News / USA

US Republicans Embrace Tea Party

2010 is a congressional election year in the United States, and political experts are keeping close watch on a grassroots conservative movement known as the Tea Party.  Tea Party supporters favor a limited role for the central government and are fierce critics of President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress.  A growing number of congressional Republicans are embracing the Tea Party.  

Think of the Tea Party as a political movement, not a formal political party.  Tea Party supporters want to reduce taxes and government spending and in general want to limit the role of the federal government.

The Tea Party movement gained momentum during last year's debate over President Obama's health care reform plan, a debate that played out in numerous rallies and angry town hall meetings across the country.

Opposition Republicans believe that harnessing the energy and grassroots organizing success of the Tea Party movement will carry them to victory in this year's midterm congressional elections.

With that in mind, about 30 Republicans in the House of Representatives came together recently to form the House Tea Party Caucus, a group that will push the Tea Party agenda of limited government in the halls of Congress.

Congresswoman Michele Bachmann of Minnesota is leading the effort.

"They represent mainstream American people who have decided to get up off the couch because they want to take their country back," said Michele Bachmann. "They believe that we are taxed enough already, that the federal government should not spend more money than it takes in, and that Congress should act within the constitutional limitations as given to us by the Founding Fathers."

A recent poll by Democratic political strategists Stan Greenberg and James Carville found that Tea Party supporters are energized about this year's congressional elections and eager to help Republicans reclaim control of one or both houses of Congress.

Greenberg says the survey found a high number of Tea Party supporters among those who consider themselves likely voters in this year's elections.

"They will have an impact in this election," said Stan Greenberg. "They are 25 percent of the electorate [among likely voters], you know, self-identify as strong Tea Party supporters.  That is a big number.  Ninety-two percent disapprove of Obama's performance, 89 percent strongly."

Greenberg says the Tea Party movement at its core is a grassroots network of conservative activists usually inclined to vote Republican.

"It is not independent, it is not populist, it is not a populist revolt against the elites, it is not a working class revolt rooted in frustration with the recession, Wall Street and government," he said. "This is a grassroots movement within the Republican Party that is having a great impact on the party and beyond."

Republicans see the energy of the Tea Party movement as a key to victory this year.  But Greenberg says the Tea Party has plenty of critics as well, including a few moderate Republicans, who see the movement as too extreme and hostile to minorities and immigrants.

"Once you get beyond the Tea Party supporters themselves, it is not that popular," said Greenberg. "There is a majority who view them as extreme.  And when you get beyond the Tea Party supporters themselves, there is an even split on whether their motivation is a racial animosity to President Obama."

One of the country's leading civil rights organizations, the NAACP, recently called on Tea Party leaders to repudiate racist elements within their own ranks.  The National Tea Party Federation did expel the leader of one group over what it regarded as a racist blog post.

And Tea Party organizers are also highlighting the participation of minority members like Danielle Hollars, an African-American Army veteran from Virginia.

"I am here because I want to tell America that we are not terrorists, we are not racist," said Danielle Hollars. "We are Americans who care about our country and the future for our children and our grandchildren."

Congresswoman Michele Bachmann is a favorite among Tea Party supporters, second only in popularity to former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, the Republican Party's vice presidential nominee in 2008.

Palin was the featured speaker at the first Tea Party convention earlier this year and some political experts believe Palin could use her base of support within the Tea Party movement to launch a campaign for president in 2012.

You May Like

Turbulent Transition Imperils Tunisia’s Arab Spring Gains

Critics say new anti-terrorism laws worsen Tunisia's situation while others put faith in country’s vibrant civil organizations, women’s movement More

Burundi’s Political Crisis May Become Humanitarian One

United Nations aid agencies issue warning as deadly violence sends tens of thousands fleeing More

Yemenis Adjust to Life Under Houthi Rule

Locals want warring parties to strike deal to stop bloodletting before deciding how country is governed More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fairi
X
Brian Padden
May 29, 2015 1:27 PM
With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Purple Door Coffeeshop: Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

For a quarter of his life, Kevin Persons lived on the street. Today, he is working behind the counter of an espresso bar, serving coffee and working to transition off the streets and into a home. Paul Vargas reports for VOA.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.

VOA Blogs