The Associated Press today tried to define the movement known as the “tea party,” by canvassing many states to get a definition.
They couldn’t. Why? Because, it seems clear, the tea party is whatever a particular member wants it to be:
“That’s the beauty of it,” says George Burton, a Minnesota electrician and history buff who dressed in period garb for a rally he organized in Brainerd, “We don’t take any orders from anybody.”
The tea party has no single issue around which people rally -taxes comes closest – and it has no clear leader who drives the organization’s message, motivates followers and raises money. Indeed, the hundreds of tea party chapters and tens of thousands of
its activists cannot agree on the most basic strategic goal: whether to try to influence the current political system or dismantle it.
It raises significant questions about at least one poll, cited by the Powerline blog which purports to show the tea party has more followers than President Obama. “The key datum, as usual, is that independents prefer the Tea Party over Obama by 50-38 percent,” Powerline said.
The blog cited a Rasmussen poll which said…
On major issues, 48% of voters say that the average Tea Party member is closer to their views than President Barack Obama. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that 44% hold the opposite view and believe the president’s views are closer to their own.
But what the Associated Press seems to have determined is there’s no such thing as an average tea party member.