Erick Erickson has made a name for himself and gained significant influence among conservative thought leaders and elected officials by speaking his mind with the kind of muscular frankness that has come to characterize the TeaParty political movement in general. Erickson has shaped debate on Capitol Hill, endorsed local and national candidates and launched successful fundraising campaigns to great effect.
In 2010, Erickson championed Colorado Republican U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner as a hero of the Tea Party movement, helping him defeat Fourth District incumbent Democrat Betsy Markey to sweep into Congress. Erickson doesn’t like Gardner like that anymore.
In a Friday morning roundhouse jawbreaker of a blog post, Erickson lamented what he sees as signs that Gardner will fail to support the showdown Tea Party lawmakers like Texas Sen. Ted Cruz are now attempting to orchestrate, where Republicans would refuse to vote to fund the government or raise the nation’s debt ceiling unless all money for the health-reform Affordable Care Act, or “Obamacare,” is stripped from the budget.
Erickson writes that Gardner recently backed out of a Tea Party Express event meant to help fuel the showdown movement.
“Cory Gardner was a tea party hero,” he writes. “In the last 48 hours, he’s become a weasel.”
Gardner bailed on a Tea Party Express event to support Congressman Meadows and Senator Lee’s attempts to defund Obamacare. Cory Gardner caved to pressure from the GOP leadership.
We sent him to Congress as a fighter and instead he’s become a lover of the establishment. It’s a fact and I suspect you’ll now see him try to weasel his words over the next forty-eight hours to claim he’s for full [Obamacare] repeal, and defunding doesn’t do enough, so he won’t support it — or something like that. It’s what John Cornyn has been saying.
When they can get a pass, these guys will vote for symbolic votes against Obamacare. But when the heat is on, they won’t vote to defund it. How many times have they cast symbolic votes? And now that they have a substantive vote and fight on the issue they fold like cheap suits.
Gardner didn’t return messages seeking comment Friday. But he did write a post at Facebook, apparently in response to Erickson.*
Obamacare needs to go. I have voted to repeal Obamacare in its entirety, dismantle it, and to defund it in the nearly 40 pieces of legislation that have come before the House. I am also a cosponsor of H.R. 2682, the Defund Obamacare Act, sponsored by Rep. Tom Graves (R-GA) stating that “no Federal funds shall be made available to carry out any provisions” of Obamacare. Senator Ted Cruz is leading the same bill on the Senate side.
The Yuma Republican served as a state legislator before running for Congress. On the stump in 2010, he attacked Obamacare relentlessly. In recent weeks he has said he would agree to a plan to leverage debt-ceiling requirements in order to win Republican-favored budget cuts.
It’s a dramatic plan with bad precedent.
Raising the debt ceiling was once a formality in Washington, the lack of heat around the issue born from acknowledgement on all sides that debt had already been incurred and simply must be paid and that the time for lowering the debt was during negotiations over how much to spend in the future.
The battle over the debt ceiling launched by Republicans in 2011 led to the first-ever credit-rating downgrade in U.S. history. The events sent markets spiraling and rode the struggling economy over a series of rippling bumps.
The battle running on the right for the last four years between the Republican Party establishment and the dogged conservative Tea Party movement has intensified in recent weeks over hot-button issues that include immigration reform and the federal budget. Members of Congress are presently on recess. The questions raised over the debt ceiling and ongoing government funding hang in the air. They must be settled quickly when Congress opens its doors again in the fall.
* Gardner’s Facebook post was added to update the first version of this piece.