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Why Richard Lugar defeat scares tea party Republicans, too

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Others echo Lugar's sentiments, saying that a doubling down on the tea party agenda could work against the desire for results.   
“Gridlock actually works against what they want,” says Julian Zelizer, a congressional historian at Princeton University in New Jersey. “The tea party wants a lot of change and so if they just scare people and everyone stands still and there is no compromise what the tea party is going to get is a Washington that looks pretty much the same a couple of years from now as it does.” 

“Spending won’t change. Nothing happens," he adds. "There’s a bit of an irony in them bringing things to a standstill.”

Yet to Rep. Jeff Landry (R) of Louisiana, another tea party favorite, Lugar's 20-point defeat to state Treasurer Mourdock is a sign that “just because you’re reaching across the aisle doesn’t mean you’re solving the problems.” 

Congressman Landry says he often asks his town hall attendees whether they can name a single issue Congress has resolved in the last decade – at time period when both parties have had time in the majority.

“The question is whether we’re fighting for the American people or we’re fighting over the checkbook – this becomes a credibility issue,” Landry said at the press conference. 

It’s clear that the activist community weighs heavy on the minds of Republican House members, said Rep. Pete Sessions (R) of Texas at a breakfast for reporters sponsored by the Monitor on Wednesday.

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