May 23rd, 2010
11:51 AM ET
13 years ago

Pawlenty, Rendell disagree on Tea Party movement's impact

Washington (CNN) – In the wake of Rand Paul’s win last week in Kentucky’s Republican Senate primary, both national parties are trying to figure out just what to make of the Tea Party movement, the conservative, grassroots movement that backed Paul and has coalesced in opposition to policies of the Obama administration and congressional Democrats.

Democrats and Republicans disagree on the impact of the movement, and those differences were on display Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union.

Gov. Ed Rendell, D-Pennsylvania, defined the movement as “the anger that people feel towards incumbency” and added that “it has some power particularly in Republican primaries.”

But Rendell was quick to dismiss any suggestion that the conservative movement could help the GOP best Democrats in general election face-offs. Pointing to Democrats’ victory last Tuesday in a special election in Pennsylvania’s 12th congressional district, the Democratic governor said “the Tea Party was not a factor in that election at all” even though PA-12 has a track record, in Rendell’s words, of being “a Republican-performing district.”

Instead of fearing the Tea Party movement’s impact on Democrats, Rendell said the grassroots movement may be doing a disservice to the GOP.

The movement “is a difficulty for the Republican Party,” Rendell told CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley.

Rendell pointed to Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (who decided to skip his state’s GOP Senate primary and run without a party affiliation) and Utah Sen. Bob Bennett (who did so poorly at a recent state convention that he did not even make it to the GOP primary) as casualties of the Tea Party movement’s fervor.

And the Democratic pol said the Tea Party movement’s influence in GOP primaries will help Democrats this November.

“I think the Tea Party movement candidates are going to be more easy to beat in a general election. I think that’s the case with Rand Paul,” Rendell told Crowley.

For his part, Minnesota’s Republican governor said he was glad to have the Tea Party movement affiliated with the GOP, despite its potential pitfalls.

The movement represents “new energy, new ideas, passion around these themes of we’ve had enough, government’s too big, the debt’s too big,” Tim Pawlenty said Sunday also on State of the Union.

“And to the extent that accrues to the Republican side of the ledger, that’s a helpful thing. We’ll take that energy. It’s still a little chaotic in some ways but it’s a good thing.

“Every generation has an insurgency in politics. It brings new energy, new people, new ideas. I’m glad that energy is on the side of the conservatives and the Republicans in most of these races,” Pawlenty said.

Pawlenty was diplomatic when discussing Dr. Rand Paul, who stumbled as he stepped onto the national political stage in the wake of his primary victory last week.

“His comments about the Civil Rights Act [of 1964] were unfortunate and he’s since then said that he would’ve voted for that civil rights act. His explanation was unfortunate – how he got to that point,” Pawlenty said of the Kentucky ophthalmologist.

Still, Pawlenty’s analysis of the political climate roughly six months before the midterm elections resonated with many of the themes of Paul’s insurgent campaign.

“I think people are sending the message,” the Minnesota governor said, “that they think government is too big, spending’s gone up too fast, and taxes are too high.

“And that’s why I think Republicans are in a better position coming into this fall than our friends on the other side of the aisle.”

Filed under: 2010 • Ed Rendell • Popular Posts • State of the Union • Tea Party movement • Tim Pawlenty
soundoff (95 Responses)
  1. stevegee

    Rendell is just more spin and propaganda from the Obama socialist machine.

    The Tea Party movement is strong and continuing to grow every day. We The People are fed up with the federal government - it's size and scope must be dramatically cut back, back to it's original Constitutional intent.

    November 2010 will be a landslide victory for conservatives across the country. Vote American, vote Republican!

    May 23, 2010 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  2. Brenda

    I think that Gov Rendell forgets--that it is because of the Tea Party movement that many Democrats have decided to "retire', rather than face the rath of the voters in November.

    I think that Gov Rendell forgets-–that it is because of the Tea Party that Obama, Pelosi, and Reid are afraid--and not wanted-- to campaign for most Democrats who are currently running.

    May 23, 2010 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  3. Anonymous

    The news media has made the Teap Party a force of any kind. By their own polls, this group has under 100,000 members!
    Incumbancy is under attack, nothing more.
    Rand Paul is a dangerous man. He is acting like he has been annointed to the position of President when in fact all he got was more conservative votes from a conservative party to represent them in an election. He has not been elected to anything yet.
    Like the Tea Party itself, the media is making too much of this man and his selection as a candidate.

    May 23, 2010 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  4. todd

    In Nov. the communist Obama plot to take over the USA ends.

    May 23, 2010 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  5. Future expat

    @ Brenda

    Do you have ANY sources that directly attribute Democrats' retirements to Tea Party activities?

    Of course you don't, because you're passing off wishful thinking as a fact.

    May 23, 2010 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  6. Sarah, the baby seal basher

    Pawlenty,the squealing chipmunk,isnt going anywhere.Hes a hair smarter than than his sidekick,Glen Beck.hahaha

    May 23, 2010 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  7. Nathan - AZ

    Both Democrats and Republicans should distance themselves from any association with the Tea Party. The Internet has provided disgruntled, angry and racist individuals a collective voice and they feel more empowered each day to speak hate for society's needy and "have-nots". In getting the nomination for Mr. Paul, the Tea Party shows its radical and racist bias.

    The biggest problem with the Tea Party is that they refuse to compromise their strict interpretation of the constitution. Without compromise, goverment remains polarized.

    As for Mr. Paul – If you say you are for civil rights legislation, but then remove the teeth from the legislation by allowing private business to ignore the law, you can expect racism to ramp up in America. Any other expectation is naive or is the desired result.

    May 23, 2010 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  8. Annie, Atlanta

    It's obvious, after Rand Paul's foot in mouth expose, who the tea baggers are. Did we ever have a doubt? And has anyone ever asked themselves who pays to get all these people to rallies? Interesting, no? Corporations! These people obviously love being trickled on.

    But to the bigger point. We have to get the corporations out of DC. Their lobbyists are writing the laws that make sure they win and we lose. Pay attention. Congressional votes are on the internet. If your reps in congress voted in favor of corporations and against you, vote them out. And keep voting them out every time. We have the power to inflict term limits, and get the government working for us. Let's use it.

    May 23, 2010 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  9. jilli

    I think republicans will pay the largest share of the tea party disaster. Those folks weren't going to be voting for democrats anyway. Research has shown that they are nothing but far right republicans. Their "huge movement" is going to cause the party to move to the right because the tea baggers will be influencing republican elections. The results will be more candidates like rand paul, whose extreme beliefs are so far out of the mainstream that regardless of how much voters want things to change, they aren't willing to accept that alternative – moving our government backward instead of forward.

    This "movement" is not huge. It's still the 28% of the country willing to admit they're republicans. They've gotten a whole lot of support from the media wing of the gop – Fox – and inside their echo chamber, I believe they think they're really taking over, but time will tell, and I'd bet my money that they'll be wrong. They'll cut into any gains the republican party could have hoped for, and the democrats will retain control of the house and senate.

    The republican party did this to themselves, now they'll have to live with the consequences.

    May 23, 2010 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  10. Bob of Lompoc

    "Tea Party" movement is a myth. It is just Republicans eating Republicans. Democrats: Go forward as if "Tea Party" did not exist. It really doesn't.

    May 23, 2010 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  11. rich shaughnessy

    Rand Paul is a perfect spokesperson for the new republican party. A nasty elitist racist born with a silver spoon up his ass and a cheesy perm. Perfect. A possible Palin running mate

    May 23, 2010 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  12. Ed

    "Vote American, vote Republican!" What terribly divisive hogwash. Republicans are NOT the only ones who represent America. This selfish arrogance must end for America to go forward not backwards.

    May 23, 2010 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  13. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    I don't think there's anybody out there Republican or Democrat who would want our U.S. Military under the leadership of the Tea Party. People you need to think about it. THINK.

    May 23, 2010 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  14. Larry

    The anti-incumbent movement is not about Democrats or Republicans. We're fed up with politicians kneeling to special interests. Special interests are writing the laws for this country, and we're tired of it.

    We're going to elect representatives who have some spine and will stand up for the interests of our country.

    May 23, 2010 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  15. Lynda/Minnesota

    “I think people are sending the message,” the Minnesota governor said, “that they think government is too big, spending’s gone up too fast, and taxes are too high.

    Cleverness has never been a Pawlenty trait.

    Government is too big? Tell that to the families of the miners who recently died, Tim. Tell it to the families of the men who died because of BP negligence. Tell it to those in the coastal states who are losing their income because of oil spills.

    Government is too big, Tim? Talk to Steele who has a different take and is now blaming Obama for not stopping the *gusher*.

    And Tim. About the high taxes talking point you so favor . . . do some research.

    May 23, 2010 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  16. Save America, impeach the treasonous republicans

    Todd and Stevegee are confused about what socialism and communism is. When I was young, I remember little brats on the playground calling people names and then running away. I really think that is what the GOP is all about. Nothing but a crap sandwich without the bread. As for the November landslide, I think the right wingnuts will be terribly disappointed and will join Limbaugh in Costa Rica. (They have gov't healthcare)

    May 23, 2010 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |

    It may be a disservice to the Republican party. But someone must show what these immoral Democrats are dong to our country. I'd
    'much rather start a new party if that is what it is to take. To overcome the trend to distroy America as Obama wishes. It may take years but eventually we will overcome. WE ARE NOT GOING AWAY.

    May 23, 2010 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  18. Save America, impeach the treasonous republicans

    Government too big? Does Little Timmy think that may have had something to do with the bridge collapse in Minnesota. Lack of regulations and oversight have made a lot of bad things happen that could have been avoided.

    May 23, 2010 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  19. mr. myers

    I've been watching all the comments on election encombents, and can not understand why the media hasn't said anything about the real reason for the throw them out attitude. There is a real feeling amoung the working blue collar populas that are representatives in washington have sold us out to the corperations. I am looking more at where the people running for office are getting there money. The big bailouts and no one has been indited for any crime. the feeling amoung the blue collar citizens in this country is that it is operating just the way the corperations have paid for it to operate. Corperations blantly flaunting the laws of the land and being proctected by our elected. There is a feeling that our elected work for them instead of us. There is a sence that penalities for white collar crime amounts to nothing more than a wave of the finger andd a warning of try not to mess up. The bank bail outs, enron, GM, these executives abused there positions at the expence of the American people as a whole and walked away with there pockets full while many people lost all directly because of there actions. I personnely ewould like to see a corp/bussiness death penality, where companys convicted in court of coruption of any kind would require the resignation of all board members and the confication of all there stocks, minimum sentences of 10yrs in general prison population, revolk there citizenship and deportation, and confication of up 90% of ther assets. This would be seen as anti-bussiness but in reality would be just anti-coruption

    May 23, 2010 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  20. Bob in PA

    sign.. Even my dear old Uncle Ed doesn't get it. We are tired of the currrent two party system and being "governed" by the party line and ever growing government programs and freebies.

    May 23, 2010 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  21. Steve

    Let's get the facts straight, the Tea Pathy people are intelligent , courteous, and clean up after themselves after a rally. Now compare that to the left wing democratic protesters, they are dirthy , violent, causing police harm and many get arrested. How many Tea Parthy members were arrested this year? Like Zero. Now once in awhile you have liberal plants that infiltrate the Tea Party movement that agitate to create poblems, and the press is quick to add fuel to the fire by reporting distorted facts.
    The botton line the Democrats are trying very hard to discredit the Tea Parthy because they are afraid of them. The Press at least should report the truth. i could see by the comments here that the left wingers are trying real hard to use to old methjod of criticism and agitate the readers. It ain't gone work pal(s). People are too smart today. The days od the hippies and flower children are gone.

    May 23, 2010 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  22. Save America, impeach the treasonous republicans

    Go MAD MAX! Start your own political party. Those dang teabaggers are just to darn liberal. I think the family values republicans are the ones having the immoral problem, though.

    May 23, 2010 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  23. one voice

    They should agree on that anyone the teaparty vote for is bad for the future of our great country.

    May 23, 2010 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  24. Robert Warner

    As long as Republicans continue to display the cowardice of not denouncing, with appropriate disgust, the goofballs of the Tea Party as personified by Rand Paul, they will continue their degeneration into the Party Of The Angry White Stupids. As employment brightens, their prospects will dim because of their extremism..

    May 23, 2010 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  25. The Big J

    Someone has got to show that these Repubs are an immoral lot! Why not let the tea party root out this horror show that is the GOP!

    May 23, 2010 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
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