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March 24th, 2010
07:00 AM ET

Are the Tea Party protests dangerous for Republicans?

A supporter of the Tea Party movement salutes at the reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance during a demonstration outside the US Capitol on March 20, 2010.
A supporter of the Tea Party movement salutes at the reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance during a demonstration outside the US Capitol on March 20, 2010.

By Carol Costello, CNN

(CNN) - Republicans are walking a tightrope when it comes to the Tea Party movement. On one hand, it needs its passion; on the other hand it doesn’t need the controversy it sometimes brings – especially if it’s racially tinged.

While Republican Party leaders say they don’t condone “ugly talk,” Newsweek.com’s Katie Connelly writes, “they encourage the sort of anger that boils over into such foul insults...” And, some analysts say, because of that, the “ugliness” rubs off on the Republican Party. Connelly asks, “has the Tea Party protests become loud, mad and dangerous for Republicans?”

Lenny McCallister is African-American, a Tea Party member and a conservative Republican. He says Republicans “have to speak out against this stuff because it does not fit our principles, morals or values. At the same time we cannot alienate the most active aspects of the conservative base at this time.”

He’s calling on conservatives to help the Republican Party walk that tightrope in a way they did not in 2009. Last year, when Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele denounced Rush Limbaugh’s “incendiary talk,” he ended up apologizing for his remarks.

Steele and other Republican leaders did condemn those who shouted racial slurs at black lawmakers this past weekend, but rejected the notion that its association with the Tea Party is dangerous because, “at its core it’s about shared conservative values, limited government, lower taxes and individual freedom.”

Tea Party's bad apples? Video

Some Republicans say the real danger for their party is in not saying this loudly enough. Princella Smith is one of some thirty African-American Republicans running for Congress. She says, “I’m a small town girl and so what I’m espousing are small town, every day American principles. I’ve gotten positive response from Republicans and Tea Partiers.” And, she adds, that’s what should be shouted at Tea Party events across the country.

McCallister, who is a popular speaker at Tea Party events, agrees. He says Republicans and Tea Party members should strongly discourage “fringe elements” that show up at Tea Party rallies. They should not be made welcome, he says, and his party should make that resoundingly clear.


Filed under: Politics
soundoff (58 Responses)
  1. Gerard

    All you tea partiers give up your social security and stop driving on the highways built by the government....you say you don't want government so don't use government benefits. All you veterans who are tea partiers refuse your Veterans Aministration benefits.....your against anything that is socialized. Whom among you would give up your Medicare or Medicaid benefits when you become eligilble if you are not already? Of course you will never do these things so stop talking out of both sides of your mouths! You whine and cry about what the government is doing and at the same time use all the benefits that the government provides. Stop being hypocrites.....I pay social security taxes, federal taxes and other taxes that you benefit from so stop griping about paying taxes because you benefit from my taxes too! Those of you who live in the city who would not complain if your streets are left for you to maintain, if the snowplow lifted its blade when it went by your home? That's what government does for you is pool money together for the common good. And at the same time provide good paying jobs for millions of people. I ran a farm for over 20 years and enjoyed running my own business but now I look forward to Social Security along with a few other investments. All this combined will provide for me a comfortable and enjoyable retirement.

    March 30, 2010 at 12:57 am |
  2. gearedindy

    jmz...why in the world would you start a comment with the word.."libtards" and then expected to be taken seriously?

    Name-calling with the implication of mocking the mentally challenged.

    Lovely representation on your part for the Tea Party.

    March 27, 2010 at 11:39 pm |
  3. D. Gordon

    The anger and hate of the Tea Party organization is fueled by their ignorance of the issues. The Republicans are dancing with the Devil here and they will reap their reward.

    Civil debate is the only way for the USA to discuss issues. When hate enters the picture, the blinders go on and people behave like feral cats.

    Sarah Palin is the most feral of them all and is joined by the likes of the overly dramatic Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh. People walking around with guns on their hips and Palin telling them to "reload" is bordering on anarchy.

    Democrats and Indepdents need to take the high road. And, if the Health Care Reform Bill needs to be fixed, it can easily be addressed through an organized and civilizied manner. It should not be done through the use of violent, angry mobs of the misinformed who are used as puppets by the coporations and wealthy to do their dirty work.

    I am not against the expression of political differences, but please, keep them under control !!! Vote your conscience and leave the tactics of fear and violence out of it. Present your case and back it with the best information available, then vote. Sounds very Democratic, doesn't it?

    The Republicans claim that the Democrats railroaded it, while it was they who railroaded their party against it. At least the vote on the Democratic said was not unanimous. Who was doing the arm-twisting in the Republican to get them all to vote against it? Surely one of them would have been allowed to vote for it.

    March 27, 2010 at 12:50 pm |
  4. jmz

    Hate to tell the libturds here but WE ARE NOT REPUBLICANS, RACISTS OR WRONG! What do you expect? Heres the deal. The dems ran through a bill that is the biggest tax hike in history, does nothing to solve the cost of healthcare, forces people to buy a product or face fines and jail time and that the MAJORITY of Americans do not want. This is a fact!. For over a yr now The American people have shoutged we do not want this. We have peacefully but firmly and loudly protested this. Instead of hearing and heeding the will of the people as they are supposed to. Instead of disproving us. They have done far worse to us. They have discounted us, called us slanderous and untrue names, stated we have no choice, told us we are stupid and terrorists. That we dont know whats best for us, they do, they do not have to obey us or rules, and there is nothingh we can do about it. You better understand this simple fact progressives. Unlike you we Patriots value our freedom! We do not want violence. we want our leaders to hear us, stay out of our lives, and wallets and let the free market principals and the constitution lead us. We do not want the govt to force us into socialism which is what this is. Progressive socialists like obama and the dems seem to think they have a right to do whatever they want to us and we cannot do anything back. WRONG! Understand. if you keep up this and continue to force your socialist adgenda on us we will fight back by any means neccesary. Right now you are dealing with fringe members, a small handfull of individuals that do nOT represent the majority of the tea party. BUt if you keep this up you WILL deal with more of us. We will bring the fight to your doorsteps. We only wish our politicians to heed the word of the people and constitution. We want Peace. However, we WILL fight this tyranny to the death if we have to. Unlike progressive we are not sheep to be led, we are citizens. We are police, militart, doctors, business owners, farmers. GIVE ME LIBERTY OR GIVE ME DEATH

    March 25, 2010 at 9:35 pm |
  5. jrock

    People of many persuasions are involved in the Tea Party movement. The animus of the movement is resistance to the US becoming a European style welfare state. The US was founded on the radical idea that governments should be limited by individual rights. Beginning in the early twentieth century, this radical idea was questioned by a regressive movement called, in Orwellian fashion, 'Progressivism'. The US today is becoming increasingly polarized into two camps–the progressives and those who oppose them. The progressives have the advantage that they know what they want–docile citizens dependent on government for every major need, citizens who will do and think what they are told by the government and its propagandists. Those who oppose them are a mixed bag. But increasingly citizens are returning to the original conception of a Republic limited in scope and power by the individual rights of its citizens. The Tea Party movement has the potential to move the US in that direction provided it can drop certain sacred cows of the conservative movement, such as opposition to abortion, gay rights and liberal immigration policies. Racism and homophobia have never been a feature of the Tea Party movement–that's progressive propaganda pure and simple, propagated by dishonest people.

    March 25, 2010 at 7:46 pm |
  6. allen

    I am a lifelong republican. I am concerned about the tea party because they seem to be all about the passion (good job on that!) but low on the details. I am seeing more and more videos, obviously taken by people on the left, but these guys are asking them pretty basic questions about why they are there and what about that subject specifically they are so passionately against, and they really name anything. They all seem completely ignorant and do come off a little racist and homophobic. (and cruel! Did you see that video with the parkinson’s guy?? Yeah Jesus would have done that)

    I know we have some core values in common, but do we really need them? Really?

    And my republican leaders – although I supported 100% of everything you did during the obamacare debate, it’s over. This whole no to everything business and leaving at 2pm, ect ect – please don’t.
    We need you.

    This country needs you. You can’t help us if you aren’t doing anything. This will not get anybody elected because Americans have short attention spans and won’t be so pissed at health care down the road. We need a lot of help right now and we need your leadership – please work.

    March 25, 2010 at 7:37 pm |
  7. Juanita

    Where is a monitoring group like the FCC when threats are made over the airwaves. How can inciteful comments be allowed without sanctions. Freedom of speech is is important to our democracy but that does not include threat on the lives of our public officials and their families.
    AND, the Repuboicans need to be more vocal in their condemnation of the activities, actions,slurs,name calling, negative signs and pure ugliness. this is American actions we want the world to see? is this who we really are?

    March 25, 2010 at 9:43 am |
  8. Chris

    I lean both ways politically, but the fact is the tea party and everyone else should say whatever they feel is neccisary, its the right as american people, and to many freedoms have been takin away by reading inbetween the lines. the bill of rights was simple and blunt for a reason.

    March 25, 2010 at 9:09 am |
  9. Kimmi

    I have been smoking pot on and off for several years. This week, the company I worked for did drug tests on all employees. Of approx. 15 first shift employees, eight either resigned rather than being fired, or failed the test, all together. Interestingly, a month before I was given a glowing review of my work performance. When will we learn?

    March 25, 2010 at 8:55 am |
  10. Van Simms

    The hate that is coming from the Tea Party folks towards the Democrats shows that our great melting pot still has lots of lumps a few of which are nuts...

    March 25, 2010 at 8:40 am |
  11. Charlotte Whigham

    The Tea Party movement, is indeed dangerous for the Republican Party and the American people. They have started a movement, in which they try to identify with one of the strongest parties, there ever was.

    But guess what? Too many republicans are listening to a bunch of hate talk, and they don't even know the facts about anything. They have much power in their voice, because people love to hate. I want to see the Republicans take back their dignity, and stand up for the right of being GREAT, and NOT the party of NO.

    Take baby steps, and get back to your roots. Tell the Tea Baggers, to take a hike.

    March 25, 2010 at 8:17 am |
  12. mo peek

    WHERE'S JOHN MCAIN1!! Lost in action again huh?? Will any of the republicans stand for any thing anymore just let me hear one simple truthful answer for their lips. THEY are the death panel. Scary sad, unethical,not truthful at all and repeat the same they are like robots on issues..Are the Republican the new Chuckie Doll.

    March 25, 2010 at 7:57 am |
  13. FeleciA K

    The tea party is the Republician party..Let's not get that twisted. Grow up John Bohner. I really can't beleive that Middle Americans can stomach the Republican party now known as the twilight Party. They are really out there. Send these people to calli . They need to calm down. Go to oaksterdam that 's repelling and replace for ya. YOU BECTHA!

    March 25, 2010 at 7:52 am |
  14. Stephanie

    I think that Republicans should be placed on the terrorist group watch list. They use mind control to incite violence and resistance to government. Isn't that why hundreds of Americans are dying overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan?

    March 25, 2010 at 7:42 am |
  15. Richard

    Republicans are acting like undisciplined crybabies.

    March 25, 2010 at 7:38 am |
  16. Richard

    Politicians who gain followers by inciting criminal deeds should be held responsible. Discretion must be better practiced.

    Richard

    March 25, 2010 at 7:37 am |
  17. Gerard

    We had better bring our military home to protect the country from all these domestic terrorists!! If the healthcare reform would have been defeated I doubt very much that the Democrats would have incited this type of behavior....at least they are showing diginity and civilized behavior. They have gained my total respect and when the time comes I will vote Democrat for sure.

    March 24, 2010 at 11:19 pm |
  18. Gerard

    I am very, very disappointed in how the Republicans are acting. Their actions are inciting violence and terrorism all because they could not stop the very much needed healthcare reform. Sore losers.....this is once again like I said before. We don't have to wonder about terrorists infiltrating the country....they are already here!

    March 24, 2010 at 11:11 pm |
  19. Cheri

    Republicans have themselves to blame for this Frankenstein they created. One can never control a monster and this is what the Tea Party folks are- monsters-uncontrolled, wild, and vicious.
    If the Republicans had any sense, in light of the Tea Party's threats on lawmakers in Congress, they would denounce the tea party, its backers and get as far away from it as possible.
    If I were law enforcement, I look at the Tea Party's actions as bordering on Sedition- the violent overthrow of the government.
    As we are in a state of "undeclared" war, their actions could be close to Treason.
    I'm all for debate, arguing, protesting and picketing-as long as is respectful and peaceful. We all have that right. But the Tea PArty has shown it is none of these things and should be lumped in with the Klan, Nazi and other violent, extremist groups not worthy of our attention.
    Since they are backing off the Tea Party abel, look for them as Constitutionalists and other very "patriotic" names.

    March 24, 2010 at 9:19 pm |
  20. Stephanie

    If the Republicans are really sincere in not wanting to be associated with a "few bad apples", then they also must end their association with Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Ann Coulter and the like. They are the face of the rage, hatred, bigotry and racism that is associated with the Republican party. The Republican party has only been too happy to have people like them to help promote their cause and do nothing to condemn their hateful comments.

    March 24, 2010 at 8:23 pm |
  21. Angela Savage austin

    My concern regarding the threats and violence on our Americans, be they politicians or private citizens, is outrageous and criminal. The Republicans always tell their base to let your voice be heard...where is their voice (The Republicans) at this time. Hostility breeds hostility. Hate crimes and racism are criminal acts and those who practice and encourage such acts should be prosecuted....no exceptions. Justice should prevail...it seems that there is a double standard when some think and feel that they are above the law and consider that "JUSTICE" means "JUST...US" should be protected by the constitution and have rights they would deny others.

    March 24, 2010 at 5:35 pm |
  22. jmz

    why is it tha th progressives are in the middle of destroying our constitution, snuffing out liberty, and some of the most backhanded socilist nonsense ever, and all the libs can do is talk about the possibility of a couple of bad apples whomay(no proof) have said some mean things. where was your outrage when your blessed leader called th poice stupid even though he didnt have the facts? where was it when they called people who dont suport them'astroturf'? where is that race baiting sharpton when they call white peopl'rednecks' RACIST term. wheres your outrage at the signing of a law that will destroy america and put us in debt againts he will of the american people? why do you insist that this decline into socialism,..,into slavery i not happening? are you so blinded by your desire to be treated like children you are willing to sell out the ajority who do not. mark my words. this travesty will not go unanswered.and when you finllaly see how foolish rogressive socialists are and how much damamge this will do, you will beg us tea 'baggers' to come to your rescue..GOD BLESS THE TEA PARTY, THE CONSTITUTION AND THE REAL AMERICA WE ARE FIGHTING TO RSTORE!

    March 24, 2010 at 2:03 pm |
  23. Joe - NJ

    Of course – a liberal CNN columnist will bring this subject up and get all the liberal supporters to support her. What else do you expect from CNN who is the leader of all the liberal media. And NO – the tea party is NOT dangerous but a breath of fresh air to vote out all liberals who put party first and country second.

    March 24, 2010 at 11:10 am |
  24. Tone

    "now that the federal government is in control".... Ask your Grandmother is she wants to give the federal government back "Medicare". The gov. should buy her out of the money she put into it and let her go find some good ole insurance plan. Surely she'll save money that way don't you think.

    March 24, 2010 at 10:16 am |
  25. Glenda Nelms

    Republicans support the Tea Party people, but they can't contrlo them.
    If you spport them & can't control them then that makes you one of them.
    If you can't control them you need to seperate from them or Republicans become just as responsible as the Tea Party people for spreading hatred and bigotry.
    Tea Party people are saying the things the Republicans wish they could say and behaving the way the Republicans are beginning to behave in congress.
    What's the differance between the Republicans and the Tea Party people?
    Nothing but the title of the groups!!!...

    March 24, 2010 at 9:47 am |
  26. coventry

    It hurts the democrats more since the group was started when the health bill discussion started

    March 24, 2010 at 9:44 am |
  27. JB

    The tea party is nothing but a bunch of screaming nuts, the Republican party is the danger.

    March 24, 2010 at 9:24 am |
  28. dorathyallen

    I truly believe there will be violence this year and I blame the media for it. The media has down played the fact that white people have gone crazy since our president won the election. The media sat by when it came to the war and they are sitting by now, they know most of the ugliness is because of race. Everyone can dismiss this but all the facts bear out. Black people know when they are being treated wrong. The media should have step in when Death Panels came into the conversation, they knew the truth, but they fed the lie.

    March 24, 2010 at 8:58 am |
  29. Barb

    The Republicans have been out to get President Obama since he stepped foot into office. Instead of being poor losers, they should have taken off their partisan hats and worked for the people of the USA! Unforturnately, you have to be wealthy to run for office. The honest middle class Americans don't have a chance unless the election laws are changed.

    March 24, 2010 at 8:52 am |
  30. George

    Sarah Palin and the tea party are loose cannons she has a hit list on democrats with crosshairs and says reload on her face book. they arrest kids in high school for just making a so called hit list. all's it takes is one crazy person to take that to heart, along with rush saying wipe them out.

    March 24, 2010 at 8:46 am |
  31. hilroy

    John Lewis, yes, the same John Lewis who was insulted on this past weekend by the racist TP's calling themselves republicans.

    He said during the presidential election that some peeple are playing with fire. That is an understatement.

    The US is very close to a nasty racial confrontation which no one wants and no one will win.The republicans will have themselves to blame. It boggles the mind why Michael Steele ( a black man) and RNC chairman continue to be the joke of the party.

    He is being used to hide the real RNC's goal.

    March 24, 2010 at 8:45 am |
  32. dorathyallen

    I truly believe there will be violence this year and I blame the media for it. The media has down played the fact that white people have gone crazy since our president won the election. The media sat by when it came to the war and they are sitting by now, they know most of the ugliness is because of race. Everyone can dismiss this but all the facts bear out. Black people know when they are being treated wrong. The media should have step in when Death Panels came into the conversation, thet knew the truth, but they fed the lie.

    March 24, 2010 at 8:40 am |
  33. Joyce

    Comparing the public outcry against Bush to what is happening now – profanity in the Well of the House, multiple death threats against the President, racial and ethnic slurs, gay bashing, spitting on congressmen – all because they are following a legal process of passing a bill is insane. That does not compare to Bush's lies that cost the lives of 4500 American military, hundreds of thousands of emotionally and physically wounded who will need lifetime care, and thousands of innocent Iraqi lives. THere just is no comparison. Bush richly deserved more than name calling; he should be prosecuted for lying to Congress.

    March 24, 2010 at 8:38 am |
  34. Tony

    I am so upset about the GOP and the tea party. Where were these tea partys when George Bush started 2 wars produced 2 big tax cuts and the medicare prescription drug plan and none of it was paid for. Where was the outrage then???? I do believe that the tea party movement is racially movtivated. I am a Black man and know it when when I see it. The funny thing about the protest the people that need help were not protesting. Republicans are the biggest hipocrists. They are so religious, but would Christ want to be apart of them. They hate immigrants even though we all are if we are not Native Americans, they hate gay people. They claim to want smaller gov. I am against abortion, but I thought that was a personal choice. Why are they trying to force their beliefs on people.

    March 24, 2010 at 8:32 am |
  35. Joyce

    The entire political scene disgusting. Why can't the Repubs simply tell the truth about anything without all the extremist hype? The small increase taxes are on the wealthy to help the working families pay for health care so they don't end up with more serious and more expensive medical conditions. You're going to pay for their care one way or the other; the question is will it be for very expensive emergency interventions or for less costly office visits?

    Repubs scream that they have a "better way" – oh yeah? they why didn't you pass it when you had control of congress and the White House? I'll tell you why – because you never intended to address the issue.

    Your selfish greed is so apparent and I am dismayed to see people who claim they are Christians following a path that directly contradicts the words of Jesus blinded by the "name it and claim it" God, make me rich preachers. Maybe the righties need to take a lesson from the Mennonites or the Amish.

    March 24, 2010 at 8:29 am |
  36. Jane - WI

    Just curious where the equal media coverage was of Harry Reid when he told a bunch of school children that George Bush was an idiot, or when Nancy Pelosi said how incompetent he was? When the left had signs showing George Bush as a monkey, as the Joker, hung in effigy, a war criminal, etc? It seems that didn't generate the front page NY Times coverage that one or 2 lone wolves did at the Tea Party event.

    March 24, 2010 at 8:26 am |
  37. sharon

    It's good to show how ugly these Tea Partyers are but the media gives the Republican Party far too much slack for their part in inciting these nutjobs. When questioned, the Republicans say the epithets aren't acceptable and the media says 'ok, good'. You don't talk about how it is Republican senators and congress people who are out there with megaphones egging them on. During the HCR debate on Sunday, they were going out on the balcony with flags and signs encouraging the protesters to be unruly. It's dangerous, and it's creating a very scary atmosphere for Democrats.

    The media has a responsibility to show the truth and to inform their audience what is really going on. Your report is a start but why are you so hesitant to tell the full story?

    March 24, 2010 at 8:26 am |
  38. Jane - WI

    Many Democrats are afraid of the MoveOn.org types. All we hear is how Republicans are afraid of RushLimbaugh,but never about those on the left that Democrats try to stay in good favor with. How many Democrats participate in the conventions of the far left MoveOn and Daily Kos, and know that if they don't toe the line, these groups will mount campaigns against them? Rarely does the media want to talk about the control that these far left organizations have over Democrats.

    March 24, 2010 at 8:24 am |
  39. Gerard

    The Tea Party has a "Wild west shoot 'em up" mentality that does not fit into a civilized society. Their approach to solving problems is self centered and does not take all Americans into consideration. If we want to set our country back 125 years into the late 1800's when most everyone had a gun and holster in public and had duels in the street just join this group.

    March 24, 2010 at 8:24 am |
  40. Mike

    The Tea Party will not be an influence on election come November. The GOP will try to distance themselves from them but will not be totally successful.
    The Tea Party has managed to give the GOP the stigma of being Racist Homophobes and that will be a hard image to shake.

    The tea party has already thrown the GOP under the train by prancing out their token black man Lenny McCallister.
    This is the first time we have EVER seen or heard from a black man in that party and it is only to save their butt from the Debacle that occurred Sunday. I want to know where the token gay man is now.

    March 24, 2010 at 8:22 am |
  41. Peter

    The Congress has just rammed through a massive bill that a majority of Americans oppose with NO Republican support (unprecedented). The people at the rallies on 3/21 and 3/21 were protesting that the government was ignoring the will of the people, which it was. There were approximately 25,000-30,000 people at the Saturday rally and a handful (@6-10) ALLEGEDLY (no arrests, video) called people unpleasant names(so far the best defense against the rally). Do the math, that would turn out to be less than .05% (much less than 1%)of the people that were there, but somehow that insignificant and unproven incident is the news story not the other 99.95% of people that were there to protest this massive government expansion which is contrary to the will of the majority of the people.

    Lets make this Simple:
    Wahhhh he called me a name (The left's tired race card argument) vs. The gov't is taking over 1/6th of the economy

    The real news was:
    1. There were 25000-30000 people at the Saturday rally (not 1500-2000 as reported by MSNBC)
    2. The crowd was raucous (rightfully so) but was on message-"Kill the Bill" saw no racist anything
    3. There was NOBODY there protesing in favor of the bill
    4. There were a variety of minority speakers who were speaking at the event

    A few more thoughts:

    1. Social Security is broke
    2. Medicare is broke
    3. Medicaid is broke
    4. Unemployment is at over 10%
    5. The country's debt is over 14 Trillion Dollars

    Just ask yourself, Do you really think the Gov't can run healthcare????

    March 24, 2010 at 8:20 am |
  42. Saibal

    Although you openly andwith courage denounce Tea Party's racial over tones, why do you keep showing Obama's voodoo poster? You think it's funny or of commercial interest. Shame on you.

    March 24, 2010 at 8:18 am |
  43. Jane - WI

    Were the nasty anti-war protests dangerous to Democrats? We heard plenty of vile talk from the left against George Bush and Republicans. I don't think that cost them any votes and I don't recall the media trying to link these left wing loons to the Democratic party.

    March 24, 2010 at 8:18 am |
  44. Carol

    I don't like the TEA Party, I don't like all the screaming, anger, and etc. I usually voted for the man not the party. I voted for Obama and very happy now I did. Plus I am happy the Health Care Bill passed.

    March 24, 2010 at 8:14 am |
  45. MikeF

    As a Democrat, I think the Tea Party is EXACTLY what the doctor ordered as a cure for the Republicans!

    March 24, 2010 at 8:11 am |
  46. Mitch Dworkin - Dallas, Texas

    Hi Carol:

    As for the very important issue that you brought up of about how so many high profile Republicans fear Rush Limbaugh (such as Michael Steele), a back door version of The Fairness Doctrine was the biggest thing that Rush Limbaugh and his wing of the Republican Party feared right after Obama was elected and it is still Limbaugh's top fear right now. Evidence of this is that Rush Limbaugh wrote an opinion article in the Wall Street Journal titled "Mr. President, Keep the Airwaves Free" one month after Obama was inaugurated and his many millions of followers reply very quickly whenever this issue is brought up because they fear a back door version of The Fairness Doctrine so much. Obama in my opinion is a very nice and sincere person but he does not have the toughness and the experience that it takes to seriously compete with Rush Limbaugh, FOX News, Matt Drudge on even terms and on a level playing field because they are all experienced professionals at what they do while Obama has very little experience in the area of message warfare. This is why I think that Obama has been losing the message war on an overall basis since he has been in office.

    The best thing that I think Obama can do right now to fight the message war, to try and change the tone in Washington, and to possibly liberate many elected Republicans from their fear of Rush Limbaugh is his trying to cram a back door version of The Fairness Doctrine right down the Republican's throats any legal way that he can (such as through an FCC appointment or by putting it in a bill to fund the troops which has to be passed) and then let Rush Limbaugh and his wing of the Republican Party waste a lot of their time, money, and energy trying to fight it in the courts for a few years. That is what Limbaugh and his wing of the Republican Party feared most of all when Obama was elected and it still may not be too late for Obama to try and do it right now.

    Mitch Dworkin
    Dallas, Texas

    March 24, 2010 at 8:11 am |
  47. V. Dyset

    These are the voters that the Republicans have strung along with false promises for decades in order to maintaiin support for the party's primary mission, making the wealthy wealthier. Now these same folks are poised to take over the "grand old party" and the "party" doesn't know what to do with them. The saddest aspect is that the racists, homophobes, religious fanatics, and anti-tax zealots believe the nonsense the party has been baiting them with over the years.

    March 24, 2010 at 8:08 am |
  48. Tom from Vermillion, Ohio

    "...limited government, lower taxes and individual freedom." Limited government, as long as THEIR calling the shots, lower taxes as long as its THEIR taxes and individual freedom a long as its THEIR ideal of freedom. They want a government of slogans, ideology were debate is suppressed under THEIR thumb to THEIR point of view where THEIR the authority. Don't talk, just listen to THEM. Sounds "fascist" to me. Now, why do I get the impression that, for the first time in my life, my government is actually listening to ME?

    March 24, 2010 at 8:06 am |
  49. Brian

    People are frustrated. People have always been frustrated. And, there's always some group playing on this claiming to have inherited the mantle of truth and patriotic righteousness as the Tea Party does now. They have not. They are if anything (like so much of the conservative movement) deeply ANTI-American. It's like the States' Rights arguments against health-care reform. This argument has been very popular throughout history anytime a repressive state has been challenged to stop abusing their citizens. Slavery, lynching, murders by white paramilitary groups in the south, unregulated child labor, unsafe workplace conditions, segregation – all things where state's rights has been invoked so that they could actually CONTINUE. There's your conservative's idea of being a good American.

    March 24, 2010 at 8:01 am |
  50. David

    Yes they have. Name calling, screaming, none sensical chants, and spitting on legislators have proven their intent is to make the news.Lack of ideas proves they are a non thinking reactionary mob afraid of shadows. Shouting down speakers in town hall meetings prove they never wanted to discuss issues. If they keep this up America will be a party system in November, leaving a void in the national debate.

    March 24, 2010 at 7:51 am |
  51. Michael

    The Tea Party is nothing more than the extreme right republicans trying to be covert. It allows them to be unforgivably ignorant and belligerent while maintaining deny-ability.

    They are the perfect group to represent the uneducated angry simpletons of the world who have bought into the corporate propaganda machine designed to convinced them with fear to vote against their own interests.

    The Tea Party ranks right up there with the Rush Limbaughs and Glen Becks of the world who are hell bent to destroy our country for personal profit.

    March 24, 2010 at 7:50 am |
  52. C.Beitz

    The GOP is in great danger because of the Tea Party far-right extremists. They are not real-America, or middle-America. They remind many of us of a Party seeking a totalitarian government that controls everything, with no true democracy. Their message is hypocritical, and often times racist. And I say that as a member of a family that has walked away from the Republicans after 32 years because of such embarrassment. Many of my Independent friends no longer want any part of the GOP.

    March 24, 2010 at 7:46 am |
  53. jrock

    The allegations by several congressmen that some people in the Tea Party protest shouted racial slurs are not borne out by video clips taken at the scene. They show the crowd shouting "Kill the Bill" in unison. Can CNN produce any video footage corroborating the congressmen;s allegations?

    March 24, 2010 at 7:43 am |
  54. Edisto

    I am an independent voter that is scared to death of how the Tea Party is presented by the media to represent my thoughts. I voted for Obama and I am still very much a supporter of his efforts.

    March 24, 2010 at 7:40 am |
  55. Mitch Dworkin - Dallas, Texas

    Hi Carol:

    I really appreciate how that you deal with many of the relevant topics that most people are afraid to say what they really think.

    The truth is that while I am sure there are some sincere tea party people who have legitimate policy concerns, those in the tea party who carry around radical signs and who misbehave along with those who condone this misbehavior (including politicians in office like Sen. Jim DeMint and Rep. Michele Bachmann) are just a bunch of fringe kooks and ideologues. While I think this is true, I also think that they are a very powerful bunch of fringe radicals who definitely need to be taken very seriously because they are a major force in many Republican primary races all over the country in a year when many Republicans will probably win their general election races basically on a default basis. Many people will not admit to this because it is not always the "politically correct" thing to say and no elected Republicans will say this because they know they will be primaried right out of office if they do.

    I really appreciate David Frum's honesty and the bold stand that he is taking because very few high profile Republicans will publicly admit to the correct things that he is saying about the hard core tea party activists.

    Mitch Dworkin
    Dallas, Texas

    March 24, 2010 at 7:40 am |
  56. Jeanie

    i am an independent voter who sees nothing for me in the republican't party or the option the tea party offers. tired of their negativity and hate. dems have my utmost respect for their effort to make something positive happen in our beloved usa.

    March 24, 2010 at 7:29 am |
  57. jonolan

    The Tea Parties are somewhat dangerous to the GOP because the GOP has over the years lost its way and strayed from American principles, turning into something that is more reminiscent of the Dems than anything else. If they don't return to the fold, the Tea Parties will hurt them in the upcoming elections.

    As for the rest – who cares? It's past the time when any American should lend undeserved worth to our enemies and their opinions.

    March 24, 2010 at 7:21 am |