Major Garrett on the Tea Party, and President Obama’s Legislative Prospects

National Journal Hill correspondent Major Garrett has made something of a historic leap, from cable television to print, but also from the relatively narrow White House beat to the expansive Congressional one. In this section of our exclusive interview, I took full advantage of the switch, as I asked him to get wonktastic on the subjects of the Tea Party, and the President’s best chances to secure legislative victories in the coming two years.

One of the things that sets Major Garrett apart from other political reporters is the depth of his understanding of the legislative machinery, and the degree to which it affects, and is affected by, transient political trends. While much of the current political media is focused on the microscopic, sound-bite-driven news cycle, a full assessment of all the moving parts is necessary in order to reliably predict where this enormous ship will actually be driven.

To that end, I asked Garrett to offer his thoughts on the Tea Party, which has been flexing its muscles in the new Congress:

Given the see-saw between the grim specter of gridlock that attended the midterm elections, followed by the burst of activity in the lame duck session, the legislative prospects of the next two years are uncertain, at best. Given that political climate, I asked Major to identify some areas where he thought the President might have a decent shot at success:

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