Although he ably fulfilled the role of head congressional liaison for President George W. Bush in 2000, GOP Sen. Roy Blunt’s establishment credentials may be a liability for former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney this time around.
Two weeks ago Blunt endorsed Romney in his bid for the GOP nomination, and the presidential contender reciprocated by tapping Blunt as his head whip in congress.But the political climate is substantially different this time around, and it remains unclear whether Sen. Blunt’s political prowess and extensive knowledge of Congress’ inner workings will be sufficient to draw more members into the Romney camp.
The problem is an acute one: Of the 21 congressmen who have endorsed Romney, only one — Utah GOP Rep. Jason Chaffetz — has meaningful tea party credentials.
When Michele Bachmann endorsed Blunt in his 2010 Senate run, she instantly drew the ire of tea party groups in his home state of Missouri.
In an official statement, several Missouri tea party groups called Bachmann’s endorsement “an abomination of everything we have been standing up for.”
They were particularly disappointed by the fact that Blunt “voted for TARP and Cash for Clunkers.”
In a conversation with the Daily Caller, Americans For Prosperity president Tim Phillips echoed concerns over Senator Blunt, citing his record of voting for increased spending and big government.
Phillips declined to comment on whether Romney’s association with Blunt will affect his nomination run, but told TheDC that his organization and other activist groups would hold both the Missouri senator and the former Massachusetts governor “accountable for their policies.”