Tea Party Study Shows Groups Have No Structure
The Washington Post has now
a months-long study of hundreds of local tea party groups around the country.
While the groups are all angry and have achieved massive publicity for over a year, they
are surprisingly disorganized and unfocused, despite large infusions of money from groups
like Dick Armey's FreedomWorks. For example, 70% of the local tea parties have not engaged
in political campaigning. Normally, grass-roots groups like these actually work for
specific local candidates, going door to door to try to convince people to vote for them.
In contrast, highly centralized and focused groups like Karl Rove's American Crossroads
have raised and spent tens of millions of dollars on television ads attacking Democrats.
When the history of the 2010 campaign is written, it is likely to see the key issue as being
the Supreme Court's unleashing of outsider money rather than the scattered, but highly
reported, tea party protests.
The Post got a list of 2,300 local tea party groups from the Atlanta-based
Tea Party Patriots and tried to contact them all. Ultimately, it was able to reach 647
of them and gave each one a questionnaire to fill out about its beliefs, members, and goals.
The most common response about the group's goals was about limiting the size of government
and federal spending, but together fewer than half the groups listed these items first.
Members were also unhappy with the Democratic Party but also with the Republican Party.
In fact, so far their biggest successes have been defeating establishment Republicans in primaries.
Eleven percent were concerned about President Obama's race and religion.
Social issues, such as abortion and same-sex marriage, hardly registered at all.
What is somewhat surprising is that the groups are densest throughout the Northeast, South,
Midwest, and Pacific Coast, with few groups in the Mountain West, except for
Colorado, Arizona, and Utah. For example, there are only two tea party groups in Nevada,
despite the tea party having propelled Sharron Angle to the GOP senatorial nomination in that state,
defeating the Republican Party's hand-picked candidate, Sue Lowden. Here is a
showing where the groups are located.
Obama May Be Secretly Hoping for a Republican Congress
having an enemy is crucial.
The Democrats swept to power in 2006 and 2008
by pointing out over and over that they were not George Bush, had never been George Bush,
and had no plans to be George Bush. If one were to believe all the attack ads Republicans
are running on television nationwide, then Nancy Pelosi must be running for the House in
a couple of hundred congressional districts as many of these ads don't even bother to mention
the actual Democrat running in the district. They just attack Pelosi.
As a consequence, if the Republicans take over the House (which is a better than 50-50
proposition) and/or the Senate (maybe 30-40% chance), in 2012, Obama will have a foil.
It is very unlikely the Republicans will accomplish anything if they do take over (other
than launching myriad investigations of his birth certificate), so in 2012 he will be
able to run against the "do-nothing Congress," as Harry Truman did in 1948. If the
Democrats maintain slim margins in both chambers, he won't be able to move much
legislation (unless Harry Reid loses and the new majority leader, Dick Durbin or Chuck
Schumer, manages to curtail the filibuster). In essence, since probably none of the nation's
problems are going to be addressed in the next two years, it is better for Obama to have the
Republicans to blame rather than the Democrats. Also, as Obama is keenly aware, two years
into Bill Clinton's first term, the Democrats took a real shellacking in 1994, yet he
came back to be reelected easily in 1996.
NRCC Gets $20 Million Credit Line
Just days after the DCCC announced that it was borrowing $17 million to fund a last-minute
push just before the elections, the NRSC has raised the ante by getting a $20-million
line of credit. It has already spent over $1 million in each of a dozen different House districts
including AL-02 (Bobby Bright), AZ-01 (Ann Kirkpatrick),
AZ-05 (Harry Mitchell), NH-01 (Carol Shea-Porter), OH-16 (John Boccieri), and OH-18 (Zack Space).
The DCCC is also pouring money into selected districts, including the open seats of
AR-01 and IL-10. The difference between the two is that the NRSC is playing almost
entirely offense and the DCCC is playing almost entirely defense. The Republicans
are going after close to 100 Democratic seats and the Democrats are going after about five
Republican seats--and those are mostly historically Democratic seats that went Republican
as a result of a freak accident.
Three Candidates Spend Quarter of a Billion Dollars
In a campaign awash with money from the Chamber of Commerce and other outside groups,
a trio of Republican candidates,
Linda McMahon (running for the Senate in Connecticut),
Meg Whitman (running for governor of California), and
Rick Scott (running for governor of Florida),
have already spent a combined total of
of their own money in their races. For all this cash, the results are a bit disappointing.
McMahon is way behind and nearly certain to lose, Whitman is a bit behind and is more likely
to lose than not, and Scott is in a virtual tie. If all three of them lose, the net result
may have a chilling effect on millionaires and billionaires thinking of trying to buy
public office in the future. On the other hand, future wealthy candidates may ascribe these
losses to unique factors not applicable to them (e.g., Whitman has been railing against
employers who hire illegal aliens at the same time she employed one in her house for 9 years and
the company Scott ran was fined $100 million for defrauding Medicare).
McMahon's money comes from professional wrestling, and given how acrimonious the
once-civilized Senate has become, there is something to be said for having skills learned
hanging around wrestling rings.
Today's Polls: FL MD WA-02
|| Kendrick Meek
|| Marco Rubio
|| Charlie Crist
|| Oct 15
|| Oct 19
|| Barbara Mikulski*
|| Eric Wargotz
|| Oct 15
|| Oct 20
|| Rick Larsen*
|| John Koster
|| Oct 19
|| Oct 21
If you like this Website, tell your friends. You can also share by clicking this button
-- The Votemaster
Your donation is greatly appreciated. It will buy ads to publicize the site.