Joe Scarborough defends the Tea Party movement against media attacks
Since coming on the scene in 2009, the Tea Party movement has been maligned or misrepresented by an unsympathetic media. They fawned over Occupy Wall Street, but they quickly fizzled out. But the Tea Party is still around and still having an influence on American politics through backing anti-establishment candidates in Republican primaries.
This is what the movement has become used to since its inception. But in his column at Politico, Joe Scarborough, host of MSNBC’s the Morning Joe, used his column yesterday to rip the media’s treatment of the Tea Party movement:
“Why is the tea party destroying the Republican Party?”
That’s a leading question that I have been asked repeatedly from media pundits and Democratic politicians over the past three years. Over that time, Democratic politicians and media pundits have almost universally accused the tea party of bringing ruin to the Grand Old Party. According to this skewed narrative, Republican leaders were once bipartisan, rational and almost worthy of getting invitations to Georgetown cocktail parties. Now, they are Manchurian candidates held captive by the right-wing beasts whose only goal is to infect the minds of real-life Nick Brodys who dominate the U.S. House.
Sometimes, mainstream publications and Democratic leaders even go so far as to say kind things about Ronald Reagan as a way to attack the tea party. They speak glowingly of Reagan and contrast him with the barbarians who now run the Republican Party. This, of course, conveniently overlooks the nasty attacks Reagan has endured at the hands of those who now cynically praise the 40th president.
But let’s not get bogged down by history. Instead, we can blow apart this fanciful meme by reviewing the tea party’s short history. Let’s simply review how terrible the tea party has been for the GOP.
— They energized a conservative movement battered by eight years of bloated Republicanism,
— they shocked the political world by taking Ted Kennedy’s seat,
— they put Obama Democrats in a constant defensive crouch,
— they led the resistance against “Obamacare,”
— they helped bring about the largest legislative landslide in U.S. history in 2010,
— they grabbed six seats in the U.S. Senate that year,
— they helped elect six governors,
— they helped win 700 seats in state legislatures, and
— they helped elect a Republican majority that included the largest number of Republicans elected since 1946.
With a track record like that, the Republican Party had better watch their backs. If this trend keeps up, they might just win the White House and the Senate.
Regardless of what happens in the next few weeks, the general theme that the tea party has been bad for the GOP is pure malarkey.
Scarborough, who served three terms in the House, is somewhat of an unlikely defender of the Tea Party. He’s struck a more moderate tone in the last few years, often criticizing Republicans — some of that’s deserved, but some of it is not. It’s hard to imagine where the GOP would be without the Tea Party movement. They provided that spark, as Scarborough explains, that set the political landscape ablaze in 2010.
Establishment Republicans — those willing to trade their core principles for political expediency — have to look behind their backs at every turn for potential Tea Party-backed primary challengers. That may be unnerving to some, but it’s a way to keep the political establishment accountable.