Former Bush White House political advisor Karl Rove is someone many either love or hate, but regardless of one’s feelings about him, he was on the money in his remarks in Savannah about the influence of the Tea Party movement on the coming off-year elections.
That movement has done a good job of tapping into widespread anger at President Barack Obama’s leftist policies, he said, and at a Democratic Congress that has spent wildly on ineffective economic “stimulus” programs and approved Obama’s radical makeover of health care.
That anger will translate into additional millions of people going to the polls this fall compared to the off-year elections of November 2006, when 82 million people voted, he predicted.
“I would not be surprised to see turnout over 90 million in this election,” Rove said in Savannah, where he addressed a fundraiser for the National Republican Congressional Committee. “And the difference ... is going to be largely the people who have been motivated by the tea party.”
He conceded that a scattering of tea partiers are wing-nut types.
“There are a couple of small groups of cranks and nuts inside this group. Any new political movement draws people like that,” Rove said. “It’s a little raw and unsophisticated because virtually all of these people have never done politics before.”
But you can find such types all across the political spectrum, and their presence does not usually tar the goals of the larger groups with whom they associate.
Moreover, it would be a mistake to assume they are the driving force behind the Republican Party these days, or vice versa, as U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.) reminded during an editorial board meeting at the Marietta Daily Journal this week.
“They don’t want to be told what to do by the GOP, and I would say the GOP doesn’t want to be told what to do by them,” he said.
Are the tea partiers here to stay? It’s too early to say, obviously. Their main foils at the moment, Obama and the Democratic Congress, will someday be gone from the scene — and hopefully soon. The onus will then be on Republicans to be true to their conservative roots and work to curb spending and government regulation — goals they do a good job of talking about, but did a lousy job of fulfilling the last time they were at the levers of power in Washington.
— Marietta Daily Journal