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Tea Partiers' concerns are virtually identical to those of Republicans, poll shows

For some time now, the Post's E.J. Dionne has been valiantly making the case that the Tea Partiers, rather than representing some new political phenomenon, are essentially just right-wing Republicans. The only new thing about them, Dionne suggests, is the ham-handed revolutionary garb and the signs of Obama as the Joker.

Now we have some striking new data from Gallup that strongly supports this case.

Those arguing that the Tea Partiers aren't really anything new tend to point out that the vast majority of them are Republicans. But by itself, that isn't really surprising or conclusive. This new chart from Gallup, on the other hand, documents that the political concerns and priorities of Tea Party supporters are virtually identical to those of Republicans:


It's striking: Tea Party supporters and Republicans are almost in lockstep agreement on what constitute the biggest threats to America's well-being: The size of the Federal debt; the power of the Federal government; terrorism; and illegal immigration. The percentages are almost the same on all those issues.

Similarly, Tea Party supporters and Republicans are also in close agreement on the things that don't constitute serious threats: Unemployment; discrimination against minorities; and the power of large corporations.

The Tea Party movement gets a disproportionate share of media attention because of all the funny costumes, Hitler references, and fantasizing about armed revolution. But it's hard to see what's distinctive about the Tea Partiers' actual political views and priorities.

By Greg Sargent  |  July 6, 2010; 11:55 AM ET
Categories:  Political media , Tea Party  
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Next: It's official: Obama admin will sue Arizona


I am duly "amazed."

Posted by: dkp01 | July 6, 2010 12:09 PM | Report abuse

It doesn't matter.

We are a nation of idiots. We deserve to be reamed by the corporations because that's what we want. We are practically BEGGING the corporations to please PLEASE have their way with us.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | July 6, 2010 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Dick Armey.

When Dick Armey outsmarts the entire MSM, you know you're in trouble.

Dear lazy journos: do the right thing and quit your jobs.

Posted by: BGinCHI | July 6, 2010 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Well this has been obvious since the beginning. Even the few token democrats they do have were never really on Obama's side or in favor of universal health care or opposed to the Iraq War. According to that poll, they aren't all too concerned with discrimination, the environment, or the disproportionate power of corprorations.

These republicans liken themselves to the Patriot rebels who opposed the British, rather than the Southern rebels who opposed Lincoln and the Union, which seems much more on target to me.

Posted by: SDJeff | July 6, 2010 12:30 PM | Report abuse

I have to thank Greg Sargent for disclosing this seemingly unknown truth.

Posted by: spamsux1 | July 6, 2010 12:31 PM | Report abuse

The key differences are the Tea Party is more against the debt and big government. They are the pre-GWBush GOP, before Bsuh busted the budget with big federal programs like Medicare Part D and two wars plus the surveillance and torture complex.

And the organizing and PR effortws of Armey and his ilk. But that goes only so far. Meanwhile demos against slashing state budgets and services go unreported.

Posted by: Mimikatz | July 6, 2010 12:32 PM | Report abuse

People need to CONTACT THE MEDIA and demand that they cover this story.

Go here:

Posted by: Ethan2010 | July 6, 2010 12:35 PM | Report abuse

This is no shock. The Tea Party is just the GOP toxic assets. They have offloaded them without getting rid of them. Think of it as a corporate restructuring. The GOP still runs them, pays them, organizes them. They still vote for the GOP. All the offloading accomplishes is it allows the GOP to talk and say things they always have believed but never were comfortable saying in public.

They can now say... that is not the GOP platform.... that is the Tea Party.

Those of us with functioning brains and eyes have known this for a while.

Posted by: baldinho1 | July 6, 2010 12:38 PM | Report abuse

I expect this to become common wisdom amoung the DC media right around the middle of November.

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | July 6, 2010 12:48 PM | Report abuse

I pimped my 4th of July blogpost here the other day, and not ONE of youse guys bothered to go read it. I suggest you do - there's a helpful thought in it, regarding taking back the mantle of "patriotism" from the fringe wackaloons.

The bottom line is you can't be a "patriot" when you hate most of your fellow citizens, which these teabaggers do.

If you'd like to give it a read, it's at

I promise, it's not a painful read, and you might actually enjoy it and find it helpful.

Posted by: JennOfArk | July 6, 2010 12:55 PM | Report abuse


Can I just note, that "pen is" (without the space) is currently your most used tag, according to your tagcloud.


Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | July 6, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

MSM epic fail again...

1)there is no such thing as THE "tea party". It is just a bunch of splinter right wing groups that all use the name "Tea party". There is no political structure to the movement. There is no Michael Steele, Eric Cantor, or John Cornyn who can actually articulate the "tea party platform" or what everyone who says they are a tea partier believes in beyond some rightwing platitudes. It is just the republican rightwingnut base whipped into an anti government, anti democrat frenzy.
2) The funding for most of the "Tea Party" activities comes directly from RNC and conservative funding sources. See the Tea party express bus and advance people funded by "Freedom Works" a republican PAC.
3) The composition of the tea parties mirrors the republican conservative (there are no other kinds of republicans these days) demographic:
-Older (many are retired or near retirement age)
-Overwhelmingly white
-Mostly male
-better off financially than the average US citizen
-registered as a republican or an "independent" (too embarrassed to be labeled a republican after Bush ruined the brand)

They are the shock troops, the brown shirts, of the rightwingnut conservative movement.

Just wondering how many times in the last year when the MSM talks about how the tea partiers are against higher taxes, they mention that Obama enacted the largest middle class tax cut in history.

Do I hear crickets?

Posted by: srw3 | July 6, 2010 1:05 PM | Report abuse

TheBBQChickenMadness - that's not an accident!

Ok, so I also enjoy puerile humor. BTW, you should look up the "pen is land" (without the spaces) post. That's what got it all started.

Posted by: JennOfArk | July 6, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

The "ham-handed revolutionary garb and the signs of Obama as the Joker," is just euphemistic cover for the fact that deep in their calcified psyches, they cannot deal with the fact that a Black Man is President and a Black Woman is First Lady.

Posted by: dozas | July 6, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

All, it's official, Obama admin will sue Arizona:

Posted by: Greg Sargent | July 6, 2010 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Color me stunned at these numbers....

Posted by: CTVoter | July 6, 2010 1:24 PM | Report abuse

The pre-Bush GOP was nothing like the Tea Party, unless I missed the Confederate flags, sermons about Bill Clinton being the anti-Christ, public discussion about Chelsea Clinton being trash who would undoubtedly have her first abortion before she turned 15, and lunatics demanding the President's bumpersticker screaming that they want their country back.

Posted by: Ellid | July 6, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Make that "the President's birth certificate." The heat wave produced by evil, godless, Socialist/Marxist/Kenyan/Fascist global warming has clearly fried my brains.

Posted by: Ellid | July 6, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Anyone who knows anything at all about post-World War II history of the Republican Party would recognize immediately that the Tea Party "revolt" is just part of the natural life-cycle of the GOP, like a snake molting its old skin.

Ever since McCarthy and Goldwater empowered the radical right, there has been a delicate dance between the GOP and its far right base. Whenever Republicans lose big time, the right abandons ship so that "Conservatism" is not dragged down with the sinking Republican brand, and so "real Conservatives" can come to the rescue and take control of the sinking Republican ship. Then the radical right, once it gets control of the wheel, steers that ship into the nearest iceberg and the whole process starts over again.

This is how the GOP keeps moving to the right even as it keeps losing elections and the "experts" scratch their head wondering why Republicans are not moving more toward the center.

Posted by: TedFrier | July 6, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Duh. the tea baggers are republicons. republicons is about as credible a label as being called a child molester after what they did to the United States, so wealthy republicons, former republicons congressmen like DICK armey, and fixed noise joined hands and created a "grass roots" movement of republicons using millions in donations from a handfull of conservatives with deep pockets who do not want to pay their taxes, and viola, republicons can now pretend they are just all gettin' together to tea bag each other.

Posted by: John1263 | July 6, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

When a group dressed as Colonial Americans uses the acronym TEA ("Taxed Enough Already") during a time of historically low tax rates, you can assume that they are Republicans having a hissy fit and a costume party, all rolled into one.

Posted by: bearclaw1 | July 6, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Yes, isn't it weird how the Tea Baggers and the GOP are ideologically so similar? And how, as an NPR news listener, I've noticed that the news coverage on NPR national shows is so close to /is faithfully pushing the Tea Bagger/GOP "concerns" like the federal deficit (invisible under Bush, apparently), the evils of 'entitlement spending,' the priorities of corporate America, the wonders of GOP politicians, etc.? I just saw 40+ awful Tea Baggers in our local July 4th parade,and they're the usual local suspects: anti-immigration, anti-environment, anti-education....same as they ever were--the ones who send awful ad hominem attacks in letters to the local paper, but cry about their victimhood.

Posted by: nancycadet | July 6, 2010 3:58 PM | Report abuse

"For some time now, the Post's E.J. Dionne has been valiantly making the case that the Tea Partiers, rather than representing some new political phenomenon, are essentially just right-wing Republicans."


Correct. What's news is that they're no longer calling themselves Republicans. Republicans, have long since purged their party of centrists. Now the radicals and the conservatives are turning on each other.

Posted by: CalD | July 6, 2010 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Does the Sojourner Party = Democrats?

Posted by: OldAtlantic | July 6, 2010 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Everybody thinks of economics whether he is aware of it or not. In joining a political party and in casting his ballot, the citizen implicitly takes a stand upon essential economic theories.
Ludwig Edler von Mises 'Ibid'!DCD7544ECCB8065F!308.entry

Posted by: edtroyhampton | July 6, 2010 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Where were the tea baggers in 2002, 2003, 2004, etc., when Republicans had full control of the government and were setting record defictis.

To suddenly 'wake up' and start shouting about record deficits now, is pure hypocrisy. Most of the tea baggers voted for Bush a second time, AFTER he was setting record deficits.

So their noise is pure hypocrisy. And I might as well add, racist.

Posted by: ejwenger | July 6, 2010 5:11 PM | Report abuse

"I pimped my 4th of July blogpost here the other day, and not ONE of youse guys bothered to go read it."

If you can't say whatever it is you have to say here, why is what you have to say so important that someone has to go elsewhere to read it? I don't come here to read commercials for other blogs.

With all due respect, get over yourself.

Posted by: hohandy | July 6, 2010 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Amazing. Not a single Republican troll has posted so far.

It's a little hard to take a political movement seriously who tries to pretend they hate deficits, but have nothing to say about then-VP Cheney's infamous quote from 2003, "Reagan proved deficits don't matter."

Posted by: gregM2 | July 6, 2010 5:15 PM | Report abuse

The missing question from the poll:

"Do you trust the Republican Party to fix America's problems?"

Tea Party People have the same diagnosis about the ills of our country but they don't trust Dr. GOP to heal them.

Posted by: AristotleTheHun | July 6, 2010 5:24 PM | Report abuse

Ellid, The right wing hatred for Bill Clinton in the '90s was no less virulent than it is for Obama. Both were/are subject to ridiculous smears (ie the Clintons had Vince Foster murdered). This is nothing new.

Posted by: pwolf1 | July 6, 2010 5:25 PM | Report abuse

It's getting harder and harder for the 'baggers to deny that they're simply a crowd of old, white Republicans. The group targeted and manipulated by Glenn Beck and Fox News.

Soon, the 'baggers themselves will be forced to admit what the rest of the world already sees plain as day.

Posted by: ravenmocker | July 6, 2010 5:28 PM | Report abuse

This is news to exactly no one.

Posted by: bigbrother1 | July 6, 2010 5:50 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone remember when tea partys were for little girls and their (mostly) make believe friends? Guess some things never change...

Posted by: MBTyler | July 6, 2010 5:55 PM | Report abuse

Judging by the earlier posts I can only guess that the closest thing that the Left has to reason is broad slander and logical fallacies.

FACT: the various Tea Parties were originally grass roots libertarian groups that organized tax protests. They had a catchy name and rhetoric that resonated with conservatives that eventually joined and became the majority. So no, the tea party movement was not created by the Republicans despite the fact that much of thier base does support them.

On a side note, many of the libertarians are distancing themselves from the movement they created since it has moved away from thier original ideals of a minimal, limited government and massive redution of taxes.

Posted by: BradG | July 6, 2010 6:29 PM | Report abuse

FreedomWorks and Fox "News" get the awards to building the hype around their brownshirts. However, it worked too well. Now that are side by side with the most extreme nutjob candidates imaginable. Sharron Angle and Rand Paul are just two of the examples.

Posted by: revbookburn | July 6, 2010 7:46 PM | Report abuse

Is this news? I think it's been obvious to everyone who's been paying the slightest bit of attention.

Posted by: jeffwacker | July 6, 2010 8:24 PM | Report abuse

I'm shocked, shocked!! I always thought the Tea Party was just a sea of patriotic white Americans who just by sheer coincidence suddenly realized the federal government was EVIL just DAYS AFTER DEMOCRATS GOT ELECTED.

Seriously, the only amazing thing is that so many dumb political reporters bought the Fox News take that the Tea Party was some kind of populist groundswell.

Maybe the Post's next great disclosure can be that Fox News has an extreme right-wing bias and that much of what it reports is total fabrication.

Posted by: tboyer33 | July 6, 2010 10:03 PM | Report abuse

hohandy - will all due respect? Yeah, right.

Perhaps I didn't post it here because there are images or embeds or whatever that don't work in comments. Or maybe because a comments section isn't the proper place to post an entire blog post. If one did, you'd get comments about "why don't you set up your own blog?"

So if cutting and pasting a link is beyond your capabilities or you just don't feel like going somewhere else to read something that may or may not be worth your while, why are you bothering with commenting on it or castigating someone for suggesting you might enjoy reading something somewhere else?

When it comes to "getting over yourself", start with the man (or woman) in the mirror. It's not my fault you had a crappy day.

Posted by: JennOfArk | July 6, 2010 10:38 PM | Report abuse

Here's a news flash for you: teabaggers are the same tired old 20% ultra right wing John Birchers and gun-toting Klansmen we've always had.

Once upon a time we used to ridicule these whack jobs. Now the media reveres them and gives them far more credence than they deserve.

But despite this incessant overinflated media image, we sane folk still ridicule them because after all these years, we've noticed you've had a thumb on the scale all along.

Posted by: trippin | July 6, 2010 11:09 PM | Report abuse

Unemployment doesn't constitute a serious threat?


Posted by: JuliaXA | July 6, 2010 11:21 PM | Report abuse

"Here's a news flash for you: teabaggers are the same tired old 20% ultra right wing John Birchers and gun-toting Klansmen we've always had."

No they aren't, that's just not true ... not in all cases.

Look at how old these people are. They're the aging end of the baby boomers. The Tea Tantrums are either those among their generation who weren't cool enough to be hippies, or they were hippies and are severely embarrassed by it.

Posted by: jontomus | July 6, 2010 11:22 PM | Report abuse

"FACT: the various Tea Parties were originally grass roots libertarian groups that organized tax protests."

Maybe in your upside down universe.

Teabaggers were created by Dick Armey's "Freedom Works" -- an astroturf organization that you might like to think is grass roots, but we know better.

Here's a fact for you: it's long overdue you people started paying your fair share of taxes. We're getting pretty tired of hearing your "grassroots" whining about the deficit while being the recipients of the first tax cut during wartime in the recorded history of mankind.

Posted by: trippin | July 6, 2010 11:22 PM | Report abuse

"NEW data"? Check the source dates, from May & early June.

BTW, Greg, why didn't show any of the OTHER graphs from the Gallup piece (or link to it? I can only guess that the remainder of its conclusions might've undermined the thrust of you op-ed:

Posted by: OttoDog | July 6, 2010 11:46 PM | Report abuse

BTW, dude, buy a razor.

Posted by: OttoDog | July 6, 2010 11:47 PM | Report abuse

I Think a lot of it has to do with not wanting to be associated with G.W. Bush. The tea party (Republicans) know that Bush was an irrefutable disaster, even though they supported him at every step of the way and of course voted for him twice. Now they want to pretend that they are something else besides the party of Bush.

Posted by: chickenhead | July 6, 2010 11:48 PM | Report abuse

Duh, tea partiers are a made up phenomenon from you and your buddies in the liberal media Greg. Glad you finally figured out they are conservatives who existed prior to this cycle and are just more active this year due to Obama extremism.

Posted by: Truthteller12 | July 8, 2010 2:33 AM | Report abuse

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