George Graham

Tea Party’s Death Throes


The Tea Party may be dead but its spirit lives on like the toxin in a scorpion’s stinger.

And that poison has proven lethal enough to kill the Farm Bill, leaving Republican leaders in a quandary and Congress floundering helplessly.

In voting down the bill, the Tea Party rump – now known as the Freedom Caucus for reasons that elude me – allied themselves with Democrats.

Talk about strange bedfellows!

There was a lot to hate in the Farm Bill. It Scrooged food stamp families, for example.

And, of course, the Democrats couldn’t stomach the idea of making poor families go hungry.

But, of course, that’s not why the Freedom Caucus blocked the Farm Bill. That mean spirited crowd would have enjoyed putting the screws to poor families.

No, from what I read, they voted against the Farm Bill to protest bipartisan legislation that would have given the betrayed Dreamers a break.

You know about the Dreamers of course. They are the children of illegal immigrants and were brought here so young that they had no choice in the matter.

President Obama decided that it would be unfair to punish them for their parents’ transgression. And kicking them out of the only country they’ve ever known would be inhumane.

So he decided to give them a special exemption that would allow them to stay in America.

As you might expect, Trump revoked the Obama exemption as soon as he took office.

Republicans don’t usually believe in tempering justice with mercy. They cheered when Trump cracked down on the Dreamers.

But some Republican members of Congress were worried about the Hispanic vote in their districts so they teamed with Democrats to introduce legislation mitigating the Trump decree.

Naturally, the Freedom Caucus is mad as hell about that. They want a draconian bill punishing the likes of Dreamers and favoring ethnically desirable immigrants.

To show their distaste for the bipartisan legislation – and flex their muscles – the Freedom Caucus picked on the Farm Bill.

Yes, I know, the two issues have nothing to do with each other. But when were Tea party militants ever susceptible to logic?

I am left hoping the Republicans’ inherent spitefulness will divide them so drastically that a Big Blue Wave can wash them out of Congress in November.

And I pray that will end the Tea Party infection at last.

More on the Farm Bill vote

What’s in the bill

Who’s in the Freedom Caucus

About the author


I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for