Via Greg Sargent:
Members of the Republican establishment are fond of treating the Tea Party as an original, organic political phenomenon that is separate from the GOP. In a Wall Street Journal op-ed from February, Karl Rove hailed how the movement “arose spontaneously” and “made an important splash” while warning that the Tea Party and the GOP “are, and should remain, distinct from one another” because “the sum would be less than the parts.” Similarly, early this year, a prominent Tea Party organizer insisted, “We must not allow the Tea Parties and other patriotic grassroots movement to be hijacked by the GOP.”
However, a new Gallup poll illuminates how the Tea Party and the GOP are already closely related because they share virtually the exact same priorities:Both Tea Party supporters and Republicans identified the same top three “extremely serious threats” to the U.S. future, and in the same order: “federal government debt,” “terrorism,” and “the size and power of the federal government.” On all 10 issues mentioned by Gallup, the average gap between the Tea Party level of concern and the Republican level of concern was only 3.2 percent. Gallup has also found that 79 percent of Tea Party supporters identify as Republicans, as opposed to only 44 percent of the general population, leading Gallup to suggest that “the Tea Party movement is more a rebranding of core Republicanism than a new or distinct entity on the American political scene.”
The Tea Party movement has been the focus of media attention during the past year, and has had some success in getting its preferred candidates nominated or elected in the 2009-2010 election cycle. However, as Gallup has pointed out, those who describe themselves as Tea Party supporters are in many ways indistinguishable from, and largely a subset of, Republican identifiers more generally.
As a result, Tea Party supporters’ issue concerns are not decidedly different from those of Republican identifiers. The two groups differ only slightly in their views of federal government debt and the size and power of the federal government among the 10 issues tested.
Via E.J. Dionne:
For some time now, the Post's E.J. Dionne has been valiantly making the case that the Tea Partiers, rather than representing some new political phenomenon, are essentially just right-wing Republicans. The only new thing about them, Dionne suggests, is the ham-handed revolutionary garb and the signs of Obama as the Joker.
[snip]It's striking: Tea Party supporters and Republicans are almost in lockstep agreement on what constitute the biggest threats to America's well-being: The size of the Federal debt; the power of the Federal government; terrorism; and illegal immigration. The percentages are almost the same on all those issues.
Similarly, Tea Party supporters and Republicans are also in close agreement on the things that don't constitute serious threats: Unemployment; discrimination against minorities; and the power of large corporations.The Tea Party movement gets a disproportionate share of media attention because of all the funny costumes, Hitler references, and fantasizing about armed revolution. But it's hard to see what's distinctive about the Tea Partiers' actual political views and priorities.
Via Daily Kos' Barbara Morrill:
For some months now, I have been battling against the idea that the Tea Party movement is some brand-new thing in American politics, an independent movement akin to the rebellion led by Ross Perot in the 1990s. Tea Party people, I have been arguing, are simply right-wing Republicans organized under a new banner.
I have not been alone in making this case, of course, and it has been slowly gaining ground, but I hope a new Gallup study will settle the question. Gallup is one of our oldest polling firms and no one’s idea of an agent for the left-wing conspiracy.
Last April, I argued that “both major parties stand to lose if they accept the laughable notion that this media-created protest movement is the voice of true populism. Democrats will spend their time chasing votes they will never win. Republicans will turn their party into an angry and narrow redoubt with no hope of building a durable majority.” I see no reason to change my mind on that.
While the righwingnuttia, with an able assist from the media, continues to pretend that the tea party movement is some sort of an "American awakening," the reality is that they are Republicans whose concerns mirror those of ... what a shock ... Republicans.Make no mistake about it. The Tea Klux Klan is the GOP.