Beltway Confidential

The Tea Party and the voice of the people

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Beltway Confidential,Congress,Timothy P. Carney,Gun Control,Tea Party,Ted Cruz,Filibuster

The Tea Party is working against the will of people, argues liberal Washington Post blogger Ezra Klein.

Klein critiques a column in which I argue that Sen. Ted Cruz's filibuster was an effort to "mak[e] Congress more responsive to the people."

Most Americans don't want Congress to scrap the law, Klein points out. True. Also, most Americans don't like the law. So, what is "the will of the people" is a complicated question. What matters more: The policies Americans want to be in place (where public opinion favors Cruz), or the legislative activity most Americans want Congress to engage in (where public opinion disfavors Cruz)?

Klein concludes:

Washington's Tea Party Republicans, in other words, aren’t listening to the public, and they’re not listening to their own leaders. So who are they listening to? One another, mostly.

But that's not quite right. This isn't about Ted Cruz getting his colleagues to listen to the staff of Heritage Action. This is about Ted Cruz getting his colleagues to listen to the tens of thousands of conservatives on Heritage Action's email lists. It's about the will of the people, but more precisely, the will of the people who care a lot about about these issues and who vote in Republican primaries.

During the gun control debate, most people favored universal background checks in polls, but the people who cared the most about the issue opposed them. Here, you can imagine it's similar: The folks with the strongest views on repealing or defunding Obamacare probably are mostly on the Cruz side of things.

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