Jim Geraghty quotes former RNC chairman Ed Gillespie as probably the first major establishment GOP figure (Dick Armey agrees too, but he’s an outsider these days) to agree with my assessment of the Tea Party movement:
Gillespie said today’s tea-party voters were somewhat comparable to the H. Ross Perot voters who emerged as a bloc in the 1992 election. “They self-differentiate from Republicans.”
[R]esponse to the health care package today is less an expression of the conservative base than it is about the descendants of the Perot movement in the nineties and the Tea Parties today. These protesters aren’t really fans of either party… but driven by a strong sense — and basic American ideas of liberty — that the government shouldn’t be intruding on their lives, taking their money and giving it to companies that don’t deserve it, telling them which doctor to go to, and generally mismanaging things.
The Tea Party movement is in some ways parallel to the old Perot movement, though it doesn’t necessarily involve the same people (that was 18 years ago after all)… It is less a revolt about the bigness of government than it is about the wrongness of government. People don’t subscribe to some sophisticated libertarian view of government’s purpose, they are merely fed up with a government they believe is working for public sector unions, entrenched bureaucrats, and fatcats on Wall Street instead of for them… the Tea Partiers aren’t controlled or controllable by anyone within the Grand Old Party, even Sarah Palin. They are a dragon of a political movement, Trogdor the Burninator, stomping through the countryside and setting things aflame.
Glad to see Gillespie come around.
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