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Tea Party 2010: Revolution Brewing? Or Is That Some Weak Tea?

Taking stock of the movement's first year, and picking a script to follow for Act Two.

by
Andrew Ian Dodge

Bio

January 3, 2010 - 12:00 am
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As the nation and the tea party movement prepare for the new year, President Obama and the Democrats have been rushing forward legislation which will forever change the country and raise the deficit.

How far has the tea party movement come since the beginning of last year? A massive event occurred in Washington, D.C., on 9/12, and even greater numbers of people demonstrated all over the country to express their frustration. But ultimately, have they achieved any results? The bills have still gone through, and Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and Obama have shucked aside criticisms.

Ignoring the (majority) public outcry, some legislators have gone so far as to ban tea party members from their offices under penalty of arrest. Most of the MSM, excluding Fox, has carried the Democrats’ water, portraying tea parties as a fringe movement at best and domestic terror breeding at worst.

Fox has covered the tea parties, though selectively — driving the ratings of Beck and Hannity and legitimizing non-grassroots groups like FreedomWorks and Tea Party Express. Fox’s coverage assisted the left’s portrayal of the tea parties as astroturf, and the GOP-tied groups made it very hard to claim the movement is non-partisan.

So now what?

What should the tea party movement be doing to make itself more effective and to not exist merely as an exploitable outlet for the frustrated?

Some are pushing the idea of a Perot-like third party to challenge the two major parties on all fronts. Others are desperately against such a move, concerned that the tea party movement will hurt the Republican Party and “cost” them victory in 2010. The tea parties have very limited time to affect the outcome of 2010, and the logistics of a national third party seem overwhelming.

Another approach — and one that seems more logical — is for tea parties to endorse candidates that adhere to their principles, whatever the party.

A state third party has been formed from the movement. Florida already has itself a registered tea party to challenge both parties, though it will be interesting to see if they are alone or one of many. Many states have very difficult, perhaps unreasonable, registration requirements for forming a third party.

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