Tea Party baffles leaders in both major parties

The inconsistent — bordering on chaotic — response by the Republican leadership to last Tuesday’s defeat of veteran Washington insider Mike Castle in the Delaware Senate primary, demonstrates clearly that the GOP leaders still have no idea how to respond to the Tea Party movement sweeping the land.  The Democrats, for their part, are either hunkering down in defensive mode — a la Nancy Pelosi — or flailing about trying to out-maneuver the Tea Partiers, as witnessed by President Obama’s ridiculous effort to convince voters his move to repeal the so-called “Bush tax cuts” is really a tax cut itself because he is “allowing” some lucky taxpayers to retain the current tax rates.

Trying to ridicule the Tea Party movement, which many of the Democrats and even some Republican insiders have tried to do, obviously did not and will not work.  The movement simply is too broad-based and lacks clearly defined targets to shoot at.  Even where Tea Party-backed candidates who have won primaries are not the brightest bulbs in the political universe, pointing this out seems only to reinvigorate their supporters and emphasize once again the gulf between inside and outside the Washington Beltway.

Ohio Rep. John Boehner, the Republican Party’s Speaker-in-waiting, voluntarily stuck his foot in his mouth last Sunday when he clearly said he would accept the Obama tax “cut” if that is the “only option” presented to him by the current majority party.  The statement by Boehner confirmed that he still operates with the mindset of a traditional Washington politician willing to take crumbs from those in power because, after all, a few crumbs are better than nothing at all.  Younger Republicans — such as Virginia Rep. Eric Cantor who ranks behind only Boehner in the GOP House heirarchy, and is among those who are beginning to glean the depth of voter anger at Washington politicians — quickly distanced themselves from Boehner’s gaffe.  And even though Obama and the Democrats in the Congress will use Boehner’s remarks in an effort to shield themselves from criticism as the “tax-and-spend” party, whipping up on Boehner or any other of the Washington insiders wearing the GOP label, will not stanch the political blood they are loosing.  In fact, by reminding Tea Partiers that this is all Washington politics, it will more likely invigorate the conservative grass roots.

The sort of political phenomena represented by the Tea Party movement do have consequences.  In 1980, for example, riding the wave not so much of a broad-based political movement as a widespread personal triumph by Ronald Reagan, several newcomers were elected to the Senate and gave Reagan a majority in that body.  While many of those same Senators were defeated six years later, the majority they provided Reagan in his first term allowed him to effect dramatic changes in federal spending and tax policies.  It is, of course, still far too early to predict with any degree of certainty whether the GOP will re-take majorities in the House or the Senate, although the former is appearing increasingly likely.  And even if many of the new crop of challengers who emerge as winners in November lack the horsepower to retain their seats in the long-run, a change in majority in either or both houses of Congress would prove extremely debilitating to Obama.  The current occupant of the White House possesses neither the charm of  a Ronald Reagan nor the pragmatism of a Bill Clinton; qualities necessary for a president to win a second term in such an unsettled environment.

85 comments Add your comment

luangtom

September 17th, 2010
6:46 am

Why is it so hard for the hierarchy of either party to figure what is happening? The American voter does not like the status-quo of Washington, DC, and is fed up with the “crumbs” that either party throws their way. It is time for the voting-base to take back the seats of the House and Senate and put true representatives of the voters back in them. Lobbyist-controlled legislature has gotten us into the fix we are in and the man in the White House cannot see it, the leadership of House and Senate cannot see it. Well, the American people see it and are darned tired of it and are voting their opinions into office and will do so even more in November. If Mrs. O thinks it is hell now, just wait until after November………….

Jack

September 17th, 2010
6:58 am

I really do not understand why everybody is making a big deal about what Boehner said. He was asked and answered if that was his ONLY option. Was he supposed to say no and that he would raise the taxes for everybody? No, cmon people it is not a big deal. I for 1 however, am glad that finally someone in Washington is mature enough to answer a question properly.

Karl Marx

September 17th, 2010
7:04 am

No it is not “the gulf between inside and outside the Washington Beltway.” The issue is the gulf between government and its citizens. You can see the same type issues at the local an state level. In Georgia government officials are trying to make a “temporary toll” permanent so they can go on taxing. At the local level governments are proposing more LOST and threatening to cut police and EMT services if voter don’t approve more taxes. While the private sector is dying under the government caused economy crash federial, state, and local government is passing more and more taxes. both Republicans and Democrats are to blame. We need to institute our own version of term limits and vote these bozos out of office after 1 term.

Jack Bauer

September 17th, 2010
7:05 am

Change it back………………………..

Jack Bauer

September 17th, 2010
7:05 am

Enter your comments here

light

September 17th, 2010
7:07 am

Let God will be done thru this blog http://lightoftheearth.blogspot.com/

Lee

September 17th, 2010
7:12 am

The reason the Tea Party baffles Dems and Reps is that there is not a dimes worth of difference between the two parties. They can’t get it through their thick skulls that the average, middle class, taxpaying citizen is fed up with Washington’s crap. Both parties are responsible for spending America to the brink of bankruptcy.

The Price of Tea in China

September 17th, 2010
7:14 am

The reason it’s difficult to rail against the Tea Party is because there’s not only no leader, but also because there’s no platform. Except for meaningless bromides like “Small Government”, “cut spending”, and “outside the beltway”, (which voters respond to the way they responded to Obama’s vapid “change” mantra), nobody can enunciate an unchallenged stand on the issues for the Tea Party.

It’s like little girls playing Tea Party with plastic cups and pretend tea. There’s nothing there to spill on the schlameil. (Or is it the schlamozzle?) It’s as if Girl Scouts came to your door and sold you cookies and delivered animal crackers instead of Smores. It’s like that one time at band camp a few years later, when those same girl scouts got fresh with the wind instruments, (there was plenty of huffing and puffing, but no music).

Fortunately, the Tea Party is nothing but fat aging baby boomers who feel they never got their own fifteen minutes and think that speaking out to other fat aging baby boomers at meetings makes up for it. They are mostly the Bush Choir who make hesitant gestures and squint their faces when they get caught up in their own soliloquy and then stare out bugged eyed in astonishment when they impress themselves with their own barely-completed sentences. They applaud for every unimportant utterance, no matter how implausible the import. They see themselves as birther pioneers. If one of them ever puts the phrase “lower forty” with “back forty” together, THAT person will be the ‘12 candidate.

I went to a Tea Party meeting once…….once. You know those fattish grey magpies who yell at you when they catch you parking in the expectant mother’s only space? The ones you see in grocery stores pushing around a cart overfilled with carbs and diet sodas. The ones who still wear those shirts with phoney shoulder paddings? The ones who could never be prosecuted for murder because nobody could tell them apart in a police line up? (which makes them doubly dangerous, man). Well, that’s the Tea Party.

Who will vote 4 the Tea Party? The Tea Party. They will split the Repudlickan vote and Obama will win. They are the new Ralph Nader. Unsafe at any weight.

Bitter EX democrackkk

September 17th, 2010
7:23 am

In order to overcome these problems, we must realize that the 2 MOST EVIL FORCES that dominate our existence in Amerikkka ARE the democrackkks AND the republicannots. When
we abolish these parties and require all candidates to be Independent, then we will progress again.
Amerikkka was NEVER meant to be controlled by 2 EVIL political parties…NEVER!

Buzz G

September 17th, 2010
7:35 am

“When people fear the government, there is tyranny. When the government fears the people, there is liberty.” ANONYMOUS

skydog

September 17th, 2010
7:42 am

Bob Barr judging someones charm? HAHAHA

Mr Barr geeks me out as bad as G Gordon Liddy and Don Rumsfield!

stirred, not shaken

September 17th, 2010
7:44 am

@the price of tea in china…tell us how you really feel…..you take umbrage with the TP, and cite ‘yelling at you for parking in an expectant mothers spot” as an example of their (as you perceive it) negative qualities…..so you admit to having a ‘do what i want whether it is right or wrong mentality”? Are you an expectant mother? Maybe this should clue you in to the TP motives. they are sick and tired of government having that “i can do what I want” swagger. We the people ELECT them-they work for us. In the business world, two divisions that would put the company health at risk risk due to hard drawn bitter differences would not be tolerated. The biggest risk I see for the TP is that if they don’t have a clue as you say, someone might mistake them for a washington incumbent……

The Centrist

September 17th, 2010
7:57 am

Somebody please show me where President Obama said that repeal the “Bush tax cuts” is really a tax cut itself? Crickets chirping… What we have seen is Grand Old Party Of NO (GOPONO) reverse-pivot on their own good ideas (40%), obstruct others good ideas that they agree on (40%), and offer no new solutions to our problems that remain in debate (20%). When the Tea Party takes over the GOPONO leadership in Congress, Obama is going to have a field day vetoing all those hair ball bills.

hdhd

September 17th, 2010
7:57 am

Real root of it is that the 2 party system has failed America. During the years the Republicans have gotten away from their roots. Look at the GA senate election: the election was pushed to a run off b/c a lot of deserting of fiscal conservatives voting Libertarian after Chambliss seem to vacate his conservative principals. I guess they kissed and made up, or people realize that Martin would have been (1000s times) worse and Chambliss won the run off. I think a charismatic Tea Party candidate could have successfully challenged Isakson here as well. Johnny is lucky.

Republicans need to stop watching the Tea Party and laughing “ha ha ha they are really giving it to Obama and Dems” when they themselves are almost as bad. Pork projects, TARP, blah, blah. Because really, a “Tea Partier” is just a TRUE FISCAL CONSERVATIVE wrapped up in a stupid name. Scares the Dems because they are so popular. Scares the Repubs because they know they are being pushed out and possible replaced by people b/c they have lost their connection to their true conservative roots.

yea!!!

September 17th, 2010
8:05 am

Thank you “price of tea in china” You are what we need to hear more from…people like me, that has been toooo busy trying to make a living, play by the rules and spend only what I make, did not realize there are people like you out there that can take it all away from us. We are the sleeping giant and we are awake now.

dagnabit

September 17th, 2010
8:06 am

Where the tea party candidate does well, the democratic nominee is cut and dried. Perhaps democrats are inserting themselves into republican politics. Like Delaware.

luckysnap

September 17th, 2010
8:10 am

Obama voters voted for CHANGE. Well, the Tea Party is giving it to them.

MC

September 17th, 2010
8:14 am

I stumbled onto a Tea Party meeting in a Cobb County park a while back and it didn’t take 5 minutes for it to evolve into bashing everything and everybody that wasn’t white. That’s my problem with the Tea Party. That group has more variations of mixed nuts that a can of Planters.

Barring The Truth

September 17th, 2010
8:24 am

HYPOCRIT REPUBLICANS RISE AGAIN….

In Delaware, the republican party (national and state) said that O’Donnald was unelectable – that she was a kook – that she was crazy and could never become a politican. They told everyone to vote for ‘their’ candidate and not her – the Tea Party person running in the republican primary.

Well, the republican voters didn’t listen and she won the primary.

What was the republican official response? They wrote her a check for $42,000.

Oh my.

Mr. Spock

September 17th, 2010
8:26 am

The only logical solution, Captain, is term limits.

skydog

September 17th, 2010
8:28 am

Kinda like the author of this blog.

The Price of Tea in China

September 17th, 2010
8:52 am

A poetic point goes misunderstood. I was merely trying to remind the voters that there are no good nudniks who want their damn 15 minutes. Those people are the ones who chased after you when you toilet papered their house. They’re the ones who called the cops when you threw a stink bomb in their stairwell, (and ran). (or let the air out of their tires. Doesn’t anyone remember community college?) They’re the ones who know what to say to phone call pranksters, like they’ve been rehearsing their whole lives for that one call from a prankster that may or may not ever come.

They’re the ones who think you can invade Iraq for what happened in Afghanistan. They are a total menace. They need to be suppressed with freedom loving functionaries.

Davo

September 17th, 2010
8:52 am

I like to refer to them as the White Pity Party; no real agenda…just really angry.

Moderate Line

September 17th, 2010
9:02 am

to take crumbs from those in power because, after all, a few crumbs are better than nothing at all

So tax cuts for the middle class are crumbs.

If I was advising Repub I would tell them to do exactly what Boehner did. The Democrats were going to use the issue just like I just did against Repub to show how the Repub are for the rich.

With so many Dem supporting extending all tax cuts I would expect Boehner will have his cake an eat it to since all tax cuts will be probably be extended.

Pappa Grizzly

September 17th, 2010
9:03 am

Let’s shut down the federal government and make all those freeloading welfare queens, federal workers and federal retirees do some honest work.

Lunatic Fringe

September 17th, 2010
9:11 am

ge that somehow lost favor because their shrill and controlling voices became a detriment to Republican rule.The problem with the Tea Party is that they are a fraud. We know what they are against – basically everything Obama has said, done, not done, not said – but we have no idea what they are FOR (except, perhaps, the repeal of everything mentioned above). They are simple Republicans acting outside the party. Once anointed with power, they will merge with the Republicans once and this little exercise of populist angst will whither and die away.

Lunatic Fringe

September 17th, 2010
9:11 am

The problem with the Tea Party is that they are a fraud. We know what they are against – basically everything Obama has said, done, not done, not said – but we have no idea what they are FOR (except, perhaps, the repeal of everything mentioned above). They are simple Republicans acting outside the party. Once anointed with power, they will merge with the Republicans once again and this little exercise of populist angst will whither and die away.

Master of the Universe

September 17th, 2010
9:14 am

It is unbelievable that another person as inept as Jimah Carter has been elected President. Maybe that’s what it took for the American sheep to wake up and realize that they had ceded to much power to the government. The Tea Party likely isn’t the answer. But it is indicative that the masses are finally waking up that career politicians should be on the endagered list and the 2 parties that are in power are out of touch with the people they represent.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

September 17th, 2010
9:27 am

Good essay Mr. Barr. I agree with jack @ 6:08. Otherwise I love the chaos Tea Partiers inflicted on Washington insiders. After decades of Washington inflicting chaos on free people, it is simply payback. I have high hopes that the tea party candidates will prove as disconcerting to the establishment as Messrs DeMint and Coburn.

Richard

September 17th, 2010
9:28 am

I think what really should be driving the tea party is comments like what Karl Rove made. When he was asked if he would vote for O’Donnel (after he said how bad of a candidate she is) his response was “Oh I’m for the republican.”

This is what’s wrong with politics in this country. People are voting for the person who is flying under a banner with no consideration as to what the person’s qualifications, ideas or stances are on issues. This is exactly what is angering the American people, and the American people are coming out in full force against it.

Normally when one party takes a hit in approval rating the other ones gets a boost. That’s not what’s happening now. Both parties are taking nose dives. November will be interesting.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

September 17th, 2010
9:32 am

Dear Richard @ 9:28, we would agree that tea partiers are not “credentialists.” They would not, for example, elect a man president whose only accomplishments in life were (1) two autobiorgraphies, (2) work as a community organizer, and (3) brief time as a guest lecturer on the living breathing Constitution.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

September 17th, 2010
9:36 am

The divide between tea partiers and the “others” is striking, and favorable to the tea partiers. The tea partiers uniformly promise to reduce spending. Establishment Republicans are silent, and Democrats vow to “reduce the deficit” via tax increases exclusively. Those latter positions set a low bar for the Tea Partiers.

JF McNamara

September 17th, 2010
9:58 am

So basically, we’re coming to the point where there can be no compromise. If you a Republican, you have to have the hardest line imaginable and stick to your ideals even though those ideals probably only reflect 50% of the population (If they reflected more, they would already have a strong majority). What’s happening right now is just bad.

Fear and anger are outpacing common sense and reason. We’re in deep, deep trouble. Ever wonder how countries end up with dictators and religious cults in leadership? Look at what’s happening now.

Jefferson

September 17th, 2010
10:01 am

1. There is no tea party. They have (R) behind their names on the ballot.

Republicans mad at republicans for doing such a bad job when they were in power, thinking they will do different, when in fact they don’t. They have no credibility but want forgivness for driving the country in the ditch when they were driving.

Goofy republicans, so far is all I see when you say tea.

Richard

September 17th, 2010
10:10 am

Ragnar Danneskjöld,

You missed my point. I’m saying the established political climate is to vote for anyone with the R or D next to their name with no regard to any substance. Karl Rove illustrates that perfectly when he says O’Donnel is a bad candidate and then says he’s for the Republican. If you think someone is a bad candidate, you shouldn’t be voting for them regardless of the R or D.

Barack

September 17th, 2010
10:13 am

“I have a great idea…lets raise taxes to help reduce the unemployment rate. Take that Tea Party”

hryder

September 17th, 2010
10:16 am

The response to the Tea Party is little different than that to ILLEGAL immigration and responses from public persons out of touch with common sense. People want to be here in the USA due to the opportunities available for all citizens. Demanding such things as not having to be fluent in english, not waiting in line one for entry, possessing an education and/or job skills, et cetera changes the country and then it becomes just the identical situation that lead them to leave the country where they believed they were oppressed.

Grumpy

September 17th, 2010
10:21 am

Peggy Noonan’s article in today’s WSJ is a great read about the Tea Party.

Al Gore

September 17th, 2010
10:26 am

At least the Tea Party is concerned about global warming.

redneckbluedog

September 17th, 2010
11:53 am

I heard that the Tea Party was being funded by Al-Queida..;-)…just sayin’…it may be worth looking in to..

Don'tWaitStopQuit

September 17th, 2010
11:57 am

Enter your comments here

Jimmah Cahtah

September 17th, 2010
11:59 am

The Tea Party is Ted Kennedy’s fault.

Can I please move up the list of ex-presidents now?

Don'tWaitStopQuit

September 17th, 2010
12:04 pm

The Tea Party policy seems to be “Don’t -Wait-Stop-Quit”. Not an effective way to govern. Still waiting to hear the “Do-Proceed-Go-Try” side of this policy. Still waiting. Still waiting. Still waiting. Oh, silly me, there is no other side.

SouthernLiving

September 17th, 2010
12:52 pm

Democrats and Republicans are just opposite sides of the same coin.

Ezra

September 17th, 2010
1:02 pm

The Price of Tea in China

September 17th, 2010
7:14 am
I went to a Tea Party event and I was totally suprised at the young looking participants. You know the kind in their 30’s with mortgages and kids in school. Some told me they were Democrats but were sickened by the take over of their party by liberals. As the conversation continued that person inferred that their jobs were more concern than healthcare, stimulus, or tarp. Hey, they were dumbfounded that their party totally ignored it.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

September 17th, 2010
1:18 pm

Dear Richard, I think your perspective is clouded by your beliefs. People who tend to vote Republican are ideological, and define “most qualified” as “most conservative.” People who tend to vote Democrat are more likely to be cultists, asking only “who’s your daddy” and “where did you go to school.”

Junior Samples

September 17th, 2010
1:24 pm

The problem with outsiders is, they’re outside.
Once inside, they’re now insiders.

Power corrupts completely.

jconservative

September 17th, 2010
2:33 pm

“…the majority they provided Reagan in his first term allowed him to effect dramatic changes in federal spending and tax policies.”

Bob, I love use of the phrase “dramatic changes in federal spending and tax policies”. It is incorrect, but I love the wording.

Correctly stated the comment would be “the majority they provided Reagan in his first term allowed him to effect devasting changes in federal spending and tax policies.”

Devasting because Reagan led a fight to cut taxes and dramatically increase spending.

When Reagan was sworn in the National Debt was $957 billion.

After 30 years of Reagan’s policies the National Debt is $13.6 Trillion.

And Obama is just another version of Reagan, cut taxes and increase spending. To date Obama has managed to cut taxes, increase spending,
get two Court nominees through the Senate and expand the war in Afghanistan. As a result the nation debt is up another $2 trillion from the $11.6 trillion at the end of Bush 43’s term.

I trust that the Tea Party members really see the light instead of just blindly flailing at windmills. I feel it is the latter.

Three month ago a group of Tea Party members rom South Carolina visited Lindsay Graham in his office. They told him they were going to “take back our country”. He asked them what were their plans for the country once they got it back. He is still waiting for an answer.

I would have answered him instantly, cut spending, cut spending, cut spending & look at taxes in four years.

Bill Johnson

September 17th, 2010
2:35 pm

Fight the Tea Party all you want. price-o-tea, you described Code Pink beeches to a T. And those unwashed libbies that infest the streets outside – oh, Davos, G-8, Repub convention.

You probably think they’re just fine, and your feces emit no smell.

November be comin. You be cryin. CYA BYE

SS Obamatanic

September 17th, 2010
2:49 pm

Good to see the left wing going down as well as the neo-cons.