April 15th, 2010
08:31 PM ET
5 years ago

Dems dismiss Tea Party activists

Tea Party activists were in Washington on Thursday.
Tea Party activists were in Washington on Thursday.

Washington (CNN) – As Tea Party activists mounted protests in Washington and announced a list of Congressional Democrats they're targeting for defeat in November, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi dismissed the group's impact on Democrats in the upcoming midterm elections and argued the Tea Party could hurt Republicans.

"I think it's going to have an impact on Republicans in November. We always just keep our eye on the ball as to what our own races are and keep going in a forward direction," Pelosi said Thursday.

Pelosi explained that Republicans could suffer is because Tea Party activists are promoting conservative challenges to GOP candidates in their primaries.

While the speaker said she welcomes "any and all voices of the American people," she said that Democrats have the message and the money to prevail in November.

Our message about health care, about job creation, about fiscal responsibility, about lowering taxes for the middle class, about stabilizing the economy," she said. "We believe will hold us in good stead.".

But House GOP leader John Boehner, who spoke at an Orlando Tea Partyevent earlier this week, said Thursday Republicans were working to earn the support of the Tea Party activists. "We are going to talk with them and listento them and we are going to walk amongst them and again earn their support this November."

Boehner said Democrats aren't listening to the concerns of the protesters, and noted that people at Tea Party events around the country only represent a fraction of Americans who are frustrated with the current leadership in Washington and could prove to be a powerful force.

"Just remember this, these people are just the tip of the iceberg. You all know that 90 percent of the iceberg you don't see. They represent the same concerns, the same worries, the same fears of tens of millions of additional Americans who just haven't quite gotten off the couch or out of the easy chair and into the street," Boehner said. And he warned, "Democrats better look out."

Although Pelosi waved off concerns about Tea Party groups, a couple of Ohio Democrats, who gathered to tout middle class tax relief on Thursday, took aim at the Tea Party activists mounting protests in their districts and accused them of misinforming the public about Democrats' record on taxes and health care.

Rep. Steve Driehaus, who represents Cincinnati - where the Tea Party has organized a tax day protest featuring Fox News host Sean Hannity - acknowledged "there are very legitimate concerns that are energizing folks to participate in the Tea Party," pointing to serious economic uncertainty for many in his state.

But he criticized some members of the group, saying "the Tea Party and other leaders are playing upon that fear and they're exacerbating that fear to their political advantage." The Ohio Democrat added, "you hear a lot of fear" at Tea Party events, but he argued the group's leaders presents very few facts. He said the challenge for Democrats is getting the facts out so that the public understands their record before the fall election.

Another Ohio Democratic freshman, Rep John Boccieri, said he's probably had more Tea Party events in his district than any other member in Ohio. He echoed Driehaus' charge about the rhetoric at Tea Party events. "We do have to substantiate the difference between facts and fear."

Boccieri accused some of the anti-government protestors of talking out of both sides of their mouth - railing against government intrusion while at the same time accepting federal benefits. " What's so ironic about this, is that the very things they suggest they are against they will gladly take and support."


Filed under: 2010 • Congress • Extra • Nancy Pelosi • Tea Party movement
soundoff (168 Responses)
  1. kcl

    Dems, just take the high road.....the Tea Party WASPs will turn the nation off with their rhetoric and no substance banter.

    April 15, 2010 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  2. seneca

    These tea party people are just republicans with a bright shiney new coat. Its fine to protest against things you don't agree with but when your message only has anger and negativity behind it then the average person turns away from you and thinks your a loon. Unfortunately anger and negativity is all the republican party has had to offer thier fellow americans at this time and I am not surprised to see the tea party follow suit. Unfortunately the republican party had to convince people they were angry (because angry people vote) just so they could get back into power. They don't care about the average joe, they just want the power back.

    April 15, 2010 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  3. Roy L Goins Jr

    My comments are very seldom publicized but I will try .I will try to tell the American Public what a first grader would come to understand.
    The tea party movement is one sided instead of really realizing what some corporation in America are really doing. Some corporations in America are depending on the American public for support, Corporate Welfare! The Tea Party’s movement is to assure that its members continue to get paid at their current level; they assert that the government is trying to take over.
    Who would be that stupid to invest in a private owned company without an investment interest? If the Federal government gave an private corporation money without an interest without protecting the peoples interest than it should have been dismantled.

    April 15, 2010 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  4. republicans hate america

    i will be voting for pelosi come November because we saw what christian fascism brings to this country

    April 15, 2010 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  5. Colin Ness

    Did she really say mention fiscal responsibility and health care in the same sentence. I am an independent and have as many (or almost) as many issues with the Republicans as Democrats but this women is as tone deaf as they come.

    April 15, 2010 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  6. Michael from Ventura

    Once again Speaker Pelosi is correct. These folks are loud, arrogant and naive to government's role. I bet 90% of the ones I saw here today are on Medicare....'Splain that Lucy!

    April 15, 2010 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  7. joe troise

    The problem (among others) with the Tea Party is that they questions they are framing are non-discussable. They are not really issues at all. How does one debate the concept of "freedom"? Hey, what about Iran? Economics? Global Warming? North Korea? Energy? The Tea Party is all slogans and patriotic hot air balloons.

    Once thing I know for sure. Their anger is partly fueled by Obama telling Americans to be realistic about the future, and stop thinking we are all going to Go West and kill the buffalo and build railroads.

    April 15, 2010 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  8. laughorcry

    These Tea Party activists are the same bunch who didn't like Clinton's efforts to balance the budget because they included raising taxes on the wealthy. When the budget was balanced and the debt was actually being paid back in the late 90's they followed George W. Bush like a pied piper. He kept piping. "It is your money, it is your money." and they willfully forgot it was also “their debt." Now since the Bush years produced the economic "perfect storm," we have no reserves and have to add debt to the debt that should have already been paid down to recover from the mess. Not to mention the deficits already accumulating from two unfunded wars. When they point their collective finger they need to see three pointing back at them and grow up.

    April 15, 2010 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  9. Erick

    They are staying focused on the race?!?!?!?!? They should be focused on the business of increasing the powers of the states and the freeedoms of American citizens. Anyone notice that while our federal government is spending more money than ever our states are all cutting budgets, services, and jobs? We need a revolution, and it takes as much courage to stand up to these fat, worthless, selfish, self serving politicians as it did when our ancestors fought for our freedom those many years ago. Our forefathers would be so ashamed of our cowardice:( Believe in the strength of our spirit! It is our duty to overthrow our corrupt and inept government. Admit to yourself that they have lost all touch with real Americans!!!!!!

    April 15, 2010 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  10. Mike, Albany

    The tea party is a ridiculous notion - they are completely uninformed. 95% of Americans received a tax cut this year. The fact is that Obama has done more good for American in 1.5 years that Bush did in 8 years, and THAT pisses off the republicans. They were not able to deliver for America. Here's what the GOP gave us: 9/11, two wars, massive deficits (starting from a surplus), failure after Katrina ('heck of a job, Brownie'), illegal torture, no child left behind (which left behind more children than ever before), loss of respect for America overseas. Here's what we have received from Obama in 1.5 years: Restoration of respect for America overseas, health care reform, tax cuts, reduction of nukes, an economy well on the way to recovery. Are we better off with the GOP? You tell me.

    April 15, 2010 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm |
  11. Erick

    Admit that they hate us. Admit that they want us to suffer. Admit that the only thing they care about is their own wealth, and the wealth of people that can make them richer!!!!!!

    April 15, 2010 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  12. worriedmom

    Think the botox has gotton to Pelosi's mind again. If you are so sure of yourself why do you feel the need to try to convince people. Go Tea Party!

    April 15, 2010 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  13. Mikola

    Mrs. Pelosi has shared the truth as to what she believes. "The Tea Party is insignificant. They don't really matter. They might matter to someone else. "

    Any politician who believe her people are insignificant because they seek a better answer than the answer their congressman provides, is guilty of arrogance. Dissenters to her decisions don't matter.

    I hope she is the first person the Tea Party goes after. Our representatives should represent us and not their own special interests.

    April 15, 2010 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  14. Mike

    I guess botox pelosi is as dumb as I thought she is. Dumber than a sack ful of hammers. The tea party folks will support a conservative and there are none in the demorat party.

    April 15, 2010 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  15. KC

    "What's so ironic about this, is that the very things they suggest they are against they will gladly take and support."
    Precisely! The friend who was most against gov't healthcare is, in fact, a lifetime recipient of gov't healthcare as a military dependent, and thrilled to pieces with the care her mother got through Medicare. She has yet to rationalize to my satisfaction why it's good enough for her whole family but not good enough for me.

    April 15, 2010 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
  16. Joe

    Fear and facts don't go hand in hand. That's why there is concerted effort to juice up the anger among conservatives, there is so much easier to manipulate the crowd.

    April 15, 2010 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |
  17. Xfile

    Pelosi: "While the speaker said she welcomes "any and all voices of the American people," she said that Democrats have the message and the money to prevail in November."

    So money buys the vote? You certainly don't have the message so it must be the money...

    Pelosi has never welcomed the voice of Americans, she has however welcomed the "future of America." That would be the "people without papers" as we refer to them here in California.

    The money to prevail. Reminds me of the mafia.

    April 15, 2010 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  18. Mr. Moderate

    The Pittsburgh event had probably 700 to 1000 people (I counted from my 11th floor office window). Not too impressive in a downtown that has about 125,000 to 150,000 people on any given weekday.

    April 15, 2010 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  19. steve

    Yea big gavel packing wicked witch of the west we will dimiss you this fall at election time i assure you.

    April 15, 2010 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |
  20. Loren

    I can not wait for the day that I no longer have to hear the name Nancy Pelosi!

    April 15, 2010 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  21. Republicans Morons of the World

    Anyone with half a brain dismisses these angry white bigoted Republican misfits. The only people secretly worried are dyed in the wool Republicans who pray the Tea Partiers do not upset their plans for reelection. Go Sarah Make Up and No Brains, do in the Republican Party, you are the dream girl of every Democrat because you are just so brazenly stupid.

    April 16, 2010 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  22. Jon G Sisler

    Don't worry about that train coming...I'm sure it's on the other track.

    April 16, 2010 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  23. scott winter haven

    Nancy-Just keep thinking that way..........

    April 16, 2010 12:19 am at 12:19 am |
  24. kravitz

    The Tea Party is only a phase until enough hooded white cotton robes can be made in this country to fit every one of them properly.

    April 16, 2010 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  25. Fed Up

    We'll see. Maybe Nancy can join the ranks of the unemployed. Oh, we can only hope! Of course, she has no use for any Americans, as she has already said.

    April 16, 2010 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7