Tea Party Today

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Sam Tanenhaus, editor of the New York Times Book Review, discusses his piece on the Tea Party's role in the GOP race, and what happened to the movement's place in American politics. 


Sam Tanenhaus

Comments [15]

Katherine Jackson from LES

Mr. Tannenbaum's parting shot against OWS, that they aren't doing the hard work of organizing campaigns and electing candidates, and that they do would do well to learn from the Tea Party, shows a total misconception of what's going on in this country. It's a lot easier to elect candidates who, whether they're conscious allies of corporate forces or not, are supporting policies that comport well with the interest of these forces: i.e., less government, fewer regulations, etc. The Debt Ceiling debacle may have led big money to think again about the role of the Tea Party in Congress, but in 2010,there was no conflict between big money and the Tea Party agenda. Occupy is trying to change the conversation away from "who's to blame" to how to get money out of politics, how to restructure the economy away from the plutocracy the country has become. This is going directly against the most powerful interests in this country. Mr Tannenbaum should remind himself of the great people's movements in this country -- Civil Rights, Unions, etc. That's another way "that politics gets done in this country"! And perhaps the most effective if what we need is structural change, not just a slight change in an out-of-touch Congress.

Jan. 17 2012 11:02 AM
RJ from prospect hts

What short memories!!! Do Mr. Tannenhaus and the last caller not remember the Tea Party mobs with Hitler mustaches and carrying guns showing up at Sarah Palin--among many other--demonstrations and "mob" events. Frequently without candidates of their own? And then splintered in their "national" conventions, with complaints about who was profiting (Palin's $100,000 speaking fee anyone?), into mostly small gatherings?

I don't reject the anger that many working- and middle-class people had to the 2007-8 crash, but let's be clear about how what was dubbed as the Tea Party became focused on candidates. The well-financed of the Kochs, Rove, etc., began financing select members of the Tea Party that they could extract and paint with astroturf populism. Rove continues, though he hasn't seemed to get beyond Romney--so far.

By comparison, Occupy Wall Street is still in formation, and its local groups, are first finding issues to have a specific, positive impact on--student loans, foreclosures ... There can't be a real comparison yet until more time has passed, and Mr. Tannenhaus errs in suggesting that the OWS follow the TP0--the TP is waning except for its astroturf form. It takes time to find, organize, and train new prospective legislators, often starting at the lowest county/town/village level. His vision is short.

Clearly the TP congresspeople weren't ready--they were just forced to give Boehner their votes regardless of their ideology in the payroll tax/unemployment vote.

Jan. 17 2012 11:00 AM
Janet from South Plainfield

Your caller describing his metamorphosis from Tea Partier to OWS is really on the mark: The Tea Party is very much a microcosm of America. It's members are frustrated with many of the same things that brought about the OWS movement, but he has figured out the key difference: OWS chooses NOT to "ignore that man behind the curtain" and confront the reasons for much of our current crisis:unchecked corporate greed, massive deregulation, unfunded wars, money in politics and an unprecedented assault on the middle-class. We have met the enemy, and it ain't us!

Jan. 17 2012 10:58 AM
Ozzie from Nyc

Its sad this right wing shill is in charge of the book review, and sad that Lehrer puts him on the radio. He does harm every day.

Jan. 17 2012 10:54 AM

money speaks louder than tea

Jan. 17 2012 10:52 AM
steve berger

Yes the bakers have obsconded with billions, but Why is no one speaking to the fact that the bigest waste in our economy is the military, where much of the
activitys have been outsourced to the tune of 100s of %s the of the cost.
Drivers by Blackwater, Bridges by Haliburton, food by sisco???????

Jan. 17 2012 10:48 AM
Robert from NYC

Mob rule?!!! Force people to come over to their side?!!!! I don't see THEM (OWS) twisting arms? I don't see them spitting on Congressmen!

Jan. 17 2012 10:47 AM
Pete from Brooklyn

Is your guest familiar with Paul Street & Anthony DiMaggio work on the Tea Party. DiMaggio did statistical analysis suggesting the tea party is a media phenomena, not a movement. For instance, best predictor of whether one is a tea party member is whether or not he is Republican; very, very few regular meetings going among tea party members; tea party candidates (US House) won races ONLY if they raised above the average campaign fund, and more observations like this.



Jan. 17 2012 10:45 AM

Your guest is talking about the "tea-party not being geared for a national election. " But thats exactly what the unity of the tea-party is about! Distrust - paranoia , unfortunately this is the only banner a morally destitute culture can rally under.

Jan. 17 2012 10:45 AM

Mr. Lehrer, you talk about disunity in the tea-party, but isn't that defining for #occupy? In my opinion, the tea-party are the strange allies of #ows and its lack of ideological cohesion.

Jan. 17 2012 10:36 AM
Elissa from Manhattan

You say the Tea Party is quieter than the Occupy movement now, but the reality is that the Tea Party organized, engaged the Republican Party, were voted in and are being activist in Congress, while the Occupy movement hasn't gotten past an assortment of protests, hasn't clarified and articulated a purpose, hasn't taken the next step from protests to activism, and hasn't engaged the Democrats to support it.

Occupy has to stop fussing about tents and naively blaming Wall Street for every woe in the country, and get smart and sophisticated about making a difference.

Jan. 17 2012 10:36 AM
The Truth from Becky

"we're working" is about as un-intellingent an answer as "the ultimate goal is to defeat Barack Obama"

Jan. 17 2012 10:36 AM
Sherry from UWS

Um wasn't the Tea Party mostly funded by the Kock brothers who support Mitt? Seems like this is counter to their goals.

Jan. 17 2012 10:35 AM
John A.

Martin, list a publication date. I'd like to see that article.

Jan. 17 2012 10:11 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

Let's not forget that in the early days of the Tea Party, Tannenhaus and his fellow elites on the NYT Sunday Week in Review editorial pages assured us that these people were just hired rabble paid by the big insurance companies to come out and demonstrate. This was a nasty and bogus claim for which the NYT had no proof. (He was actually unconsciously thinking of SEIU and AFL-CIO members) The Tea Party wasn't real and would quickly disappear. How did that work out in November 2010, Sam?

Nobody in the media goes back and holds these people accountable….. because "they" is "them".

Jan. 17 2012 09:20 AM

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