“Tea Party” is a word that stirs strong emotions in many who hear it. A few years ago it was a word that emboldened conservatives and made liberals cower in fear. Times have changed. Are you aware that the term has recently reached an all time low in favorability according to a January 2013 Rasmussen poll?
In January 2013, 8% of voters identify as Tea Party, down from a high of 24%. 59% of voters have an unfavorable opinion of the group. How did the Tea Party’s image get so badly soaked?
The term “Tea Party,” to describe a political leaning, is a recent addition to our lexicon and has changed meaning as quickly as it has been defined,
2007-08 A small anti-tax movement.
2009-10 A large and vital conservative voting bloc.
2011-13 An umbrella term used to bash non-GOP conservatives.
The Tea Party started with a clear and simple goal: no taxation without representation, the same cry of the patriots from whom they’d drawn their name. Feeling antagonized by the Obama administration, and ignored by GOP leadership, more conservatives joined their call. Over time the Tea Party began to absorb a growing number of Right Wing, but otherwise disparate, political factions.
As their numbers increased they grew to a size that could no longer be ignored. They managed to bring the establishments of The Right to the bargaining table where conservative ideology was finally afforded more than mere lip service. At the same time they became a concern for The Left who had previously felt safe to scorn what they considered a few weak old men. They both now saw the Tea Party as a threat.
This is the time at which the Tea Party began to lose its steam. Its formerly successful big tent approach became a liability as their mettle drew the most disenfranchised elements like a magnet. By absorbing the fringe Right the Tea Party lost political coherency, if not ideological focus, and became an easy target for the enemies they had just successfully battled.
I once proclaimed myself a Tea Party conservative. After the endless hyperbole of the mainstream media it has become a weight that drags down any who dare to stand for their convictions. It is a label I wear with pride, but one I wear in private, because it has grown to resemble a target.
William A. MahmetRead more -