What the tea party has in common with Metta World Peace

at 12:19 PM ET, 04/24/2012

We dedicated our Monday Fix newspaper column to an analysis of whether the tea party was a fading force in American politics or whether it was as — or more — vibrant than ever.


CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 16: Kay Herrmann sings the National Anthem at the start of a Tea Party rally which was held to protest President Barack Obama's proposed "Buffett rule" tax plan on April 16, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Responses flooded in. (The tea party is kind of like Metta World Peace; you may like it/him, you may hate it/him but almost no one lacks an opinion on the subject.)

We culled a bunch of responses from Google +, Quora, the Fix email inbox and the comments section down to just five — all of which make worthwhile/interesting points about what the tea party meant and means.

Those five are below. Feel free to add your thoughts in the comments section.

1. Terry Filicko on Quora

It certainly seems true that they moved the debate to the right on some issues, in some contests, and so forth. However, it seems that the country as a whole may be getting weary of the argument that government must always be smaller. It seems likely that more people are realizing that there is a role for government in promoting access to health care (whether one supports the Affordable Care Act or not), in guaranteeing civil rights protections (possibly including the right to marry, regardless of sexual preference), and so forth. The message of the Tea Party activists doesn’t hit home with people struggling to get through a recession, find jobs, get their kids through school, and so forth.

2. Zach Stein on G+

Definitely still relevant. I think its pull has decreased a lot as was mentioned, but answer me this, are there still congressmen in the congressional teaparty caucus? Yes. Are many of the incumbent republicans who are tea partiers facing primary challenges? No. At this point it’s peaked in its influence, but that doesn’t mean its influence is gone.?

3. Micah Roberts via email

Among Republican Primary voters [in the latest NBC-Wall Street Journal poll] 73 percent see the Tea Party Movement as still serving a vital and important purpose with 23 percent saying it has run its course.

4. “Cliffc1” in the comments section

The notion that a party can survive within another party is a silly one.Neither group benefited. The tea party had a one-shot chance at success, and they blew it. The last two years have signaled the demise of their relevance and the same-old GOP has emerged from the invasion still the same-old bunch.

5. From “AnnsThoughts” in the comments section

The Tea Party’s tactics in 2011 may have made them unpopular, but they made their point. By 2016, Medicare and Social Security will consume 44% of the budget, and interest on the national debt will consume another 9%. The Left’s desire to simply borrow more money or tax the millionaires won’t resolve the spending crisis. We do have a spending crisis.

 
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