Saturday, February 6, 2010

Top 5 Misconceptions About the Tea Party Movement

One year ago, the first Tea Party protest hadn't even been held yet and the phrase remained safely ensconced in American history textbooks. This weekend, the first national Tea Party Convention will be held in Nashville, and the fractious movement has secured a place in the history of the Obama administration. But for all the attention it has earned, misconceptions abound. Here are the top five. 1. Tea Partiers = Independents Independents are the largest and fastest-growing voter segment—a new CNN poll puts independents at 42 percent of the American electorate. Given the Tea Partiers' anger at overspending under Bush as well as Obama, it's been tempting to equate them with independent voters—but there are fundamental differences. Polls of independents' policy positions consistently place them in between Republicans and Democrats—closer to the GOP on economic issues and closer to the Democrats on social issues. But the Tea Partiers tend to be to the right of the Republican Party on both fiscal and social issues. Their opposition to the Obama administration is overheated and absolute. Independents are angry at the polarization of the two parties; Tea Partiers want more polarization between the two parties. Independents tend to be centrists; Tea Partiers attack centrist Republicans as Republicans in Name Only, or RINOs. Tea Partiers are conservative more

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