Fractures emerge as Tea Party convenes
The original notion of protesting overspending by both Republicans and Democrats appealed to me. Expressing my discontent with polarized, partisan politics in D.C., the need for congressional term limits--all things I could get behind...Over the year, the Tea Party grew from dozens to hundreds of loosely linked groups around the country. But as it expanded, the protests became more partisan in nature, and the Tea Party established itself as an uprising to the right of the Republican Party. While independent voters were reacting against the polarization of the two major parties, the Tea Partiers wanted Republicans and Democrats to become more polarized, Avlon said.
"What happened over the course of the summer as the town hall [meetings] got hijacked, you started to see a new kind of activist taking over the Tea Party movement," Avlon said. "As the fringe has blurred with the base, you've seen more unhinged attacks proliferate, and there still hasn't been a transition to a positive agenda."
Some Tea Party members began directing their anger at Obama, calling him a socialist and carrying posters with his face altered to resemble Hitler or The Joker.
But the first rally I went to in blue California last April had already been hijacked by far-right partisans and birthers. They didn't want to talk about common ground or bi-partisan efforts.
This morning I heard Dick Armey:
Diversity -- absolutely, maybe too much so.The grassroots activists' movement for small government is the biggest, most diversified and most tolerant expression of commitment to public policy principles in this country. The fact is if those people in Tennessee want to try a different approach, we're perfectly happy to let them try. It will be interesting to see how it succeeds. But it is not our effort, not our concern.
Tolerant -- hardly. Go to a Tea Party rally and tell them you're an independent who thinks the real problem is congress and special interests and not really the President.