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.
“People will hold us accountable for achieving things, and I think it's good for our party,” said Congressman Sessions, the chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee. It's certainly a motivating factor as leaders like Sessions "look to gather votes on the floor of the House of Representatives.”