The Evolution Of A Talking Point: First Tea Parties Were GOP Astroturf, Now They Hate The GOP

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Sometimes you just have to chuckle.

Back when the tea parties were first rising to national prominence as a political movement the unifying talking point from Democrats was that they were really nothing than GOP astroturf. They were being organized by “Republican operatives” and conservative “special interests” according to any liberal you cared to ask. Tea party activists actually had to work long and hard to make it clear that they weren’t just some quasi-official Republican splinter group.

But now that the tea parties have showed some staying power, and have proven that they’re going to have an impact on the 2010 midterm elections, Democrats have decided that a better talking point is to cast the tea parties as being anti-Republican. Thus driving a wedge between Republican candidates and the thriving political movement that’s going to push a lot of them to victory.

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Chris Van Hollen tried to put a wedge between the Republican establishment and the tea party movement Thursday, insisting that national GOP leaders won’t represent the activists’ values if they retake the House.

“There’s good reason for the tea party movement to be suspicious of the Washington Republicans, the establishment Republicans. And they are,” the Maryland Democrat told reporters. “Washington Republicans would like nothing better than to use that political energy to win races and then go back to their same old business as usual, which does not reflect the views of a lot of the grassroots in the tea party movement.”

Van Hollen goes on to say that alleged Republican meetings with Wall Street bankers wouldn’t resonate with tea partiers. Because we all know what a widely acknowledge expert Democrat Chris Van Hollen is when it comes to the sentiments of the tea party movement.

Though to be perfectly honest, Van Hollen isn’t necessarily wrong when he says that Republicans are out of step with the tea party movement in a lot of ways. It’s just laughable to hear them make that argument after they initially suggested that the tea parties were Republican astroturf and while they continue to suggest that the tea parties are dragging Republicans too far to the right.

The tea parties are moving the GOP back to the right. And that’s what is going to help them win elections against Democrats. Much to the chagrin of liberals like Van Hollen.

Rob Port

Rob Port is the editor of In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters.

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