Friday, January 29, 2010

Tea party brews peril on right and left

The right has been celebrating since a smooth-talking truck-driving Republican achieved the unthinkable last week and prised a Senate seat from Democrats in Massachusetts, traditionally the most liberal state in the union. It was an astonishing electoral coup. With President Barack Obama on the defensive ahead of last night's State of the Union address, it has energised the right wing for November's mid-term congressional elections and led some to hope that the Democratic advances of recent years will be checked. But the conventional wisdom - that when Democrats are down, Republicans must be up - may no longer hold, analysts suggest. The rise of the "tea party" movement, a network of fiercely anti-government protesters opposed to everything Mr Obama stands for, has also complicated life for Republicans. The phenomenon threatens to split the right wing vote in the mid-terms and beyond, in much the same way as Ross Perot, the maverick billionaire, stole votes from President George H. W. Bush in 1992, helping Bill Clinton to his first term in the White more

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