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Tea Party movement gave us two out of three leading Republican candidates

Tea Party movement gave us two out of three leading Republican candidates

Two out of three ain’t bad

The death of the Tea Party movement has been widely reported, by people who reported that death before the 2010 surge election in which the movement played a critical role, and every few months thereafter for several years.

It is true that the Tea Party monied-groups have mostly disappeared. To me, that’s a good thing because some of them merely fed off the movement. I’ve always distinguished between the movement and the groups. I’m proud that Legal Insurrection was part of the movement from the start, and equally glad that we steered clear of the groups.

But the movement itself has not died. This chart from Gallup through last fall tracks Tea Party support trends. Both support and opposition have fallen. A majority have no opinion or are neutral.

That almost one in five people STILL consider themselves Tea Party supporters is pretty impressive, particularly after the multi-year war by Democrats, the media and the Republican establishment on the Tea Party movement. That’s still tens of millions of people.

Among Republicans, the figure is almost one-third, and over 40% for self-identified conservative Republicans.

I’d argue that these trends reflect that the Republican Party and independents have absorbed much of the Tea Party movement agenda. Restraining the national debt, lowering taxes, keeping the federal government within its constitutional restraints, and scaling back the regulatory state’s control of our lives now are standard Republican Party ideas. That doesn’t mean Republican Party leadership gives anything but lip service to those principles, but that’s a personnel matter which elections slowly are changing.

Nowhere is that change more evident than in looking at two of the three leading Republican candidates, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz.

Rubio was one of the original Tea Party renegades, challenging the NRSC annointed Republican candidate Charlie Crist in the 2010 election. We have told that story before, how Rubio launched his challenge with the help of the Not One Red Cent bloggers:

There are many stories to tell about this [2010] election cycle, but one group of bloggers deserves special credit.

In May 2009, a group of bloggers started a blog called Not One Red Cent in reaction to the attempt by the National Republican Senatorial Committee to anoint Charlie Crist as the Republican nominee in Florida, and to deprive Marco Rubio of a fair chance to compete for the nomination….

In those first few months they blogged like crazy, and they were voices in the wilderness.

Over time Marco Rubio began to pick up recognition and support and went mainstream, and NORC posts dropped off as others picked up the cudgel elsewhere.  The rest, as they say, is history.

When that history is written, I hope people will recognize the impact a few bloggers had in the revolution of 2010.

On August 24, 2011, I wrote:

What a guy.  He not only saved Nancy Reagan when she was falling, he also gave a speech  on the role of government which should be remembered as the kick off of the Marco Rubio for President campaign, we just don’t know what year yet.

Little did I know in 2011 that the year would be 2016.

I realize that because of the Gang of 8 debacle, many view Rubio as a disappointment, but in other regards he’s been a very solid conservative. Rubio’s platform and speeches about limited federal government are very Tea Party-ish.

Same with Ted Cruz, who received Tea Party movement backing in his campaign challenging establishment favorite David Dewhurst. Politico noted:

Ted Cruz announced his Senate … in an unconventional way emblematic of the campaign to come: on a conference call with Texas’s conservative bloggers. Then he tweeted it.

The NY Times reported in 2011:

A true believer’s true believer — as a teenager, he earned scholarship money delivering speeches on Friedrich Hayek — Mr. Cruz has become the darling of conservative leaders looking to reinforce the rightward shift of the Republican Party. The primary, in March, will test whether the Tea Party energy that helped elect so many conservatives in 2010 still packs punch enough to overcome the establishment advantages of money and name recognition.

In more than a year campaigning, Mr. Cruz has become a fixture at Tea Party events.

In 2013 I wrote, If we had followed the establishment advice, we would not have Ted Cruz in office:

Ted Cruz was the insurgent Tea Party – supported candidate running against the more establishment David Dewhurst.

If we followed the establishment advice to keep the seat safe, we would not have this rising star in office. The same is true for Marco Rubio and other next-generation Republican leaders.

While there were other races where it didn’t turn out as hoped, Ted Cruz demonstrates the importance of primaries.

I don’t think anyone disputes the Cruz embodies much of the Tea Party movement focus on smaller government and individual liberty.

Trump is not Tea Party. He’s not for smaller government, he’s for activist big government which works to Make America Great Again. That’s a vast improvement over Obama’s agenda for activist big government to Make America Weak Again, but it’s not Tea Party.

So there you have it. The Tea Party supposedly is dead. So dead that two of the three leading Republican candidates were politically birthed by the Tea Party movement.

We’ve been playing Meat Loaf this week as our Videos of the Week. As they sing, two out of three ain’t bad.


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Rubio, of course, is a Tea Part traitor.

    damocles in reply to Barry. | February 2, 2016 at 11:35 pm

    You are so right.

    Rubio is a Judas Priest. Tea Party brought him into office and like Scott Brown, we Tea Party minded voters have turned our backs on him for just reasons.

    No way in HELL will I ever vote for a back stabber like Rubio or Scott Brown again. Period. I will stay home if he is nominated.

    DC politics is a test of character and principles.
    That is why the “go along to get along” mob mentality in DC is a test.

    I respect Cruz. He has earned it.

      Lady Penguin in reply to VotingFemale. | February 3, 2016 at 10:59 am

      Marco Rubio couldn’t wait to get into bed with the enemy. He became the face of everything we disliked about Johnny “my friends” McCain. His a grinning n’ laughing with Schumer…no way is that acceptable.

      FOXNews is running him 24/7 and that ought to tell us all we need to know. The Washington Post endorsed him today. And sadly, Rush yesterday tried to paint Rubio as “non-Establishment.” That’s not going to fly.

      I’d vote for Jeb Bush before I’ll vote for Rubio. While I absolutely don’t want another Bush in the WH, at least he hasn’t been dishonest about what he wants. Rubio has tried to disguise everything.

      God knows, I hope Cruz and Trump can keep him Rubio out.

Is it the Tea Party actually diminishing, or are those of us who identify with those principles just more likely to lie to or refuse to answer the media and pollsters?

    My opinion, not diminished at all. In spite of all the vitriol expressed by the media (including Fox) and especially the republican establishment. They are finding that out this year.

    Estragon in reply to Hexenjager. | February 3, 2016 at 5:25 am

    The very first polls on the Tea Party, around the time of the Taxpayer March on Washington opposing bailouts & deficits in 2009, showed broad public support – 60% in at least one. Democrats and independents were among the supporters.

    It was only after the movement was hijacked by certain factions for their own purposes that support began to crumble. In particular, the groups professing to speak for the movement – including Freedom Works, Tea Party America, TP X-press, TP Patriots, and others – were all scam artists, few were actually versed on issues, none were elected. To this day, none of them devotes more than about 5% of their revenue to actually promoting issues or candidates; most is spent on salaries, luxury offices and travel and expenses, and fundraising.

    – –

    Additionally, the Tea Party has come to represent the irrational fringe who believe Obama could be thwarted merely because they wish he were. The dopes who are for shutting down the (17% of) government over every dispute, and view every compromise as betrayal. The zealots who care not a whit for what actually happens to the country as long as they are emotionally gratified.

    I attended and supported Tea Party events in 2009 and 2010. I didn’t leave them; they left me.

I realize that because of the Gang of 8 debacle, many view Rubio as a disappointment …

Rubio’s platform and speeches about limited the federal government are very Tea Party-ish.



Rubio says the right words, but performs the wrong actions. And we all know which of the two speaks louder.

    HandyGandy in reply to tom swift. | February 2, 2016 at 10:59 pm

    Subtract a few filibusters which cost Hillary Cruz nothing, and accomplished nothing, what has Ted Cruz done?

      Sanddog in reply to HandyGandy. | February 2, 2016 at 11:35 pm

      You don’t think those filibusters came with a price? Ask the SEnators who participated how much cooperation they’ve received from their fellow establishment Senators. Here’s a hint: They’ve been insulted and treated like pariahs for refusing to put the establishment leaders before the people who elected them into office.

      damocles in reply to HandyGandy. | February 2, 2016 at 11:41 pm

      Without Cruz exposing the citizenship in the Rubio Gang of Eight Bill the media would never have covered it. The American people mobilized then and called the House and went to townhalls all summer and forced the House to kill their version of the bill. Without the Cruz/Sessions Amendment amnesty would be a done deal and the illegals would be voting for the Democrat nominee in this election in November.You would have President Clinton. That is what Cruz has saved us from.

      Yikes, HandyGandy – what hasn’t Cruz done?

      What an American hero. Trump, as well.

      Rubio? Schumer’s hero.

      Ragspierre in reply to HandyGandy. | February 3, 2016 at 4:44 am

      “Subtract a few filibusters…”

      Yep. You’re an idiot.

    Lady Penguin in reply to tom swift. | February 3, 2016 at 11:03 am

    I can’t come up with one thing, not one thing that Rubio has done since being sent to DC that was in We the Peoples’ favor. In fact, he hardly shows up for any votes.

    Rubio is a non-starter for me. Yes, I would sit it out, because having a guy who works with the Lefties, AND the Establishment GOP is like having another Democrat in the WH. They’ve already got in place all the destructive measures…so, unless they we get someone in there willing to turn over the tables, we’re lost anyway.

Rubio is cuck rino who needs to join the Dem team. Hell thirty years ago his ideas were mainstream democrat

    Milhouse in reply to forksdad. | February 3, 2016 at 12:21 am

    Your use of the non-word “cuck” as a pejorative shows you to be an uncouth and immoral person. Just like your idol Trump. Disdain for the cuckold and admiration for the adulterer are hallmarks of an ugly personality. But then Trump is a serial adulterer, isn’t he? That alone makes him unfit for any public office, and your admiration of that trait and disdain for those he wronged makes you unfit to express any opinion in polite company.

      forksdad in reply to Milhouse. | February 3, 2016 at 7:19 pm

      He may have popped out of a Rep nest but Rubio is as false as a cuckoo chick. And you are as reliably wrong as you are dirty minded.

      I have no regard for adulterers. I have said that is one of Trump’s failings.

      I am a Carson supporter. You are not only a pervert with a perverted mind but you are as reliably wrong as anybody I have ever seen or even heard of.

      So you can apologize for your filthy mind and your lies or keep it to yourself.

      Show me where Rubio didn’t hatch from the wrong nest. You can’t? What a surprise.

      The fact alone that you assume I am a Trump supporter shows that your judgement stinks.

      You wrap yourself in the pain of a guy who’s had horns put on his head and say, “how crude” “how insensitive”. What you mean is “how disqualified because I can’t refute what he wrote.”

DINORightMarie | February 2, 2016 at 10:30 pm

Rubio has an abysmal record as a Conservative, going by the Conservative Review’s (CR) Scorecard: C+ (79%).

He may have started out Tea Party, but he sure isn’t voting that way, acting that way in DC, or campaigning that way.

He is like Kelly Ayotte and others who basically said what the people wanted to hear, then did the exact opposite once the shiny objects in DC started being dangled in front of them. (Sadly, I believe Joni Ernst is turning into one of them, too.)

But, to me, the big news is that two Latinos have been chosen by Iowa to their Republican nominee – and THAT is historic! In addition, that Ted Cruz got more votes than ANY other Republican candidate EVER – THAT is historic!! That he won, beating the MSM and the faux polling – THAT is historic!!

Ted Cruz, Lord willing – all the way to the White House!!!

According to Limbaugh, Rubio is a solid TEA party guy.

Look it up, if you don’t believe me.

Personally, I do not concur.

But he WAS leaving out T-rump, so there’s that…

    “According to Limbaugh..”

    As you said, not infallible.

    damocles in reply to Ragspierre. | February 2, 2016 at 11:45 pm

    Rubio betrayed the Tea Party. We voted him into the Senate on the promise of stopping illegal immigration. First thing he did, was joined up with McConnell and Schumer and the Gang of Eight Amnesty Bill. He is no Tea Party anything anymore. Limbaugh has been putting too much Jack Daniels into his Two By Tea lately! Limbaugh has been on the trump wagon too. The man has lost his compass.

      No he hasn’t. He’s rightfully indebted to Trump for Trumps smashing open the race and destroying the tyranny of political correctness and destroying the Obama/GOPe cabal.

      Now, if only McConnell permanently grew hemmorrhoids the size of basketballs – on his face.

      Though agreed that Rubio-Schumer betrayed the Tea Party. But he did not betray his friend, Schumer.

      So if you’re Schumer, you can trust Rubio.

      Limbaugh has been on the trump wagon too.

      That’s funny because I hear him as on the Cruz wagon. He says all the time that “conservatism wins every time.” He maintains that Cruz is “a true conservative.” Rush doesn’t know what Trump is, although he has said that “Trump is no Reagan.”

        Barry in reply to Kitty. | February 3, 2016 at 3:24 pm

        In TDS land, if you are not overwhelmingly against Trump, then your for trump…

        Rush, IMO, has not shown support for Trump and some for Cruz. He has however noted from time to time the benefits of trumps candidacy, just as Cruz himself has done.

        The TDS crowd doesn’t care. They are so full of outright hatred for anything Trump, they are blind to any benefit.

    Lady Penguin in reply to Ragspierre. | February 3, 2016 at 11:07 am

    You’re right, Rags. Limbaugh did go on about Rubio being non-Establishment GOP yesterday. Made me sick. I’m sure he got quite the response yesterday in his inbox. Quite a few people responded to what Limbaugh was doing and it wasn’t positive.

Taxed Enough Already, or T.E.A. party… the idea wasn’t to be conservative so much as it was to bring to a total halt the crazy expansion of the Federal Government. It grew under Obama, yeah… but also under W. as well. Crazy growth, with very little push-back from Congress. Enough was enough… and it seemed that NOBODY in Washington D.C. was siding with the taxpayer.

There are fewer T.E.A. party people now, because there are more Republicans in office who profess to want to shrink the size of the Federal Government, not expand it.{ If 25% of the Federal Employees want to quit if Trump wins, does THAT make him a T.E.A. partier?!? 😉 } Many of those protesters from the T.E.A. party movement have become solid Republicans, because of the embrace of small government by a PART of the GOP. If the Democratic Party decided to cut the Government in more places than the Defense Budget, there would be more support for THEIR party.

We are more loyal to our ideals for America than we are to any political Party or organization. So if you want to find us, don’t look to groups… look for our ideals in YOUR group. THERE we are!

We may switch organizations, but we’re not going away.

Amnesty Rubio is a TRAITOR.

We put him in power only to get stabbed in the back by him in the most devastating manner.

TEA Party put him in power. If we’d known then that he’d become the Champion for Amnesty we’d have backed Crist instead. RINO that he is. Better a pathetic loser that votes D as often as not than someone that is certain to get Amnesty passed if elected POTUS.

TEA party gave us Trump, too. We elected people like Mia Love and Rubio with one mission: Change the attitude of the party and DC. We were backstabbed.

You can only be cucked so many times before you go nuclear.

Oh, and Milhouse: I don’t care.

Tea Party convictions: Cruz is certainty whereas Rubio is uncertainty. Cruz knows where he stands and Rubio is wading in, testing the waters.

Tea Party conviction: Any Republican who associates with Mitch McConnell will not get my vote including IL Senator Kirk.

    Where does Cruz go with his policies if preacher Daddy or Glenn Beck decide its time to fulfill the end times promises they imagine they see in the Bible’s book of revelations?

    What happens if the guy with his finger on the nuclear button starts having visions while doing some snake handling?

    All glory to god because god doesn’t mind a little lying and cheating. Not really. Right?

    Cruz: Make America Creepy Again.

      Are you speaking again in some unknown indiscernible tongue? You need Damien J Thump cast out of you. Be gone you knucklehead!

      You know creepy that’s for sure. Your man Damien T., Mr. 2nd place, is crying wee, wee, wee all the way home from Iowa. Damien goes from out to pout.

      What happens if Cruz has his finger on the nuclear button and starts having visions while doing some snake handling?


      Ragspierre in reply to Gary Britt. | February 3, 2016 at 11:31 am

      This is bigot Bierhall Bully Britt going pure troll.

      He’s got nutin’ but he’ll lie for his loser man-crush and smear ANYONE with ANY LIE.

      It’s just who he is.

        Rags is an insane liar who will launch any vulgar insult or make up any lie, or stomp his feet, hold his breath and act like the spoiled little child he is in fact, and will launch his vulgar attacks against anyone who dares to disagree with him about anything.

Sorry, Professor. I think highly of both you and Rush, but I can’t go there with the two of you. Nobody who supported the Gang of Eight Immigration Bill, much less sponsored it, much less helped write large portions of it, is “Tea Party”. If they were, it would render “Tea Party” meaningless.

Henry Hawkins | February 3, 2016 at 8:51 am

RE: Polling Tea Party support…

I’m retired now, but I spent 30+ years treating substance abusers, a practice that always begins with an assessment. When asking a patient if they’re an alcoholic, everything depends on how *they* define ‘alcoholic’, and on how they react to the term. One fellow told me he wasn’t an alcoholic because his dad was an alcoholic and he only drank half as much as his father did. His father drank two fifths a day. Other patients define ‘alcoholic’ as that dirty, smelly bum living in culverts and underpasses, stealing what they need from innocent people. I learned to first educate new patients on what I meant by the term ‘alcoholic’ before conducting the formal assessment and achieved far greater accuracy by eliminating shame defensiveness and technical ignorance.

My point is that any polling on Tea Party support is contingent upon how those polled define ‘Tea Party’, a philosophy that has been badly mauled by its political opponents in liberal media and the GOP establishment. When the very basic, very common-sensical points of the Tea Party movement are accurately explained, many of those who thought they oposed it discover they in fact endorse it.


As for Rubio, he’s a conservative who made one particularly unconservative major gaffe with the Gang of Eight effort, and I do not blame any conservative who cannot forgive him for it. However, I also believe in the power of redemption, the idea that people can and do change for the better, whether that change is characterological, spiritual, political, or some combination therein. Rubio has said he understands his Gang of Eight error and will not repeat it. Well, okay. Fool me once. But I have not completely written off Rubio because viable national level conservative candidates are a rare commodity. My choice has been to place him on the fence, so to speak, till such a time as I can reasonably trust him again, if ever. That may or may not happen during this election cycle, hence the fence placement. I suppose I have Rubio suspended and on probation till further notice, so to speak.

    Ragspierre in reply to Henry Hawkins. | February 3, 2016 at 8:58 am

    I, too, was willing to allow Marco another chance if he could convince me he was really “right” on immigration now.

    Just last week he declared that illegals here a long time should be allowed to stay.

    So…done. Over. Kaput.

    MaggotAtBroadAndWall in reply to Henry Hawkins. | February 3, 2016 at 12:06 pm

    I try to keep in mind one of Reagan’s quips, “the person who agrees with you 80% of the time is an ally, not a 20% traitor”. I think that is good advise on most run of the mill issues.

    But the problem I have with Rubio and immigration policy is that I am convinced he got wrangled into it by McCain and Grahamnesty. The two of them, GWB, Ted Kennedy, and other liberals put a lot of effort into passing comprehensive immigration in 2006-07. It went down in flames after the Dorgan poison pill amendment passed (both Hillary and Obama voted on the Dorgan amendment with the knowledge that doing so would kill the bill – so you know they did not want to solve the problem. They wanted it as an issue to campaign on).

    I don’t blame Schumer for resurrecting it. He’s doing what is in the best interest of Democrats – trying to create a permanent Democrat majority of foreigners. I blame McRINO. I think he is the old bull who convinced Rubio that passing it would help with his presidential aspirations.

    Rubio helped promote two lies to try to pass the Gang of 8. The first is his oft repeated slogan, “our immigration system is broken”. No, the problem is that the immigration laws passed by Congress are not being enforced.

    The second lie is that if Republicans don’t pass immigration reform then law abiding Hispanics who came her legally will hate them. You know that is a lie by looking at how Hispanic support for Republicans changed after Reagan signed into law full amnesty in 1986. So, let’s look at it. In Reagan’s 1984 re-election he got 37% of the Hispanic vote. In 1986, he signed into law a bill granting amnesty to several million illegal Hispanic immigrants. How did Hispanics show their gratitude? When George Herbert Walker Bush ran for president two years later in 1988 Hispanic support DECLINED to only 30%.

    So Reagan got 37% Hispanic support in 1984 before amnesty and GHWB got 30% in 1988 AFTER amnesty.

    The moral of the story is that about 70% of the Hispanics who come here legally don’t give a crap about immigration reform or the Republican Party. The data are just below the first graph of the “Overview” section here:

    Rubio knew he was promoting two lies; that the immigration system is broken and that passing immigration reform was necessary to buy Hispanic votes. And I think he pushed both lies thinking that if it passed, he’d get tons of adoring media coverage and an “accomplishment” he could point to in his run for the presidency.

    Just bad judgment all around, IMO.

Donald Trump was a big tea party donor. He belongs on this list more than Rubio (traitor) or Cruz (coordinating with Mitch McConnel’s Superpac).

I’ve been a Tea Partier since March February 2009 and studied the Constitution and all the amendments with fellow TP folks in meetings in 2 different groups for a year. We did door-to-doors for a TP Congressional candidate, and my family and I marched to the Capitol on 9/12/09 as well as attended the Kill the Bill rally at the Capitol (and talked to Jon Voight there) in early Nov. ’09. I am a TP person more than ever.

Rubio betrayed us and I don’t even understand how Rush can say what he did yesterday. Rubio’s backed by big Open Borders money and we all know about the Gangrene of Eight (and the other pinheads involved in that – of which Paul Ryan should now be named an honorary member).

Cruz is legitimate TP material. The establishment DETESTS him AND us. And don’t discount Trump’s effect in all this, because without him, Cruz would not be where he is now, and we’d be looking at Jeb vs. either a criminal or a babbling Robin Hood. The GOPe was focused like a laser on Cruz a year ago and re-wrote election rules to keep him out. But for Trump, whom they couldn’t see coming and had no defense against, Cruz wouldn’t even be an issue.

What is the difference between Rubio’s current stated positions on immigration and Cruz’s. I don’t see any. Neither will build wall or deport anybody already here. Rubio and Cruz are the same in their stated positions. Rubio however doesn’t share the unlijable creepy factor that Cruz has.

    It is a good thing that Cruz gives you, another brick in the Trump wall, the “creeps”.

    Ragspierre in reply to Gary Britt. | February 3, 2016 at 11:09 am

    “Neither will build wall or deport anybody already here. Rubio and Cruz are the same in their stated positions.”

    That’s a lie, and you’re a liar. Actually, THOSE are LIES.

    Same today as every day since you became T-rump’s butt boi.

      Fuck you Rags. You vulgar imbecilic child. Take your spunk references to male ejaculate material andhomophobic butt boi slur comments and shove them straight up your infantile ass.

      You can’t articulate any differences between Cruz’s and Rubio’s positions so you just post your usual lies and insults.

      Grow up or fuck off. Take your pick. Now go running to the moderators that protect your little ass !!

Not that he would actually be confirmed, but I’d much rather see Cruz in SCOTUS for the rest of his life than see him president for a term or two. As they say in Boston, that guy is wicked smart.

Rubio co-sponsored the benign-sounding but dangerous Campus Accountability and Safety Act (CASA).

“The Washington Examiner’s Ashe Schow asked each sponsoring senator’s office how CASA would ensure due process for accused students. An Ayotte spokesperson declined to answer Schow’s questions, justifying the senator’s co-sponsorship by repeating the canard that one in five college women is sexually assaulted.

A Rubio spokesperson replied, “This bill does not address this issue.” When asked whether college officials or law enforcement would have the most authority to investigate allegations, the spokesperson responded: “The victim will have the most authority.” This reflected (at best) an astonishing misunderstanding both of the need for impartial adjudication of such serious charges and of the fact that at the investigative stage there is no “victim”; there are an accuser and an accused.”