Tea Party In Trouble?

Tea Party In Trouble?


Does it need the GOP to be legitimate? No.

However…having somebody like Sarah Palin certainly got them a lot of attention last week.

Still, one Tea Party leader doesn’t like it one bit…

A prominent Tea Party leader from Texas is warning that the movement “is becoming nothing more than a wholly owned subsidiary of the Republican Party,” and slamming Sarah Palin as representing “a growing insider’s attack to the heart of the Tea Party.”

Dale Robertson, the founder of TeaParty.org, is just the latest Tea Partier to express concern that the movement is being hijacked by the GOP.

In a lengthy statement — entitled “Warning: Tea Party In Danger” — posted yesterday on the TeaParty.org homepage, Robertson instructs his felllow Tea Partiers to “[b]e alert to turncoats and deceivers being herded into the Tea Party by usurpers from the weakened Republican Party for the sole purpose of capturing our populist movement.”

So what do the Tea Partiers want? Glenn Reynolds digs in and finds something surprising…

There were promises of transparency and of a new kind of collaborative politics where establishment figures listened to ordinary Americans. We were going to see net spending cuts, tax cuts for nearly all Americans, an end to earmarks, legislation posted online for the public to review before it is signed into law, and a line-by-line review of the federal budget to remove wasteful programs.

These weren’t the tea-party platforms I heard discussed in Nashville last weekend. They were the campaign promises of Barack Obama in 2008.

Mr. Obama made those promises because the ideas they represented were popular with average Americans. So popular, it turns out, that average Americans are organizing themselves in pursuit of the kind of good government Mr. Obama promised, but has not delivered. And that, in a nutshell, was the feel of the National Tea Party Convention. The political elites have failed, and citizens are stepping in to pick up the slack.

So, if Obama can deliver more on his campaign promises…will the Tea Party crowd fall in line?

Consider me highly skeptical of that…

  • Doomed


    I have gone to two tea parties and 1/2 of the people in attendance voted for Obama.


    Because they had HOPED for CHANGE.

    What we got was Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid taking everything dirty about politics and forcing Obama to eat it like the Chinese guy at the hot dog eating contest.

    His hope and change has turned into Hopeless and Fat Chance and thats whats got the tea partiers really upset.

    The reason the Tea Party seems rudderless is because it is. Its democrats, Independent, Republicans and Libertarians all marching in the streets…..just flat angry over our federal government.

    The fact the GOP is trying to latch onto its coattails shows how out of touch the Dems are and how desperate the GOP was.

  • http://aconservativeteacher.blogspot.com A Conservative Teacher

    The Tea Party people really are a mix of Republicans, Democrats, Independents, Libertarians, etc. They truely are. But a lot of them are idiots too, who fell for the rhetoric of ‘hope’ and ‘change’ of Obama, who sat at home rather than go vote for GOPers in 2008, who just don’t understand that our two party system really is a choice between freedom and liberty (GOP and Dem).

    The Republican party fits more closely to what the Tea Party people want, and that’s why it is ‘latching’ on to it. Liberty, freedom, limited government, etc- I don’t care what the GOP used to be, if every Tea Party person is active in the GOP, that is what it will be.

  • http://screenrant.com Screen Rant

    Tea Party members won’t fall in line with Obama because he represents the opposite of what they want. He’s increasing the size of the government and its control over the population and he’s increasing spending at an outrageous rate.


  • gerryf

    Wow, a teacher, eh? I expected a more educated comment. OK, you’re conservative. I can respect conservative ideas. But hysterical freedom and liberty posts….gosh, I hope you’re a shp teacher….

  • Chris

    Oh is that what the republican party stands for? Well dang, I must not have been paying close enough attention lol. Justin, it is so hard not to swear. I hope you appreciate the effort this is for me.

  • Agnostick

    It was only a week ago that this report in “The Times” pried up the rock under which a lot of these whackjobs tend to hide.

    What really got my attention about that article was that it reminded me of a CNN.com article from last summer, in which the (then-) leaders of the Tea Baggers acknowledged that they had a lot of work to do… including a good bit of clean and polish:

    In Louisville, Kentucky, two young men in camouflage fatigues roamed the crowd trying to recruit new members for their militia called the Ohio Valley Freedom Fighters. They bear signs reading “AK-47s: today’s pitchfork” and “Quit worrying. Start your militia training today.”

    In Jackson, Michigan, a young man didn’t need a sign. He was carrying the real thing: A loaded AK-47 assault rifle and two loaded handguns.

    “I don’t want a revolution. I don’t want a civil war,” he said. “But it is a possibility. It’s there as an option, as a last resort.”

    From the stage, Deborah Johns and Mark Williams never interact with most of these characters. Russo shrugs it off, saying that the early stages of every political movement have people like this.

    To Wierzbicki these troubling elements are just part of the price of a grassroots movement. He is convinced they will not derail the movement.

    “The message will be moderated by the time it gets to 2010,” he says.

    Here we are… 2010. Lots of “moderation,” according to that “Times” article.

    I call them “Tea Baggers,” rather than “Tea Party,” for a reason.

    Folks need to remember that back in the days of the American Revolution, tea leaves were loose. You can still buy and prepare loose leaf tea.

    Now, as for tea bags, here’s what Wikipedia has:

    “The first tea bags were made from hand-sewn silk muslin bags and tea bag patents of this sort exist dating as early as 1903. First appearing commercially around 1904, tea bags were successfully marketed by tea and coffee shop merchant Thomas Sullivan from New York, who shipped his tea bags around the world. The loose tea was intended to be removed from the bags by customers, but they found it easier to prepare tea with the tea enclosed in the bags. Modern tea bags are usually made of paper fiber. The heat-sealed paper fiber tea bag was invented by William Hermanson, one of the founders of Technical Papers Corporation of Boston. Hermanson sold his patent to the Salada Tea Company in 1930.

    “The rectangular tea bag was not invented until 1944. Prior to this they resembled small sacks.”

    So, instead of opening the bags up and spilling out the pre-measured amount of tea leaves… people got lazy, opted for convenience, and just tossed the whole bag in their cup of hot water.

    “Pre-packaged”… “pre-processed”… “convenience”… those are hallmarks of this political fringe movement. It’s marketed by a handful of fringe media outlets, it provides excuse for people to make or buy signs with President Obama dressed up as “The Joker” or Hitler or some other nefarious character. Cities that host Teabagger gatherings no doubt benefit from travel and tourism dollars.

    A choice was made in April 2009; rather than do some deep soul-searching, and think about the *real* reasons why “their side” lost the 2008 election, they took the easy, processed, convenient and very “lazy” way out and started a cottage industry of false patriotism and cyclical, artificial rage.

    It took no longer than popping a tea bag into a mug of hot water. Last year, on Tax Day, I even had co-workers that taped Lipton tea bags to their doors, as a sign of “solidarity.”

    The only real winners of the Teabagger movement? Lipton, Bigelow, and Celestial Seasonings.

    That’s what it’s all about.

  • Doomed

    A choice was made in April 2009; rather than do some deep soul-searching, and think about the *real* reasons why “their side” lost the 2008 election,

    This is why they lost the election.


    And when this band marched those of you who now rant and rave against the Tea BAGGERS…….were pumping your fist and going right on.

    In the world their is a saying and it holds true…..life travels in full circles and no where is that more relevant then in politics……

    Remember…..what goes around…..comes around.

    The people who dress Obama up in Nazi swastica’s had great teachers.

  • Agnostick

    Excellent point, Doomed!

    The left-wing extremists marched around with swastikas on pictures of Bush during his first term; then, he was re-elected.

    The right-wing extremists are now marching around with swastikas on pictures of Obama during his first term …

    About the only difference is that the right-wing extremists employing this bit of street theater seem to think they’re in the process of pulling together some kind of actual political party.

    Or, at least, that’s what Glenn Beck is telling them.

    [email protected]

  • Doomed

    Actually Agnostick from what I have been hearing there is not much of an interest in an actually party.

    The tea bag convention was a grass roots movement about how to get out and work for Conservative candidates who believe in what they believe in.

    How to fund raise, power level and walk the streets. How to get out the vote. How to do what Acorn does. Register voters who believe in the conservative cause.

    Believe me when I say that the progressive movement and Acorn and Seiu being brought to light has literally lit a fire under a complacent right wings behinds.

    As for a party. I don’t think its in the cards because basically as many pointed out…….most of what the Tea Baggers believe in is what the GOP used to stand for.

    As for Obama being relected…Ive no problem with that as long as he doesnt have a democratic controlled government that wants to spend 3 trillion we dont have in its first two years and god knows what in the next 6.

    I’ve never had a big problem with Obama……..my problem lies with a congress that has lost its freakin mind. Starting around 1994 and it aint looked back since.

    Im the first person in line to sign up for term limits.

  • Tully

    Er, you ARE aware that Dale Robertson is pretty much a one-man band who has been continually and unsuccessfully trying to take over (and take credit for) the Tea Party grassroots org in Houston for almost a year, right? That his only actual connection is his canny early purchase of domain names, and that he’s been kicked out of Houston TPM events for his racist and unhinged speech and behavior? That no one can find an event he organized that drew as many as double digits in attendance? That every single TPM group (other than his own, which is apparently just him) that he has attempted to claim association with has repudiated him? That even Mother Jones is onto his schtick?

    Robertson is (to be kind, and as the barest minimum of backgrounding reveals) an unhinged racist evangelical con man with delusions of grandeur, and is not a leader in the TPM or a founder of any sizable TP group, locally or otherwise. Amazing how so many calling themselves journalists seem completely unable to do that barest minimum of backgrounding before pimping out Robertson as a leader and founder of the TPM. Why, one would almost think they had their own agendas …

    A Conservative Teacher pretty much nails it. The TPM people are a wild card, a diverse bunch of pissed-off populist Howard Beales who are simply fed up with big government. The GOP would love to rope them, brand them, and harness them, but if anything it’s liable to work the other way around.

  • http://centristcoalition.com/blog/ kranky kritter

    What Tully said. Especially that last sentence. These folks seems determined not to be co-opted. This might even be an evolution of our politics along the lines of 4th generation warfare, because, the major parties generally seek to co-opt. That an angry populist movement seems to sense this risk is telling.

    The relentless and condescending dismissals of these folks by liberals? Fuel, plain and simple. Here’s the inconvenient truth for folks eager to dismiss them: They’re going to endure as a force in American politics AT LEAST through the 2012 Presidential election.

    And they are best understood as angry populists, and not through the lens of left versus right political ideology. Anyone who has done a cursory historical survey of populism in America knows that populism is more about anti-establishment sentiment than predominant political ideologies. Folks will fail to understand this movement if they assume that it is overwhelmingly driven by right wingers.

    Are there plenty of right-wingers included? Sure, and certainly some kooks. But there are plenty of moderates who are disaffected enough by current events to seek common cause. We’re talking about a high level of visceral satisfaction among the general public. It is becoming more and more likely that it manifests in an anti-incumbent sentiment this fall, one that spares neither party even if it favors conservatives somewhat.

  • http://autonomyandpolitics.blogspot.com/ mordy

    I think there is a big mistake being made…and that is the tea party movement is a political one.

    In my opinion its more a philosophical movement in regards to the idea of human autonomy….this explains why it is that they are neither Republican or Democrat…..it cant be defined by a political party, its simply the wrong tool for the job.

    The Libertarian position would seem to be more suitable for the movement as it is less political and more a philosophical position on Govts role in an autonomous peoples lives…hence the Tea Party slogan of smaller Govt.

    The GOP thinks smaller Govt means their version of Govt…hence again the disconnect bet. them and many tea party groups.

    What do I think will happen…well being it as a lot of the Tea Partiers are not ready to here the argument for anarcho-capitalism you will find they fall between a very conservative (though less war mongering) candidate and say the Ron Pauls of the world…them being Ron and Rand Paul



  • Chris

    I would be highly surprised if it survives to 2012, but we’ll find out :)

  • blackoutyears

    @Kranky: it’s easy to forget that the Democrats built their party on populism and ran it on that until the schism over civil rights. The GOP picked up the baton (most notably under Nixon) and haven’t looked back. I think people mistake populism as a GOP phenomenon simply because of recent history.

  • http://centristcoalition.com/blog/ kranky kritter

    Chris, it’s already a given that they’re influencing the run up to the 2010 midterms as the most visible face of an overarching anti-establishment sentiment. No way they won’t take a bite out those outcomes, agreed?

    Once the 2010 mid-terms are over, we’re into the 2012 election cycle. Remember that with the presidential election in November 2012, the primaries start in January of 2012, and the maneuvering for support will take up, well, all of 2011. I can’t imagine populist sentiment evaporating in this environment.

    What do you see as a likely force leading to a dissolution of the Tea Party folks and overarching anti-establishment sentiment? Can you craft a plausible narrative in which such folks pack up their toys and go home, whether they go home sated, exhausted, disgraced, or what? [And btw, I think liberals sort of wish and hope for the disgrace scenario, some sort of revelation that in their minds “exposes” these folks as let’s say no more than ignorant haters. But I don’t see that happening. They’re mad, they have numbers, and they aren’t wrong about some important things, like spending.]

  • Chris

    KK, I don’t think it will be the people themselves that give up their populist feelings or anger. I think it will be the media that stops paying attention to them. Once that happens their numbers and support will drain back down to pre-fox news support levels. I do think that they’ll have an impact on 2010 for sure, but I just feel like people will get tired of hearing about them by 2012.