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Moving beyond the tea party

I'm a little late on this, but Erick Erickson's amusingly-titled post "The National Tax Day Amalgamated Federation of Confederated Unions of Concerned Tea Party Patriot Expresses of America and the United States Ltd., LLC, and Inc." is likely to have some repercussions in the conservative movement.

Let me be clear. I do not want to nor intend to slight the activists who care and show up with their hand-painted signs, sometimes risking violence against themselves by the left and ridicule by the media.

But I have a simple message for them all — it is time to stop calling yourselves tea party activists and start calling yourselves concerned Americans.

I say this could have repercussions because I know that other leaders in the movement agree. Yes, the "tea party" brand has historical resonance. Followers of Ron Paul figured that out in 2007, when they first adopted it. But it also was handed to the movement almost by accident, because that was the way Rick Santelli decided to describe his anger in a February 2009 CNBC broadcast. In the year-plus since then, tea partiers have relished the way that liberals are driven to insults (like the "teabag" slur) and disbelief that something so corny could succeed. But the "tea party" brand has started to spawn problems like the "Tea Party" candidate running in Nevada and the never-ending threat of third parties. Most activists want to beat the Democrats with as little fuss as possible. So expect to hear more discussions like the one sparked by Erickson.

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By David Weigel  |  April 14, 2010; 9:02 AM ET
Categories:  Tea Party  | Tags: Conservatism, Nevada, Politics, Rick Santelli, Ron Paul, Tea, Tea Party protests 2009, United States  
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