The Tea Partier facade that Rep. Frank Guinta cultivated during his 2010 campaign has been fractured. He voted for the Boehner compromise during the debt limit debate, better known as a boner bill. This vote revealed Mr. Guinta’s true identity -- that of a go-along/get-along [GA/GA] Member of Congress who, as one Tea Party member remarked, is already “getting too comfortable with Washington,” unwilling or unable to risk his political career for the sake of principle.

A meeting of about 25 political activists from around the 1st Congressional District was convened by Rep. Guinta in his Manchester District Office on August 10th. Most of them were Tea Party folks. One of them, Ray Shakir, had come all the way from N. Conway for the meeting. He swore that “All of the Tea Partiers were against Frank’s vote.” They left dissatisfied with his lengthy explanation of why he voted as he had. The “explanation” amounted to an unconvincing rationalization. A recognized NH Tea Party leader noted that the Boehner bill established an unconstitutional “Super Committee”. Another attendee said he felt that Frank had voted for a “bad bill.” He was “struggling to understand why.” The only reason he could imagine was “fear.” Frank denied this but didn’t explain why even though he was aware that the fear factor had been played up by the mainstream media and Pres. Obama.

Perhaps the main reasons were unspoken. That Frank is attempting to be a Rep. to all of his constituents. He is focused on reelection [Aren’t they all?]. And so he lost the courage of his convictions and/or bought into the Dem’s view that getting identified with the Tea Party is a “poison pill” that makes him unelectable -- “dead meat.” We don’t share that view, but note again Ray Shakir: “He (Frank) tried to play the candle’s middle by burning both ends.” Even his usually astute political judgment here is open to question. U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte has gotten a lot of praise for her vote vs. the “boner” bill.

Frank Guinta’s future as a Member of Congress [MoC] is intertwined with two other big issues:

* What it means to be a Rep. really committed to changing the way Washington does “We the People”’s business, not just a Rep. of the same old/same old [SO/ SO] type; and

* The power of the Tea Party in NH.

On 1.: Frank has abdicated a leadership role. He’s in danger of becoming a GA/GA, SO/SO MoC. The only plus that he has demonstrated, as an editorial in the Union Leader recently recognized, is an ability to listen. But these days, listening is not enough. Voters need a lot more information on tough issues like the debt limit if they are not to be led astray by fear-mongering and misinformation from the liberal media. Frank has failed to sufficiently inform his constituents as to what was really going on and what was at stake.

On 2.: Frank’s vote puts him on the side of the GOP establishment vs. the Tea Party {TP}. If the former prevails here in NH during a Presidential election year, then the forces of real change to “take back our government” in NH and countrywide are weakened. Jack Kimball, the TP-favored NH GOP Chairman, is now under pressure to resign. His NH GOP HQ Exec. Director is on the way out. A TP-favored candidate lost to a liberal democrat in an Aug. 9th special election. The battle for the future of both the NH TP and GOP is now joined.

At this point, we can only hope that Mr. Guinta comes to his senses, regains some “testicular fortitude,” and reasserts his determination to fight for those principles that got him elected -- the Tea Party goals of freedom, liberty, personal responsibility and limited government. If not, then we’d like to see a Tea Party conservative run against him in the 2012 Congressional primary election. There are individuals out there who are willing to run but are in the process of taking stock in the midst of a fast-changing political and economic climate. The key question is whether “We the People”, as represented by a majority of NH CD 1 voters, are still willing to support those fighting to “take back” their government from political careerists, big-money, special interests, elitists and bureaucrats.


Peter Bearse, Ph.D., and Rick Parent, both Tea Partiers and former candidates for Congress during last year’s Republican primary.