American Spectator: Tea Party Isn't Dead

Friday, 21 Mar 2014 12:30 PM

By Courtney Coren

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The tea party is far from dead, despite the verdict of some commentators, Matt Purple writes in The American Spectator.

Molly Ball recently wrote in Democracy that the power of the tea party is weakening. Josh Kraushaar wrote Tuesday in The National Journal that the influence of the conservative movement is learning its limits on elections. Chris Cilliza concluded in The Washington Post on Wednesday that the idea of a tea party take over appears to be fading as its candidates seem to be struggling to win elections.

"But to declare the tea party in decline for these reasons is to argue that the tea party was only ever concerned with candidates," Purple writes.

The American Spectator assistant managing editor wrote that the tea party came into existence in reaction to moderate establishment Republicans "that brought us No Child Left Behind, calamity in Iraq, a homeownership society-cum-popped housing bubble, record debt, a failed stimulus, and a destructive overhaul of our health insurance."

But the other major purpose of the tea party movement is to change the GOP by rejecting the compassionate conservative philosophy of former President George W. Bush in exchange for small-government principles.

"Meanwhile the GOP has been leaning intellectually towards the tea party," Purple argued. "Republicans stood strong against a pointless military adventure in Syria. Senator Rand Paul won the straw poll at CPAC by bashing the NSA and the surveillance state. Old Bushies have become like the Frankenstein Creature, wandering the earth, searching for companionship."

And when it comes to tea party candidates — with Reps. Tom Cotton, Cory Gardner and Sen. Tim Scott looking to win in November — "is 2014 really such a low point?"

"The tea party's goal was to infiltrate and reorient the GOP, and at this it's been largely successful," he concluded.

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