Peak Tea

Greg Ip thinks we’ve hit peak Tea Party. We’ve known for a while that the Tea Party hasn’t brought any new voters into the electorate. The rump base of the Republican Party has merely traded their elephant hats for tricorne hats with tea bags hanging off of them.

My guess is that we’re seeing some of the activist intensity in the GOP burning out. The tea people feel like they had a big win in 2010, and now they’re getting complacent just like Democratic activists did after 2008.

Tea Time’s Over

Gallup:

About half of Americans, 47%, now have an unfavorable image of the Tea Party movement, the highest since it emerged on the national scene

Economic conservatism has never been popular in the United States, and the right wing electoral coalition has always been most successful using social issues as a Trojan Horse for the really nasty Victorian economic agenda. Now that the Paul Ryan budget has clarified what these people are actually for, it’s no surprise the public is turning on them.

Useful Idiots

Tim McNulty reports that the natural gas drillers are going shopping for some astroturf:

The main Pittsburgh Tea Party event of the year — on tax day — returns to the revamped Market Square this Friday at noon.

Conservative talk show host Rose Tennent is the MC. The anti-Obama/health reform/stimulus group is apparently veering into new territory, underground — one of the featured speakers is the spokesman for Range Resources, Matt Pitzarella, who’s going to talk on Marcellus Shale’s impacts on the Pa economy.

LV Tea Party Cheers on Government Shutdown

For the record, I wanted to make sure everyone is aware that the Lehigh Valley Tea Party is actively cheering on a government shutdown. Here’s Kim Schmidtner:

Instead of having the best interest of our nation at the forefront of their minds, they’re afraid of getting blamed for taking a bold stance and putting the brakes on an out-of –control, “money is no object” government. They’re afraid of having the finger pointed at them and being told they’re extremists because they closed national parks, museums, and the passport office.

But that’s actually where the opportunity lies. As mentioned in the previous article, the federal government brings in nearly $6 billion EVERY day. If that isn’t enough to keep the “essential” functions of government running, and then some, then shame on them. What a great opportunity for the bloated federal government to be cut down to minimum essential activities. Then, brick-by-brick, the federal government can be rebuilt to proper levels. For example, if veterans’ services are curtailed, a bill can be introduced my saavy members of Congress to fund that particular activity. Make every program fight to be re-introduced into the budget, and prioritize what gets added back (similar to zero-based budgeting).

So, in summary, if the federal government shuts down, most of us probably won’t even notice, but it would be a great opportunity to return to a limited government only involved with “essential” activities.

This is nuts. Even John Boehner realizes how catastrophic a shutdown would be for the economy:

At a Capitol press conference Friday, House Speaker John Boehner said he’s not making contingency preparations for a government shutdown, and hopes to avoid one altogether, in part because of the inherent cost.

“And frankly, let’s all be honest, if you shut the government down, it’ll end up costing more than you save, because you interrupt contracts,” Boehner admitted. “There’s a lot of problems with the idea of shutting the government down.”

Whatever happened to “uncertainty?”

Republican Base Wants a Shutdown

(Source: Pew Research)

Overreach

Via Jon Terbush, the new CNN poll says Tea Party unfavorables are at an all-time high:

In the poll, 47% of adult Americans said they viewed the Tea Party unfavorably, compared to 32% who said they viewed it favorably.

The latest finding continues a trend of the Tea Party losing popularity as it has became more well known.

In January 2010, a plurality of Americans viewed the Tea Party favorably by a 33%-26% split, while an additional 24% had no opinion. Support has since stayed in the mid to high 30s, peaking at 38% in both April and November last year, while opposition has grown. Last April, 36% of Americans viewed the Tea Party unfavorably, a number that rose to 37% in October, and 43% in November.

I bet it’s because they’re not conservative enough!

What Tea Party?

Will Wilkinson pours cold water on the idea that the Tea Party propelled Republicans to power:

In the latest edition of The Boston Review, a pair of Harvard political scientists, Stephen Ansolabehere and James M. Snyder, cast doubt on the conventional wisdom about the tea-party movement. Digging into the data from the 2010 mid-term elections, Messrs Ansolabahere and Snyder find that the tea-party movement largely threw its weight behind conservative candidates in conservative districts who were likely to win anyway. “The penchant for endorsing candidates in Republican-leaning areas almost completely explains the Tea Party’s success rate,” they write. This applies to candidates for the House, at least. What about a tea-party bump for Senate hopefuls? Noting that the relative paucity of senatorial contests makes it hard to draw firm statistical lessons, Messrs Ansolabahere and Snyder nevertheless observe that “Tea Party endorsees ran three percentage points behind non-endorsed Republicans running in similar states.”