Crashing the Tea Party

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HoustonDavid
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Crashing the Tea Party

Post by HoustonDavid » Wed Aug 17, 2011 9:58 am

Crashing the Tea Party

by David E. Campbell & Robert D. Putnam
The New York Times
August 16, 2011

GIVEN how much sway the Tea Party has among Republicans in Congress and those seeking the Republican presidential nomination, one might think the Tea Party is redefining mainstream American politics.

But in fact the Tea Party is increasingly swimming against the tide of public opinion: among most Americans, even before the furor over the debt limit, its brand was becoming toxic. To embrace the Tea Party carries great political risk for Republicans, but perhaps not for the reason you might think.

Polls show that disapproval of the Tea Party is climbing. In April 2010, a New York Times/CBS News survey found that 18 percent of Americans had an unfavorable opinion of it, 21 percent had a favorable opinion and 46 percent had not heard enough. Now, 14 months later, Tea Party supporters have slipped to 20 percent, while their opponents have more than doubled, to 40 percent.

Of course, politicians of all stripes are not faring well among the public these days. But in data we have recently collected, the Tea Party ranks lower than any of the 23 other groups we asked about — lower than both Republicans and Democrats. It is even less popular than much maligned groups like “atheists” and “Muslims.” Interestingly, one group that approaches it in unpopularity is the Christian Right.

The strange thing is that over the last five years, Americans have moved in an economically conservative direction: they are more likely to favor smaller government, to oppose redistribution of income and to favor private charities over government to aid the poor. While none of these opinions are held by a majority of Americans, the trends would seem to favor the Tea Party. So why are its negatives so high? To find out, we need to examine what kinds of people actually support it.

Beginning in 2006 we interviewed a representative sample of 3,000 Americans as part of our continuing research into national political attitudes, and we returned to interview many of the same people again this summer. As a result, we can look at what people told us, long before there was a Tea Party, to predict who would become a Tea Party supporter five years later. We can also account for multiple influences simultaneously — isolating the impact of one factor while holding others constant.

Our analysis casts doubt on the Tea Party’s “origin story.” Early on, Tea Partiers were often described as nonpartisan political neophytes. Actually, 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.

What’s more, contrary to some accounts, the Tea Party is not a creature of the Great Recession. Many Americans have suffered in the last four years, but they are no more likely than anyone else to support the Tea Party. And while the public image of the Tea Party focuses on a desire to shrink government, concern over big government is hardly the only or even the most important predictor of Tea Party support among voters.

So what do Tea Partiers have in common? They are overwhelmingly white, but even compared to other white Republicans, they had a low regard for immigrants and blacks long before Barack Obama was president, and they still do.

More important, they were disproportionately social conservatives in 2006 — opposing abortion, for example — and still are today. Next to being a Republican, the strongest predictor of being a Tea Party supporter today was a desire, back in 2006, to see religion play a prominent role in politics. And Tea Partiers continue to hold these views: they seek “deeply religious” elected officials, approve of religious leaders’ engaging in politics and want religion brought into political debates. The Tea Party’s generals may say their overriding concern is a smaller government, but not their rank and file, who are more concerned about putting God in government.

This inclination among the Tea Party faithful to mix religion and politics explains their support for Representative Michele Bachmann of Minnesota and Gov. Rick Perry of Texas. Their appeal to Tea Partiers lies less in what they say about the budget or taxes, and more in their overt use of religious language and imagery, including Mrs. Bachmann’s lengthy prayers at campaign stops and Mr. Perry’s prayer rally in Houston.

Yet it is precisely this infusion of religion into politics that most Americans increasingly oppose. While over the last five years Americans have become slightly more conservative economically, they have swung even further in opposition to mingling religion and politics. It thus makes sense that the Tea Party ranks alongside the Christian Right in unpopularity.

On everything but the size of government, Tea Party supporters are increasingly out of step with most Americans, even many Republicans. Indeed, at the opposite end of the ideological spectrum, today’s Tea Party parallels the anti-Vietnam War movement which rallied behind George S. McGovern in 1972. The McGovernite activists brought energy, but also stridency, to the Democratic Party — repelling moderate voters and damaging the Democratic brand for a generation. By embracing the Tea Party, Republicans risk repeating history.

David E. Campbell, an associate professor of political science at Notre Dame, and Robert D. Putnam, a professor of public policy at Harvard, are the authors of “American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us.”
"May You be born in interesting (maybe confusing?) times" - Chinese Proverb (or Curse)

John F
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Re: Crashing the Tea Party

Post by John F » Wed Aug 17, 2011 10:58 am

Campbell & Putnam's analogy between the Tea Party's political impact today and the George McGovern presidential campaign of 1972 looks more hopeful than prophetic. McGovern lost by a super-landslide, carrying only Massachusetts and the District of Columbia, and no matter who the Republicans nominate, they certainly don't appear to be riding for that kind of a fall. Of course, I wouldn't mind...
John Francis

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Re: Crashing the Tea Party

Post by Modernistfan » Wed Aug 17, 2011 1:25 pm

You can't both get religion entangled with government and have a smaller government. Some people supported by the Tea Party, especially those considered more libertarian such as Ron Paul, seem to understand that, but many don't. Getting religion entangled with government will inevitably result in government enforcing standards best left to private religious groups (an example was sodomy laws criminalizing conduct in private between two consenting adults, and the Supreme Court realized that and overruled their earlier ruling in Bowerx v. Hardwick in the later case of Lawrence v. Texas).

The proper relationship between religion and the state in a democratic society is something that the Framers got just about exactly right. If it's not broken, don't fix it, and definitely don't break it! The Framers were aware of the problems that had been created in Europe by attempts by governments to enforce sectarian religious norms. George Washington's letter to the Hebrew congregation of Newport, Rhode Island, dated 1790, clearly shows that the clear intent was to extend this attitude not only to differing Christian sects, but to non-Christians as well (at this point, the Jews were just about the only non-Christian religious minority that had a clearly visible presence in the United States).

lennygoran
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Re: Crashing the Tea Party

Post by lennygoran » Wed Aug 17, 2011 1:36 pm

>Yet it is precisely this infusion of religion into politics that most Americans increasingly oppose. While over the last five years Americans have become slightly more conservative economically, they have swung even further in opposition to mingling religion and politics. It thus makes sense that the Tea Party ranks alongside the Christian Right in unpopularity.<

Now we're getting somewhere! Regards, Len :)

Cosima___J
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Re: Crashing the Tea Party

Post by Cosima___J » Wed Aug 17, 2011 3:27 pm

Here's my opinion and of course it's just a guess on my part. The media (at least the left wing media, which is to say the vast majority) has consistently demonized the Tea Party. The Tea Partiers are always portrayed in a very negative light. The very words Tea Party have been turned into a pejorative term. So quite naturally more and more citizens are being brainwashed into believing it. But I bet you if you took a poll asking whether citizens believe in the various positions taken by the Tea Party but without mentioning the words Tea Party, you would find out that a majority (yes, that's right ... more than 50%) support those positions. I'd like to see that type of poll.

As far as the Tea Party being anti minority, I thought we'd put that slander to rest a long time ago.

John F
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Re: Crashing the Tea Party

Post by John F » Wed Aug 17, 2011 3:41 pm

There have been quite a few polls showing that a majority of Americans, and in some cases a majority of Republicans, don't support the Tea Party's more extreme positions. Do you? But I guess the poll that really counts will be in November 2012.
John Francis

rwetmore
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Re: Crashing the Tea Party

Post by rwetmore » Wed Aug 17, 2011 5:19 pm

Cosima___J wrote:But I bet you if you took a poll asking whether citizens believe in the various positions taken by the Tea Party but without mentioning the words Tea Party, you would find out that a majority (yes, that's right ... more than 50%) support those positions.
Of course, that's why they have to be smeared and constantly portrayed in negative way, as being the problem with the country, etc.

While I don't really follow the Tea Party and don't consider myself one of them, based on the little I've seen from them, they are the only group of people that seem to have even the slightest semblance of clue as to what's really going on.
"Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted. That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history."
- Aldous Huxley

"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing has happened."
-Winston Churchill

“Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one!”
–Charles Mackay

"It doesn't matter how smart you are - if you don't stop and think."
-Thomas Sowell

"It's one of the functions of the mainstream news media to fact-check political speech and where there are lies, to reveal them to the voters."
-John F. (of CMG)

Cosima___J
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Re: Crashing the Tea Party

Post by Cosima___J » Wed Aug 17, 2011 6:16 pm

Tea Party policy statement: http://www.teapartypatriots.org/Mission.aspx

I've never put the label "Tea Party" on my beliefs. But they do have some good core beliefs that I support.

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Re: Crashing the Tea Party

Post by living_stradivarius » Wed Aug 17, 2011 9:28 pm

Cosima___J wrote:Tea Party policy statement: http://www.teapartypatriots.org/Mission.aspx

I've never put the label "Tea Party" on my beliefs. But they do have some good core beliefs that I support.
And some very horrible ones that overshadow the facade that you believe in.
Image

Cosima___J
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Re: Crashing the Tea Party

Post by Cosima___J » Thu Aug 18, 2011 7:55 am

Strad, could you back that up by citing provable examples? I'd like to learn more about this hidden agenda.

Cosima___J
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Re: Crashing the Tea Party

Post by Cosima___J » Thu Aug 18, 2011 8:22 am

Good article:

Tea Party Blame and Fairy Tales
8/10/2011 | Email Brent Bozell | Columnist's Archive Sign-Up Just like the last Republican takeover of the House in 1995, it was easy to predict the media elite were going to dig deep into the mud and throw every smear they had at the new conservative powers in town.

Congress finally passed, and the president signed, a deeply deficient kick-the-can compromise into law in order to raise the debt ceiling. Tea Party conservatives correctly denounced the deal as woefully inadequate.

When Standard and Poor's downgraded the creditworthiness of the United States government, Sen. John Kerry shamelessly labeled it a "Tea Party downgrade," and no one in the press questioned him. This is beyond ludicrous. It's a deliberate lie on Kerry's part. How can you blame 87 new Republican House members who weren't in Washington when President Barack Obama was tripling the deficit with trillions in new spending, which Kerry happily endorsed?

The Tea Party's raison d'etre is the spending excesses of Washington. Blaming the Tea Party for the downgrade is like blaming the Betty Ford Clinic for alcoholism. Moreover, the only legislation that would have met the spending-restraint criteria necessary to avert a downgrade was the Cut Cap Balance proposal. It included $5.8 trillion in cuts, easily more than what S and P required. But President Obama vowed not to sign it, and the Senate Democrats -- here we go again with the Kerry hypocrisy -- refused to consider it.

In fact, the Senate Democrats under Harry Reid have been so dysfunctional that they haven't voted for a budget in years. The liberal media continue largely to ignore this reality, too.

When Bush was president, everything that went sour in America was his fault, and the press never tired of repeating that line. This president and his left-wing allies in Congress have earned their position in the hot seat today, but now that the Tea Party has created a Republican power base in the nation's capital, everything seems to be their fault.

On Saturday's "Today" on NBC, correspondent John Harwood declared that the downgrade provided Obama with "a tangible consequence to point to for Republican brinksmanship on the debt and deficit reduction deal."

Wait a minute: So Democrats never drew a line in the sand? Liberals had no demands about what was untouchable? This is willful blindness in action.

On Sunday's "Meet the Press," host David Gregory not only allowed Sen. John Kerry to lie about a "Tea Party downgrade," he underlined it. "There were Republicans and Democrats who said Tea Party members, a lot of them freshmen conservatives, were digging in and, actually, some used the word 'hostage,' holding the whole process hostage because they would not raise any taxes at all."

They weren't just hostage-takers in the liberal media lens. They were full-blown violent terrorists. For a group of people who find it offensive to link any Muslims with terrorism -- even the ones who refuse to condemn Hezbollah or Hamas -- it is remarkably easy to smear the Tea Party with that brush.

Take The New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman. "If sane Republicans do not stand up to this Hezbollah faction in their midst, the Tea Party will take the GOP on a suicide mission." On TV, Bloomberg columnist Margaret Carlson added "they've strapped explosives to the Capitol."

The New York Times just kept coming. Business columnist Joe Nocera said the country "watched in horror as the Tea Party Republicans waged jihad on the American people." Columnist Maureen Dowd was even more shrill. She wrote the Tea Party "slashers" were "like cannibals, eating their own party and leaders alive. They were like vampires, draining the country's reputation, credit rating and compassion. They were like zombies, relentlessly and mindlessly coming back again and again to assault their unnerved victims," Obama and John Boehner.

As if Dowd hadn't spewed enough hatred, she added more horror analogies. They were "like the metallic beasts in 'Alien' flashing mouths of teeth inside other mouths of teeth, bursting out of Boehner's stomach every time he came to a bouquet of microphones."

They were "a maniacal gang with big knives held high."

Why Dowd left out Freddy Krueger, werewolves, and Darth Vader is anyone's guess.

Which is not to say liberals are happy with Obama. The Times also published a huge op-ed by psychologist and Democrat message guru Drew Westen who wanted Obama to be a better storyteller. Voters are like children looking for narratives at bedtime: "Today we seek movies, novels and 'news stories' that put the events of the day in a form that our brains evolved to find compelling and memorable."

The challenge is: What stories to tell? If they are honest, they only hurt. There just is nothing good this administration is achieving. The other option is the make-believe story, as in the fairy tale that the Tea Party caused the market crash.

That's the road well-traveled by the liberal press.

by
Brent Bozell
Founder and President of the Media Research Center, Brent Bozell runs the largest media watchdog organization in America.

lennygoran
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Re: Crashing the Tea Party

Post by lennygoran » Thu Aug 18, 2011 8:29 am

>They weren't just hostage-takers in the liberal media lens. They were full-blown violent terrorists. For a group of people who find it offensive to link any Muslims with terrorism -- even the ones who refuse to condemn Hezbollah or Hamas -- it is remarkably easy to smear the Tea Party with that brush.

Take The New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman. "If sane Republicans do not stand up to this Hezbollah faction in their midst, the Tea Party will take the GOP on a suicide mission." On TV, Bloomberg columnist Margaret Carlson added "they've strapped explosives to the Capitol."

The New York Times just kept coming. Business columnist Joe Nocera said the country "watched in horror as the Tea Party Republicans waged jihad on the American people." Columnist Maureen Dowd was even more shrill. She wrote the Tea Party "slashers" were "like cannibals, eating their own party and leaders alive. They were like vampires, draining the country's reputation, credit rating and compassion. They were like zombies, relentlessly and mindlessly coming back again and again to assault their unnerved victims," Obama and John Boehner."<

Great article--Friedman, Nocera, Carlson, Dowd were right on and they described what the T Party did in terms I never would have thought of-thanks! Regards, Len [believer in compromise]

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Re: Crashing the Tea Party

Post by John F » Thu Aug 18, 2011 8:48 am

Brent Bozell wrote:Congress finally passed, and the president signed, a deeply deficient kick-the-can compromise into law in order to raise the debt ceiling. Tea Party conservatives correctly denounced the deal as woefully inadequate.
And many of them voted against it - which meant they were voting for no increase in the debt ceiling and therefore a default on the national debt. That's statesmanship?
Brent Bozell wrote:When Standard and Poor's downgraded the creditworthiness of the United States government, Sen. John Kerry shamelessly labeled it a "Tea Party downgrade," and no one in the press questioned him. This is beyond ludicrous. It's a deliberate lie on Kerry's part. How can you blame 87 new Republican House members who weren't in Washington when President Barack Obama was tripling the deficit with trillions in new spending, which Kerry happily endorsed?
Standard and Poor's reasons for downgrading the national debt included its conclusion that "the effectiveness, stability, and predictability of American policymaking and political institutions have weakened at a time of ongoing fiscal and economic challenges..." This refers directly to the behavior of the House Republicans who repeatedly blocked the efforts of their own Speaker to work out a solution to the debt ceiling problem that could actually become law, and brought the United States to the brink of default. S&P's did not name the Tea Party, but Senator Kerry was not wrong to point the finger at those whose conduct in office has beyond question weakened the effectiveness, stability, and predictability of American political institutions, notably the Congress.
Brent Bozell wrote:the only legislation that would have met the spending-restraint criteria necessary to avert a downgrade was the Cut Cap Balance proposal.
This is simply not true. Several deals, including at least one Grand Bargain, would have been what S&P was looking for, but the House Republicans intransigently blocked them all. And the "balance" part of that mantra, meaning a Constitutional amendment to balance the budget, has no place in S&P's rationale.

The rest of the article is just whining about some over-the-top metaphors from the left. Yes, some of the language was intemperate, but what else is new? Nor is it exclusive to the left - cf. Rick Perry.
John Francis

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Re: Crashing the Tea Party

Post by Cosima___J » Thu Aug 18, 2011 9:01 am

I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree about that. Looks like we view the situation quite differently. So be it.

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Re: Crashing the Tea Party

Post by karlhenning » Thu Aug 18, 2011 10:05 am

There's an irony in complaining about the left using intemperate language in reference to the T Party. Fair Disclosure: I don't look to Dowd for sanity or wisdom, either.

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Cosima___J
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Re: Crashing the Tea Party

Post by Cosima___J » Thu Aug 18, 2011 10:55 am

If it hadn't been for the push for quite awhile from Tea Partiers about reducing spending and dealing with the debt, maybe we wouldn't have even the limited accomplishment achieved in the debt ceiling agreement. If the Tea Party hadn't put the issue front and center and made the American public aware of the huge problem, maybe we'd still be listening to the big spenders.

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Re: Crashing the Tea Party

Post by Teresa B » Thu Aug 18, 2011 11:27 am

Cosima___J wrote:If it hadn't been for the push for quite awhile from Tea Partiers about reducing spending and dealing with the debt, maybe we wouldn't have even the limited accomplishment achieved in the debt ceiling agreement. If the Tea Party hadn't put the issue front and center and made the American public aware of the huge problem, maybe we'd still be listening to the big spenders.
Let's not forget the possibility (we'll never know) that the "big spenders" may have been right, the stimulus was not nearly enough, and the so-called "accomplishment" achieved by the Tea Party may aid mightily in furthering the great recession.
Cosima___J wrote:I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree about that. Looks like we view the situation quite differently. So be it.
...And thus endeth (with civility, no complaints there) the discussion--because as mentioned in several past threads, it's extremely unlikely that any of us will be swayed by someone of the opposing view. Why? Because we're a bunch of smart cookies who, convinced of our own correctness, can dig up endless support for our point of view.
:mrgreen:
Teresa
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Author of the novel "Creating Will"

John F
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Re: Crashing the Tea Party

Post by John F » Thu Aug 18, 2011 11:43 am

Just the facts, ma'am. 8)
John Francis

rwetmore
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Re: Crashing the Tea Party

Post by rwetmore » Thu Aug 18, 2011 7:32 pm

John F wrote:And many of them voted against it - which meant they were voting for no increase in the debt ceiling and therefore a default on the national debt. That's statesmanship?
John, you're being so intellectually dishonest here it's silly. Yes, the tea party voted no because they wanted national default on the debt. :roll:

Of course Obama and the Dems being stubborn and not compromising about what they wanted is statesmanship, but the for the tea party it's not. I see. This is so ridiculous, no wonder so many people have left this board. I could just as easily blame Obama or the Dems for default had it occurred for not giving into the Tea Party's demands....that's how stupid this is.
Last edited by rwetmore on Fri Aug 19, 2011 4:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted. That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history."
- Aldous Huxley

"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing has happened."
-Winston Churchill

“Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one!”
–Charles Mackay

"It doesn't matter how smart you are - if you don't stop and think."
-Thomas Sowell

"It's one of the functions of the mainstream news media to fact-check political speech and where there are lies, to reveal them to the voters."
-John F. (of CMG)

Cosima___J
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Re: Crashing the Tea Party

Post by Cosima___J » Thu Aug 18, 2011 7:40 pm

You are so right Randall that the Democrats were being stubborn and intransigent every bit as much as Republicans.

It will be interesting to see what Obama's got up his sleeve to reduce the debt.

rwetmore
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Re: Crashing the Tea Party

Post by rwetmore » Thu Aug 18, 2011 8:14 pm

Cosima___J wrote:You are so right Randall that the Democrats were being stubborn and intransigent every bit as much as Republicans.
And they had every right to be - for good or bad, depending on whatever one's point view.
"Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted. That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history."
- Aldous Huxley

"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing has happened."
-Winston Churchill

“Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one!”
–Charles Mackay

"It doesn't matter how smart you are - if you don't stop and think."
-Thomas Sowell

"It's one of the functions of the mainstream news media to fact-check political speech and where there are lies, to reveal them to the voters."
-John F. (of CMG)

lennygoran
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Re: Crashing the Tea Party

Post by lennygoran » Fri Aug 19, 2011 5:23 am

>You are so right Randall that the Democrats were being stubborn and intransigent every bit as much as Republicans. <

There are 2 groups of Republicans--unfortunately the more moderate Republicans just weren't willing to put the newby Tea Party Republicans in their place. Regards, Len :(

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