Kevin Price
The Tea Party and 2012
By Kevin Price
March 1, 2011

The dust has barely settled on the elections of 2010 and everyone is now talking about 2012. The reason is simple, everyone is curious about what is going to happen on the political front and what the role of the Tea Party will be in that process. The following are several perspectives among both the Republican and Democratic parties.

The prevailing views among the Democrats include:

  • The most common view is that the Tea Party is nothing more than a racist, "fringe" organization that promises to have little — if any — political impact in the long term. Whatever happens with the Tea Party will largely be isolated to 2010, in their opinion. In spite of huge wins for GOP candidates with a Tea Party perspective, I still think doubt is the prevailing perspective when it comes to the movements long term staying power.

  • A small minority believe that the Tea Party can be dealt with and should be pursued as independent individuals simply looking for better government. Of course, the Democrats believe they can provide such. This number will grow after the elections or the Democrats will find themselves relegated to total minority status.

    The GOP has more complicated perspectives of the Tea Party

  • One of the more common views is that the Tea Party is a natural extension of the GOP. People in the Republican Party believe that the Tea Party really has no other place to go. The Tea Party wants less government and the GOP believes that it is, at least, slowing down the pace of growth. I believe this group thinks that it can govern as it always has. They believe that if they govern like the Tea Party desires, the GOP will lose broad independent support and find itself, again, in minority status.

  • One view of the Republicans is that the Tea Party's support is very conditional, but not necessarily important in the long term. This group believes that the Tea Party is no different than the other "sleeping giants" that woke up in 1994, 1980 and other years just long enough to scare the status quo, but not keep them accountable for the long term. This group will not state they believe such and will certainly give lip service to the Tea Party, but they are banking on the idea that it will eventually be "business as usual" in no time.

  • Another — much smaller group, in my opinion — believe that the Tea Party is exactly what the GOP needed. This same group has grappled with the direction the Republican Party had been going and was tired of its long term status as "socialist light." Some of these people entertained leaving the Republican Party to join the Libertarians or the Constitutional party, but were afraid that would mean a wasted vote. This group was there in 1980 and 1994 and hope that the Tea Party does not merely do a hit and run, but actually keeps the GOP in line.

My view varies. I want to believe that the last group will win the day and certainly hope that holding this government accountable is not just a "fad," but becomes first in the hearts and minds of the many people who have slept for so long. I have said often — on the radio and in speeches — that our crisis today is not because of the politicians, but because of unaccountable politicians. The behavior of these elected officials is natural when individuals are allotted so much power without accountability. It is in the best interest of the GOP and the country, for the Tea Party to stay in this process for the long haul.

On the other hand, I recently had a conversation with the leader of what was one of the largest Tea Party groups in the country. She indicated that her group was on life support and she was about to pull a plug on its last sign of activity — her website. Furthermore, a prominent activist organization with close affiliations with the Tea Party that hired 14 new activists in the closing months of 2010 let that same group go in February, 2011. There is a great of history to show that the "fad" argument will stick. Our country will not be able to survive another collective coma.

© Kevin Price


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Kevin Price

Kevin Price is Publisher and Editor in Chief of

His background is eclectic and includes years of experience in both business and public policy, as well as two decades of experience in broadcast journalism. He was an aide to U.S. Senator Gordon Humphrey (R-NH) and later went on to work in policy areas with some of the nation's leading think tanks including the National Center for Public Policy Research and was part of the Heritage Foundation's Annual Guide to Public Policy Experts... (more)


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