If the Tea Party was indeed "AstroTurf" and somehow completely manufactured by the Republican Party or FOX News, then it would be a deception of epic proportions. Republicans have been promising limited government for years and have delivered nothing. Conservatives simply don't believe the Republican establishment anymore and support the Tea Party precisely because it is both outside of and in opposition to both major parties—not simply an auxiliary of the GOP. Political elites have attempted to dismiss the movement because to recognize its power and influence is a direct threat to both parties. This notion that the movement was somehow created by the Republican Party is particularly laughable when it was painfully clear in my own primary that the entire GOP establishment wished that my campaign and the Tea Party would just go away. Rasmussen and Schoen outline the movement's independence, power and popularity:
The Tea Party movement has become one of the most powerful and extraordinary movements in recent American political history. It is as popular as both the Democratic and Republican parties. It is potentially strong enough to elect senators, governors and congressmen. It may even be strong enough to elect the next president of the United States—time will tell. But the Tea Party movement has been one of the most derided and minimized and, frankly, most disrespected movements in American history. Yet, despite being systematically ignored, belittled, marginalized, and ostracized by political, academic, and media elites, the Tea Party movement has grown stronger and stronger...demonstrating a level of activism and enthusiasm that is both unprecedented and arguably unique in recent American political history.
The Tea Party continues to endure and grow whether the establishment likes it or not. The slanders and lies political elites have directed toward the Tea Party not only have had little effect, but simply make it more attractive to countless Americans fed up with the condescending attitudes of those elites.
And not surprisingly, questioning the Tea Party's legitimacy has been only one of many attack tactics.
Left-Wing Prejudice on Full Display
As I mentioned, the Tea Party is perhaps described as an open mic night, something anyone who attends a party event would immediately understand. But it seems some who would never dare attend a Tea Party rally also see a sort of nightclub dynamic, though not in the positive manner I do. Said MSNBC's Keith Olbermann of Tea Party events: "It is as if a group of moderately talented performers has walked on stage at a comedy club on improv night. Each hears a shout from the audience, consisting of a bizarre but just barely plausible fear or hatred or neurosis or prejudice." Hatred? Neurosis? Prejudice? Each of these words better describes Olbermann and his network, and no event I've attended even remotely resembles the left-wing pundit's characterization of Tea Partiers.