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

Reports of Mass Murder on Mediterranean Smuggler’s Boat

Boat sailed from Libya with 750 migrants aboard and arrived in Italy with 569 More

Video New Thailand Hotline Targets Misbehaving Monks

Officials say move aims to restore country’s image of Buddhism, tarnished by recent high profile scandals such as opulent lifestyle, drug and alcohol abuse, as well as child sex abuse More

Study: Dust from Sahara Helped Form Bahama Islands

What does the Sahara have in common with a Caribbean island? Quite a lot, researchers say 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.
Astronauts Train in Underwater Labi
X
George Putic
July 25, 2014 7:25 PM
In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid