Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.), recently tapped to become chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, believes that despite the GOP's monumental electoral gains last week, the party left some vital Senate seats on the playing field thanks primarily to the work of Sarah Palin.
This from the Shelby County Reporter over the weekend:
"The Senate would be Republican today except for states (in which Palin endorsed candidates) like Christine O'Donnell in Delaware," Bachus said. "Sarah Palin cost us control of the Senate."
He said Tea Party candidates did well in U.S. House races, but in the U.S. Senate races, "They didn't do well at all."
While many have questioned claims by some, including self-proclaimed Tea Partiers such as Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), Senator-elect Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), that the conservative movement is to thank for Tuesday night's GOP gains, few have been so bold as to outright dish blame on party heavyweights such as Sarah Palin.
As the Associated Press recently reported:
Republican leaders and strategists are muttering that the same tea party activists who elevated Speaker-to-be John Boehner and the party to power in the House simultaneously hobbled the GOP's outside shot of running the Senate. Tea partiers largely spurned establishment candidates in the GOP primaries and helped nominate Christine O'Donnell in Delaware, Sharron Angle in Nevada and Ken Buck in Colorado.
Though Sarah Palin's endorsement record indeed flourished through its win-loss record in House races, it is also becoming increasingly apparent that some Republicans can't help but focus on the former Alaska governor's pushing of ultra-conservative candidates that many considered to be beyond the pale.
Such a tone appears to be the symptom of an ongoing inter-party power struggle that has pervaded much of the talk of the GOP's political strategy, both pre- and post-election. And while stories about this growing rift vary -- from Republican strategist Karl Rove speaking fast and loose about the sophistication of Sarah Palin and the Tea Party she has come to stand for, to Rep. Bachmann's (R-Minn.) current uphill climb against establishment-backed Rep. Hensarling (R-Texas) for a GOP leadership post -- conservative standard-bearers such as Jim DeMint continue to insist that the Tea Party has not complicated Republican matters.
As HuffPost's Elyse Siegel noted on Monday:
During an appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press" over the weekend, DeMint dismissed the criticism that the candidacies of O'Donnell and other losing contenders he backed -- like Sharron Angle in Nevada and Ken Buck in Colorado -- were to blame for the inability of Republicans to seize Senate control. "The Tea Party is responsible for just about every Republican elected around the country," he said.