From Talking Points Memo:
Top Democratic leaders and Democrats in conservative districts are among the names the tea party movement hopes to defeat this year. At the last stop of its nationwide tour in Washington this morning, organizers of the Tea Party Express revealed their list of 2010 "Tea Party Targets," a list that includes Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Rep. Barney Frank and Rep. Alan Grayson.
The group also announced a list of Tea Party Heroes, which included tea party favorites like Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) as well as a single Democrat -- Rep. Walt Minnick (D-ID).
You've come a long way Congressman Minnick. It's quite an accomplishment to be named in the same company as Michele Bachmann.
Update: Here's more from Huffington Post (you know, the blog that can't possibly "understand [Minnick's] position" because, well, they're librul and all; yes, the same blog he ran from last summer):
So, congratulations to Representative Walt Minnick (D-Idaho), because you are the King Of Tea Party Bipartisan Cover!
They're checking to see if he's accepted the endorsement.
Update 2: The Huffington Post article linked in the first update was almost completely rewritten to reflect that Minnick did accept the Tea Party Express endorsement and to include statements from Minnick spokesman John Foster. (Why not write a whole new article then? Don't ask me.) Foster attempted to put the Tea Party Hero status in its best light, as any campaign spokesman would, but in doing so went the revisionist history route.
But Foster tried to make a compelling case that the Minnick endorsement wasn't just window dressing. While the congressman had only spoken to the Tea Party Express once, it was during the infamously contentious August recess. "They invied [sic] all four members of Idaho's delegation and Walt shocked everybody by being the only one who showed up in person and he stood his ground," said Foster. "He got a lot of support for his fiscal stance. But very little support for what he said about the president [for whom he reiterated his support]... By the end of the 90 minutes they gave him a standing ovation."
By most accounts--even the most gushing of the bunch written by a friend of Minnick's wife--there wasn't a "standing ovation" for Minnick, though some did give him credit for being there and a grudging respect for his apparent fiscal stance. "He paid too much homage to his Republican colleagues to please some Democrats, but not enough to please the crowd. Liberals won’t like it that he thought it was a 'useful suggestion' when someone shouted 'close the borders!' Republicans who crossed the party line to vote for him hated hearing of his support for President Obama," wrote the Minnicks' friend, Jill Kuraitis, at New West.
As to the accuracy of "standing his ground," it depends on what ground Walt envisions himself standing in the first place and, as Alan reported at IdaBlue, the "panderbear" wasn't standing with the Democrats who had been the largest contributors to his 2008 campaign.
In his opening remarks Walt emphasized how we must "pay for" any health care reform, drawing many approving hoots and much applause. Then he said, and this is a near quote: " I've met with lots of groups, (and he named some clubs and political groups) and North End Democrats, and I think that group is more likely to produce a Fox News moment than this group." Laughs and applause. Which kind of put me off, to be honest. See, he's saying that he thinks N.E. Dems are crazier, or more volatile, then tea baggers.
The blurriness surrounding the location of Minnick's "ground" preceded the townhall with questions about his voting record and why he bothers to call himself a Democrat when he clearly would like to be a bone fide conservative. He has since voted to accuse the House Democratic leadership of willful deceit, deceptive behavior and willful abuse of power and became the darling of House Republican leadership during debate on financial regulation reform, making crystal clear which ground Minnick is claiming.
Finally, if Walt has such a "firm stance on fiscal accountability" as Foster asserts (and not to be confused with a wide stance), why did he vote against PayGo legislation after touting himself as a "vocal proponent" five days earlier? Maybe because, like in most things, Minnick isn't always what he says he is.