The Tea Party Panic

By: Charlie Sprague | Feb 19, 2010 | 725 Views Opinion |

The “Tea Party Nation” held its first national convention on February 4. The enthusiasm surrounding and national media coverage of this event testified to the ever-increasing national strength of the Tea Party movement. This momentum should make the Republican Party very afraid. Similar to the Birther movement, this related manifestation of right-wing extremism represents a political fire that could seriously burn the GOP.

First of all, any movement that brings Sarah Palin back into the spotlight is bad for the Republicans. Although her speech to the Tea Party national convention has generated very different reactions, it is undeniable that the speech has brought her back into the limelight of national politics. Palin may inspire a dedicated base of followers, but the broad electorate’s lack of confidence in her was revealed in a recent Washington Post-ABC News poll found that 71% of Americans do not feel she is qualified to be president. Unfortunately for those wanting a Republican to win the White House in 2012, Nate Silver thinks Palin could win the Republican nomination for President. Given her performance in the 2008 campaign, President Obama must be praying for that outcome.

Another speaker at the Tea Party Nation convention is also toxic for the Republican brand: Tom Tancredo. The former Congressman from Colorado delivered an angry rant against immigrants. Bashing immigrants is not good for the Republican Party’s long-term political viability in a country with ever-increasing numbers of Latinos. If the Republicans want their relationship with the Latino community to resemble their relationship with the black community, Tancredo is the perfect man for the job.

Tea-partiers have already probably hurt the Republicans. They claim credit for forcing the moderate Republican Dede Scozzafava out of the race for New York’s 23rd congressional district last year, which then allowed a Democrat to win a normally very safe Republican seat. They may be overstating their role in this electoral failure, but the fact remains that their brand of right-wing populism is a major political liability for the Republican Party. Winning the center is essential in American politics, but this will be extremely difficult if they are closely associated with self-described rightist counter-revolutionaries.

The political damage could get even worse for the GOP. Tea Party activists are even talking about running their own candidates in congressional elections! Indeed, Tea Party activists are currently preparing to field their own candidate to do battle for Harry Reid’s Senate seat. Given that the overwhelming majority of Tea Party activists would vote for a Republican in a two-way race, this development can only be described as a gift for Democrats.

The Republican Party may be able to prevent this vote splitting if it can successfully incorporate the Tea Party into the fold. After all, absorption within one of the major two parties has been the fate of most third party movements in American history. This task will not be easy, however, as the Tea Party movement is highly critical of the Republican Party as a whole for participating in the expansion of Big Government. Already, activists are becoming dismayed by the prospect of Palin hijacking the Tea Party movement.

I find the bizarreness of the Tea Party phenomenon a bit creepy. The Republican establishment should be absolutely terrified.

About the Author

I love to debate, but I hate it when people take arguments about their politics personally. I love to travel for free. It's one of the best things I've gotten from my CMC education. Sunday is often the most frustrating day of my week (I'm a 49ers fan).

  • Teal Lennox

    Polls are so fickle.

    I’m from So-Cal as well and you’d be surprised by the diverse amount of support and admiration Governor Palin has among people who normally are not involved with politics and do not fit the “typical Republican” profile either ethnically or economically. I certainly have not been polled yet and I could care less what a bunch of journalists and beltway insiders so very out of touch with mainstream America have to say about the lady whose leadership this country, and world for that matter so desperately needs.

    Palin proves that even in the filthy, degraded state our nation is in–a woman can represent such moral fortitude and class. She reminds people of why so many immigrated to America in the first place. FREEDOM. Plus her blue collar ties, family values, social views, and faith are much more in sync with the immigrant populations than the leftists, which do not realize it yet, but are losing ground among groups they normally “owned” and manipulated politically.

    Think California and Prop 8. Traditional marriage was preserved largely because of ethnic/racial minority votes.

    • palinlover

      Sarah Palin is a political prostitute, choosing to only critique those whom are not on her side. How can one person go on a tirade against Family Guy and Rahm Emanuel for making fun of “retards” or people with down syndrome, and then actively defend Rush Limbaugh’s use of the word “retard” is beyond me. But then she changes her mind and attacks Rush Limbaugh’s use of the word a few days later because popular opinion polls show people think she is flip flopping.

      Thats not integrity. Thats a nickel prostitute selling herself for whatever she can get.

  • Teal Lennox

    Polls are so fickle.

    I’m from So-Cal as well and you’d be surprised by the diverse amount of support and admiration Governor Palin has among people who normally are not involved with politics and do not fit the “typical Republican” profile either ethnically or economically. I certainly have not been polled yet and I could care less what a bunch of journalists and beltway insiders so very out of touch with mainstream America have to say about the lady whose leadership this country, and world for that matter so desperately needs.

    Palin proves that even in the filthy, degraded state our nation is in–a woman can represent such moral fortitude and class. She reminds people of why so many immigrated to America in the first place. FREEDOM. Plus her blue collar ties, family values, social views, and faith are much more in sync with the immigrant populations than the leftists, which do not realize it yet, but are losing ground among groups they normally “owned” and manipulated politically.

    Think California and Prop 8. Traditional marriage was preserved largely because of ethnic/racial minority votes.

    • palinlover

      Sarah Palin is a political prostitute, choosing to only critique those whom are not on her side. How can one person go on a tirade against Family Guy and Rahm Emanuel for making fun of “retards” or people with down syndrome, and then actively defend Rush Limbaugh’s use of the word “retard” is beyond me. But then she changes her mind and attacks Rush Limbaugh’s use of the word a few days later because popular opinion polls show people think she is flip flopping.

      Thats not integrity. Thats a nickel prostitute selling herself for whatever she can get.

  • Teal Lennox

    Plus Palin’s husband is Native American.
    Her son has Down’s Syndrome.

    Palin has closer ties to minority groups who are most discriminated against in this country than most other political figures do.

    And look for more websites like these to appear in the near future:

    http://www.AsiansForPalin.com

    In terms of Tea Party candidates: Be on the look out for more black American candidates such as Lt. Colonel Allen West who is running for Congress in Florida’s 22nd district. He is running as a Republican. You’ll find that most Tea Partiers are not 3rd Party minded.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VP2p91dvm6M

    Of course people like West don’t get mainstream media attention just yet–they pose too much of a threat and have a vested interest in perpetuating false notions about the Tea Party and the majority of people involved with it.

  • Teal Lennox

    Plus Palin’s husband is Native American.
    Her son has Down’s Syndrome.

    Palin has closer ties to minority groups who are most discriminated against in this country than most other political figures do.

    And look for more websites like these to appear in the near future:

    http://www.AsiansForPalin.com

    In terms of Tea Party candidates: Be on the look out for more black American candidates such as Lt. Colonel Allen West who is running for Congress in Florida’s 22nd district. He is running as a Republican. You’ll find that most Tea Partiers are not 3rd Party minded.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VP2p91dvm6M

    Of course people like West don’t get mainstream media attention just yet–they pose too much of a threat and have a vested interest in perpetuating false notions about the Tea Party and the majority of people involved with it.

  • Murray

    The Economist has Poll results on peoples view of the Tea Party. It is only the MSM that seems to be trying to marginalize the Tea Party with these claims of extremism.

    Tea partiers see themselves as part of the country’s majority: 88% of them think most Americans have a favourable view of the movement. They are right, but it is close: among those who have heard of the movement, 53% have a favourable view of it, while 48% say unfavourable.

    • Tea partiers are much more concerned about government spending than are other Americans. The budget deficit is their number two issue, behind only the economy (38% say the economy is their most important issue, 23% name the deficit). Forty percent of Americans overall cite the economy, 17% name health care (mentioned by only 11% of tea partiers), and only 8% say the deficit is the country’s most important issue.

    http://www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2010/02/economistyougov_poll_0

  • Murray

    The Economist has Poll results on peoples view of the Tea Party. It is only the MSM that seems to be trying to marginalize the Tea Party with these claims of extremism.

    Tea partiers see themselves as part of the country’s majority: 88% of them think most Americans have a favourable view of the movement. They are right, but it is close: among those who have heard of the movement, 53% have a favourable view of it, while 48% say unfavourable.

    • Tea partiers are much more concerned about government spending than are other Americans. The budget deficit is their number two issue, behind only the economy (38% say the economy is their most important issue, 23% name the deficit). Forty percent of Americans overall cite the economy, 17% name health care (mentioned by only 11% of tea partiers), and only 8% say the deficit is the country’s most important issue.

    http://www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2010/02/economistyougov_poll_0

  • jenny

    What bigoted, sexist garbage spewing from your sick mind…

  • jenny

    What bigoted, sexist garbage spewing from your sick mind…

  • Teal Lennox

    oops typo correction:

    “Of course people like West don’t get mainstream media attention just yet–they pose too much of a threat and have a vested interest in perpetuating false notions about the Tea Party and the majority of people involved with it.”

    what I meant was, the MEDIA ELITES have a vested interest in perpetuating false notions about the Tea Party…it’s a lot more diverse and widespread than people want to believe and NOT composed of the few nutcases you’d find in any movement. Reverend Wright or Bill Ayers ring a bell?

    Face it: most Americans especially those who immigrated here, are not socialist. They came here for freedom, they own small businesses, they want prosperity. The Obama/Reid/Pelosi Admin has robbed them of all three!

  • Teal Lennox

    oops typo correction:

    “Of course people like West don’t get mainstream media attention just yet–they pose too much of a threat and have a vested interest in perpetuating false notions about the Tea Party and the majority of people involved with it.”

    what I meant was, the MEDIA ELITES have a vested interest in perpetuating false notions about the Tea Party…it’s a lot more diverse and widespread than people want to believe and NOT composed of the few nutcases you’d find in any movement. Reverend Wright or Bill Ayers ring a bell?

    Face it: most Americans especially those who immigrated here, are not socialist. They came here for freedom, they own small businesses, they want prosperity. The Obama/Reid/Pelosi Admin has robbed them of all three!

  • Howard

    This guy never had an original thought. He parrots the liberal line almost word for word. It does get pretty old. Obama has zero experience at anything and yet he is idolized by the left.

    • Phillip McCrevice

      speaking of parotting a line–congrats on saying the exact same talking points of ol’ Maverick McCain’s campaign. that turned out realllllll good.

  • Howard

    This guy never had an original thought. He parrots the liberal line almost word for word. It does get pretty old. Obama has zero experience at anything and yet he is idolized by the left.

    • Phillip McCrevice

      speaking of parotting a line–congrats on saying the exact same talking points of ol’ Maverick McCain’s campaign. that turned out realllllll good.

  • good luck charile

    yayyyyyyyy. 127 comments, hundreds of views for your tea bagger article. now you’ve decided to try and see if you can top that outing.

    good luck. the forum’s hit count will love you this month

  • good luck charile

    yayyyyyyyy. 127 comments, hundreds of views for your tea bagger article. now you’ve decided to try and see if you can top that outing.

    good luck. the forum’s hit count will love you this month

  • Teal Lennox

    final post (last typo correction)

    “..Tea Party is..a lot more diverse and widespread than people want to believe and NOT composed of the few nutcases you’d find in any movement. Reverend Wright or Bill Ayers ring a bell? ”

    I meant: every movement has its nutcases–but that doesn’t mean the nutcases compose the vast MAJORITY of the movement.

  • Teal Lennox

    final post (last typo correction)

    “..Tea Party is..a lot more diverse and widespread than people want to believe and NOT composed of the few nutcases you’d find in any movement. Reverend Wright or Bill Ayers ring a bell? ”

    I meant: every movement has its nutcases–but that doesn’t mean the nutcases compose the vast MAJORITY of the movement.

  • NickAtNight

    Aw, how cute. A liberal worried about the welfare of the Republican party… Isn’t that sweet.

  • NickAtNight

    Aw, how cute. A liberal worried about the welfare of the Republican party… Isn’t that sweet.

  • NickAtNight

    <<>>

    Cool. The movement to stop our government from spending like irresponsible drunken sailors gains steam.

  • NickAtNight

    <<>>

    Cool. The movement to stop our government from spending like irresponsible drunken sailors gains steam.

  • NickAtNight

    The enthusiasm surrounding and national media coverage of this event (Tea Party Conference)

  • NickAtNight

    The enthusiasm surrounding and national media coverage of this event (Tea Party Conference)

  • NickAtNight

    testified to the ever-increasing national strength of the Tea Party movement.

  • NickAtNight

    testified to the ever-increasing national strength of the Tea Party movement.

  • http://thedragontalking.blogspot.com/ Brian Rush

    I agree with this article completely, and therefore strongly encourage the people who have commented before me to stick to their guns and maintain their confidence. I’m sure their attitude is: So what if our activism costs the GOP gains in this election? It’s not like the GOP is worth a damn anyway! And of course they’re right. Go for it, my lemming-like friends!

  • http://thedragontalking.blogspot.com/ Brian Rush

    I agree with this article completely, and therefore strongly encourage the people who have commented before me to stick to their guns and maintain their confidence. I’m sure their attitude is: So what if our activism costs the GOP gains in this election? It’s not like the GOP is worth a damn anyway! And of course they’re right. Go for it, my lemming-like friends!

  • http://www.thirdpartypatriots.org Jim Knapp

    ““I’d rather have 30 Republicans in the Senate who believe in the principles of freedom than 60 who don’t believe in anything,” Sen Jim DeMint

    Our country needs a revolution, voting for a Democrat or a Republican is not revolutionary, it is big business as usual.

    Neither party represents the average hard working American.

    THE DNC = appear on the surface to represent socialist, welfare recipients, illegal alien loving, multiculturalists and those who look to the government for free cheese. But if you follow the money and their votes, they are whores for big business and Wall Street just as much as the Republicans. AND THIS WILL NEVER CHANGE!

    THE GOP = appear to be patriotic, flag waving, constitution loving Americans, but if you follow the money they are New World Order loving, oligarch supporting, pro Wall Street, Pro Communist China, pro illegal immigration, pro outsourcing American jobs, pro shipping our manufacturing base overseas and just all around lying sacks of manure. AND THIS WILL NEVER CHANGE!

    The Tea Party’s idea of limited government is completely different than the GOP’s idea of limited government. Tea partiers don’t want the government taxing and controlling every single aspect of our lives; while the GOP wants the government to deregulate everything so they can expand corporate globalism to increase profits.

    Tea Partiers are also very angry about Wall Street, yet even after the collapse of Wall Street; Republicans are fighting all regulations on banks and Wall Street trading houses. Yet they still want to support Republicans?

    America needs a populist third party alternative to break up the corporate globalist controlled oligarchy we now have.

    A third party would not need to vote out every RINO, neocon, Republican or Liberal Democrat. We only need to take 10% of the House seats, this is very doable in conservative states. With 10% of congress we could control the agenda in Washington. Eventually, as the party proved itself and grew, we could take the Whitehouse.

    http://www.thirdpartypatriots.org
    Facebook: Third Party Patriots

  • http://www.thirdpartypatriots.org Jim Knapp

    ““I’d rather have 30 Republicans in the Senate who believe in the principles of freedom than 60 who don’t believe in anything,” Sen Jim DeMint

    Our country needs a revolution, voting for a Democrat or a Republican is not revolutionary, it is big business as usual.

    Neither party represents the average hard working American.

    THE DNC = appear on the surface to represent socialist, welfare recipients, illegal alien loving, multiculturalists and those who look to the government for free cheese. But if you follow the money and their votes, they are whores for big business and Wall Street just as much as the Republicans. AND THIS WILL NEVER CHANGE!

    THE GOP = appear to be patriotic, flag waving, constitution loving Americans, but if you follow the money they are New World Order loving, oligarch supporting, pro Wall Street, Pro Communist China, pro illegal immigration, pro outsourcing American jobs, pro shipping our manufacturing base overseas and just all around lying sacks of manure. AND THIS WILL NEVER CHANGE!

    The Tea Party’s idea of limited government is completely different than the GOP’s idea of limited government. Tea partiers don’t want the government taxing and controlling every single aspect of our lives; while the GOP wants the government to deregulate everything so they can expand corporate globalism to increase profits.

    Tea Partiers are also very angry about Wall Street, yet even after the collapse of Wall Street; Republicans are fighting all regulations on banks and Wall Street trading houses. Yet they still want to support Republicans?

    America needs a populist third party alternative to break up the corporate globalist controlled oligarchy we now have.

    A third party would not need to vote out every RINO, neocon, Republican or Liberal Democrat. We only need to take 10% of the House seats, this is very doable in conservative states. With 10% of congress we could control the agenda in Washington. Eventually, as the party proved itself and grew, we could take the Whitehouse.

    http://www.thirdpartypatriots.org
    Facebook: Third Party Patriots

  • http://claremontportside.com Andrew Bluebond

    Round Table will be disappointed with its untargeted advertising. Charlie’s articles bring in strange people from distant lands who can’t take advantage of the “poor student special.”

  • http://claremontportside.com Andrew Bluebond

    Round Table will be disappointed with its untargeted advertising. Charlie’s articles bring in strange people from distant lands who can’t take advantage of the “poor student special.”

  • this needs to stop

    Charlie you always seem to write the articles that bring out the right-wing nutjobs that troll the internet eager to defy anybody that writes something that doesn’t fit into the moronic conception of the world.

    I’m talking to you, Teal Lennox.

  • this needs to stop

    Charlie you always seem to write the articles that bring out the right-wing nutjobs that troll the internet eager to defy anybody that writes something that doesn’t fit into the moronic conception of the world.

    I’m talking to you, Teal Lennox.

  • http://claremontconservative.com Charles C. Johnson

    Oh Charlie, you remind me of what Reagan once said: It’s not that our liberal friends are ignorant, it’s that they know so much that isn’t so. I’m sorry, but as you are someone who routinely believes the radical left on unfounded allegations of torture and that you support eugenics, I’m inclined to think your prognostications on the state of the GOP will fall on deaf ears. (Hey, why does the Forum pay for these rants, anyways? We can get this stuff elsewhere and we can get it better than Sprague’s writing.) Here are a few points:

    1. How silly of you to bring up a poll related to Palin. I guess we should be predicting Obama’s downfall, then, because dozens of polls have him at under 50%. Oh, and I’ll take a $300 bet that the GOP will nominate Sarah Palin. They won’t nominate her. You know where to find me.

    2. You’re lying about the Tancredo speech. He actually said in that speech that he supported legal immigration, but was against illegal immigration — not immigrants.

    3. Hoffman is leading Bill Owens again and the seat will definitely flip back, as will most of the country in the 2010 elections. (By the way, the people of the 23rd aren’t too pleased about Owens lying about what he was and wasn’t going to vote for.) I’m proud that the electorate didn’t elect someone who was the most left congressional Republican candidate in the country. She didn’t even have a nomination process. She was appointed by about 12 people for the party. How undemocratic is that?

    4. You may well be right about the third parties, but I doubt it. It had no effect in the New Jersey race and it’ll have no effect on a Harry Reid election. Tea partiers — of which I am one — will not miss the opportunity to get rid of Harry Reid.

    5. How is the tea party “populist”? They are economically fiscal and don’t much discuss social issues. Yours is the party that’s populist — at least economically.

  • http://claremontconservative.com Charles C. Johnson

    Oh Charlie, you remind me of what Reagan once said: It’s not that our liberal friends are ignorant, it’s that they know so much that isn’t so. I’m sorry, but as you are someone who routinely believes the radical left on unfounded allegations of torture and that you support eugenics, I’m inclined to think your prognostications on the state of the GOP will fall on deaf ears. (Hey, why does the Forum pay for these rants, anyways? We can get this stuff elsewhere and we can get it better than Sprague’s writing.) Here are a few points:

    1. How silly of you to bring up a poll related to Palin. I guess we should be predicting Obama’s downfall, then, because dozens of polls have him at under 50%. Oh, and I’ll take a $300 bet that the GOP will nominate Sarah Palin. They won’t nominate her. You know where to find me.

    2. You’re lying about the Tancredo speech. He actually said in that speech that he supported legal immigration, but was against illegal immigration — not immigrants.

    3. Hoffman is leading Bill Owens again and the seat will definitely flip back, as will most of the country in the 2010 elections. (By the way, the people of the 23rd aren’t too pleased about Owens lying about what he was and wasn’t going to vote for.) I’m proud that the electorate didn’t elect someone who was the most left congressional Republican candidate in the country. She didn’t even have a nomination process. She was appointed by about 12 people for the party. How undemocratic is that?

    4. You may well be right about the third parties, but I doubt it. It had no effect in the New Jersey race and it’ll have no effect on a Harry Reid election. Tea partiers — of which I am one — will not miss the opportunity to get rid of Harry Reid.

    5. How is the tea party “populist”? They are economically fiscal and don’t much discuss social issues. Yours is the party that’s populist — at least economically.

  • SherlockHolmes

    First of all, let’s not beat around the bush. Tancredo is a xenophobe. Blurb about his speech from the Economist: “…when voters who could ‘not even spell the word ‘vote’ or say it in English’ put that ‘socialist ideologue’, Barack Hussein (Mr Tancredo’s emphasis) Obama, into the White House…Mr Tancredo denounced the ‘cult of multiculturalism’ and accused immigrants of swamping America’s Judeo-Christian values.”

  • SherlockHolmes

    First of all, let’s not beat around the bush. Tancredo is a xenophobe. Blurb about his speech from the Economist: “…when voters who could ‘not even spell the word ‘vote’ or say it in English’ put that ‘socialist ideologue’, Barack Hussein (Mr Tancredo’s emphasis) Obama, into the White House…Mr Tancredo denounced the ‘cult of multiculturalism’ and accused immigrants of swamping America’s Judeo-Christian values.”

  • http://msn darin

    i could run a ham sandwich against obama and win in 2012– the dude has RECORD, unemployment, RECORD spending, RECORD house forclosures, and accomplished zero in almost 2 years– he was a zero in 08 and hes still a zero– if you think mccain got all those votes in 08, your crazy-

  • Student

    Nice Darin, and he inherited RECORD bad shit. You sound like Sean Hannity or some other Fox News talking head. Also not sure you paid attention to this but, ‘the dude’, your president, was inaugurated on January 20th 2009. Today, is February 22nd 2010. That is about 385 days, 2 years is 730 days. Tell the next ‘dude’ who inherits the shit storm he did to turn it all around 385 days, while dealing with RECORD partisanship, and absurd biases like yours, and I doubt he’ll come up with anything better than a ham sandwich.

  • Student

    Nice Darin, and he inherited RECORD bad shit. You sound like Sean Hannity or some other Fox News talking head. Also not sure you paid attention to this but, ‘the dude’, your president, was inaugurated on January 20th 2009. Today, is February 22nd 2010. That is about 385 days, 2 years is 730 days. Tell the next ‘dude’ who inherits the shit storm he did to turn it all around 385 days, while dealing with RECORD partisanship, and absurd biases like yours, and I doubt he’ll come up with anything better than a ham sandwich.

  • CMCer

    Hahaha, I like how Palin got called out by the girl on Family guy who VA’d the girl with Down Syndrome, (the Actor actually has it) who said that she basically sells out her son because he has it.

  • CMCer

    Hahaha, I like how Palin got called out by the girl on Family guy who VA’d the girl with Down Syndrome, (the Actor actually has it) who said that she basically sells out her son because he has it.

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