April 13th, 2010
01:08 PM ET
5 years ago

Hoyer: Tea Party having an impact

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer admitted Tuesday that the protests and rallies by Tea Party activists across the country are having an impact.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer admitted Tuesday that the protests and rallies by Tea Party activists across the country are having an impact.

(CNN) – House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer admitted Tuesday that the protests and rallies by Tea Party activists across the country are having an impact on lawmakers' decisions about running for another term.

"Do I think that negative atmosphere that's been created by the Tea Party and by others certainly goes into the thinking of Members? I think it does. I think you honestly have to point out that it does," Hoyer told reporters at his weekly pen and pad session in the Capitol.

But Hoyer maintained that Tea Party activists had nothing to do with Michigan Democrat Bart Stupak's announcement last week not to run for re-election. "Bart Stupak is a very courageous Member; he wasn't forced out by anybody." Hoyer said he took Stupak at his word that representing a large rural district made it tough to spend time with his family.

The Majority Leader said "I would urge all the members who are here to run, to seek re-election." He noted that currently more House Republicans have decided to retire than House Democrats, and argued that if the atmosphere was a big factor then the opposite would be true.

Hoyer spent part of the recess campaigning for several fellow House Democrats, including those in Florida and Pennsylvania and observed that the political atmosphere was "somewhat toned down" since Congress passed health care before the recess. Hoyer said Democrats who supported the bill reported positive feedback on health care. He said Pennsylvania freshman Rep. Kathy Dahlkemper, "indicated that her phone calls had turned around very substantially, from substantially negative to substantially positive."

But the Maryland Democrat said protests would continue, saying one man in his district held a sign calling him "a tyrant and a traitor" and that "there are obviously still some people who are angry out there."

Hoyer singled out Chris Baker, a radio talk show host who spoke at a Sarah Palin-Michelle Bachman rally last week in Minnesota, who referred to Democratic members of Congress as "lying, thieving, commies." Hoyer said that kind of rhetoric "creates an atmosphere and a debate that is neither constructive and can sometimes be dangerous."


Filed under: 2010 • Steny Hoyer • Tea Party movement
soundoff (67 Responses)
  1. once upon a horse

    The actual Tea Party idea was a good one I think for most people...against goverment waste and spending and over taxing....but they allowed the right wing looney fringe of the group grab the headlines with racists and homo-phobic barbs and actions and the bad apples have seemed to have spoiled the whole bunch. Plus many wonder why this movement didn't start BEFORE Obama took office when all the deficits really began. It's the latter aspect that makes the group look more like sore loser Republicans than an actual group in favor of goverment change.

    April 13, 2010 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  2. Kele Little

    Steny Hoyer needs to be specific in what he means by "negative atmosphere that has been created by the Tea Party". It's a great thing for Americans to gather to express their opinions. Clearly, 99.9% of the Tea Party crowd conducted themselves with civility. So, how is that a negative atmosphere? Is it negative only because his views are contrary to those of the Tea Party?
    Kele Little
    NC

    April 13, 2010 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  3. Dave

    Umm, ok, whatever Hoyer. Stupak was being targeted as vulnerable and is leaving because of that. It just kind of sealed the deal.

    April 13, 2010 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  4. jeff jackson, alabama

    The negative atmosphere in America was
    created by who Mr. Hoyer ???
    Try looking in the mirror Mr. Hoyer !!!
    Put the blame at the feet of the source of
    all the negative feelings in America.
    That would be all you illustrious political leaders.
    Don't blame citizens for your failures !!!!!!

    April 13, 2010 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  5. Pam

    I pray that we get rid of all these Republicans who want to destroy our country at the mid term elections.
    We know what they stand against but does anyone know what they are for? They contribute nothing to the process except lying, and fear mongering. They say NO to everything without ever offering a plan of their own.
    They only know that if the Dems are for it they are against it. They have no answers, no solutions and no way to move forward. Their only answer to the problems this country faces, problems they created,is to be the party of NO.

    April 13, 2010 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  6. MAD IN TEXAS

    All you Democrats and Republican Incumbents had better be leery. We Tea Party personnell intend to take back America by taking all non-blievers in Christanity, taking care of the elderly, imposing health insurance against their will, destroying our military, etc. Every thing that is good in America you have set on your tails and waved it goodby while it set sail for Europe, China, Japan and whereever. You people do not do people's work. We thought things would change with OBAMA> Oh hades no. It has only got worse. Now it is time like the Tea Parties of old. It is time for a movement towards God and Country. We are not racist. There is a positive number of minorities that belong to our party. If you don't believe ask them. If I was an incumbent getting prepared for this coming election my advise to you is: SAVE YOUR MONEY BECAUSE IF YOU HAVE BEEN PART OF THE PROBLEM THEN YOU WILL BE GONE.

    April 13, 2010 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  7. Obama Victim

    of course the Tea Parties are making a difference...just like the civil rights demonstrations impacted the laws changing segregation...just like the anti-war protests helped to end Viet Nam.....that is what we do in this country.....we don't shoot people or fire bomb the capital...we stand in the streets, wave flags, and voice our displeasure.....whether you agree with the Tea Party or not, thank God we live where they have the right to be out there

    April 13, 2010 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  8. Josh

    It is unbelievable how so many people can believe the lies and the hate that come out of the tea party followers. They believe that if they say these lies long enough people will believe the lies. God help us if these republicans get back into power they will finish the destruction that our last president started. Feed the Rich and starve the working middle class people in our country.

    April 13, 2010 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  9. U.S. Common Sense

    "Do I think that negative atmosphere that's been created by the Tea Party and by others certainly goes into the thinking of Members? I think it does."

    Negative you and to all other big-spending egocentric politicians.

    April 13, 2010 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  10. JC

    The only impact the tea partiers are having on me is to ensure that I go out of my way to vote against anyone that they support. Forty years as a Republican, but no more.

    April 13, 2010 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  11. Betty

    Hoyers comments are just too funny!!!! Why didn't this man go with (STUPID)Bart, he could have held Barts hand and told him "oh you are such a good boy!!!!!. I knew the day I watch Stupak speak with Van sustan, that Stupak would cave in, now tell me just what did Stupak gain from making his switch? Nothing but to make himself look like the babbling idiot that he is. Michigan is on the rise now, one more crazy radical bit the dust. Betty

    April 13, 2010 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  12. Jilli

    Oh yeah, it's having an impact on me – I wouldn't vote for a tea tantrummer or a republican, even if you held a gun to my head.

    Whining and griping don't solve anything. The republicans constantly claim the mantle of fiscal conservatism and small government, but have NEVER delivered on it. They've expanded the government and the debt and deficit like no others. Hypocrits and liars.

    I many not agree with everything the democrats are doing, but they've pulled us out of the economic disaster, jobs are coming back and consumer confidence is rising and the stock market performance is way up – all while the republicans and tea baggers stood on the sidelines and did nothing but complain, hoping for failure. Results will earn my vote, the rest is just empty lip service.

    April 13, 2010 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  13. Anonymous

    Maybe not Steny – but he certainly forced himself out with his selling out of his district! Don't you think he's smart enough to see the writing on the wall – he knew he wouldn't possibly be voted in again.

    April 13, 2010 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  14. VV

    The Tea Party in Oklahoma is creating an armed civilian militia to fight the US because they are sore losers and hate the Preident. Is that the sort of impact you're talking about Stenny?

    April 13, 2010 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  15. Annie, Atlanta

    I'm suspicious of their protests, to be perfectly honest. They complain about taxes – do they know they've been cut for most of us? They complain about "Obamacare" and government takeover of our health care – do they know what the health care bill does, and that's it's not government run? They want to form militias to protect state's rights against the Federal Government – WHAT!? They want their country back – who took it?

    Where were they when President Bush was cutting taxes for the rich while the rest of us got "trickled" on? When he crammed a war "down our throats" based on a lie? When he dumbed down the education of our children? When he ignored an imminent threat from Bin Laden? Why now?

    I've seen their signs, I've heard recorded threats against members of Congress left on their phones. The racist overtones are sickening. Why is a possible war crimes Republican Administration who got into power under dubious means ok, but a duly elected Democratic one not? Is it because President Obama is Black? What other answer could there be?

    And finally, why does the media highlight this toxic behavior? Ratings? And will it ultimately tear our country apart? They were there waving banners on the lead up to the Iraq War. Could they be wrong again, and be destroying us in the process?

    April 13, 2010 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  16. Ken Eissner

    Sure they have and impact, but they have had their day in the sun.

    All the nasty rheroric, like the birthers, and what Chis Baker said at the Palin/ Bachman rally,calling the Dems in Congresss, lying, theiving , comies.
    I have a teaparty friend and he says the exact same words.They are just teabag talking points , that will endear one to the fringe but the mainstream will be be turned off, especially since the economy is starting to turn around.

    The teaparty people are just the same crew that voted for Perot, there will always be people like that, but they are truly the fringe.

    April 13, 2010 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  17. Thomas, Baton Rouge, LA

    "Having an impact" and having a positive impact is not necessarily the same thing.

    April 13, 2010 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
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