Is the Party Over?

The Tea Party is on the run. New polls say less than 25% of Americans now view the movement favorably. That is a stunning turnaround because in the fall of 2010, the Tea Party achieved huge victories in Congressional races all across the country.

So what happened?

Unlike the far left Occupy Wall Street movement, the Tea Party does not embrace violent tactics or infringe on the rights of the folks. Also, it is not a central force – its leadership goes state-by-state. There is no national spokesperson or party headquarters. The Tea Party is simply a loose description of local activism driven by Americans who want smaller government and more self-reliance.

That sounds like what the Founding Fathers had in mind, does it not?

But now the Tea Party finds itself with an image problem and there are two primary reasons why. First, the media. Generally, the national press embraces a progressive vision that is at odds with Tea Party beliefs. In addition, many journalists and celebrities don't know any Tea Party members who tend to be regular folks that don't hang out in swell places. I think it's fair to say that the media looks down on Americans who embrace religion, gun rights and conservative values. So the media demonizes the Tea Party all day long calling it racist, stupid and even worse – unsophisticated!

The second reason for the decline of the Tea folks is the right wing media, which generally loves the party. Many in this crew are rhetorical bomb throwers – using personal attacks to slander and libel those with whom they disagree. Calling President Obama a communist, a Muslim and a fraud (birth certificate) is cheap. And independent-minded Americans know it.

While the majority of Tea Party citizens do not use defamation – some of those who claim to represent them do. It's the same thing on the left. Some progressive commentators are so hateful that they damage their own cause. Hate is hate no matter what ideology you embrace.

The fascinating thing here is that I believe most Americans support the Tea Party philosophy of freedom and local control. But that message has been lost in the heat of the political battle.

The only way the Tea Party can resurrect itself is for it to coalesce around a strong leader. There has to be a central message delivered by someone with charisma, a person who is reasonable and persuasive. The movement has been damaged both inside and out. Only a very intense public relations campaign will turn the tide.

I don't think that will happen. It would take millions of dollars in TV ads and organizational infrastructure for the Tea Party to negate the national media's contempt. And that kind of big money operation goes directly against what the Tea Party people want to be – a citizen movement that operates independent of party structure.

Americans do like to party. And someday we the people will wise up and regain power over our lives. And, hopefully, at least some of us will remember who started that movement.

  • WhiteHunter

    Sorry, O’Reilly, but you’re wrong. The Tea Party movement was from the first a spontaneous, powerful, authentic groundswell of ordinary citizens disgusted by corruption-and waste-as-usual.
    The Republican “establishment”–the RNC/Carl Rove/Bush/James Baker clique–found that “embarrassing,” and instead of getting on board and joining these honest, authentic citizens in the crusade, abandoned them. They stood aside, hands in pockets, and allowed the Leftards and their media puppets to smear, ridicule, and slander the Tea Partiers, while Obama’s IRS Stasi hamstrung the Party’s fundraising efforts and threatened their donors.
    In contrast, not a single Democrat, from Obama on down, has ever had a single angry or even disapproving word against the filth, profanity, violence, and mob tactics of their OWS thugs. Just as not a single Dem has ever slammed the filth and slander of, say, Letterman or Grayson. Not one. Ever.
    “Fair and balanced” is one thing; repudiating and abandoning your natural and sincere allies to the savages is something entirely different. The GOP should have no trouble beating an “administration” that’s little more than an organized crime syndicate backed by the infinite intimidating power of the federal government. But that takes backbone and party discipline, and a determination to win instead of to “lose like a gentleman.”

  • Concernedmimi

    Nobody cared if Obama was red, yellow, black or white. He is living proof that community organizing ONLY credentials, reeks havoc!! His arrogant incompetence is ruining our economy, not to mention America’s standing in the world. The democrat fly-by-night policies are a complete sham and a ruse for votes and power; control!!!!!!!!!!

  • Brian Fr Langley

    I couldn’t agree more that the real enemy of constitutional and traditionalist Americans are not so much their political opponents, but rather the mainstream media. The fierce demonization of politicians holding traditionalist viewpoints, is to say the least extreme. There has been in America (for nearly 7+ decades) an implacable group of collectivists, (Marxist’s) who’ve been enormously successful on moving forward their agenda. But before one can institute the socialist utopian dream, one must first utterly destroy traditional American values, which are NOT compatible.

  • Brian Fr Langley

    Limerick?
    .
    The King really hated tea party,
    till minutemen hail and hearty,
    paid taxes instead,
    with hails of lead,
    so counting them out not too smarty.

    • D Parri

      Amen! Don’t Tread on Me!

      I think they got their point(s) across. Ah, the good ol’ days o’ th’ Tea Parties!

  • BOB

    This is the kind of rhetoric that will lead people away from you, Bill. You just threw your objectivity out the door and joined the ranks of the MSM. The Tea Party is a more than just a small band of people. It is a movement of frustrated, overtaxed and under-represented patriots trying to win back this country from those who are destroying it. Just because you offer a few solutions to help the Tea Party gain mindshare doesn’t mean those are the only ways to move forward. I believe that is the problem with your personal philosophy and your evening program…you are right and everyone else is wrong. Quite arrogant.

    • Wil

      Bill O’Reilly is saying “The Tea Party’ people are just crazy ignorant republicans!” They only got angry and excited, when a black man was elected and became president.