Tea Party controls 58% of GOP in Congress

Former Republican governor of Minnesota, and possible GOP presidential candidate, Tim Pawlenty was on Jake Tapper’s CNN show yesterday, when Pawlenty went off about how both parties, Republicans and Democrats, have their fringe.

In the case of Republicans, Pawlenty argues, it’s the Tea Party. In the case of Democrats, it’s Occupy Wall Street.

Pawlenty argues that it’s unfair to paint the GOP with the Tea Party label, unless you paint Democrats equally with the Occupy Wall Street label.


First, let’s hear from Pawlenty, then we’ll examine the math:

Former GOP Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty: As to the Tea Party, keep in mind, you know, it’s one slice of a broader coalition. They overplayed their hand here. One of the attitudes you gotta keep in mind when you negotiate: The person with the leverage wins. They didn’t have the leverage here.

But you know, there’s an analog in the Democratic Party to the Tea Party.  When you look at groups like Occupy, when you look at groups that want to just recklessly defund the Department of Defense, they don’t represent the whole Democratic Party.  And the Tea Party represents only one slice of the Republican Party.

Mind you, this is the second time I’ve heard Republicans trot out “Occupy Wall Street” in the past few days, in an attempt to make a false equivalence between the corruption and co-option of the GOP by the Tea Party, and the supposed problems of the Democratic party.

Really? Occupy Wall Street has just as much power in the Democratic Party as the Tea Party has in the GOP?

It’s easy to find the number of Tea Party devotees in the House and Senate.  All we need do is look at the recent vote on the budget deal to reopen the government and avoid the debt default:

* In that vote, 0 Democrats in the Senate voted against the budget deal (and for the Tea Party position), as did 0 Democrats in the House.

* Among the GOP, 18 Senate Republicans voted against the deal (and with the Tea Party), as did 144 House Republicans.

So the tally comes to 0 Democrats in Congress supporting the Tea Party position, and 162 Republicans supporting the Tea Party.

Percent Tea Party control of Congress

Now, let’s break that down even further, in order to truly appreciate how much control the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street have in Congress.

Senate Support for Tea Party

Democrats: 0 out of 52 Democrats in the US Senate support the Tea Party: 0%

GOP: 18 out of 46 Republicans in the US Senate support the Tea Party: 39%

House Support for Tea Party

Democrats: 0 out of 200 Democrats in the US House support the Tea Party: 0%

GOP: 144 out of 232 Republicans in the US House support the Tea Party: 62%

In conclusion, 58% of GOP in Congress supports Tea Party

So Tim Pawlenty is only partly right.

When Pawlenty says that Occupy Wall Street is only part of the Democratic party in the Congress, he’s incorrect.  Occupy Wall Street isn’t a part of the Democrats in Congress at all.

But Pawlenty is right when he says that the Tea Party represents one slice of the Republican Party, rather than the “whole” party.  Unfortunately for Pawlenty and the GOP, it’s the lion’s slice.

The Tea Party makes up 39% of the Republican Party in the Senate, and 62% of the Republican Party in the House.

And in the overall Congress, Tea Party supporters in the GOP total 162 (simply combine the House and Senate numbers).  Compare that to the total number of Republicans in Congress (278), and you get 58% of the Republicans in Congress are Tea Party supporters.

Hey, Pawlenty, you like apples?

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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