A new poll by Rasmussen Reports found that only 8% of Americans now identified themselves as members of the Tea Party. While that still equals more then 25 million people, this is a startling drop from the 24% who answered same question just 4 years ago. Of course, the liberal media in this country were first to publicize the poll results. I could almost hear the chorus of left wing politicos singing, “Ding Dong the Tea Party is Dead,” while giving each other high fives.
Why would someone identify himself or herself as a Tea Party member these days with a label that has virtually become a curse word in the public eye? Thanks in part to the constant barrage of negative reporting by the media as well as the spiteful jealousy of the moderate wing of the Republican establishment, it looks as though the general public has bought the propaganda that being a Tea Partier means you combine the opinions of a homophobe, raciest, bigot, sexist, redneck all in one.
On February 19, 2009 CNBC’s Rick Santelli’s “Shout Heard Around the World” reignited the same fire that those in Boston felt almost 240 years before. Santelli’s remark to organize a Chicago Tea Party as a revolt to the mortgage bailout was how the residents of Boston felt about onerous taxation by the British.
Within weeks, millions of folks were united under the founding principles of the Tea Party: limited federal government, the protection of individual freedoms and choices, personal responsibility and accountability, returning political power to the states and the people and most important a free market system.
The need for those principles is only more urgent four years into the Obama presidency. I believe the number of Americans who believe in those tents has increased over that time period, even if they do not call themselves members of the “tea party.”
When millions of Americans educated themselves and protested en masse about how big our Government had grown and delivered a stunning verdict at the ballot box in 2010 by sending dozens of Tea Party candidates to Congress, the liberal elite and GOP establishment took notice. They knew the movement was a mortal threat to their political existence in a center-right country.
The only option they had was to demonize Tea Partiers. It is only human nature to point at someone else just to make sure no one is pointing at you.
So how does the Tea Party survive? The Tea Party could just change their name, as it seemed to work for ACORN. But this would be portrayed as a sign of resignation and defeat.