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Tea Parties and the Fringe

Eric Kleefeld rounds up more local Tea Party coverage and sees a conflict between “the hard-line activists who attend these things, versus the more mainstream politicians who want to win elections and are looking for their votes.”

This isn’t really new. The first big round of Tea Parties* on April 15 were products of grassroots activists and Washington-based conservative groups, with Republican politicians glomming onto them only after it became clear that they were becoming media events. There were far, far fewer Republican politicians at this weekend’s events, which is the way many organizers preferred it. They do not see their activity as an outgrowth of Republican Party activism. As Tea Party organizer Michael Patrick Leahy reminds anyone who suggests that, the overarching argument of the movement — that government is spending too much and killing private enterprise — places blame with both the Bush and Obama administrations.

At the same time, right-wing events are, well, right-wing events. And savvy Republicans know that a few “Obama = Hitler” signs will appear at these things as the more dedicated, more fringy activists take over.

*There were some Tea Parties on February 27, but not on the same national scale.

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