Harvard Kennedy School Lecturer Timothy P. McCarthy, who hinted that his days at Harvard might be numbered during his 10-minute presentation, discussed the future of protest—an area in which “teabaggers and terrorists and other terrible people might have gotten a head start.”
Not to belabor the point from Kyle’s post yesterday, but the Tea Partiers sure are having a rough go of it in the media lately. In any case, it is becoming more and more nebulous where exactly their place on the right is. Are they fiscal conservatives? Andrew Sullivan says they are not:
They have no plans to cut serious spending whatsoever. They love their Medicare, as they screamed at us last August. Do you remember them revolting against Bush’s unfunded, Medicare prescription drug bill, the worst act of fiscal vandalism since the Iraq war? They want much more defense spending. And does anyone think they would ever touch social security? Tell me of one speech this weekend in which any serious spending cuts were actually proposed.
James Zogby of Zogby International, a polling firm, registers his own set of concerns with the rising fortunes of a movement he finds distasteful:
It may make some feel better to dismiss all this as the bizarre rantings of a disgruntled minority. I think not. The polls show the strength of this current within the Republican Party. While only 35 per cent of Republicans consider themselves supporters of the Tea Party Movement, 60pc agree with its views. And more than one-half of all Republicans believe the group will make their party stronger.
As in New York’s 23rd District where the Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman ran the moderate (some would say liberal) Republican nominee Dede Scozzafava out of the race and then lost to the Democrat in what might have been a winnable race without his entry, we will get a few more chances to test out the support for Tea Party candidates in the midterm elections.
In addition to JD Hayworth in Arizona who is challenging John McCain in the Republican Primary, today brought news that Harry Reid and his eventual Republican foe will be facing a challenge from John Ashjian, who officially running as a Tea Party (i.e. not Republican) candidate, now that the Tea Party has filed a “Certificate of Existence” (really, that’s what it’s called).
These two cases will provide an interesting test for the Tea Party’s popularity going forward because if they can win either one, then that should pretty much cement the Tea Party as a movement that is going to not only matter in terms of making noise, but actually shaping policy.