In a stormy meeting on Thursday, Tea Party Republicans in the House of Representatives rejected Speaker John Boehner's compromise with President Obama over the schedule of the President's speech to a joint session of Congress.
The White House had sent Mr. Boehner a request for President Obama to address Congress on the evening of Wednesday, September 7. Such requests are considered routine and have been approved 47 times since 1962 without challenge.
But in the volatile political climate of 2011, nothing can be taken for granted. Many Tea Party-affiliated Republicans had campaigned against wasteful speechmaking in the 2010 election, and 216 had signed a "No New Speeches" contract sponsored by Grover Norquist's fundraising organization, Americans for Talk Reform.
"Americans don't need more speeches," argued House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in an hour-long discourse from the House floor last week, "They want the folks in Washington to shut the heck up."