How We Killed the Tea Party



AP Photo

POLITICO  Magazine – Paul H. Jossey

Greedy super PACs drained the movement with endless pleas for money to support “conservative” candidates—while instead using the money to enrich themselves. I should know. I worked for one of them

As we watch the Republican Party tear itself to shreds over Donald Trump, perhaps it’s time to take note of another conservative political phenomenon that the GOP nominee has utterly eclipsed: the Tea Party. The Tea Party movement is pretty much dead now, but it didn’t die a natural death. It was murdered—and it was an inside job. In a half decade, the spontaneous uprising that shook official Washington degenerated into a form of pyramid scheme that transferred tens of millions of dollars from rural, poorer Southerners and Midwesterners to bicoastal political operatives.

What began as an organic, policy-driven grass-roots movement was drained of its vitality and resources by national political action committees that dunned the movement’s true believers endlessly for money to support its candidates and causes. The PACs used that money first to enrich themselves and their vendors and then deployed most of the rest to search for more “prospects.” In Tea Party world, that meant mostly older, technologically unsavvy people willing to divulge personal information through “petitions”—which only made them prey to further attempts to lighten their wallets for what they believed was a good cause. While the solicitations continue, the audience has greatly diminished because of a lack of policy results and changing political winds.

I was an employee at one of the firms that ran these operations. But nothing that follows is proprietary or gleaned directly from my employment. The evidence of the scheming is all there in the public record, available for anyone willing to look.

The Tea Party movement began building in the George W. Bush years. Profligate spending and foreign adventurism with no discernible results nurtured disgust with Washington’s habit of spending beyond its means and sending others to die in its wars. When President Obama made reorganizing the nation’s health care system his foremost priority—and repeatedly misrepresented its effects in the process—anger at Washington exploded.

Republicans inside the Beltway reacted to the burgeoning Tea Party with glee but uncertainty about how to channel the grass-roots energy usually reserved for the left. A small group of supposedly conservative lawyers and consultants saw something different: dollar signs. The PACs found anger at the Republican Party sells very well. The campaigns they ran would be headlined “Boot John Boehner,” or “Drop a Truth Bomb on Kevin McCarthy.” And after Boehner was in fact booted and McCarthy bombed in his bid to succeed him, it was naturally time to “Fire Paul Ryan.” The selling is always urgent: “Stop what you’re doing” “This can’t wait.” One active solicitor is the Tea Party Leadership Fund, which received $6.7 million from 2013 to mid-2015, overwhelmingly from small donors. A typical solicitation from the TPLF read: “Your immediate contribution could be the most important financial investment you will make to help return America to greatness.” But, according to an investigation by POLITICO, 87 percent of that “investment” went to overhead; only $910,000 of the $6.7 million raised was used to support political candidates. If the prospect signs a “petition,” typically a solicitation of his or her personal information is recorded and a new screen immediately appears asking for money. Vendors pass the information around in “list swaps” and “revenue shares” ad infinitum.

Starting a new PAC is easy: Fill out some paperwork, throw up a splash-page website, rent an email list, and you’re off. It’s an entrepreneurial endeavor. Through trial-and-error, operatives test messages to see which resonate best and are most likely to get them and their vendors paid. They may pay someone known in the movement to “sign” the pitch, as current Donald Trump spokeswoman Katrina Pierson has on TPLF emails.

Today, the Tea Party movement is dead, and Trump has co-opted the remnants. What was left of the Tea Party split for a while between Trump and, while he was still in the race, Ted Cruz, who was backed by Jenny Beth Martin, co-founder and national coordinator of the Tea Party Patriots. In 2014, the Tea Party Patriots group spent just 10 percent of the $14.4 million it collected actually supporting candidates, with the rest going to consultants and vendors and Martin’s hefty salary of $15,000 per month; in all, she makes an estimated $450,000 a year from her Tea Party-related ventures. Today, of course, it’s all about Trump, but Trump rallies are only Trump rallies, not Tea Party rallies that he assumed control of. There are no more Tea Party rallies.

A recent poll showed that just 17 percent of Americans support what was once known as the Tea Party—the lowest number ever. The bailout-Obamacare-driven grass-roots revolt has vanished. Various autopsies have offered a number of causes: IRS targeting, bad candidates, hostile media, and even some hazy form of moral and political victory, in that the Tea Party pushed the GOP to take tougher stances on some issues. All have at least some merit.

But any insurgent movement needs oxygen in the form of victories or other measured progress in order to sustain itself and grow. By sapping the Tea Party’s resources and energy, the PACs thwarted any hope of building the movement. Every dollar swallowed up in PAC overhead or vendor fees was a dollar that did not go to federal Tea Party candidates in crucial primaries or general elections. This allowed the GOP to easily defeat or ignore them (with some rare exceptions). Second, the PACs drained money especially from local Tea Party groups, some of which were actively trying to grow the movement electorally from the ground up, at the school board and city council level. Lacking results five years on, interest in the movement waned—all that was left were the PACs and their lists.


Any postmortem should start with the fact that there were always two Tea Parties. First were people who believe in constitutional conservatism. These folks sense the country they will leave their children and grandchildren is a shell of what they inherited. And they have little confidence the Republican Party can muster the courage or will to fix it.

Second were lawyers and consultants who read 2009’s political winds and saw a chance to get rich.

For 18 months ending in 2013, I worked for one of these consultants, Dan Backer, who has served as treasurer for dozens of PACs, many now defunct, through his law and consulting firm. I thus benefited from the Tea Party’s fleecing.

The PACs seem to operate through a familiar model. It works something like this: Prospects whose name appear on a vendor’s list get a phone call, email or glossy mailer from a group they’ve likely never heard of asking them for money. Conservative pundit and Editor-in-Chief Erick Erickson described one such encounter. A woman called and asked if she could play a taped message touting efforts to help Senators Rand Paul and Ted Cruz fight for conservative governance. When the recording stopped an older man (the woman was gone) offered Erickson the chance to join “the Tea Party.” He wouldn’t say who paid him, just “the Tea Party.” Membership was even half price. For just $100 he was in! Erickson declined.

Erickson’s call came from InfoCision or a similar vendor hired by PACs to “prospect” for new donors. Often PAC creators have financial interests in the vendors—in fact, sometimes they are the vendors, too—which makes keeping money in house easier, and harder to track. PAC names include “Tea Party,” “Patriots,” “Freedom,” or some other emotive term to assure benevolence. And names and images of political figures the prospects admire (or detest), usually accompany the solicitation, giving the illusion of imprimatur. Those people are almost never actually involved and little money ends up supporting candidates.

According to Federal Election Commission reports between 80 to 90 percent, and sometimes all the money these PACs get is swallowed in fees and poured into more prospecting. For example, conservative activist Larry Ward created Constitutional Rights PAC. He also runs Political Media, a communications firm. The New York Times reviewed Constitutional Rights’ filings and found: “Mr. Ward’s PAC spends every dollar it gets on consultants, mailings and fund-raising—making no donations to candidates.” Ward justified the arrangement by saying Political Media discounts solicitations on behalf of Constitutional Rights.

Let that sink in. Ward takes his PAC’s money and redistributes it to his company and other vendors for more messaging and solicitations, but suggests critics should rest easy since the PAC gets a discount on Political Media’s normal rate. Constitutional Rights PAC may be extreme but it’s hardly an outlier.

POLITICO last year reviewed the activity of 33 conservative PACs for the 2014 cycle. Combined, they raked in $43 million dollars, according to the POLITICO report. Of that, $39.5 million went to overhead including $6 million to entities owned by PAC operators; candidates got $3 million. Another report analyzed 17 conservative PACs from the 2014 midterm. It came up with different numbers than POLITICO, finding that the bottom 10 PACs in terms of the ratio of spending to actual candidate support received $54,318,498 and spent only $3,621,896 supporting candidates.

And who is Constitutional Rights’ treasurer? My old boss Dan Backer. Backer also serves as treasurer to TPLF, and many others. An analysis found 10 conservative PACs whose treasurer was Scott MacKenzie spent 92 percent of the $17.5 million they raised on operating expenses, and less than 1 percent on candidate support.

PACs are not legally obliged to responsibly spend their loot. As former FEC enforcement officer Kenneth Gross stated, “If I have a PAC and want to spend it on a trip to Atlantic City, that’s fine,” provided it’s accurately reported. Unlike nonprofits they are not governed by a board, have no fiduciary duty to their donors and are not subject to IRS audits.

The PACs keep cash flowing by trolling the news for supposed apostasy. The government botches the rescue of employees in a foreign embassy? “Stand with us for Benghazi!” A bunch of kids are murdered in Connecticut? “Help us defend your Second Amendment rights!” “Sign our petition!”

Another favorite tactic is the “Draft Committee.” Pick a popular figure then start a committee to “draft” him or her to run for office. TPLF “drafted” Sarah Palin for Senate in Alaska and Backer “drafted” Newt Gingrich for Senate in Virginia. After I left his firm, Backer drafted” new Texas resident Allen West for Senate in Florida. None of these candidates were remotely interested or associated with the effort, and in fact could not be by law. But there were signatures to collect and donations to request. (As a litigator, I rarely participated in the conduct described here. I nonetheless knew these schemes paid most of my salary.)

The “draftees” or their campaigns often send cease-and-desist letters, as Gingrich and Palin did. This cycle, Backer and MacKenzie have kept Trump’s lawyers busy. Despite Trump’s constant protests about “corrupt” super PACs, MacKenzie started “Patriots for Trump” and Backer founded “TrumPAC.” MacKenzie shuttered Patriots when the Trump campaign complained, although the Facebook page remains active. The campaign persuaded Backer to change TrumPAC’s name to “Great America PAC.” But the PAC begged off requests to shutter and “refund any funds raised” based on Trump’s candidacy. Jesse Benton, Great America’s chief strategist and formerly a Ron Paul operative, explained the PAC would remain active because Trump would need “a robust and effective finance organization … after he secured the nomination.” By law, the campaign can have no say in how this “finance organization” spends its money, though its website still prominently features the candidate and his trademark slogan. It pledged to raise $20 million dollars before the Republican convention.

PACs exploited a reservoir of goodwill toward minority candidates in particular to raise money for themselves. After his razor-thin 2012 congressional defeat, Allen West, an African-American former Florida congressman, filed a complaint with the FEC against PACs raising money off his race but doing nothing to help him. The FEC concluded it lacked authority to police such efforts. “Draft Ben Carson” paid off well for the North Carolinian who took a $236,000 salary and sent gobs more to a company comprised only of him. After Carson’s campaign ended “The 2016 committee”—the successor to Draft Ben Carson—sought to keep the money flowing, stating it would now promote the surgeon for vice president. It finally shuttered after a barrage of scam accusations. (In fairness, Carson’s entire campaign could credibly be explained as just a list-building operation.)

Challenged about spending allocations by POLITICO, Backer responded that it’s a misinterpretation of FEC reports to suggest that the PACs he helps oversee have spent more on their own operating expenses than on their stated causes. As for Great America PAC, he said it’s “probably the best most effective steward of donor funds. This PAC does stuff, whereas nobody else does.”

From my vantage point, I would occasionally hear disquieting remarks that gave me pause. Rumors about the legitimacy of our operations would sometimes flare up in our small office. When a campaign manager would lash out about PACs using the candidate’s name to make money, I wondered if he was talking about us. When I eventually opened my own firm I vowed never to have such doubts about what I was doing.



Scientists confirm what conservatives always deny: Tea Party driven by fear of a black president

Conservative activists during the 'Operation American Spring' rally in 2014 (Stephen Melkisethian/Flickr)

Conservative activists during the ‘Operation American Spring’ rally in 2014 (Stephen Melkisethian/Flickr)


Researchers at Stanford University found that when they showed white subjects photos of President Barack Obama with darkened skin, those people became more likely to support right-wing political organizations like the Tea Party.

According to the Washington Post, sociologist Robb Willer and his colleagues conducted a series of experiments from 2011 to 2015 in which they demonstrated that some white voters may be driven by unconscious racial biases against people with darker skin.

The study came about when Willard found himself pondering why racist hysteria has ratcheted up in this country since the election of President Obama in 2008. The ranks of white supremacist groups swelled after Obama entered the White House and watchdog groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center report that hate groups have become more active in recent years.

In Republican politics, right-wing extremist Tea Party candidates ran longstanding GOP officials out of office as conservatives in this country doubled down in opposing the president and his policies.

“That left a lot of analysts slack-jawed, wondering: What was this latent force that drove the emergence of this movement?” Willer told the Post.

The research team interviewed volunteers who they separated into two groups. One group was shown photos of celebrities which included a photo of Obama with digitally lightened skin. The other group saw the same photos, but with an image of Obama with darker skin.

Among 255 white subjects, people shown the darkened picture of Obama were almost twice as likely to say that they support the Tea Party when questioned by researchers.

“The result suggests that some white Americans are more likely to oppose Obama solely because of the shade of his skin,” wrote the Post’s Max Ehrenfreund. “For them, the reality that someone with a dark complexion occupies the nation’s highest office could be a source of unease.”

The study group published the results of their work this week on the Social Science Research Network. The findings coincide with previous studies which have shown that racism has been an essential factor in Republican electoral victories.

“Polls consistently show that Republicans are more likely to hold racial prejudices, and not just in the South,” the Post reported in March. “Nationally, almost one in five Republicans opposes interracial dating, compared to just one in 20 Democrats,according to the Pew Research Center. While 79 percent of Republicans agree with negative statements about blacks such as the one about slavery and discrimination, just 32 percent of Democrats do, the Associated Press has found.”

Who had the worst week in Washington? The tea party.

It couldn’t happen to a more deserving political group…

The Washington Post

The Gadsden flag is flying at half-staff this past week.

The tea party — that plucky insurgent movement that, as recently as two years ago, began trying to reshape the Republican Party and politics more generally — finds itself flailing as 2012 draws to a close, buffeted by infighting, defeats and a broad struggle to find a second act.

Consider the following:

●Tea party patron saint Jim DeMint stunned the political world by announcing that he would resign from the Senate at the end of the year to take a job as the head of the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank.

●FreedomWorks, a Washington-based political group that is one of the pillars of the tea party movement, has been rent by internal strife. It was announced this past week that former Texas congressman Dick Armey is leaving as head of the group, alleging mismanagement.

●Tea-party-aligned House members, including Reps. Tim Huelskamp (Kan.), Justin Amash (Mich.) and David Schweikert (Ariz.), were kicked off coveted committees after not going along with GOP leaders on several critical votes.

Couple those developments with poll results that suggest the tea party is at, or close to, its nadir in terms of public opinion, and the problem becomes evident. The movement needs to decide whether it can survive as an outside force or whether it can become more aligned with the GOP without sacrificing the principles on which it was founded.

The tea party, for watching a movement turn into a mess, you had the worst week in Washington. Congrats, or something.

Mario Piperni: Monday Morning Tea Party Madness

Tea Party Republican Elephant-2    :

Mario Piperni

The positive aspect of the Tea Party movement is that when you need a conspiracy-minded moron to illustrate exactly what’s wrong with American politics, you now know exactly where to look for one.

“Agenda 21 is an elusive enemy that floats in and chokes you gradually,” said Saul, of the Cedar Valley Tea Party in Cedar Falls, Iowa. “They want to destroy the middle-class way of life.”

“Agenda 21 aims to undermine your property rights and force you” to live in cities, Jake Robinson told Tea Party members at a meeting in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, in April.

For Joe Dugan, leader of the Myrtle Beach Tea Party in South Carolina, “Agenda 21 is nothing short of treason.”

If you don’t know what Agenda 21 is, you’re not alone – only about 15 percent of Americans do. It is a nonbinding U.N. resolution signed by more than 170 world leaders (including Republican U.S. President George H.W. Bush) at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro as a way to promote sustainable development in the face of a rapidly growing global population.

When history finally has a say in all of this, I suspect that it’ll tell us that the ultimate downfall of the the GOP was the day a bunch of Republican hucksters with deep pockets decided to create a ‘grassroots’ movement of misinformed loons they lovingly named the Tea Party. After winning back the House for Republicans in 2010, teabaggers soon became synonymous with intolerance, ignorance and obstructionism and has come to represent everything that is wrong with the Republican platform.

While every political party has a fringe element, few ever allow the crazies to actually dictate policy. Republicans have done exactly that. When buffoons like Allen West are viewed as heroes of the party, you know that the crazies have literally taken over the asylum.

The day Mitt Romney made the decision to cater to the Tea Party’s brand of radicalism, is the day he lost any hope of becoming president.

Tea Party Group Fined For Booking 1,600 Rooms In Vegas, Not Paying For Them

I know that the value called integrity has pretty much left politics in general, but why didn’t the Tea Party head of Las Vegas Operations at the time consider making a deal to pay some portion of the money to the hotel?

The Huffington Post

Apparently what doesn’t happen in Vegas also stays in Vegas.

A judge slammed a now-defunct Tennessee outpost of the Tea Party for reserving more than 1,600 rooms at a Las Vegas hotel and cancelling just weeks before the group’s scheduled event — without paying the bill, according to the Tennessean. The judge ruled that the group owes $500,000 for the cost of the rooms plus more than $200,000 for the accrued interest. In total they’re on the hook for $748,000, according to Bloomberg.

The convention, which never happened, was originally scheduled to take place at theVenetian Casino Resort from July 14-18, 2010, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. The meeting was first postponed until October and then later cancelled.

The Tea Party group decided to cancel the event in September, citing the economy. Judson Phillips, the founder of the Tea Party Nation, told the Daily Caller at the time  that there just weren’t enough people willing to pay $399 to spend the weekend watching Laura Ingraham and Lou Dobbs spout their wisdom.

Watch this Bloomberg video here…


Jules Manson, Failed Tea Party Candidate, Calls For Assassination Of Obama, First Daughters

I wrote about this a few days ago.  At that time, the two sources that I got the article from had deleted the article without explanation. I decided to do the same but I did include an explanation.

Now I see that The Huffington Post has picked it up.  I believe HuffPo to be a reliable source and therefore I’ve decided to add their version of events in this post.

H/t: Yankee Clipper

The Huffington Post

Jules Manson, a failed Tea Party candidate for local office in California, recently called for the assassination of President Obama and his daughters in a racial epithet-ridden Facebook screed.

The post, originally about his opposition to the recent passage of the controversial National Defense Authorization Act, which includes a measure allowing the indefinite detention of suspected foreign terrorists, referred to the president as a “monkey.” Then it got much worse.

“Assassinate the f—– n—– and his monkey children,” Manson commented on his own post, according to a screen shot uploaded by Facebook group “Americans Against the Tea Party” and relayed by Your Black Politics blog.

The post has since been scrubbed from his Facebook profile, replaced with an explanation that the comments were “careless, emotionally driven remarks that had no real substance.”

Manson, an avid Ron Paul supporter and libertarian, also writes that he has since been visited by the Secret Service, with whom he says he cooperated fully as he “was hiding nothing.”

According to the New York Daily News, Manson, who lost his 2011 bid for a City Council seat in Carson, Calif. with only 4 percent of the vote, has also posted pictures of Obama dressed as Hitler from his Facebook account.

In a post listed since the latest flare-up, Manson derisively announces a 2012 run for California’s 28th State Senate district as a Democrat.

“I intend on representing the Democratic Party with due dignity, and loyalty for my campaign contributors which will happen to be public-sector labor unions and other collective bargaining institutions that help keep the poor man down and dependent on government,” he writes. “I will also strongly advocate for the raising of taxes to meet the growing unsustainable demand for pensions and compensation packages for state workers despite California being the second highest taxed state in the union.”

The Daily News reports that it was unable to reach Manson at the phone number listed for his residence in a Carson trailer park.

Occupy Wall Street Demographic Survey Results Will Surprise You

TPM IdeaLab

We now know what they want, what social networks and online tools they use and who doesn’t like them. But just who are the Occupy Wall Street protesters?

Over a month since the demonstrations began in New York’s Zuccotti Park, two demographic surveys of the movement and its supporters are now available online, both of them containing surprising, perhaps even counter-intuitive findings about the makeup of the movement and its supporters.

Survey One: Visitors to Occupy Wall Street Website

The first survey, the results of which appear in an academic paper written by Héctor Codero-Guzmán, PhD, a sociology professor at the City University of New York (CUNY), used visitors to the Occupy Wall Street movement’s website ( on October 5th as its sample size. The paper was published online on the Occupy Wall Street website on Wednesday.

Politically independent
Among other striking findings, Codero-Guzmán discovered that 70 percent of the survey’s 1,619 respondents identified as politically independent, far-and-away the vast majority, compared to 27.3% Democrats and 2.4% self-identified Republicans.

“That finding surprised me based on what I had heard in previous conversations about the movement” said Codero-Guzmán in a telephone interview with TPM on Wednesday. “I wasn’t expecting many Republicans, but I was expecting more self-identified Democrats. In recent years, there’s been an increased interest in who political independents are and what political views are and what are their levels of interest in particular issues, which will only continue as the election cycle progresses.”

Other findings in the paper include:

Participation level: Relatively weak
Less than a quarter of the sample (24.2%) had participated in the Occupy Wall Street protests as of October 5, 2011. (But as Codero-Guzmán pointed out to TPM, the movement was still in its relative infancy at that stage.)

Age varies widely
64.2% of respondents were younger than 34 years of age, but one in three respondents was over 35 and one in five was 45 or older.

Wealth varies widely
A full 15.4% of the sample reported earning annual household income between $50,000 and $74,999. Another 13% of the sample reported over $75,000 , and 2% said they made over $150,000 annually, putting them in the top 10 percent of all American earners, according to theWall Street Journal’s calculator. That said, 47.5% of the sample said they earend less than $24,999 dollars a year and another quarter (24%) reported earning between $25,000 and $49,999 per year. A whopping 71.5% of the sample earns less than $50,000 per year.

Highly educated
92.1% of the sample reported “some college, a college degree, or a graduate degree.”

They have jobs
50.4% reported full-time employment, and “an additional 20.4% were employed part-time.”

“Dr. Cordero-Guzmán’s findings strongly reinforce what we’ve known all along: Occupy Wall Street is a post-political movement representing something far greater than failed party politics,” read a blog post on the paper posted on the Occupy Wall Street website Wednesday. “We are a movement of people empowerment, a collective realization that we ourselves have the power to create change from the bottom-up, because we don’t need Wall Street and we don’t need politicians.”

Cordero-Guzmán told Idea Lab that he and Occupy Wall Street’s webmasters planned to release more findings of their initial data sample this week and would conduct future studies in the coming weeks with a much wider sample size.

“I can tell you about 6.3 million people visited the [Occupy Wall Street] website within the last 30 days,” said Cordero-Guzmán. Not bad for its first month of launch!

Survey Two: Face-to-Face With Protesters

The other demographic survey of the movement was an in-person questionnaire of some 198 protesters on the ground in Zuccotti Square, conducted by Fox News analyst Douglas Schoen’s polling outfit on October 10th and 11th.

The results were published online Tuesday and used to bolster a Wall Street Journal column by Schoen in which he maintained “the Occupy Wall Street movement reflects values that are dangerously out of touch with the broad mass of the American people—and particularly with swing voters who are largely independent and have been trending away from the president since the debate over health-care reform.”

Still, a closer examination of the results of Schoen’s survey by The Wall Street Journal’s Aaron Rutkoff on Wednesday revealed some findings that Schoen glossed over or misconstrued to further his own perspective.

Participation split between veterans and rookies
Schoen’s survey found 48% reporting it was their “first time getting involved in a protest/rally/march etc.,” compared to 52 percent who said they had a “history of past participation,” about an even split.

Age varies widely
As Rutfkoff explained: “While 49% of protesters are under 30, more than 28% are 40 or older,” roughly coinciding with Cordero-Guzmán’s findings.

Some employment, but overall difficulty finding work
When it came to employment, Rutfkoff explained that “33%… are struggling in the labor market. That percentage is double the U.S. Labor Department’s broader measure of unemployment, which accounts for people who have stopped looking for work or who can’t find full-time jobs.”

Politically independent
As for political leanings, Schoen’s survey recorded that the largest group of respondents, 33 percent, “do not identify with any political party,” followed by 32 percent that identified Democratic and zero respondents who identified Republican. A further 21 percent, again the largest cohesive group, said “both parties” were to blame for the “failure to address our problems.”

And although Schoen’s column maintained that “An overwhelming majority of demonstrators supported Barack Obama in 2008,” his survey doesn’t exactly support that assertion. As Rutkoff found, ” according to the survey data, just 56% of protesters voted in 2008, and of those 74% voted for Obama. Crunching the numbers, it would appear that only 42% of the Zuccotti Park crowd has ever cast a presidential ballot for Obama.” Another 35 percent reported that they “somewhat approved” of President Obama’s job performance while 24 percent “somewhat disapproved” and 27 percent “strong disapproved.”

Overall, Rutkoff says, the survey indicates that “Zuccotti Park protesters are underemployed at twice the national rate, lukewarm to warm on Obama and broadly in favor of taxing the wealthy and encouraging a Tea Party-style populism on the left.”

Correction: This article originally misquoted Cordero-Guzmán’s statement about the visitors to the Occupy Wall Street website as 6.1 million unique visitors. In reality, there were 6.1 million visits to site in last month (since Sept. 18) and 4 million unique visitors. It has since been corrected.

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VIDEO: Republicans Change Their Tune On The 99 Percent Movement

The GOP are such hypocrites!

Think Progress

ThinkProgress has already reported on the disdainful reaction the 99 Percent Movement initially received from the mainstream corporate media, as well as the notable double standardin the right-wing media’s coverage of the movement versus the Tea Parties.

But as the protests have demonstrated their staying power, and polls have shown Americans support the movement, a number of Republican politicians have come around on the 99 percent. After leading the denigration and belittling of the movement, some softened their tone, offering understanding and compassion for those in the 99 percent movement. ThinkProgress has the video report.

Watch it:

Tea Party Movement Getting Americans Steamed

No surprise there, especially after the debt ceiling debacle…


The debt ceiling fight turned out to be a damper on the American economy, and for the approval ratings of political leaders in Washington. But it’s starting to consume the same political entity that decided to make raising it a major issue: the Tea Party. Last week saw the release of three separate polls that showed Americans are not just more skeptical of their movement, but growing tired of their role in the political process, which builds on previous evidence that the Tea Party is being pushed away by independent voters.

The Tea Party movement, as an idea, was originally about anger at the way things turned out after 2008. Congress had been taken over by Democrats, and President Obama came into office after a change election with high approval ratings and the political capital to make that change. Then, surprisingly, those Democrats didn’t work to enact Republican policies, they proposed and passed a few of their own. This was not how government is supposed to work, according to some very conservative Americans.

So they got some signs and some bags of tea and a few video cameras followed. They protested what they called an oncoming wave of socialism perpetrated by the Democrats who controlled the legislative and executive branches of government. Then they went to some town halls and yelled about the possible reforms to the American health care system. When that passed, they started supporting candidates for Congress that not only advocated the policies they wanted but also held the same contempt for the government process that they did. Then some of those candidates won, and they had to govern.

That’s really when more Americans started to have a more formed opinion on the Tea Party, and over the last few months that opinion has been turning increasingly sour.

“The Tea Party has become somewhat less popular over time, even before the current debt crisis,” said Carroll Doherty, Assistant Director of the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press. Pew itself had released some data showing as much: in April of this year there had been a fifteen point jump in the negative rating of the Tea Party amongst all voters in a Pew survey, up from a similar survey in March of 2010.

Continue reading here…

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New York Times / CBS Poll Shows Negative View Of Tea Party Is On The Rise

No surprise here…

A poll organized by The New York Times and CBS has sought to measure the American public’s general impression of the Tea Party movement. According to poll results, people have gained a deeper awareness and knowledge of the movement over the past year and, with that, a more negative view. Specifically: Forty percent of Americans polled this week described their view of the Tea Party as “not favorable,” a substantial rise from 18 percent when the poll was conducted last year. Additionally, in April of 2010, 46 percent of those polled said they were not familiar enough with the movement to form an opinion, whereas, this year, 21 percent felt they had not heard enough about the Tea Party. Democrats were most likely to hold a negative view of the movement, although 40 percent of Independents polled said the Tea Party had “too much influence on the Republican Party.”

As Americans learn more about the Tea Party and the aims of the (many) factions within the movement, it appears that they feel a disconnect — particularly, it would appear, where the debt discussion is concerned:

The debate over the debt ceiling gave people a more concrete picture: Tea Party groups and members of the Tea Party caucus in the House and Senate — many of them elected in the Republican sweep of 2010 — insisted that they would not raise the debt ceiling under any circumstances. Members of the American public, meanwhile, including Tea Party supporters, were telling pollsters that they wanted compromise, not inflexibility.

Tea Party groups and lawmakers made debt reduction their priority, but many Americans said creating jobs was more important. And while many Republicans, influenced by the Tea Party, insisted that they would not allow any increases in tax revenue, a majority of Americans said debt reduction had to include higher taxes as well as lower spending.

And, now, a few questions for all of you: What are your feelings concerning the Tea Party? Has your awareness of the movement increased drastically in the past year? And what role do you think media coverage of the movement has had on your view?

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