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“Just Ordinary Americans”: Don’t Underestimate the Tea Party Movement

Posted by jendelaindonesia pada Februari 4, 2010

“Just Ordinary Americans”: Don’t Underestimate the Tea Party Movement

Posted Feb 03, 2010 07:30am EST by Aaron Task
Scott Brown’s victory in Massachusetts last month did more than just break the Democrats filibuster-proof majority in the Senate. It also brought the movement into the mainstream as the Tea Party played at least an indirect role in helping the Republican win.But what, exactly, is the Tea Party?

It’s hard to define by conventional means but Ben McGrath, staff writer for The New Yorker, says the Tea Party is a “marriage of two main strains” of conservative politics – libertarians and social conservatives. “People who would have voted Republican historically but don’t think of themselves as Republicans” anymore, having been frustrated by the big spending or international activism (or both) of the GOP during the George W. Bush era.

In a recent New Yorker article and the accompanying clip, McGrath takes pains to dispel the commonly held view that the Tea Party is a bunch of fringe radicals.

“Sure [you] might find one or two wacky people but they’re [mostly] just ordinary Americans who have a deep sense the country is going to a place they’re not comfortable with,” he says. “Something about the idea of a tea party [the] connection to the American Revolution has animated them, gotten them interested in civic engagement in a new way.”

McGrath also disputes the notion the Tea Party is being led by Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, Dick Armey, Lou Dobbs, Rick Santelli or anyone else for that matter.

“There isn’t one leader and even those who might be indentified are really sensitive to the concern of followers there need not be a leader, should not be a leader,” he explains. “The Internet is the leader” much like with or the Obama campaign in 2008.

Because of the common misperceptions about the Tea Party, especially in mainstream media circles, McGrath says the movement is being underestimated as a powerful force in American politics, as we’ll discuss further in an upcoming segment. The First National Tea Party Conventions kicks off Thursday in Nashville.


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