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It’s tea time on Capitol Hill

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Rick Horowitz
January 6, 2011

Excited? She was so excited she barely got a dot of sleep. She tossed. She turned. She checked to make sure the alarm clock was set. Then she checked to make sure she hadn’t turned it off when she checked it the last time. Then she checked it again to make sure she’d reset the clock to Eastern Time. To Washington Time.


You wouldn’t want to miss your very first congressional swearing-in, would you?


Well, neither would Truly Tetley, Tea Party Stalwart.


For Truly Tetley (R-The Real America), the whole day promised to be a dream come true, which is why she was making double- and triple-sure she wouldn’t miss even a minute of it. And when she finally got there, got to Capitol Hill for the first time, it turned out to be even better than she ever imagined! The Passing of the Gavel. The Taking of the Oath. The Receiving of the Lobbyists. (Even the congressional lapel pin!)


And most of all, just to be part of such a huge freshman class—so many of them tea partiers, just like she was, so many of them totally new to politics, just like she was. It was like being on a great big journey together. Or a quest.


A quest—she liked that! She’d have to work it into her first floor speech. She wasn’t quite sure when she’d get to make her first floor speech—she didn’t want to be pushy or anything, but as a tea partier, she knew just how important it was for your voice to be heard.


That’s what the tea party was all about, after all—having a voice. Not being ignored. Plus cutting taxes and cutting the deficit and getting rid of Obamacare. That’s what they’d promised to do, back on the campaign trail. And that’s exactly what she and her brand-new friends were going to do.


It wasn’t going to be easy—Mr. Boehner had told them that. And Mr. Cantor had warned them about all the evil forces that were aligned against them, trying to keep them from living up to their principles and making progress for the American people. The right kind of progress, with lower taxes and smaller government and more jobs and less spending.


So it might take a few months, or maybe even longer than that, to get everything accomplished. And from time to time, just to make sure they got everything accomplished, they might even have to make tiny little exceptions to those principles. They’d already started doing that, Truly Tetley noticed, right there on the very first day, on budgets and tax cuts and how to count deficits and allowing amendments and things.

“Little Loopholes,” Truly Tetley called them. She’d try to be understanding. Fixing the country was a hard job—of course there’d be stumbles along the way.


And it wouldn’t be just the freshmen tripping up either. What about that moment, right there on the floor on the very first day, when one of her new committee chairmen—a man with all sorts of experience, mind you—had started to refer to “tax increases,” and then had to catch himself because he’d forgotten to say “job-killing tax increases,” which is the only way you’re supposed to say it! Just like you’re supposed to say “job-killing government regulations” and “the job-killing government takeover of health care.”

If even a committee chairman could mess up like that, they’d certainly cut the newbies a little slack, wouldn’t they? At least at the beginning?


That’s where Truly Tetley was: right at the beginning.


There was so much to learn.


Rick Horowitz is a syndicated columnist. You can write to him at rickhoro@execpc.com.

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