"unsustainable" and "Republicans"
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|Sat, 07-03-2010 - 12:57am|
Re: Senator Lindsey Graham (R), NC, and the tea party movement:
Lindsey Graham to Tea Party: ‘You (want to) take back your country — and do what with it?’
12:38 pm July 2, 2010, by Jay
Lindsey Graham commits the fatal act of telling the truth to the New York Times:
“Everything I’m doing now in terms of talking about climate, talking about immigration, talking about Gitmo is completely opposite of where the Tea Party movement’s at,” Graham said as Cato drove him to the city of Greenwood, where he was to give a commencement address at Lander University later that morning. On four occasions, Graham met with Tea Party groups. The first, in his Senate office, was “very, very contentious,” he recalled. During a later meeting, in Charleston, Graham said he challenged them: “ ‘What do you want to do? You take back your country — and do what with it?’ . . . Everybody went from being kind of hostile to just dead silent.”
In a previous conversation, Graham told me: “The problem with the Tea Party, I think it’s just unsustainable because they can never come up with a coherent vision for governing the country. It will die out.” Now he said, in a tone of casual lament: “We don’t have a lot of Reagan-type leaders in our party. Remember Ronald Reagan Democrats? I want a Republican that can attract Democrats.” Chortling, he added, “Ronald Reagan would have a hard time getting elected as a Republican today.”
Re: Tea Party movement from Washington Post:
Surprise, surprise: Tea Partyers are Republicans
For some months now, I have been battling against the idea that the Tea Party movement is some brand-new thing in American politics, an independent movement akin to the rebellion led by Ross Perot in the 1990s. Tea Party people, I have been arguing, are simply right-wing Republicans organized under a new banner.
I have not been alone in making this case, of course, and it has been slowly gaining ground, but I hope a new Gallup study will settle the question. Gallup is one of our oldest polling firms and no one’s idea of an agent for the left-wing conspiracy.
Today, Gallup put out a report that concluded:
There is significant overlap between Americans who identify as supporters of the Tea Party movement and those who identify as conservative Republicans. Their similar ideological makeup and views suggest that the Tea Party movement is more a rebranding of core Republicanism than a new or distinct entity on the American political scene.
Here’s Gallup’s summary of its findings from three surveys in March, May, and June of this year.
Gallup concluded that “almost 8 out of 10 Tea Party supporters are Republicans, compared with 44 percent of all national adults.” It also found that, “Thirty percent of Americans, on average, identify as Tea Party supporters -- a percentage remarkably consistent across the three surveys.” That’s a higher percentage of Tea Party supporters than in a number of other surveys, so no one can accuse Gallup of any prejudice against the movement.
Last April, I argued that “both major parties stand to lose if they accept the laughable notion that this media-created protest movement is the voice of true populism. Democrats will spend their time chasing votes they will never win. Republicans will turn their party into an angry and narrow redoubt with no hope of building a durable majority.” I see no reason to change my mind on that.
Some of my comments on the Tea Party over the last few months have aroused somewhere around 75 to 100 of its members (I haven’t updated the count lately) to send me tea bags in the mail. I thank my correspondents for the tea, and for their commitment. Some of the tea bags came with rather angry notes, which is in keeping with our politically-divided moment. But several of the Tea Partyers displayed excellent senses of humor, for which I salute them.
One wanted to match the choice of tea to my political views and so passed along a bag of French Vanilla. But my Proud-to-Have-Grown-Up-in-the-State-that-Hosted-the-Original-Tea-Party Prize goes to the person who thought hard about picking an appropriate brand for someone who writes a newspaper column and regular blog comments. So I say a special thanks for that bag of Constant Comment.