Bachmann Inflates Tea Party Caucus Numbers

July 21st, 2010 at 1:34 pm | 70 Comments |

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FF Exclusive: Earlier this morning, patient Rep. Michele Bachmann’s office released a list of members of the newly-formed Tea Party Caucus. The list included congressmen who had supported the tea party for some time, like Reps. Joe Wilson, Mike Pence and Michele Bachmann.

One problem, however: at least two members had not yet agreed to join, and several of the offices were either unaware that their congressman had joined the Tea Party caucus or were not informed that Bachman was going to release their names.

Congressman John Mica’s (FL-7) office told FrumForum that their member had not joined the Tea Party caucus. When asked if their boss had joined the caucus, Rep. John Fleming’s (LA-4) office told FrumForum: “I don’t believe that’s the case.”

Rep. Gary Miller’s (CA-42) office told FrumForum: “We actually don’t know” if the member had joined the new caucus.

Other offices said that they were taken off guard by the announcement of the caucus membership list. “It’s news to me,” said Steve Taylor, press secretary to congressman Todd Akin (MO-2), when asked whether Rep. Akin had joined the Tea Party Caucus. He also seemed unaware that Bachmann’s office would release a list of members: “I, as press secretary, was not aware of this list. The press shop… was not consulted about this press release.”

“I’m not sure if anyone was told [that Rep. Bachmann would release a list],” said Dave Yonkman, Press Secretary to Rep. Hoekstra.

Adding to the confusion was the sudden removal of the list from Rep. Bachmann’s website. FrumForum has a screenshot of the original list below. Bachmann Press Secretary Sergio Gor told FrumForum that it was taken down because changes needed to be made to the list, but that an updated list would be available later today.

Today was the inaugural meeting of the Tea Party caucus. It’s unclear if Rep. Bachmann’s office assumed that attendance was tantamount to membership, but at this time there’s some confusion in the offices below as to whether their members have actually agreed to join the caucus.

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UPDATE (2:19 PM):

The new list of Tea Party caucus members is out. Five members from the original list were removed, and three were added. Rep Roscoe Bartlett (MD-6) was removed, then added back.

The following members were removed from the original list: Reps. Gary Miller (CA-42), Gus Bilirakis (FL-9), John Mica (FL-7), Michael Burgess (TX-26), and Joe Wilson (SC-2).

The following members were added: Reps. Adrian Smith (NE-3), Dan Burton (IN-5), and Tom Graves (GA-9).

Reached for comment, Rep. John Mica spokesperson Rusty Roberts explained why Mica was originally on the list: “Mr. Mica went to the meeting, and told her that he has policy of not joining caucuses… Someone must have seen him at the meeting and assumed he was a member.”

UPDATE #2 (3:10 PM):

Rep. Joe Wilson was removed from the list, but Rep. Joe Wilson spokesperson Pepper Pennington tells FrumForum that Wilson still considers himself a member of the caucus.

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70 Comments so far ↓

  • Watusie

    Yes, Willy P, we all see what you’ve done there: confronted with plain data that demonstrates that you were telling a lie you have retreated into the fantasy land of hot air-filled predictions about the future where you feel safe knowing that actual, pesky facts cannot trouble you.

    Could we somehow arrange an actual cash money wager about whether the Democrats will loose any more seats than is normal for the party in power in an out year election?

  • jabbermule

    Watusie // Jul 22, 2010 at 9:51 am

    “Rasmussen publishes these fantasy polls many months before the election in order to drum of the media narrative that the Republican candidate is going to win, in hopes of making it a self-fulfilling prophecy.”

    You’re entitled to any opinion which defines your ideology, but unless you can back up this conjecture with facts, it will remain nothing more than an opinion.

  • dante

    Jabbermule – All misleading. You define waterboarding as ‘torture’…I don’t.

    If it’s not torture, then why did we convict Japanese soldiers of torture for waterboarding after WWII? Why can’t Conservatives actually look at the facts before making up their minds on an issue?

    And as for why I supported (and still do) Obama, it’s because as a social liberal and fiscal conservative, Bush was 100% against my views. ONE HUNDRED PERCENT. Bush was fiscally IRresponsible. Tax cuts without cuts in spending lead to massive deficits. We’ve seen this play out before. Tax cuts combined with a massive spending increase leads to EVEN BIGGER deficits. That, combined with a socially conservative platform (Mexico City policy, Abortion, Gays, Guns, god, etc) completely turned me off. The current Democrats aren’t great, but a) I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt till the economy turns around and b) at least I agree with them on social issues.

    It doesn’t help that the current Tea Party seems to be Bush x 10 – More tax cuts (without figuring out how to pay for them, thanks Bachmann!!), ultra-conservative on social issues, no cuts to military/defense spending, etc. The TP claims to want the mantle of “fiscal conservatism”, but when you’re pushing for a trillion dollars in tax cut extensions without any meaningful cuts to the budget, you’re NOT FISCALLY CONSERVATIVE.

    You want to be fiscally conservative? Raise taxes, cut spending. Massively, on both accounts. Start by getting rid of every tax cut that’s been implemented between 2000 and today. Yes it will raise taxes on the middle class. Yes it will raise taxes on the poor. Yes, it will raise *my* taxes. Too bad, we’re broke.

    Next cut spending (or concurrently would probably be best). Take our military spending from the $800b that it is now down to the $300b that it was when Bush took office. That’s still more than the next 5 countries in the world combined. No, we don’t need an F-22 fighter program. We probably don’t need an F-35 fighter program either. Cut the number of boomers in half, they’ll still have more nukes than any other country other than a) our allies or b) Russia. Close military bases in Germany and Japan. I’m pretty sure they’re pacified after WWII by this point.

    Combine Tri-Care with Medicare and Medicaid. Why is it that we have a perfectly good socialized medicine program (that usually gets great reviews) for our soldiers, but not for our poor and our elderly? Don’t like it? Get your own private health insurance. Socialized medicine should be a floor, a baseline of service, that might not be pretty, but it should be efficient and functional. Stop sending US gov’t checks to private practices and hospitals, it’s nothing more than corporate welfare.

    Out of the 12% that younger workers (under 40?) are paying into SS, have 2-3% of that go into purchasing 20y US Treasury bonds. It’s a personalized *savings* acct, not a gambling acct. If you want to dump money into the stock market and hope for the best, do it with your 401(k) or IRA. It’s bad enough that we have a worker-fed Ponzi Scheme in the 401(k) market, I don’t want it to be a government funded one as well.

    How’s that for a hands-off, smaller government platform? And once the national debt is paid off, every year the budget *surplus* is returned to taxpayers via an annual dividend. Why would you put in place a permanent tax CUT (or like GWB, a 10 year tax cut), based on one year’s budget surplus? Show me ONE Tea Partier who’s saying *anything* this sensible and I’ll give them a second glance.

    Otherwise, they’re doing nothing more than trying to continue the Bush legacy…

  • jabbermule

    Watusie // Jul 22, 2010 at 11:00 am:

    “Could we somehow arrange an actual cash money wager about whether the Democrats will loose any more seats than is normal for the party in power in an out year election?”

    It’s spelled “lose” in this context…if I had known you were this stupid, I wouldn’t have bothered arguing with you on any matter whatsoever.

  • Watusie

    jabbermule – I refudiate my use of ‘loose’ and agree it should have been ‘lose’. However, you hiding behind a typo to avoid discussion of substantive matters is pretty freaking lame.

  • Fairy Hardcastle

    Dante, please tell me where you get your facts for you various assertions about (i) military budget (ii) the percentage of under 40 workers paying into SS, (iii) why we don’t need the F-22.

    I am not sure about your economic theory. Balanced budgets should be goal with payment of the national debt over a reasonable period of time. What is the say 5-year affect of increasing taxes while cutting spending? What I see is payment of national debt but is that going to be as beneficial in the next year as keeping the tax rates where they are, cutting capital gains rates, and cutting spending?

  • Watusie

    jabbermule, Rasmussen being a PR firm posing as a pollster is, in fact, easily proven. They are the most prolific issuer of “polls” in the nation – for House, Senate and Governor races. But they are issued months and months in advance, always giving a strong showing for Rasmussen’s candidate of choice, and then not followed up immediately before the election with a poll which could be tested against the actual results.

    In certain cases they can’t get away with – for example, the presidential election, where ducking out at the end would have been too obvious to be ignored. However, in the months before the election, they were still trying to drive the narrative. In 22 polls conducted in the first four months of 2008, Rasmussen showed John McCain with an average lead of 2.6%. In 80 polls conducted by everybody else, Barack Obama had an average lead of 1.8%. It was very late in the game when they threw in the towel and showed Obama ahead – last week of September, I believe.

    For the other races, where they can get away with it, they just disappear.

  • LFC

    Socialized medicine should be a floor, a baseline of service, that might not be pretty, but it should be efficient and functional. Stop sending US gov’t checks to private practices and hospitals, it’s nothing more than corporate welfare.

    Yes! I have an idea that will save some serious Medicare cash immediately. Medicare Advantage pays private companies 14% more to provide health insurance to the elderly. The insurance companies claim they offer so much more and that’s why it’s more expensive. OK, great. So let’s slash the 14% immediately, but leave the program open with those insured who want the private plan to come up with the 14% out of their own pockets. If the plans are providing value just like the insurance companies claim (snort, chortle), then they can get that money by competing on quality. Or are Republicans against competition?

  • Drosz

    Dante, I agree with a lot in your comment. I’m in a similar boat as you in terms of my opinions it seems.

    Fairy, you can see a graphical interpretation of the 2007 budget here:

    numbers are a little larger/different now, but you get the picture.

  • WillyP

    Here’s the Obama recovery… aka the planned gutting of American might:

    Bunch of morons. You’re worse than Jimmy Carter supporters. I just hope the Dems don’t completely corrupt the elections.

  • Fairy Hardcastle

    Thanks Drosz. That’s a very helpful graphic.

  • busboy33


    “If [someone] is projecting a distorted view of reality, how can that possibly help Republicans win public office?”

    Yet, oddly, you accuse the Left of doing the exact same thing, and that makes perfect sense to you.

    Oh! I get the difference. Liberals are evil. Got it.

  • drdredel

    @Fairy Hardcastle

    Regarding your request for evidence in my post, I was referring to numbers that Terry had offered earlier in this very conversation. They’re very easy to verify if you don’t know them already. They refer to Obama’s generally healthy numbers in the wake of a fairly disastrous time period which leads me to my (speculative) conclusion that America is not, in fact, filled with fools, but rather, most people can understand that no president can alter in a year or two the damage done by the preceding one, when the preceding one was Godzilla. Obama has his flaws, but as American politicians go, he’s basically as good as it gets.

    I don’t believe I made any other claim that can be backed up with numbers. Regarding Americans’ lack of general education (or intellectualism), firstly I’m simply arguing that it’s become fairly common to regard “elitism” as something bad (this is also evident in this very thread) and I think the one fact that speaks to this more than any other is that most Americans (who were not born outside of this country) are mono-linguistic, and entirely unashamed of this fairly sad reality.

    Most Americans have never read War and Peace (not even the English translation). Most Americans can’t tell you much about the French revolution (or the Russian one). Most Americans have never heard of Albert Schweitzer, or Rousseau, or Brahms, or Rodin, or Charles Mingus. Most Americans, without realizing it, believe in some variation on Egyptian mythology which proves that they
    a) don’t know where their belief systems come from and
    b) aren’t aware of how silly those belief systems are.
    And the ones that claim to care so deeply about the Constitution behave as though it was written by some super natural deity rather than by a bunch of highly intellectual men, who were products of their time and WERE elitist by definition! Additionally, they were all flawed humans (like we all are) and deserve to be regarded as such.

    I can go on and on but obviously don’t have the time (or inclination), to try to dig up statistics on all this to prove to you that it’s true… but if you doubt these assertions, I’m quite sure you can verify most of them fairly easily by doing some research of your own.

  • Watusie

    LOL, WillyP – so the Obama Administration began execution of their “planned gutting of American might” in January, 2008 – before the Iowa caucus?

    No wonder you prefer bombastic prognostication – ’cause you certainly struggle with historical facts.

    I don’t have a pretty graph to show you, but here are the reported quarterly changes in GDP:




    Gosh, do you think that maybe, just maybe, all that economic destruction at the tail end of the Bush years might, just might, have something to do with the present unemployment?

    What a maroon.

  • Fairy Hardcastle


    Your reply I find thoughtful and though I did not bring up “elitism” it is a good topic. Elite without any negative connotation generally means the acknowledged best or excellent among a group of similar things, such as an elite class of athletes, soldiers, builders. Elite in the negative sense which goes with the charge of “elitism” seems to indicate a type of education plus a certain arrogance that said education brings with it the ability to decide for (non-elite) others what is best for them. I do not think it is appropriate to call the founding fathers “elite” in the second negative sense of the word. While they certainly thought that their proposed structure of Government was better than the King’s their obvious and explicit sentiments that such Government should be limited and protect individual’s inherent freedoms to live, choose their path and become happy. Federalism itself a testament to letting people chart their own course without excessive Federal government interference or oversight.

  • TerryF98


    Really good posts. I am fortunate enough to have travelled extensively in Europe and Asia as well as throughout Canada and the USA/Mexico. I meet many Americans who have never been outside their county!

    They say travel broadens the mind and it is true. Many narrow minded people have never been abroad, never tried to converse with people from a different culture, never eaten anything except stodge and fries. Not once have they been so far away from civilization that all modern conveniences are many hundreds of miles away. Never sat in a desert gorge and watched the stars so far away from light pollution that it seems you can almost reach out and grab a handful.

    Sad really but hey, it means more space and less aggravation traveling!

  • WillyP

    Sure thing. Yes, Obama has been an economic boon. What a great guy!

  • Watusie

    Again WillyP, you demonstrate that you are not capable of substantive, evidence-based discussion of reality. A trait shared by many, perhaps most, on the right.

  • busboy33

    Oh, he’s capable of it . . . he just chooses not to when the evidence is against him. If the evidence was with him, he’d be a facts-and-figures touting machine.

    He’s not communicating — he’s playing a propaganda tape. The answer is Obama is Teh Debil, and Democratic Elitist Liberals are plotting to destroy Mom and Apple Pie. The question is irrevelant.

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