makes specific recommendations for party-level reforms within the House of Representatives to bring that body closer to its constitutional design.” House members have handed their authority over to committee officers preventing representatives from doing just that, representing.
These new Tea Party candidates have “a certain level of independence we haven’t seen before,” Franc says. Of course Washington is a much different playing field than Tea Party rallies.
Franc suggests that in order to survive in DC they will need to “find a way to channel that passion in an ongoing way.” Wilson warns, “Republicans run the risk of making the same mistake Obama did,” assuming that the election is a referendum in their favor.
Foreign media and voters alike want to know who this Republican Party is that they are electing. Wilson poses an interesting question: “Who is to say [John Boehner] is really going to be in charge when he is speaker?”
Tea Party supporters have based their campaign on anti-establishment sentiment and Wilson comments that Boehner is, “more a creature of Washington, DC,” referencing a certain Italian restaurant Boehner frequents with his staffers.
One thing is clear: whoever voters choose to support must have a “demonstrated track record of success of doing something,” asserted Franc.
Noelle Clemente is currently a member of the Young Leaders Program at the Heritage Foundation. For more information on interning at Heritage, please visit: http://www.heritage.org/about/departments/ylp.cfm