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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Tea Parties: Kaboom or Bust?

One of the under-appreciated aspects of the “tea parties” we’ll hearing about today is the dance of indecision among Republican officeholders about how closely to identify with this phenomenon. Sure, it’s tempting to snuggle up to a populist-sounding “movement”–however artificial and “astroturfed” it actually is–that’s in rough accord with the GOP’s simplistic anti-tax and anti-spending rhetoric. But aside from the possibility that the “tea parties” will be a bust in terms of attendance, there’s the unfocused, and generally anti-incumbent, atmosphere of the events, and lots of sheer craziness.
Even if those concerns are overcome, there’s the legitimate fear among Republicans that the tea parties will offend the big majority of Americans who are a bit more worried about the economic crisis than about the horrible injustice of boosting the top marginal income tax rate to where it was eight years ago. One of the larger mistakes made by the Republican Party in recent years was the decision to align itself with the hard-core Cultural Right in the Terry Schiavo saga, a decision that clearly repelled millions of people. The tea parties have the potential of becoming another such moment.
In any event, Ben Smith of Politico has a rundown of where some of the leading Republican pols will be today. Lots of them have apparently found something to do other than joining their local anti-tax shriekathons.

One comment on “Tea Parties: Kaboom or Bust?

  1. c garrett on

    The tea party meetings have pulled the edge of my awareness since last summer, more like the kooky street preacher on the corner, you hear him somewhat in passing but disregard him as harmless. Lately the issue seems less than harmless, it is actually disturbing. Today I decided to search for some info on how to push back in defense of the country we live in. I type anti tea into the search and find over two million hits, encouraged I start to look through these and quickly realize that they are mostly trashing those with a different idea and are really support sites for the tea party. This made me angry more than any other reporting on these groups has, not only do they try to dominate the discussion but also try to block others from discussing a different point of view. I feel like I don’t have time to bash my head against ideas that are so far fetched, but lately if not me then who. Obviously most of these people are on the wrong track but that may not be apparent to those who react only to noise. It appears that a competing voice is needed to make sure that the average person realizes that this issue is more complex than a beauty queen from Alaska.


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