Is the tea party over?

Is the tea party movement already weak tea? Has the anti-government, anti-Obama movement already peaked?

A new ABC-Washington Post poll shows that half of Americans now view the tea party unfavorably. Besides that, its political endorsements have not turned out as well as many had hoped.

In Nevada, tea party members are fussing and finger-pointing over the election of Sharron Angle as the GOP nominee to face Harry Reid. Some are pointing out the obvious: Angle, a former state legislator with fringe views, isn’t the strongest candidate against Reid.

In Virginia, tea partiers put forward so many candidates for congressional seats that establishment-backed candidates won the nomination. It turns out that anger, which primarily motivates tea party supporters, is no substitute for organization. From the WaPo:

“No one owns the tea party brand, and that’s kind of the problem,” said Brendan Steinhauser, grass-roots director for FreedomWorks, which organizes tea party groups. “In Virginia — it breaks my heart. You’ve got six self-appointed tea party candidates and one establishment guy. You’re not going to beat the establishment guy in that situation” . . .

The discord is not only striking races such as those in Virginia’s 2nd and 5th congressional districts, where large fields of tea party candidates lost the Republican nomination to better organized establishment picks. It is also evident in races where tea party candidates have won — including Nevada, where Angle cruised to victory Tuesday with endorsements from the Tea Party Express, FreedomWorks and the fiscally conservative Club for Growth.

Even more demoralizing for activists, perhaps, is that disapproval of the tea party is at an all-time high, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. The poll showed that 50 percent of Americans have an unfavorable view of the movement, compared with 39 percent in March.

This wouldn’t be the first time an American political movement began to fade soon after an energetic, even sizzling, beginning. And other movements — think Ross Perot — had the advantage of a charismatic leader. To survive, the tea party movement has an even steeper hill to climb because there is no central, guiding force.

The movement still has a few strengths, including enthusiasm in the South, where it has an outsized effect on electoral politics. In Kentucky, tea party favorite Rand Paul has a good chance of becoming that state’s next senator. And Sarah Palin, queen of the tea party, has enough clout to lift an also-ran candidate such as Nikki Haley to the front ranks. She is also an odds-on favorite for election in November.

But the truth is, the tea party was never a strong or widespread movement. Only 18 percent of voters identify themselves as tea party supporters. But its loud, publicity-oriented antics draw news media attention, giving it more an appearance of clout than actual influence.

277 comments Add your comment

Bob

June 14th, 2010
7:43 am

The tea party has more favorable ratings than Obama, are you ready to admit he is over ?

Scofflaw

June 14th, 2010
7:48 am

Maybe if the Tea Party activists would stop dressing up like Indians and trespassing on docked ships more voters would take them seriously.

Peadawg

June 14th, 2010
7:48 am

“Is the tea party over?”

Not while you keep writing articles about them.

Peadawg

June 14th, 2010
7:49 am

“Maybe if the Tea Party activists would stop dressing up like Indians and trespassing on docked ships more voters would take them seriously.”

True. And maybe if Obama would stop acting like a clown people would take him seriously as well.

Granny Godzilla

June 14th, 2010
7:51 am

FinnMcCool

June 14th, 2010
7:54 am

No!!!!!! We need them to divide the Republican tickets in November.

divide and conquer — the Ross Perot/Ralph Nader way

Bigmo

June 14th, 2010
8:00 am

That will change once White Nationalist(from the North not South) start appearing. Its not a conservative movement, its a Nationalist movement but they are not able to express that since its a taboo and a stigma subject until somebody does it for them EXPLICITLY. It will be about mass immigration and White displacement period. You watch.

Hootinanny Yum Yum

June 14th, 2010
8:01 am

You are probably correct.

Every time I think of S.C. Democratic Senate nominee Alvin Greene, I feel the foundation crumbling beneath the Tea Party house….

FinnMcCool

June 14th, 2010
8:02 am

We need to keep Hannity and Beck spewing half truths and foaming at the mouth to keep these cornfused tea partiers active.

Class of '98

June 14th, 2010
8:02 am

Global warming is a hoax is “provably untrue”?

Absurd.

Drifter

June 14th, 2010
8:13 am

I’m not sure what the “tea party” really is, but if you’re referring to people who are sick of what we’re getting from Republicans and Democrats, then you’re wrong. I wouldn’t go so far as to say I’m motivated by anger, but I won’t be motivated by fear any longer and that’s all the two major parties are selling.

Nanny

June 14th, 2010
8:13 am

The tea parties…all those folks threatening to actually vote ( O the Horror!) will not be over as long as they are inside your head. And for some reason all of these people complaining about the size of government and the reckless borrowing are firmly in your head.
I wonder why they bother you so?
I don’t see anything that suggests that any of the anger at the democrat’s recklessness has subsided one bit. The weekend poll numbers showed yet another click down for Obama. Stimulus II the sequel is dead on arrival, even Steny is running away from this stupidity.

palinhater

June 14th, 2010
8:17 am

Let’s be honest, there’s really no one single tea party. Just a bunch of bored old people who’ve (not surprisingly) run out of steam.

Call it like it is.

June 14th, 2010
8:24 am

Hmmmmmm, Interesting your own paper yesterday stated the Tea Party still has great power. I wonder who is right, the journalist who did the article or you the opinion writer. Lets see I will go with the journalist.

jack stilton

June 14th, 2010
8:26 am

The tea party is the only thing that will save this country. Democrats gone wild and Republicans dressed as sheep have sent this country in a huge financial crisis. Republicans were our only hope and the tea party is now holding their feet to the fire.

quod erat demonstrandum

June 14th, 2010
8:26 am

The real problem is the lefties do not understand why “the people” are upset at incumbents and the whole political process.

The liberals think they have the best answer in more federal government and the various tea parties do not.

More federal and state employees will not help the economy, but it will increase the debt. Attacking the corporations (small, medium and large) that provide jobs to the majority of the private sector is not going to help us.

While the federal employees hae well paying jobs and great benefits, out here in the provate sector we are hurting. We have pay cuts, layoffs, out sourcing and increasing costs of benefits.

If and when this administration figures out that helping business to do business is the key to recovery, then the democrats running for election will have an uphill battle.

Even the democrats are fractured, just look at South Carolina. Looking at Alvin Greene, the democratic candidate, the State committee is refusing to help him. Gee, a candidate is refused help becasue the people did not vote for “their” candidate. Sounds fishy to me.

FinnMcCool

June 14th, 2010
8:26 am

interesting take:

My hypothesis is that what all the events precipitating the Tea Party movement share is that they demonstrated, emphatically and unconditionally, the depths of the absolute dependence of us all on government action, and in so doing they undermined the deeply held fiction of individual autonomy and self-sufficiency that are intrinsic parts of Americans’ collective self-understanding.

The implicit bargain that many Americans struck with the state institutions supporting modern life is that they would be politically acceptable only to the degree to which they remained invisible, and that for all intents and purposes each citizen could continue to believe that she was sovereign over her life; she would, of course, pay taxes, use the roads and schools, receive Medicare and Social Security, but only so long as these could be perceived not as radical dependencies, but simply as the conditions for leading an autonomous and self-sufficient life. Recent events have left that bargain in tatters.
http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/06/13/the-very-angry-tea-party/?hp

Good Grief

June 14th, 2010
8:27 am

Please, someone on Cynthia’s side of the aisle, explain something to me:

How is the big government of Obama, Reid, and Pelosi a good thing? Are you actually so engrossed with American Idol that you need the government to handle every aspect of your lives?

No, the tea party is not over. So long as you keep bringing it up, it lives. Keep calling it racist while all the videos show genteel groups standing around and talking, and *gasp* pledging allegiance to the flag, and (Oh, the horror) singing the national anthem (All the verses).

(Especially in light of the anti-immigration law rallies in Arizona and California, where things really did turn violent, and supporters of the resolution were beaten, (did you ever hear that on the news?) and people carried signs comparing Jan Brewer to Hitler, (but God forbid we compare Obama to Hitler, even though it was okay to compare Bush to Hitler))

Bill Campbell

June 14th, 2010
8:27 am

The Tea Party has just begun! Obama and the Democrats will all be voted out soon! The American People will take back this country! Obama is leading the Democrats off a steep cliff just like a pied piper! Mybe there will be a AJC bailout soon!

Stop the Name Calling

June 14th, 2010
8:28 am

Cynthia, some people might end up calling YOU an “also-ran” someday…I’ve been reading you lately just to stay honest…you are about as good at twisting around ideas and logic as anybody I’ve ever read…I will give you credit-you have used it to land a sweet gig at the wonderfully left-as-left gets AJC…thought you guys DIDN’T LIKE Free Enterprise…oh, and while we are at it, as long as you’ve got IDIOTS like Reid and Pelosi running YOUR show, then you don’t HAVE ANY credibility calling ANY candidate a name…don’t even get me started about your Wonder Boy Obama that, other than speaking and looking pretty, couldn’t administrate his way out of a Paper Bag…

Casey

June 14th, 2010
8:28 am

Cynthia, you are lucky that patriotic Americans like the tea party activists fought so you can write your opinions. Remember that.

quod erat demonstrandum

June 14th, 2010
8:29 am

Class of ‘98,

With out hard evidence and re-provable results, then the algore wing of the leftie loonies are shown to be charlatans and their only goal is to make billions of dollars selling carbon credits and to hell with the working person.

Joe

June 14th, 2010
8:30 am

Was it this column or Mad Magazine where I read the “reason” Obama had to double the deficit was Bush- can’t remember but still laughing. This column is a good laugh as well- if only one could fold it and it mad a funny picture.

Stop the Name Calling

June 14th, 2010
8:30 am

Oh, and-I assume you kinda see how it feels absorbing name-calling after reading my earlier post there-see how STUPID it sounds…hey-you’re pretty smart-you did go to Auburn…:)

Carl

June 14th, 2010
8:30 am

The tea party never was. It was just a convenient narrative constructed by a lazy media. The tea party represents a tiny fraction of this country, yet just about media outlet runs daily articles on them in addition to all of the supposed incumbent anger out there, which was disproved last week. As another poster said, the tea party is not over because you keep writing about them.

some guy

June 14th, 2010
8:30 am

CT along with other libs is doing a standard diversion tactic since she knows the Obama agenda is floundering because of his lack of executive experience. Look at his handling of the Gulf Oil Spill, his foreign policy with sanctions against Iran, relations with Russian and the START treaty. Obama is over!

Harpoon

June 14th, 2010
8:31 am

Wait and see who shows up to vote in November.

joe

June 14th, 2010
8:31 am

The Tea party might not last, but their mission of changing the way average Americans view elected officials will. Come Nov, we’ll see just how many incumbents of both main parties lose. There will be many who leave Washington. Then, turning to ‘12, the savior Barrack will be the next one to fall. It took a while for average Americans to see through his charade, but his socialist policies make him out of touch with most of America. Main issue for the next few years- ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION. Whoever has the cohones (sp?) to send the national guard to the border from TX to San Diego will have my vote.

David S

June 14th, 2010
8:32 am

Has freedom and liberty been restored in this country? Do we have a sound monetary system? Are we out of the middle east? Is our foreign policy functional? Have we restored the free market? Have we ended the welfare state? The ever-growing movement of folks who have finally woken up to realize that GOVERNMENT is the problem, not some outside force, are not going to go away, despite how little attention the media gives them as a way to undermine their presence.

The fact that some incumbents are winning their primaries points more to the onerous ballot access laws and the deep desire for people to just be left alone, rather than infect themselves with the disgusting aspects of politics, just to try and take this country back.

The Freedom movement isn’t going to go away until the anti-freedom folks are out of power (and there are a LOT of them).

Scooter

June 14th, 2010
8:33 am

Just more propaganda from the “salt and pepper ” team of Granny and Tucker.

Dave

June 14th, 2010
8:33 am

The tea party is just beginning to spread. Hoping it will go away by writing a column will help promote it. Thanks!

Jim

June 14th, 2010
8:33 am

Amazing how there was no ‘Tea Party’ under Bush/Cheney, only Obama.

Sam (The Cool 1 )

June 14th, 2010
8:37 am

Lets’ all take a deep breath…..Now lets’ think of the heros from yesteryear. You know who. Cisco and Poncho.

hdhd

June 14th, 2010
8:39 am

Too hot for tea. Taking a break for summer: “iced tea party.” Will back for incumbents come fall.

Rev Al Sharptongue

June 14th, 2010
8:40 am

Uh oh, you then stepped in it now, Cynthia. Lol
I predict 5 pages of vitriol before its over

RueTheDay

June 14th, 2010
8:40 am

QED wrote: “The liberals think they have the best answer in more federal government and the various tea parties do not.

If and when this administration figures out that helping business to do business is the key to recovery, then the democrats running for election will have an uphill battle.”

No. After the BP disaster, the right wingers are going to have a much tougher time selling the American people on their “government is always bad, private sector is always good, get rid of regulation and let the free market work” ideological spiel. To use the terminology used by an earlier poster, that position is now “demonstrably untrue”.

Kamchak

June 14th, 2010
8:41 am

While the federal employees hae[sic] well paying jobs and great benefits, out here in the provate[sic] sector we are hurting. We have pay cuts, layoffs, out sourcing and increasing costs of benefits.

I’ll act surprised if it will make you feel any better.

Thirty years of trickle-on, supply-side corporate worship, where greed-is-good and profits are God has led us to this melt-down. Cheap money (low interest rates) has fueled a series of boom and bust bubbles where profits are privatized and risks are socialized, and these same corporatist Republicans are trying to re-brand themselves as populists.

joan

June 14th, 2010
8:43 am

The ideas of the tea party are still fresh and strong. They want fiscal responsibility, no more bailouts, lower taxes and accountability for the representatives we send to Congress to represent us. Why is that so horribly threatening to liberals? They are not an organized party, but hopefully their message is being heard–and I believe it is, by some Republicans as well as Democrats. The ideas are those this country was founded on–individuals accepting responsibility for their own and their children’s lives and not living off other people’s money.

Chris

June 14th, 2010
8:43 am

I do not consider myself a “tea partier.” In fact I’m a centrist Democrat who supports President Obama.

The Tea Party Movement is not dead. I think that they will learn from the primaries and many of these smaller groups that form the greater movement will unify come general election time and then moving forward. I think that ultimately we will end up with three viable political parties – Democrats, being slightly left of center; Republicans, becoming primarily a pro business party; and the Tea Party, more of a populist movement.

The true test of the Tea Party and the Republican Party will come in the next few elections as the potential exists for them to divide the center-right vote.

a REALLY good parallel to this is the 1912 election. Teddy Roosevelt was unhappy with the way his party was going, so he bucked the Republican Party and formed the Progressive Party/Bull Moose Party. This split the Republican vote between him and Taft, allowing Woodrow Wilson to cakewalk into the White House.

On a final note – I wish everybody would stop falsely characterizing their opposition. Tea Partiers aren’t stupid, ignorant, old racists. Democrats don’t hate America and want to take everything from you. Republicans are not corporate weasels. We all want what’s best for America, we have differing opinions on how to get there. The times that our country has been truly great are when both sides have met in the middle, with both Democrats and Republicans compromising their views and creating a blended policy. This will never happen in our current political climate. Until this changes we continue our long slide to being the next Rome that began in 03.

Shawny

June 14th, 2010
8:43 am

The tea party itself may fade, particularly when establishment GOP try to hitch their wagon to it, such as Palin, et al. Those flakes need to just move along and get out of the way.

The backlash against big govt spending is not going away. Anyone paying attention to the vast increase in spending and seeing the only jobs being created being govt jobs (mostly census-temps) knows that our money is being wasted. We also can see that tax increases are inevitable which will hinder free market growth. It looks gloomy and the establishment hasn’t and isn’t getting it done.

Out with the clowns.

joan

June 14th, 2010
8:44 am

By the way Ms. Tucker–research shows that private companies are planning to lower their health care plan contributions next year. More weight to be added to the taxpayer shoulders.

godless heathen

June 14th, 2010
8:46 am

So the poll says half of Americans view the Tea Party unfavorably. Does anyone think that the MSM can’t control public opinion? The media paints Tea Party folks for 18 months as racist anarchists and even hangs the tea-bagger label on participants. Chris Mathews did a hatchet job on the Tea Party last week and the ads for “Special” included footage of someone firing an assault rifle. Then they go out and take a poll and find half of Americans view the Tea Party unfavorably.

Name (required)

June 14th, 2010
8:46 am

What kind of pansy drinks tea? Give me the beer party!!

Shawny

June 14th, 2010
8:47 am

Nothing you hear on MSNBC with Mathews, Olbermann, or Maddow will view a group interested in smaller govt and individual responsibility as favorable. It just isn’t going to happen.

Odgred Weary

June 14th, 2010
8:48 am

Dear Ms. Tucker: you are an invariable source of truth. 100% of what you say is 180 degrees wrong.

And boy, are YOU in for an unpleasant surprise this November. We The People are through being screwed with by a gang of mindless, criminal marxists, and we’re going to put as many people to pasture as necessary before it’s over.

kayaker 71

June 14th, 2010
8:48 am

Dream on Tucker. It’s not over…. it has just begun. When we neuter Bozo in November, the reality just might sink in. And who was primarily responsible? All of those white haired old has beens who aren’t really Americans according to you. It’s about time that someone stood up for the white interests in this country. It’s not all about blacks and Hispanics as you seem to think. Do you like your crow roasted or broiled?

Rightwing Troll

June 14th, 2010
8:49 am

“And for some reason all of these people complaining about the size of government and the reckless borrowing are firmly in your head.”

And until someone can coherently explain to me where all this fiscal discipline was from 2000-2008, you have NO credibility.

I’m unhappy with Obama, but still don’t feel it was a mistake. The mistake would’ve been NOT taking a stab at change by electing McSame/Palin.

Joe

June 14th, 2010
8:49 am

Obviously as long as you far left pundits keep talking about the Tea Party they must still have some sort of input on elections. Their candidates did very well in the primaries and this assumption that Sharon Angle with an 11 point lead already is not the strongest candidate is your own hope I guess. Dingy Harry is the real fringe candidate as you so humorously say about Angle. The American people have soundly rejected everything Reid, Pelosi, and Obama have put forth in the last two years. Keep your hopes up though Tucker. Come November you may finally get a real dose of reality. Which of course is that the far left now running this country is not what we want….

Knuckle Sandwich

June 14th, 2010
8:49 am

Cynthia, I assure you anti-government tide is still rising. You will find out all about it this coming election day.

Odgred Weary

June 14th, 2010
8:49 am

We don’t *drink* tea. We throw it (and its taxers) overboard.

The Democrats, OTOH, drink kool-aid. With special additives.