Is the Tea Party Good for Republicans?

Reader share their thoughts.

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Rep. Michele Bachmann argued in the October 8 issue that the movement embodies the Spirit of 1776; Boston University professor Thomas Whalen called Tea Partyers arrogant elitists. Your feedback:

[See where Bachmann gets her campaign money.]

While some of the main ideas of the Tea Party do make sense, the problem is the people who are running with its endorsement. Do we really want someone who wears a Nazi uniform to be an elected official in this country? Delaware has a former self-proclaimed witch running for office! So I think the answer is that the Tea Party must be more selective of who it endorses and maybe its candidates would be “electable” not “laughable.”

STEVEN RIBACK Monroe Township, N.J.

We conservatives have been lectured from the liberal and progressive side for years about how stupid we are and how we just don’t understand. And now you are calling us elitist? Your hypocrisy is astounding.

ERIC CLANTON Piedmont, Ala.

More empty rhetoric. In a nutshell, that’s all the Tea Partyers provide: anger, platitudes, religious zealotry, intolerance, and buckets of ignorance—and Michele Bachmann has all of those qualities in spades. What’s interesting is that the only significant parallel in her entire diatribe is that of the Civil War, with the North being a progressive nation of reasonable thinkers and intellectuals and the South being an angry, ignorant mob. Sound familiar?

ALEX AVEDIKIAN Chaska, Minn.

[Thomas Whalen] is correct that the Tea Party people—much like the disaffected who followed Ross Perot a few years back—are elitists because they espouse the view that they, and only they, have the secrets to fix the nation. But drill down to the level of specificity necessary to govern, and what you see is that they have no plan, no new ideas. They just want to turn back the clock and pretend Obama wasn’t elected. They long for the good old days of backward-thinking Texans in the White House. Never mind that Mr. Bush spent us into this near-Depression with wars he could not win and should not have fought. Never mind that Bush took a surplus from Clinton and turned it into the biggest deficit ever. Never mind that the real stimulus and bailout packages were Republican ideas. The Tea Partyers forget this because truth is not what matters, it’s just about feeling good about America again. To them I say, “Grow up."

[Read more about the GOP.]

ANTHONY DeWITT Jefferson City, Mo.

I don’t know if the Tea Party is good for the GOP or not, but both of your commentators had me shaking my head—and in both cases it wasn’t up and down.

NICK RUDAWSKI Exton, Pa.

So [Whalen] thinks he’s right that people who think they’re right are elitists. How silly. Really, he’s just trying to redefine “elitist” to fit his misconception of the Tea Party. Elitists are people who think they know best how to run everyone else’s life because of their place in society or academia, or whatever. The whole point of the Tea Party is to let people run their own lives.

TOM TOZER Chicago

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