The Tea Party And The Remaking Of Republican Conservatism

Theda Skocpol - Vanessa Williamson

Part 12

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32. Hoff, "Of Witches' Brew," p. 215.

33. Ibid., p. 214.

34. Ibid., p. 215.

35. Ansolabehere and Snyder, "Weak Tea."

36. Michael Sokolove, "The Outsider's Insider," New York Times, November 8, 2009.

37. Our account draws on general media coverage, and on Rhodes Cook, "The Battle for the Senate: The Republicans Fall Short," in Sabato, Pendulum Swing, chapter 3.

38. Pat Toomey in Pennsylvania is sometimes called a Tea Party candidate who, first drove moderate Republican Arlen Specter out of the GOP, and then defeated the Democratic nominee in the general election. But Toomey is a former head of the Club for Growth and was an ultra-free-market-oriented Republican with his own sources of generous funding long before the Tea Party became a force.

39. Jon Craig, "Kasich: Pa.s.senger Rail is 'Dead',", November 2, 2010; Rebecca Stewart, "Scott Rejects Rail Funds for Florida," CNN Politics, Political Ticker blog, February 16, 2011; Joan Lowry and Kevin Frekin, "Wisconsin High-Speed Rail Money Goes Elsewhere...," HuffPost Chicago, December 9, 2010; and Benny Sieu, "a.s.sembly Union Measure After Bitter Debate," JournalInteractive, March 10, 2011.

40. Abby Goodnough, "Maine Governor Gets Testy With N.A.A.C.P.," New York Times, January 14, 2011; and Steve Mistler, "LePage Orders Removal of Labor Mural, Sparking Outcry," SunJournal, May 16, 2011.

41. Adam Bonica, "Introducing the 112th Congress," Ideological Cartography, November 5, 2010. Available at as of May 22, 2011. Bonica's measures use campaign finance data to pinpoint newly elected legislators on the left-right scale. His measurements correlate closely with well-established political science measures of the left-right voting patterns for sitting legislators. See Bonica, "How to Construct an Ideological Map of Candidates and Contributors Using Campaign Finance Records," Ideological Cartography, February 15, 2010; and for a full presentation, Bonica, "Ideology and Interests in the Political Marketplace," unpublished paper, September 2010.

42. Republican Representatives are considered aligned with the Tea Party if they joined the Tea Party caucus by April 2011, or if the New York Times listed them prior to the November 2010 elections as receiving clear support from Tea Party groups. See Kate Zernike, "Tea Party Set to Win Enough Races for Wide Influence," New York Times, October 14, 2011, including linked list of Tea Party endorsed candidates.

43. Adam Bonica, "Introducing the 112th Congress," Ideological Cartography website, November 5, 2010.

44. Nolan McCarty, Keith T. Poole, and Howard Rosenthal, Polarized Politics: The Dance of Ideology and Unequal Riches (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2008).

45. The following account draws especially upon Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson, Off Center: The Republican Revolution and the Erosion of American Democracy (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2005); and Barbara Sinclair, Party Wars: Polarization and the Politics of National Policymaking (Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 2006).

46. For an a.n.a.lysis of the sources of the current deficit and the debt, see Kathy Ruffing and James R. Horney, "Critics Still Wrong on What's Driving Deficits in Coming Years," Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, June 28, 2010.

47. Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson, Winner-Take-All-Politics: How Washington Made the Rich Richer-And Turned Its Back on the Middle Cla.s.s (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2010), chapter 1.

48. Ibid., pp. 207210.

49. Neil King, Douglas A. Blackmon, and Jennifer Levitz, "Tea-Activists Prepare To Turn Aims Into Politics," Wall Street Journal, Thursday, November 4, 2010, A8.

50. Amy Gardner, "FreedomWorks Gathers GOP Lawmakers to Focus on Tea Party Goals," Washington Post, November 12, 2010.

51. Ibid.

52. Amy Gardner, "Tea Party Groups Holding Legislators to Promises," Washington Post, November 16, 2010.

53. Tom Hamburger, Kathleen Hennessey, and Neela Banerjee, "Koch Brothers Now at the Heart of GOP Power," Los Angeles Times, February 6, 2011.

54. Ibid. "Nine of the 12 new Republicans on the panel signed a pledge distributed by a Koch-funded advocacy group-Americans for Prosperity-to oppose the Obama administration's proposal to regulate greenhouse gases. Of the six GOP freshman lawmakers on the panel, five benefited from the group's separate advertising and gra.s.sroots activity during the 2010 campaign."

55. For example, see Matt Canham, "Revolving Door? Less Picks Top Lobbyist to Lead His Staff," Salt Lake Tribune, November 11, 2010; and Dan Eggen, "GOP Freshman Pompeo Turned to Koch for Money for Business, then Politics," Washington Post, Sunday, March 20, 2011.

56. Ryan described his own budget as a "cause" more than an actual budget. See Dana Milbank, "Paul Ryan's Dogmatic Budget," Washington Post, April 7, 2011. For a thorough a.n.a.lysis of the distributional effects, see Paul N. Van de Water, "The Ryan Budget's Radical Priorities," Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, July 7, 2010. For fact-checking and Ryan's reliance on ideologically cooked Heritage Foundation estimates, see Glenn Kessler, "Fact-Checking the Ryan Budget Plan," Washington Post, The Fact Checker blog, April 6, 2011. For Ryan's own presentation of his plan to a friendly audience, see Paul Ryan, "The Path to Prosperity," American Enterprise Inst.i.tute, Tuesday, April 5, 2011.

57. Harold Myerson, "Who's Hurt by Paul Ryan's Budget Proposal," Washington Post, April 7, 2011.

58. Raymond Hernandez, "Gingrich Calls G.O.P.'s Medicare Plan Too Radical," New York Times, Monday, May 16, 2011, A11.

59. Elspeth Reeve, "70% of Tea Partiers Don't Want to Cut Medicare Either," National Journal, April 19, 2011. Other surveys reported similar findings.

60. For example, a poll taken in late April 2011, found that "sixty-four percent of those polled said they favor raising taxes on people earning more than $250,000 a year in order to reduce the nation's deficits. Only 29 percent opposed higher taxes for those earners...." Ian Swenson, "HILL POLL: Majority of Voters Reject Medicare Cuts to Reduce Budget Deficits," The Hill, May 2, 2011. See also Steven Thomas, "Poll: Best Way to Fight Deficits: Raise Taxes on the Rich," McClatchy Washington Bureau, April 18, 2011.

61. Charlie Cook, "Charlie Cook: Warning Signs Among the GOP," National Journal, April 4, 2011.

62. Juan Williams, "OPINION: Speaker Boehner in the Temple of Tea Party Doom," The Hill, April 11, 2011.

63. Examples include: Joshua Green, "Losing Steam," Boston Globe, May 12, 2011, A15; and Eliza Newlin Carney, "Tea Party Dogs GOP on Debt Ceiling," National Journal, May 8, 2011.

64. The "FreedomConnect" web tool is discussed in Gardner, "Tea Party Groups Holding Legislators to Promises." This tool also allows FreedomWorks operatives to see what local Tea Partiers are doing.

65. The quote comes from Jenny Beth Martin, coordinator of Tea Party Patriots, and appears in Jackie Kucinich, "Tea Party Group Releases Members' Personal Numbers," Roll Call, November 12, 2010.

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66. Notes on this public lecture taken by Theda Skocpol at the April 14, 2011 meeting of the York County Const.i.tutionalists in North Berwick, Maine, which is near Rochester, New Hampshire.

83. These Fox News results were, unsurprisingly, seized upon by the progressive blogosphere. See Matt Corley, "More Americans have a 'favorable' opinion of the IRS than of the Tea Party," Think Progress, April 8, 2010. Available at as of May 11, 2011.

84. Steven Thomma, "Poll: Best Way to Fight Deficits: Raise Taxes on the Rich," McClatchy Washington Bureau, April 18, 2011.

85. Pew Research Center, "Tea Party's Hard Line on Spending Divides GOP," February 11, 2011.


1. Quotes from the advance NBC transcript via Jason Easley, "Harry Reid Proclaims that the Tea Party is Dying," PoliticusUSA website, January 8, 2011. Available at as of May 29, 2011.

2. The Cato Inst.i.tute has been at the forefront of anti-union efforts. A policy forum held by Cato on July 28, 2010, was ent.i.tled "Union Influence on Public Policy," and asked, "Both private and public unions have undue political influence and use that power to seek privileges at the expense of consumers and taxpayers. Are unions good for America?" Video available at as of May 29, 2011. Cato scholars have also argued that public sector unions are responsible for making state government less efficient. Chris Edwards, "Unions and State Government Management," Cato at Liberty, April 6, 2010. Available at as of May 29, 2011. Similarly, the Heritage Foundation has released "fact sheet" talking points such as "Government Unions 101: What Public-Sector Unions Won't Tell You." An accompanying video highlighted the argument that "Government unions actually campaign for higher taxes." Available at as of May 29, 2011. Heritage has also argued for many years in favor of voter restrictions. Hans von Spakovsky, "Stolen Ident.i.ties, Stolen Votes: A Case Study in Voter Impersonation," Heritage Foundation, March 10, 2008. Available at as of May 29, 2011. Heritage has also accused an Obama Administration official who registered to vote in Ohio of voter fraud. Conn Carroll, "Morning Bell: Stopping Voter Fraud," November 2, 2010. See also the October 18, 2004, event called "Stealing Elections: How Voter Fraud Threatens Our Democracy." Available at as of May 29, 2011.

3. Mike Thomas, "Rick Scott, the one-term wonder? Poll says yes," Orlando Sentinel, March 30, 2011. "Kasich's popularity plummeting," a.s.sociated Press, March 15, 2011. Available at as of May 29, 2011. "Brutal numbers for Kasich, SB5," Public Policy Polling, March 15, 2011. Available at as of May 29, 2011. Liz Halloran, "Recall Efforts in Wisconsin Face Tough Odds," NPR, March 8, 2011. "Rick Snyder Recall Election Effort Clears First Hurdle in Michigan," Reuters, April 29, 2011.

4. "The immense literature on the costs of voting has shown that costs ranging from the registration requirement to strict voter-ID laws do reduce voter turnout to some degree and that the impact seems to fall disproportionately on the least educated and the least wealthy." Marjorie Randon Hershey, "What we know about Voter-ID Laws, Registration, and Turnout," PS: Political Science & Politics 42 (2009), pp. 8791. See also Matt Barreto, Stephen Nuno, and Gabriel Sanchez, "Voter ID Requirements and the Disenfranchis.e.m.e.nts of Latino, Black and Asian Voters." Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Political Science a.s.sociation, Hyatt Regency Chicago and the Sheraton Chicago Hotel and Towers, Chicago, IL, August 30, 2007.

5. Paul Farhi, "Glenn Beck to end daily TV program on Fox News Channel," Washington Post, April 6, 2011.

6. S. Bowler, S. P. Nicholson, and G. M Segura, "Earthquakes and aftershocks: Race, direct democracy, and partisan change." American Journal of Political Science 50(1) (2006): pp. 146159.

7. Arthur M. Schlesinger, Sr., "Biography of a Nation of Joiners," American Historical Review 50 (1) (October, 1944): 125.

8. Stefano Dellavigna and Ethan Kaplan, "The Fox News Effect: Media Bias and Voting." Quarterly Journal of Economics, 122 (August 2007): pp. 11871234.

9. Simon Maloy, "UMD Report: Regular Viewers of Fox News More Likely to be Misinformed," Media Matters, December 17, 2010. Available at as of March 14, 2011.

10. We note only two examples we personally saw adopted by Tea Party members we spoke to. During the health reform debate, Fox News promoted the falsehood that the new health care law included "death panels" of doctors and bureaucrats with the power to euthanize elderly patients, and left unchallenged the claim that the law was to be funded with new taxes on all real estate transactions. See "The Evolution of the Death Panel Meme," Talking Points Memo, August 2009. Available at as of March 14, 2011. This concern was raised by Bonnie Sims, one of our Virginia interviewees. Several Tea Party members in different states expressed concern that the health care bill would be funded with a new tax on real estate. The 3.8% real estate tax meme appeared on Fox News on November 2, 2010, in an interview with d.i.c.k This idea seems to have come from a misinterpretation of some of the details of tax changes for very high earners. "A 3.8 Percent 'Sales Tax' on Your Home?", April 22, 2010. Available at as of March 21, 2011.

11. Brad Johnson, "Glenn Beck Attacks Smart Grid As Socialist Plot to Steal Our Thermostats," Think Progress, March 18, 2009. Available at as of March 14, 2011.

12. Ronald Brownstein, "The Gray and the Brown: The Generational Mismatch," National Journal, July 24, 2010. Brownstein discusses and cites the work of Frey and other social scientists exploring the interaction of demography and political battles over generationally skewed public programs.

13. Ibid.

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