As noted by Down With Tyranny! yesterday, none of Wisconsin’s three Congressmen have joined Rep. Michele Bachmann’s new Congressional Tea Party Caucus, as was reported by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
None of Wisconsin’s three U.S. House Republicans has decided to join the new congressional Tea Party Caucus. Officially launched Wednesday, the group has attracted the support of at least two dozen House Republicans who say they want to harness the energy of the conservative movement.
Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner of Menomonee Falls said through a spokeswoman that he joins caucuses on a “very limited basis” given his demands in Congress as the top Republican on two committees.
Rep. Tom Petri of Fond du Lac said that although he agrees with tea party groups on a number of issues, “most are concerned about maintaining their independence from politicians and parties.”
“The Tea Party Caucus implies a formal relationship between politicians and the tea party, which I think should remain informal,” he said. “I think the right attitude is that we should talk with each other, but neither of us should try to speak for each other.”
Rep. Paul Ryan of Janesville did not explain why he hasn’t joined the caucus but says he loves the message of the tea party movement and has “been inspired by their tireless efforts to advance America’s timeless principles. It is truly grass-roots and will continue to flourish with or without an official organization in Washington.”
I get the sense that none of Wisconsin’s three Republican Congressmen will join the Tea Party Caucus because they’re simply not that stupid. In my opinion, the tea party to a large extent represents the fringe right, and while joining a Congressional tea party caucus may get them a few votes in the short term, joining could come back to bite them in the ass later on, especially someone like Paul Ryan, who likely has national ambitions.