Letter: What’s Ayotte up to?
The Sunday Monitor notes Sen. Kelly Ayotte’s rapid rise and praises her as an independent potential “bridge-builder” (“Ayotte’s ascent,” front page, Oct. 27). She’s famous now for scolding GOP Tea Party conservatives who shut down the government. There’s more to that story.
Like many Tea Party victors in the 2010 elections, Ayotte was promoted in New Hampshire by the Koch Brothers’ FreedomWorks PAC. Their endorsement letter said, “Ayotte will . . . be critical to FreedomWorks’ overarching mission to “Take America Back” on behalf of freedom . . . .”
Last month’s government shutdown seemed part of the FreedomWorks agenda, and Ayotte was apparently on board. Last July she co-sponsored Sen. Ted Cruz’s bill to defund the Affordable Care Act, and she signed on to a July 25 letter from another Tea Party caucus member, Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, saying, “We will not support any continuing resolution or appropriations legislation that funds further implementation or enforcement of ObamaCare.”
FreedomWorks reported on its website that Ayotte signed the letter – and then “withdrew” her name. That leaves lots of questions for Ayotte watchers. Was she bluffing and backed down when President Obama refused to budge? Did she lead on conservative members to vote for a shutdown and then scold them for doing so?
In any case, Ayotte’s moderating opposition to the shutdown led to lots of praise in the media and suggestions of national mainstream GOP positions, while colleagues who followed her earlier urging now look radical and foolish. Pretty smart politics, I’d say.