Is the Tea Party Pulling the GOP Too Far Right?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

U.S. Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell participates in television interviews before voting in the Delaware primary September 14, 2010 in Wilmington, Delaware. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images/Getty)

Today we consider the conversation happening between the Tea Party and the GOP to see if the two groups can converge on the same page. Delaware resident and leader of the Diamond State Tea Party Kevin Street joins us from the Tea Party. Conservative political journalist and blogger Reihan Salam, of the National Review, considers the fall implications for the GOP.

Before the Tea Party victory in the Delaware primary, many Republicans were adamant about their lack of support for those deemed too extreme.  After the surprising win of Tea Party favorite Christine O'Donnell over veteran politician Rep. Mike Castle, many within the GOP are lining up to endorse her and donate to her campaign.  Does this mean Republicans are ready to absorb and back those they previously felt too far to the right?

Comments [12]

Michaelrf from Methuen MA

2 points about the Tea Party - 1) Scott Brown's win in Massachusetts was also due in part to Martha Coakley running a terrible campaign in the general election. She just phoned it in until the last week.
2) Read Jane Mayer in the New Yorker about the Koch brothers financing of the Tea Party movement, they are using this libertarian/ angry with incumbents mood to further their own agenda to undo all regulation since Teddy Roosevelt.

Sep. 16 2010 09:17 PM

Commenter "Yanta" makes an excellent point, although it is one that will no doubt be instincitvely rejected by the liberal elites that produce The Takeaway and similar public radio newstalk.

For the NPR elites, the "Anti-Muslim extremism" story is important because, well, it is important. It satisifies NPR's own fears and curiosities, whether or not "Anti-Muslim extremism" is any sort of a noteworthy movement in the U.S. at all.

The "Rev." Terry Jones in Florida apprently represented the considered views of almost nobody. And the community disagreement over the location of the Lower Manhattan Islamic Center likewise appears to be representative of no great impetus for a mosque in that location by a substantial community of Muslims (there are scores of other mosques in and around metropolitan New York), but rather became an excuse for partisans to preen and scold their opponents. No serious Constitutional issue was at risk. The thoughtful opponents of the proposed location of the Islamic Community Center simply argued that if the mosque promoters and site owners really wanted to build interfaith and cross-cultural bridges in the community, they could start by cooperating with a changed location, for which there was massive popular support.

In the end, it is all about the prejudices of the NPR/PRI/Takeaway hosts and producers.

Sep. 16 2010 05:51 PM
margaretc from Staten Island

I don't think Reihan Salam "gets it". His mentality of "Lets just get elected and win majority and we'll take care of the fact that we're not in line with conservative values later - when we're in charge" is exactly the type of thinking that has gotten us in this mess. I don't agree with many of the Tea Party messages, but I have to applaud the commitment to saying enough is enough - we're willing to lose a few battles in favor of winning the war. Our elected officials don't display enough of this kind of vision and determination, but they will get on board when they realize its actually the popular thing to do. The Tea Party has faith in that and thats why they're willing to give up the short term gain for the long term one. Were everyone so committed their principles this country might actually stand a chance!

Sep. 16 2010 02:24 PM
Jeffrey from MInneapolis

Shouldn't we start calling "The Tea Party" movement exactly what they are: US National Front? The group which is made up mostly of white (according to a Gallup Poll, 79%), conservative (70%) and Christian. They yearn for a return to a time that never existed in America, except in the cathode ray tubes in their living room.

If it talks like a version of the National Front & uses logic like the National Front, isn't it the National the United States?

Sep. 16 2010 12:14 PM
Cathy S from West Palm Beach, FL

I'm moving further to the left in reaction to what I see happening on the right because I find it downright frightening. The thought of Republicans winning in November has me sick to my stomach. Do people really think it won't get any worse? I think we're about to find out that the right can lead us into much more trouble than we're in! After all, they're the ones who got us into this mess...

Sep. 16 2010 12:07 PM
Gary Miller from Teaneck, NJ

After listening to your show this morning, I wrote the following limericks. Please e-mail me if you read them on the air.

The Ballad of Elizabeth Warren

There was a Mass. Prof named Liz
Who headed the consumer protec biz
But when she got started
Tim G's support was half-hearted
(or her efforts were thwarted)
And Liz just went down in a fiz

The Ballad of Andrew Cuomo

There was an AG named Andy
Who thought he'd be gov in a dandy
But along came Tea Carl
With lots of dough and a snarl
And Andy needs a new plan handy

Sep. 16 2010 10:12 AM
Liam from East Elmhurst

I am (cough) glad that finally a big CORPORATE lawyer feeder like Mike (cough) Bloomberg is finally getting to that major NYC issue of (cough) smoking in public places.
No, I am coughing because I can't swallow his +hit.
God what an awful excuse for a public official he is.
Almost (but not even close to)as bad a Rudy the Jerk.

Sep. 16 2010 10:00 AM
Jon Kibler from Charleston, SC

Re: Moving left vs. right.

We don't need more 'middle of the road' people. Remember, the only thing found in the middle of the road is road-kill.

I'm definitely moving FAR to the left!

The story that every media source seems to miss about the Tea Party is that it is strictly the part of greed. Every one I know that is a Tea Party supporter are the most selfish and greedy people I know. Other than their church, I don't know of a single one that has ever made one cent of charitable contribution to any social support organization. They all have the attitude that it should be 'every man for themselves' and could care less about the fate of their fellow human beings. They simply want no government so they can have the money that goes to taxes to spend on their own selfish interests -- usually, more material goods. They could care less if their neighbor is starving to death -- all that counts is them and their family.

I also believe that the Tea Party movement is anti-Christian. In fact, I have to laugh each time a politician says they are Christian and anti-Tax. What ever happened to Jesus' declaration that man should willingly pay taxes, to 'Render unto Ceasar what is Ceasar's'. That is another point that I think all media is missing here. So many churches are so focused on money, they have become 'Churches of the Almighty Dollar' and not really Christian churches.

Sep. 16 2010 09:58 AM
Acorpus from Yuma, Arizona

Today is Mexican Independence Day and your show is focusing on the Great Migration of African American people. It's great that you are doing that but what about focusing on a very important day and month! It's also Hispanic Heritage Month and I haven't heard from anyone on this topic. I listen every day and I'm disappointed.

Sep. 16 2010 09:30 AM

For the last few mornings all I hear on your program is analysis of tea party. A couple of weeks ago, we were given huge dose of pastor Terry Jones and now tea party. I thought, public radio had much higher standard and avoided sensationalism. With all the commercials you air, public radio becomes regretfully indistinguishable from other stations.

Sep. 16 2010 08:46 AM
Clint from Olympia, WA

So what do you do about people who are fiscally conservative but socially moderate? I won't vote for a conservative tea party candidate because I'm pretty sure if we go down this road, sooner or later I will be persecuted because I am agnostic. This movement just doesn't feel right to me.

Sep. 16 2010 08:20 AM
James from Livingston, NJ

Your bias is on display when the hosts of the program state that Christine O'Donnell cannot win the general election in Delaware. You should be reporting the news and not trying to shape it. When Barack Obama announced his candidacy for President and was deemed to be the underdog, I do not recall any commentary suggesting that he could not possibly win. Please play it fair.

Sep. 16 2010 06:16 AM

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