By Matthew Desmond
It’s pretty obvious that the Tea Party is just the Republicans blatant attempt to rebrand themselves after the legacy George W. Bush left them with in 2008. The largest deficits in U.S. history, 2 unfunded wars, the economy in shambles, and one of the lowest Presidential approval ratings in U.S. history were enough for the Democrats to secure major wins in 2008. The Republicans, the self-declared “fiscally conservative” party, couldn’t legitimately use their brand anymore. George W. Bush had proven it to be inaccurate. They needed to rebrand themselves in a new way, so they could continue to call themselves “fiscally conservative”. So they created the Tea Party.
The concept was simple; create a party that could claim to be non-partisan while simultaneously pushing the agenda of the Republican Party. Get high-ranking Republicans to participate, like Sarah Palin and former House Majority Leader Dick Armey, and use their connections to Fox News to promote it through the media as a “grassroots movement”.
Their plan seemed to be working, until the surveys started coming out. 57% of the Tea Party members identify as Republican. 13% identify as Democrat and 28% identify as Independent. That means there are more Tea Party members that identify as Republican than Democrat and Independent combined. Democrats beliefs that the Tea Party was really just a Republican astro-turf movement had been confirmed.
The Tea Party has also primarily endorsed Republican candidates. To date, they have endorsed just one Democratic candidate.
Ask a member of the Tea Party who they support and why. They’ll tell you they support the fiscally conservative candidate, and then name a Republican. Ask them how they can say that Republicans are fiscally conservative after George W. Bush. They’ll tell you that they didn’t support George W. Bush, or they’ll try to tell you that the Democrats were responsible for Bush’s deficits.
The truth though is that these people voted for George W. Bush in 2004. They voted for John McCain in 2008 even though he voted with Bush over 90% of the time. They endorse and support many so-called “fiscally responsible” candidates who were in office while Bush was President and also voted on his deficit busting budgets.
The Tea Party is NOT a grassroots movement. They’re not primarily independents, or run by independents. They’re an astro-turf movement sponsored and funded by some of the highest ranking members of the Republican Party, and right-wing media network Fox News.
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