The Cost of the Tea Party

November 30th, 2011 at 8:47 am David Frum | 79 Comments |

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Here’s some interesting data from Pew.

Americans turning against the “tea party” (however they understand the “tea party” to mean) is not exactly a new story, but here it continues to accelerate.

More surprising: the tea party seems to be contaminating the larger Republican brand.

Republican favorability has dropped 7 points with the general public since September 2010, with the steepest portion of the drop occuring during the debt-ceiling debate last summer.

But in congressional districts where the tea party is strong, Republican support has dropped further, by 10 points.

And while overall GOP numbers are stronger in those tea party districts, even there, the unfavorables are higher than the favorables, 48 unfavorable to 41 favorable.

This is coming to seem a very expensive tea party indeed.

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79 Comments so far ↓

  • Watusie

    A quibble with Pew’s analysis: there is no such thing as a “Tea Party district”. Their own data shows that, at most, and at one point in time only, 33% of respondents in those districts said they agreed with the Tea Party. I’m unimpressed.

    Now then: why might the Republican brand be suffering? I’ll go with the obvious: you have, in quick succession, embraced the idea of President Bachmann, President Perry, President Cain, and now President Gingrich. Your id is showing. It is not a pretty sight.

  • ottovbvs

    “More surprising: the tea party seems to be contaminating the larger Republican brand.”

    Why should this be a surprise since the Tea Party IS the Republican party. Who does Frum think they are? The Democratic party? The Communist Party? The Green Party? Interestingly for the first time for some time the Democrats have pulled ahead and stayed ahead of the Republicans on the generic congressional ballot.

    • PracticalGirl

      + 1

      While it’s a pretty little attempt at misdirection, the Tea Party was wholly embraced by Republican establishment as a great way to stick it to Obama. No amount of airbrushing can erase the spectre of elected GOPers on the Capitol steps, leading the rally and proclaiming themselves “sympatico” with the TPers.

      The Tea Party is only one of the expenses of the extended, costly GOPer campaign of pandering to the increasingly short anger fuse of it’s base. It’s part of the bill, but the debit needs to be charged to those who incurred it in toto.

      EDIT (and touche from another thread today): It appears Graychin voiced this below, as well.

      • armstp

        “… short anger fuse of it’s base…

        If you boil it down, as you look back at the Tea Party, it was a group that was largely created because they lost the election or more importantly that Obama won the election. These are just people that cannot accept the fact the Obama won the election. The call to arms to tap into this group of spoiled losers came from FOX News and the money from the various corporate/Koch- Dick Armey sponsored astroturf groups.

        Beyond just being mad that Obama won, they have no real issues. Tax have actually gone down. Deficit & debt, largely created by GOP. Most don’t even understand healthcare reform. No foreign policy view. etc. etc.

  • indy

    Well, I know it’s nice to find a scapegoat and all, but I think it’s pretty clear to everybody that the general decline of the GOP began well before the Tea Party, and will likely continue well past when they become a footnote. In some ways, perhaps they did the GOP a favor by providing a focus for the catharsis.

    • ottovbvs

      Hard to tell whether the tea party (which after all at bottom was a Republican astroturf operation) is the symptom or the malady. In the sense that the teaparty gives voice in the rawest form to the angry and inchoate inner self of the GOP it’s probably contributed to both creating certain political dynamics (primarying longstanding Republican incumbents) and producing a rhetoric which is alienating to many middle of the road folks.

      • Solo4114

        I see it as the continuation of the overall trend of the GOP in the wake of the Bush II years. The Tea Party strikes me as a redoubling of GOP efforts following Obama’s election, and a push to “purify” the party and expunge those elements that the Tea Party believes are responsible for the GOP’s decline (basically, not being conservative enough as they understand “conservative”). It’s learning the lesson (that our candidates aren’t popular…) but drawing the wrong conclusion from that lesson (…because they aren’t conservative enough).

        In that sense, I see the Tea Party more as a symptom and part of a larger, longer-term trend of the GOP’s base aging, failing to adapt to a new environment, but fighting that fist, tooth, and nail, and while not really developing any kind of “new” platform or ideas. Instead, you get more of a “golden oldies” playlist of ideas without tying them to the reality on the ground.

        All this will change in time as the old guard ages out, and a post-Tea Party generation of politicians gets involved. What that’ll mean, I’m not sure, but I’m hopeful that the children of the Baby Boomers, as they get more into politics themselves, will be a bit turned off to the whole brinksmanship approach to legislation and governing that we’ve seen during Obama’s first term. I’m also hopeful (but doubtful) that a new focus on pragmatism over ideology will be the order of the day when that happens. Ideology ought to serve as a general guide for a political party, but not every legislative battle needs or ought to be one demanding absolute ideological purity.

      • Drosz

        I think this element has existed for some time as an amorphous and difficult to define group usually called something like the hard or extreme right, but now they’ve branded themselves under one coherent title (Tea Party) and have become highly visible. Only now is the general public being exposed to what Tea Party folks read everyday in those idiotic chain e-mails and the public doesn’t like it.

        Of course, Obama’s election sent them into the streets, but they and their whacked out alternate reality have existed for quite some time.

  • IntelliWriter

    As Shakespeare sagely commented, “Familiarity breeds contempt.” I think at first Americans were willing to take a look at the Tea Party, even if it seemed on the fringe and ideologically extreme. Peaceful protests and political organization are steeped into America’s DNA. But not all protests and political organizations will garner a following over time, and the Tea Party quickly showed itself to be nothing more than the religious right and John Birchers rebranded. There are reasons why these groups lost favor with the American people, and slick new marketing backed by billionaires doesn’t change a skunk into a kitty cat.

  • Nanotek

    “More surprising: the tea party seems to be contaminating the larger Republican brand.”

    a distinction with little difference

    • overshoot

      a distinction with little difference

      It’s a huge difference. The “brand” that DF refers to is the carefully-crafted marketing image that the Republican Party has worked on over the years, where the TP refuses to stay on message and has the very bad taste to actually tell the world what they really think and want.

      • Nanotek

        “The ‘brand’ that DF refers to is the carefully-crafted marketing image that the Republican Party has worked on over the years…”

        I don’t disagree … my thinking is that the Republican ‘brand’ — individual liberty, limited government and responsibility — is and has always been a shadow, an image, a mirage that tries to hide a different agenda and some real nasty human characteristics … the Tea Party just put a face to that …

        “There is a smile of love, and there is a smile of deceit, and there is a smile of smiles in which these two smiles meet.” William Blake

        • Graychin

          The logo of the “Brand” is the smiling visage of Ronald Reagan.

          Which is getting threadbare – and so misleading today as to be fraudulent.

        • overshoot

          The logo of the “Brand” is the smiling visage of Ronald Reagan.

          It’s a good thing that that RINO is dead, isn’t it? As it is, the Party can use his visage like Bob Dobbs’.

  • overshoot

    That’s what happens when the rank and file slip their leashes and start being honest about the Party’s agenda rather than letting the spinmeisters handle the messaging.

  • Graychin

    True to form, the larger Republican Party was delighted to embrace the craziest of the Tea Party crazies – just as it had done in the past with the dogwhistle-racist Southern Strategy that divided Southern white voters from their Democratic roots. Just as it had done with the most extreme social issues of Jerry Falwell’s “Moral” Majority and Ralph Reed’s “Christian” Coalition.

    You can’t accuse the Tea Party of “contaminating” your “brand.” You were more than happy to hop on its train when you thought it might bring you some new voters.

    When you can stand anything, then you stand for nothing. Eventually, the voters catch on to your game. I think that 2012 is the year that they figure out the Big Con of 2010. The first clue is the pathetic weakness of the “GOP” presidential candidates.

    (Why is it that only Republicans talk about their “brand”? Why do I never hear about the “Democrat brand”? Is this one reason why Republicans usually run circles around Democrats in getting selling their message – even when their message is crap?)

    • overshoot

      You can’t accuse the Tea Party of “contaminating” your “brand.”

      Don’t be silly, of course he can. He just did, in fact.

      His larger problem is that he wants the rank-and-file Republicans to shut up and do as they’re told (at least when he and others of like mind are issuing the marching orders), and hates it when they get uppity and start acting like they should have some say in how the Party operates.

    • thejeff

      Having a strong brand has been very good for the Republicans for 30 years, and they have done nothing but attach themselves more and more firmly to it. The Tea Party is (obviously) a subset of the base, and reflects core beliefs and attitudes quite accurately.

      The cognitive dissonance of the Tea Party platform is apiece with a general sense that the core message of the Republican party is increasingly insufficient to address our current reality. The distilled and perfected brand of the party and their unbreakable ties to it could become an albatross around their collective necks for decades to come.

  • balconesfault

    Let’s face it – the real problem with the GOP these days (on economic matters) is that the obsession with cutting taxes and cutting the size of government has become a pathology.

    Dems do not want to grow government, or to increase taxes, simply for the pure ideological goal that taxes should be higher and government should be bigger. They see higher taxes as a way for paying the bills, and the size of government a function of what role we want government to perform in our modern, complex society – and how big government needs to be to perform that role.

    The Tea Party, and except for a few pockets of coherency the GOP as a whole, wants to cut taxes without any real assessment of what impacts the tax cuts will have on our ability to pay our bills. And like Frum, they want to cut the size of government … well, because.

    Personally, I think they’re largely just being milked by very wealthy 1-percenters who get the largest benefits from tax cuts (the top 0.1% of America’s wealthiest save about $146,000 on average each year the Bush tax cuts get extended), and by Corporations who want to gut the Federal Government’s regulatory capacity. But those tax savers and corporations can fund a LOT of think tanks and astroturfing.

    • armstp

      +1

      The sloganeering of endless cutting taxes and government is really without any thought of what the consequences are of those cuts. Ron Paul is extremely guilt of this. He makes absolutely no proven or quanfiable case as two why a smaller government or spending cuts is a net positive (and there is plenty of evidence on the other side that bigger government and higher taxes produce better economies and standards of living).

      And once the Tea Baggers or “conservatives” see the impact of cuts, like cuts to Medicare, Social Security or military spending, they all of a sudden are far less enthusiastic about making cuts.

      Obama is trying to have and make the right and more responsible debate, which is what do we want our government to do and how will we pay for it? The GOP and conservatives have it exactly backwards. They want to make the cuts first and then figure out what they want government to do. That is the essential difference between Democrats and Republicans.

  • Reflection Ephemeral

    As others have pointed out, the Tea Party isn’t “contaminating” the GOP, it is the truest expression of the GOP.

    We know that “the Tea Party’s supporters today were highly partisan Republicans long before the Tea Party was born, and were more likely than others to have contacted government officials. In fact, past Republican affiliation is the single strongest predictor of Tea Party support today.” http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/17/opinion/crashing-the-tea-party.html?_r=2

    And we know that, in the Supercommittee and during the debt ceiling hostage drama, Democratic representatives offered deals to the right of what even Republicans tell pollsters they wanted. http://fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/07/13/house-republicans-no-tax-stance-far-outside-political-mainstream/

    Those concessions didn’t achieve a deal in either case, because Republicans don’t like to compromise. During the Bush administration, Republicans didn’t want to compromise on invading Iraq, on trying to figure out why we invaded Iraq, on permitting the president to torture and wiretap US citizens without warrants, on eliminating the surpluses, etc. Now, they don’t want to compromise on decreasing revenues.

    It’s not the Tea Party, it’s the entirety of the Republican Party, come completely untethered from rationality or even ideology.

    GOP affiliation is pure tribalism– pure dislike of dealing with people, groups, or facts perceived to be Enemies– with the Tea Party its truest avatar.

  • ottovbvs

    “You were more than happy to hop on its train when you thought it might bring you some new voters.

    Guys….the teaparty was created by the Republican party for godsake. Dick Armey and all these shady Republican operatives weren’t operating in a vacuum. OWS is a genuine grass roots operation and betrays all the symptoms thereof. There was never anything remotely spontaneous about the tea party.

    • Graychin

      Otto:

      Of course you are right that the Tea Party was anything but spontaneous. But its creators (Armey and the Kochs) were not “The Republican Party.” They were a small subset of the party with its own agenda (not incompatible with “traditional” Republican ideology) that they managed to grow into a somewhat larger but very noisy cult – with a big boost from Murdoch Enterprises.

      Amid the noise, the larger party jumped aboard, shouting “me too!”

      • armstp

        The Koch brothers only care about manipulating public policy to influence government subsidies and regulations to favor their various businesses, which all have benefited from massive government subsidies and lax regulations. The Koch brothers are in some of the biggest government influenced and supported sectors: energy, chemicals, agriculture, mining, pulp & paper, ranching, etc. All of them are heavily government subsidized industries and where regulation matters, particularly environmental, labor and safety regulation.

        The Koch brothers could care less about ideology or being “conservative” or the free market. All they care about is their own business interests. They have made billions over decades by manipulating and influencing government policy to their advantage.

        Murdoch is basically the same. If he could sell the liberal brand and make more money than selling the “conservative” brand he would.

  • ottovbvs

    “But its creators (Armey and the Kochs) were not “The Republican Party.”

    It’s a distinction without a difference. And the creators were far more numerous than just Armey and Koch’s. Do you really think all this went on without the knowledge and tacit support of the regular institutions of the Republican party like the RNC? Because if you do then you’re more naive than your general comments would have led me to believe.

  • bdtex

    Fielding horrible candidates in winnable races in 2010 in NV,DE,CO,Alaska,WV et.al. and in a few special elections didn’t help the Tea Party’s reputation.

    • balconesfault

      Time for the GOP to just man up and take responsibility here.

      The Tea Party may have pushed these candidates – but they won their State Primaries – and thus the GOP as a whole has to be held responsible for running those horrible candidates in the General Election the same way as the voters of Tennessee are responsible for electing one of those horrible candidates to the Senate, voters of Texas are as a whole responsible for continuing to elect Rick Perry, and the voters of America are responsible for having given Bush a second term.

  • icarusr

    “More surprising: the tea party seems to be contaminating the larger Republican brand.”

    In psychological terms, the alleged “surprise” would be called “cognitive dissonance”. But, it seems to me that Mr. Frum is a tiny bit more intelligent and possibly even balanced than this stupid line – and really, it is on its face, stupid to express “surprise” that a movement built on rank racism and propelled by economic ignorance and political nihilism would tarnish the creator and the main political beneficiary of said movement – would suggest.

    This line is part and parcel of the same mindset that permits a lie, any lie, no matter how outrageous, for the sake of Republican advancement. Mr. Frum himself freely admits to Romney’s “cynicism” in advancing economically illiterate dogma; he actively propagates one calumny after another attacking Obama’s alleged foreign policy incomeptence; and now, this feint, pretending to be “surprised” that the glove is tarnishing the hand it has covered and warmed for three years.

    That is, assuming Mr. Frum is, really, intelligent enough to understand Politics-in-the-age-of-Obama 101.

    • balconesfault

      This line is part and parcel of the same mindset that permits a lie, any lie, no matter how outrageous, for the sake of Republican advancement.

      Yes. That is it exactly.

      When I was growing up, in a Republican household, I remember the biggest condemnation of Communism … the idea that for Communists, the ends justified the means.

      The idea that a state-run Pravda could completely control information distribution, and that no matter how much what people read in their media contradicted what people saw with their own eyes that they were to believe it to further the greater good.

      Now, the GOP has wholly embraced this mindset. They are completely willing to believe the most ridiculous claims, and shun any information which challenges the GOP orthodoxy.

      I won’t even say the GOP ideology – because as we have seen in the last couple years the GOP is willing to change its expressed ideology on a dime for political purposes. That is why Mitt Romney really is the best representative of the party these days.

    • Traveler

      “movement built on rank racism and propelled by economic ignorance and political nihilism would tarnish the creator and the main political beneficiary of said movement”.

      Priceless.

      Such commentary keeps us addicts to this site . NHthinker’s T-shirts were dead on the money.

  • Oldskool

    Two years seems to be the shelf life of ‘movements’ like the tea party. Perot’s United We Stand, Nader’s Green Party, etc, had about as long and next year the OWS will probably peak.

    I think the Republican ‘brand’, such as it was, began a death spiral in the 1990s, or whenever crazies like Limbaugh and the goofballs on Fox officially took the reins.

    • thejeff

      “I think the Republican ‘brand’, such as it was, began a death spiral in the 1990s, or whenever crazies like Limbaugh and the goofballs on Fox officially took the reins.”

      More accurately when the right embraced Falwell, Robertson, Roberts, and Swaggart during the Reagan revolution. Facts no longer mattered as much as conviction to a crucial core that began to redefine the party as know-nothing ideologues.

  • Stewardship

    I was speaking with a state GOP official earlier this week. He lamented that the tea party movement decided to infiltrate and take over the Republican Party, rather than start their own party. Time might be ripe for traditional Republicans to go Bull Moose on the tea party and splinter away from them.

    • overshoot

      He lamented that the tea party movement decided to infiltrate and take over the Republican Party, rather than start their own party.

      He’s an idiot. If they had, they’d have split the vote on the Right wide open and we’d have about 300 Democrats in the House of Representatives. Well, OK, maybe a few less because there are a lot of districts where Democrats don’t even bother to nominate candidates, but still …

      Whether that would be a good thing or not is something else again, but I’m assuming that as a Republican official and that he wouldn’t like that result.

      • balconesfault

        The problem with the GOP folks like Frum and Steward going “Bull Moose” is that I do not think they can really articulate a coherent position that would:

        a) unify a substantial portion of the party
        b) solidly differentiate themselves from the Tea Partiers
        c) not end up basically being essentially the position of Blue Dog Democrats

        I don’t think there is any real space there for a Bull Moose Party. The best hope would be to somehow co-opt the Blue Dogs into forming a Center-Right Party, that would balance out the Center-Left Party that would remain once the Blue Dogs left (right now I would argue that the Dems are centrist, pure and simple, and as a practical matter on many issues even right of center).

        • Drosz

          That seems to make the most sense. Without a parliamentary system, if one of the major parties split, they would have no power without forming a strong coalition with the side they just split from, effectively making them one party anyway. A Center-Right party that poached members from both major parties would be the only viable solution, if such a change were inevitable, which it isn’t. But without strong politically strong leaders, that just ain’t gonna happen. Many great men have tried and failed in this regard.

  • Emma

    Frum generally has an ulterior motive with his posts, and lately they lead to support for Mitt (or, when the opportunity occurs, to revise the history of his own misdeeds as Bush’s lackey). With this post, Frum suggests that the Tea Party is a drag on Republican momentum, which is really an attack on the anti-Romneys. More than anything Frum wants to be back in the White House lapping-up the splendor of influence.

    • overshoot

      Frum suggests that the Tea Party is a drag on Republican momentum

      Well, it is. Assuming that you define “momentum” as a vector, and “Republican” as the direction of DF’s own personal politics. Which means that the Tea Party is heading in a direction different from DF’s, and thus decreasing the Party of God’s “momentum” in the only way that matters.

      Put another way, it’s a whinge about how the ungrateful/foolish/disobedient/whatever peasants are revolting.

  • yhpso

    The Tea Party is a brainless, frightening movement. It upsets me that people can be so ignorant. The most upsetting issue is the fact that they are bankrolled by wealthy demagogues, who appear willing to destroy our way of government, in order to gain power.

    The American Press bear much responsibility for this debacle. Instead of calling them out for who they are, the Press indulges them for their own ends. They follow their candidates as if they were intelligent people. The Press no longer represents the people. They represent themselves. The People don’t matter. Honesty has no place. They make a mockery of our “Democracy”.

    • Traveler

      I think this lies at the heart of the matter. The fourth estate has lost all sense of bearing. Without an informed electorate, what do you expect?

    • MSheridan

      I don’t want to get tiresome in pushing this quote, which I have posted before, but I think Walter Lippmann put it well in his Preface to Politics when he wrote:

      “Nor can the person who reads one corrupt newspaper and then goes out to vote make any claim to having registered his will. He may have a will, but he has not used it.”

      Garbage in, garbage out.

  • Moderate

    David Frum:

    This is coming to seem a very expensive tea party indeed.

    Wrong conclusion. Most of the drop in Republican favorability since 2010 has come from disenchanted Republicans, not independents or Democrats. The GOP rank and file built up unrealistic expectations in 2010, and they’re now frustrated that Republican politicians haven’t immediately slashed the budget and repealed Obamacare.

    But in congressional districts where the tea party is strong, Republican support has dropped further, by 10 points.

    The strongest Tea Party districts are the most Republican districts. They contain a greater number of disenchanted Republicans.

    • dugfromthearth

      Quite likely. It is probably to Obama’s numbers falling among democrats – which led Republicans to proclaim that he was so radical even Dem’s did not like him, when in fact they were upset because he was not radical enough.

    • ottovbvs

      “Most of the drop in Republican favorability since 2010 has come from disenchanted Republicans, not independents or Democrats.”

      Would you like to produce some numbers to support this contention? I’m not saying you’re wrong but if you don’t I’m going to have to assume the obvious.

    • chephren

      “Most of the drop in Republican favorability since 2010 has come from disenchanted Republicans, not independents or Democrats.”

      Doesn’t this go without saying? The Republican party is supported primarily by Republicans, no?

  • jorae

    The Christian Coalition was founded by Pat Robertson in 1989.
    Pat Robertson says the Tea Party is God’s way of saving America.

    Inter-faith coalition of churches has pledging to move $1 billion from the nation’s biggest banks….The Move Our Money campaign is the latest sign of religious organizations joining in the 99 Percent Movement’s struggle.

    Is there anything less Christian than the Fascious policies we have seen from Reagononnomics?

  • AnBr

    A quote of Barney Frank comes to mind:

    The Republican Party today in the House is dominated. It consists half of people who think like Michelle Bachmann and half of people who are afraid of losing a primary to people who think like Michelle Bachmann.

  • Secessionist

    When it comes to strategy and tactics, I think the Tea Party is the model to follow for destroying incumbents in any party that are not responsive to the base. There is no reason the Democrats can’t use the TPs approach of disloging sellout incumbents through primary challenges. A strong primary challenge will either make an incumbent more responsive to the base or get rid of him all together. The OWS activists really ought to take a hard look at this idea. They might be able to rid the Democrat party of people like Ben Nelson.

    • LFC

      There’s a huge problem with being too responsive to the base, and that is the fact that the base is often low information and not always rational. The current Republican Party is a glaring example of that. None of their policy prescriptions are sane, whether it’s healthcare, federal budget, economic, foreign policy, etc. Instead they are what the low information / high rage Tea Party wants.

      When the base believes stupid things, the party that is responsive to them (rather than trying to do what’s right and then trying to explain why it’s right) is destined to do stupid things.

    • Traveler

      No wonder why you changed your name. You really don’t want a functioning democracy. I don’t have issues with Ben Nelson. Problem is that the Chaffees and Snows are so few on the other side, and more in line with the Reich. I truly wish the brain dead would secede (although you show signs of intelligence). Then we could cut your foreign aid budget.

  • roman1969

    This thread of comments is exactly why I tune in to FF. The commenters are better than the original blog and they are the only reason I read this site at all. Commenters like Graychin, balconesfault, armstp, practicalgirl and others hit the nail on the head every time. I often wonder what the authors of this site (especially Frum) feel about such severe take downs of their opinions week after week. Thanks for the great discussions.

    • Traveler

      Too true. Frankly, the level of discourse is far superior to the posters and improving. Even the few conservatives are actually discussing their talking points instead of parroting them. Ottovon’s asperity seems to weed out the worst of the twitchers. We used to think that DF never paid attention, but he has explicitly acknowledged so. So it does seem odd to host a site where the comments almost always denigrate the posters. Yet all the traffic comes for the comments. Very odd indeed.

      • NRA Liberal

        I’m starting to think that’s Frums business model. Week after week he has this roster of hapless palookas blogging for him, and they always get beat like pinatas by some of the sharpest online commentators on the inet. I think that’s what he’s selling.

        • roman1969

          What exactly is he selling? The fact that very smart people make him and other authors look like fools each and every entry? There’s money in that? Or is there another purpose?

        • MSheridan

          I’ve wondered if he might not be trying to change his probable historical legacy. He’s set up a place where younger conservative but nonmainstream writers can try to build a rep and at least a few of them are fairly sharp. Bill Buckley was an obvious influence on him. Perhaps he’s hoping to be known as someone else’s Buckley. The resurgence of a sane Republican Party is obviously a long way off, but he’d probably like to not be forever known as that “Axis of Hatred/Evil” guy from the Bush administration.

      • Nanotek

        “This thread of comments is exactly why I tune in to FF. The commenters are better than the original blog and they are the only reason I read this site at all. Commenters like Graychin, balconesfault, armstp, practicalgirl and others hit the nail on the head every time.”

        + 1

        “Week after week he has this roster of hapless palookas blogging for him, and they always get beat like pinatas by some of the sharpest online commentators on the inet. I think that’s what he’s selling.”

        + 1 … if he tweaked the model a bit, this site could blow up … imo

        • Traveler

          You too. And Ottovon for sure, and many others like Indy, Valk and Jamesj. But frankly, I don’t want to see a lot more of the chattering class. It’s just fine the way it is.

          I really wish we could get together for a party some time. Be a fascinating tableau. We would all have to identify each other by our styles. Otto would be easy.

  • ConnerMcMaub

    How does an organization pull out of a incestuous amplification tailspin? The conservative movement I used to respectfully disagree with has become highjacked by profiteering from peddlers of hate and fear porn. I didn’t vote for Bob Dole, but I always liked, respected, and was grateful to him for his service. Now, both Bush presidents and Ronald Reagan have more policies in common with the President Obama than they do with the candidates in their own party. It’s an oversimplification, but not by that much.

  • NRA Liberal

    I’ve got the popcorn popping as I await the spectacle of Romney being sold to the angry tea party folk by the GOP message machine and talk radio. I know they can do it, I’m just waiting to see the details.

    • MSheridan

      I’m guessing they’ll try to sell something like “He’ll be a solid conservative President if he has a solid Republican Congress to hold his feet to the fire.”

  • nhthinker

    Garbage analysis.
    The numbers quoted are only those people willing to give an opinion of the Tea Party… which was less than HALF of the people polled! The percentage differences therefore ARE at best less than half of those reported.

    Let’s look at a real poll…(Gallup)
    Frum identifies himself with the full 1% of Republicans that strongly dislike the Tea Party! It’s no wonder Frum has so many liberal Democrat “friends”.

    • ottovbvs

      Yes Pew is a well known garbage pollster.

      • nhthinker

        Pew’s Andrew Kohut only goes on NPR and writes in NYT.
        The analysis was in Pew’s “Commentary” section, not in their “Survey Reports”. Their Commentary clearly has a political bent that seems tailored to the NYT and NPR audiences.

      • westony

        Guess the poll didn’t go your way.

    • Fart Carbuncle

      Agree with thinker.

      Frum is just repeating his pro-Democrat stance on political issues.

      The Tea Party is not really a party but a movement that is fed up with socialism, debt, and open borders…the antithesis of a Democrat.

      • balconesfault

        The Tea Party is not really a party but a movement that is fed up with socialism

        Or just a bunch of easily led fools who have no clue what socialism really means …

    • TerryF98

      HA! not even a majority of Conservatives or Republicans support the tea party.

  • balconesfault

    I’m with NH here. It surprises me not at all that only 1% of GOPers are strongly opposed to the Tea Party. That’s almost a form of self-loathing.

  • Secessionist

    I think the critics of the Tea Party who see it solely as an astroturf movement are wrong in their analysis. The midterm cycle spawned at least four or five large, independent Tea Party groups, and apart from the Dick Armey group they were all grassroots organizations. Like OWS, the Tea Party movement is primarily a bottom up movement that arose in response to specific social conditions. This means the Tea Party is probably here to stay because the conditions that spawned the Tea Party in the first place still exist and are quite possibly intractable.

    • medinnus

      So long as Rock Ridge is a metaphor for the country, with its black sheriff, the Tea Baggers will continue; they are useful, racist, ignorant idiots for the GOP in that regard. As soon as the GOP retakes the WH, they’ll fade like the eczma flare-up they so deeply resemble; ugly, uncomfortable, and chronic.

      White resentment is an amazing thing to watch play out.

  • westony

    David wrote earlier this year or last year the Republican Party would regret pandering to the Tea Party. Even Palin said on Hannity’s show last week that her endorsement doesn’t mean a “Hill of Beans”. I guess people are NOT too fond of that Tea Party Congress she sent to Washington to “obstruct” every piece of legislation President Obama and Dems propose. And economic indicators are improving while the Palin faction of the Tea Party and the Cast of Republican candidates keep “shouting” President Obama is ruining America and his foreign policy “sucks”. Tell that to Osama Bin Laden and Arabs who no longer live under dictatorship.