(Bill Hennessy wearing a Roy Blunt sticker at the primary celebration)
I noted a while ago how the St. Louis Tea Party, unlike other tea party groups around Missouri, was completely unwilling to support conservative primary challengers to Washington insider and Big Spender Roy Blunt. In fact, many of them admitted they supported Blunt in the primary. The St. Louis tea party tried to justify this by claiming that Blunt was a new man and "had gotten the message" from them. However, when Blunt was recently asked by the Wall Street Journal if he had changed at all over the past five years, he basically said no:
He waves the query away with, "Hey, well, I've been a pretty conservative member of congress," and then he changes the subject.In other words, their claims that Blunt was somehow a new man were ridiculous, as anyone could have predicted.
And given that Blunt beat Carnahan by a whopping 13 percentage points in a year where basically any Republican would beat a Democrat in a statewide race, it's pretty safe to say that, ironically, the St. Louis Tea Party actually prevented a tea party candidate (Chuck Purgason) from being elected to the Senate.
What remains to be seen, however is whether they will attempt to exert any pressure whatsoever on Blunt. The tea party has expressed strong support for an earmark ban. Cofounder Dana Loesch, for example, has criticized both Senators McConnell and Inhofe on their support of earmarks:
As far as I know, however, she hasn't said anything about Roy Blunt. Jen Ennenbach, described as the "spokesperson" for the St. Louis tea party, has said she "hopes" Roy Blunt will support the ban:
However, their suggestions, or rather "hopes," are unlikely to be taken very seriously. Roy Blunt has been dubbed "Mr. Earmark" and, more recently, "Senator Earmark." It seems unlikely he will even address the "hopes" unless the tea party makes a lot of noise.
And, for a couple of reasons, it doesn't seem like a good idea for them to press the issue. First of all, doing so would likely remind people of just what an un-teaparty like candidate they supported in Missouri, when genuine alternatives were available. And second, their pushing the issue of earmarks would likely reveal just how truly weak they are, as Blunt would almost surely ignore them.
Either way, it should be an interesting six years.