On Tea Party Spotlight, inspiring stories, news features, and political analysis is updated and presented to keep the tea party activist aware of trends, opposition tactics and strategy, polling, key figures to watch, upcoming events, and the general direction of the movement.

May 2nd, 2010
NPR: Boehner: GOP Will Repeal Health Care Law
House Republican Leader John Boehner has said that his party will repeal the new health care law if the GOP gains a congressional majority in November.

"I think that we need to repeal the health care law and replace it with common-sense steps that will lower the cost of health insurance in America," Boehner (R-OH) tells NPR's Steve Inskeep.

Boehner and the Republicans are hoping for a repeat of 1994, when the GOP swept the midterm elections. He says the party is engaging with the public to develop the agenda it will enact if it secures a majority in November.

The party that controls the White House typically loses House seats during midterm elections, and Democrats are bracing for losses: 37 governorships, 36 Senate seats and the entire 435-member House are at stake.

Boehner says he's optimistic about his party's prospects, citing public anger over spending and debt. He says he believes "at least 100 seats" are in play. [Continued]

May 1st, 2010
FOXNEWS: Obama Takes Direct Aim at Anti-Government Rhetoric
President Obama took aim Saturday at the angry rhetoric of those who denigrate government as "inherently bad" and said their off-base line of attack ignores the fact that in a democracy [sic], "government is us."

Obama used his commencement speech at the University of Michigan to respond to foes who portray government as oppressive and tyrannical -- and to warn that overheated language can signal extremists that "perhaps violence is ... justifiable."

Just 45 miles from the immense Michigan Stadium, capacity 106,201, the GOP's 2008 vice presidential nominee, Sarah Palin, told an anti-tax gathering Obama's policies are "big government" recipes that are "intrusive" in the lives of average Americans. [Continued]

April 30th, 2010
American Thinker: The Demoralized Left
The Gallup Poll generic congressional ballot of registered voters shows that those supporting Republicans and Democrats are in a statistical tie, with Republicans at 46% and Democrats at 45%. The real story, though, is the huge advantage that Republicans have in enthusiasm about voting. Gallup shows 57% of those supporting Republicans as very enthusiastic and only 37% of those supporting Democrats as very enthusiastic.

Several weeks before, the Marist Poll published a revealing profile of New York voters. The partisan breakdown of those "very enthusiastic" about voting this November showed these percentages: Republicans (34%), Democrats (25%), and Non-Enrolled (20%) -- a modest edge for Republicans. The enthusiasm of New York voters widened significantly when the ideology of the voter was considered: 38% of conservatives were very enthusiastic about voting; 22% of moderates felt the same; and only 18% of liberals were very enthusiastic about voting. The left in America is demoralized. [Continued]

April 29th 2010 
Right Wing News: Yawn … Tea Parties Are Racist (Nazis) Blah, Blah…
Lots o' stuff on the "racist' tea parties today, for example, at Powerline, "The Smear Continues." John Hinderaker laughs at the study from the University of Washington Institute for the Study of Ethnicity, Race & Sexuality, "2010 Multi-state Survey on Race & Politics." And of course, the university's research was picked up by Newsweek, "Are Tea Partiers Racist? A New Study Shows That the Movement's Supporters Are More Likely to Be Racially Resentful."

Or, ah, maybe they mean resentful like ruben_baruch@sbcglobal.net who (nearly unintelligibly) asked Michelle Malkin, "I just wondering how or where did you learned to speak like the way you do? Because you are are not white, and that is obvious ..."

Either way, the smart folks at Brandeis University are on the case! See Michael Graham's earlier post, "I Wonder If Brandeis Has Invited Nancy Pelosi To Speak At This Event?" [Continued]

April 28, 2010
American Thinker: Obama's Tea Party Straw Man by Sean Parr

Why does it seem that the public is being told that the only demand the Tea Party activists have is that their taxes be lowered? Though the activists would doubtless welcome such an outcome, it is by no means the sole impetus of their objections. In fact, the demand is explicitly absent from their "Contract from America.

The contract -- a written expression of the will of those like-minded Americans who would sign it -- serves to convey to U.S. public officials a consensus outcry for a policy agenda of individual liberty, limited government, and economic freedom.

Interestingly, only two of the ten recommendations from the Tea Party's contract involve the topic of taxation, and contrary to what the public has been presented from both the White House and the news media, each of these recommendations is devoid of any mention of protest in response to cripplingly high taxes. [Continued]

April 24, 2010
The Ledger: Republicans Threatening Congressional Districts Long Held by Democrats
 Rep. David Obey has won 21 straight races, easily prevailing through wars and economic crises that have spanned presidencies from Nixon to Obama. Yet the discontent with Washington surging through politics is now threatening not only his seat but Democratic control of Congress.

Obey is one of nearly a dozen well-established House Democrats who are bracing for something they rarely face: serious competition. Their predicament is the latest sign of distress for their party and underlines why Republicans are confident of big gains in November, and perhaps even winning back the House.

The fight for the midterm elections is not confined to traditional battlegrounds, where Republicans and Democrats often swap seats every few cycles. In the Senate, Democrats are struggling to hold on to, among others, seats once held by President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden. Democrats are preparing to lose as many as 30 House seats - including a wave of first-term members - and Republicans have expanded their sights to places where political challenges seldom develop.

"It's not a lifetime appointment," said Sean Duffy, a Republican district attorney here in the north woods of Wisconsin, where he has established himself as one of the most aggressive challengers to Obey since the Democrat went to Washington in 1969. "There are changes in this country going on and people aren't happy." [Continued]

April 21, 2010
Foster's Daily Democrat: The Tea Party: What's So Hard to Understand?
What does the Tea Party stand for? Who are the Tea Partiers?

These questions have been asked many times since the movement began, including in the pages of this newspaper, and are worth addressing given last week's rallies in the Seacoast area.

For many, the Tea Party is a conundrum. For others it is a revolution and an evolution rolled into one.

Why the Tea Party is not understood lies in the latter of these descriptions.

For example, recent national news reports noted that Tea Party events have calmed down, become more focused and positive — no Hitler signs, less anger and more focus on specific issues.

But another reason the Tea Party movement is not understood is that those passing much of the judgment on the movement hail from the liberal regions of the country.

It is an axiom of politics that a conservative in the Northeast is often a moderate at best elsewhere.

Spend some time in the rural regions of America's bread basket (also called flyover country) or in the Deep South, and the Tea Party movement becomes less of a mystery.

Tea Party members basically want to be left alone. This includes keeping the government's hand — federal or state — out of their pockets. [Continued]

April 20, 2010
Politico: Tea Partiers in Two Camps: Sarah Palin vs. [and] Ron Paul
Tea party activists are divided roughly into two camps, according to a new POLITICO/TargetPoint poll: one that’s libertarian-minded and largely indifferent to hot-button values issues and another that’s culturally conservative and equally concerned about social and fiscal issues.

The survey, an exit poll conducted Thursday by Edison Research at the massive Tax Day protest on the National Mall, found that the attendees were largely hostile to President Barack Obama and the national Democratic Party — three-quarters believe the president “is pursuing a socialist agenda.”

Yet they aren’t enamored of the Republican Party as an alternative. Overall, three out of four tea party attendees said they were “scared about the direction” of the country and “want to send a message to both political parties.”

The results, however, suggest a distinct fault line that runs through the tea party activist base, characterized by two wings led by the politicians who ranked highest when respondents were asked who “best exemplifies the goals of the tea party movement” — former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), a former GOP presidential candidate. [Continued]

April 17, 2010
RCP: What Today's (and Yesterday's) Polls Told Us
Gallup has the President at 49/44, while Rasmussen has his approval at 47/52.  This represents a slight strengthening in Gallup, and a slight weakening in Rasmussen.  But again, the daily fluctuations aren't what's really important.  The day of the health care vote, he was tied at 47/47 in the RCP average.  Since then, he's generally been at about +1 or +2, which is consistent with what the tracking polls have been saying.  It's good for the President that his approvals are no longer declining, but I would imagine that they were hoping for a bit more of a bounce.

Wisconsin:  Obviously, a major disappointment for Republicans is that former Governor Tommy Thompson won't run for Senate.  If Thompson had gotten in, he probably would have been the favorite against Senator Russ Feingold.  With Thompson out of the picture, Feingold is favored, but he still polls weakly against the other Republicans in the race.  This is now a longshot for the GOP, but it is still an opportunity. [...]

PPP continues the string of bad polling results for the Democrats.  They find the Republicans leading Democrats 47%-42% in generic ballot.  In 1994, the Republicans won nationally by 5 points, so PPP is seeing a 1994-style result right now.  Mind you, this is a poll of registered voters, so the increased enthusiasm among Republicans could lead to an even worse result for Democrats.  Republicans lead by 3.2 points in the RCP average. [Continued]

April 16, 2010
RCP: Will D.C.Learn From Tea Parties?
Yesterday I waded into a mass of tea party protesters gathered at the front of Colorado's Capitol and completely forgot to brace myself for a "small-scale mimicry of Kristallnacht" (as New York Times columnist Frank Rich once characterized these events).

As it turns out, earlier I happened to peruse a new CBS/New York Times poll detailing the attitudes of tea party activists, who, it turns out, are more educated than the average American, more reflective of mainstream anxieties than any populist movement in memory and more closely aligned philosophically with the wider electorate than any big-city newsroom in America.

What seemed to be the biggest news derived from the poll nationally? A plurality of tea party activists do not deem Sarah Palin qualified for the presidency -- proving, I suppose, that some people have the ability to be exceptionally fond of a political celebrity without elevating her to sainthood.

More significantly, the polling showed that most tea party activists believe the taxes they pay are "fair." The largest number of them want their movement to work to reduce the size of government rather than focus on cutting budget deficits or lowering taxes. Whether you concur or not with this viewpoint, it exhibits more economic sophistication than we often hear from pandering senatorial candidates. [Continued]

April 15, 2010
FOXNEWS: Thousands of Anti-Tax 'Tea Party' Protesters Turn Out in U.S. Cities 
Chants like "Give me liberty, not debt" and "Our kids can't afford you" were heard across several U.S. cities Wednesday as anti-tax "tea party" protesters took to the streets to voice their opposition to big government spending.

Thousands of protesters -- some dressed in colonial wigs with tea bags hanging from their eyeglasses -- showed up in states from California to Kentucky to Massachusetts, holding signs and reading speeches lambasting the Obama administration's tax-and-spend policies.

"I have two little kids and I know we are mortgaging their futures away," one protester at a rally in Austin, Texas told FOX News. "It makes me sick to my stomach."

The demonstrations are part of a larger grassroots movement against government spending called Taxed Enough Already, or TEA -- giving name to the Tax Day Tea Parties -- and come more than 235 years after the original Boston Tea Party revolt against taxes.

Protesters gathered in cities across the country. Shouts rang out from Kentucky, which just passed tax increases on cigarettes and alcohol, to Salt Lake City, where many in the crowd booed Republican Gov. Jon Huntsman for accepting about $1.5 billion in stimulus money. Even in Alaska, where there is no statewide income tax or sales tax, hundreds of people held signs and chanted "No more spending."

"Frankly, I'm mad as hell," said businessman Doug Burnett at a rally at the Iowa Capitol, where many of the about 1,000 people wore red shirts declaring "revolution is brewing." Burnett added: "This country has been on a spending spree for decades, a spending spree we can't afford."

In Boston, a few hundred protesters gathered on the Boston Common -- a short distance from the original Tea Party -- some dressed in Revolutionary garb and carrying signs that said "Barney Frank, Bernie Madoff: And the Difference Is?" and "D.C.: District of Communism."

Texas Gov. Rick Perry fired up a tea party at Austin City Hall with his stance against the federal government, as some in his U.S. flag-waving audience shouted, "Secede!" But unlike many events around the country, politicians were not allowed to speak at a separate rally in San Antonio. "They are welcome to come and listen to us, for a change," organizers said in a statement. [Continued]  

April 14, 2010
NY Times: Poll Finds Tea Party Backers Wealthier and More Educated
Tea Party supporters are wealthier and more well-educated than the general public, and are no more or less afraid of falling into a lower socioeconomic class, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.

The 18 percent of Americans who identify themselves as Tea Party supporters tend to be Republican, white, male, married and older than 45.

They hold more conservative views on a range of issues than Republicans generally. They are also more likely to describe themselves as “very conservative” and President Obama as “very liberal.”

And while most Republicans say they are “dissatisfied” with Washington, Tea Party supporters are more likely to classify themselves as “angry.” [Continued]

See Poll.