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. Anonymous

    The Baggers want to destroy the America we have and create some new monster that has no taxes but magically still provides all the services we currently enjoy. Can't be done and they're to stupid to realize the truth.

    May 23, 2010 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  2. Bob in PA

    Being a "member" vs a like minded individual are two different things. The Tea Party is more a sate of mind, not a politiacal faction. Be it Rand Paul, Sarah Palin, or Arlen Spector, we don't care. All we want is to be represented properly in D.C. by someone who is more interested in our interest instead of that put forth by a select group of party leaders and money bags.

    May 23, 2010 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |

    @ Future expat, Anonymous, Sarah, the baby seal basher,
    Nathan – AZ, Annie, Atlanta, Claudia, Houston, Tx, jilli, Bob of Lompoc,
    Ed, & Lynda/Minnesota............................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    I'm not alone!!!!!! Sheesh........It is so refreshing to see thinkers on a blog.......we are the change......We are the ones who will help to save and preserve this republic, this democracy.....This president is doing a good job, but needs more time to continue the good work, as well as the backing of good people. Yes we should question him, push him on issues, etc., but I do believe that we are moving in the correct direction.

    May 23, 2010 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  4. chris

    I'm an Independant, Moderate, Centrist – whatever you want to call me. I don't vote by party. I vote by what candidate I think is most qualified. In the past, my ballots have always been a mix of both Republicans and Democrats. I'm part of the group that decides the election.

    The effect the Tea Party has had on me is that for the first time in my life I will not vote for a single Republican candidate. The Tea Party are a bunch of far Right extremists. Frankly, the idea of this angry, ignorant and arrogant mob having any sort of influence in this country scares the hell out of me.

    I value moderation, cooperation and compromise for the greater good. The GOP has pursued a policy of extremism, obstruction, and partisanship to further than own ideology. The Democrats have the faults too. But its like the difference between shooting a bullet and throwing one.

    May 23, 2010 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  5. mike

    the tea party idiots are uneducated look at randy paul here is a
    individual who is a doctor but does not know anything about our
    government or the history of our country but he is going to be a
    senator Sarah Palin another tea party idiot that is also uneducated
    see the pattern get a life you people are stupid and everyone
    knows it but you

    May 23, 2010 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  6. moderate voter

    The Tea Party is the best thing that has happened for Democrats in awhile. They're cleaning out the Republicans of moderates and reasonable candidates who are truly interested in bipartisanship. It's pushing the largest demographic in the US, moderates, over to the Democrats.

    Furthermore, this pseudo-intellectual movement led by pundits like Beck to get dim-witted people to parrot terms like "communism" and "socialism" is turning off voters who really know what the terms mean. The Republican Party and the Tea party needs to learn how to harness the intelligence of their constituents, not the ignorance and anger. But that would require effort and it doesn't sell books and bring listeners to radio and TV shows.

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

    The tea party movement is a bunch of angry people who act before they think. They have short memories and don't really want to be happy. They enjoy being angry all the time.

    May 23, 2010 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  8. south mpls

    If all you tea party supporters are true to your beliefs about smaller government and fiscal responsibility than you surely understand that this applies beyond the us borders. According to this belief all U.S. troops must come home and our foriegn policy must drastically be scaled back . Seems like "smaller government " is just a code word to eliminate social programs and healthcare initiatives, programs that have problems but are neccasary in a modern society. You right wingers are a bunch of greedy non compasionate people who care only about your personal bank account. But you are all good moral christians right?

    May 23, 2010 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  9. BlueDem1

    The Republican Party is now controlled the the Tea Party movement? God Save this Nation!

    May 23, 2010 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  10. Linda

    Vote American, vote Republican? What the hell does that mean? I'm Democrat and American. And I love my country. Racist republicans please stop thinking that your beliefs are the only ones that matter. Your way or the highway? Get real. Please!!

    May 23, 2010 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  11. DFTycoon

    "Vote American, Vote republican." How moronic.

    It's clear that the only real Americans to the teabaggers and Pailin are white bigots. Bring on more candidates like Rand Paul – the GOP will be gone forever.

    Intelligent Americans need to get out and vote in large numbers to prevent the US becoming a Christian idiocracy.

    May 23, 2010 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  12. ran

    The tea party is and has always been part of the Republican party. That is why come the 2010 elections more true Democrats and Independents are going to win because we know who is to blame for all the problems to our country and it has been and continues to be the fear/hate/obstructionist/PURITY Republicans. a good example is just what happen in Texas were the Republican board of educations wants to rewrite history to fit their PURITY ideology.

    We will not go back to the past. We the people want to go forward. We the people say no to fear/hate/obstructionism and a big NO to any Purity Ideology/test.

    May 23, 2010 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  13. Kirk1

    And, Tim Pawlenty is considering running for President of the United States. Wow!!!

    May 23, 2010 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  14. Gil

    The teabuggers are right wing racists and with Rand Paul's comments this week who could deny it?

    May 23, 2010 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  15. Eloise

    Hollow cliches like "government is too big" reflect the smallness of these politicians' minds. And the folks who voted for them, unfortunately. If you think government is too big, go fight Al Qaeda by yourself, build your own interstate highways and check and repair bridges by yourself, drill your own water well instead of relying on public water, etc., etc. If you're not part of the solution, you ARE part of the problem.

    May 23, 2010 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  16. Marie

    Too much government in our lives? Are you teabaggers serious? Imagine if you will if government were not involved in our lives. What a disaster this country would be. Imagine John McCain and Sarah Palin in the White House. My God the very thought scares the living daylights out of me.

    May 23, 2010 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  17. cjr

    gotta love these tea party folks- talk about idiots- they had to pull paul(read palin) from the sunday morning news shows – because of his statements of last week – reublicans are terrified- over what he will say next! good year for the blues!

    May 23, 2010 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  18. Dean

    Both parties should learn that the American people want less government, less useless spending, less foreign debt, secure borders and jobs in America, not in China or Mexico or India. Any party that supports this will win. Maybe not totally this year but in the near future.

    May 23, 2010 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  19. Willa-PA

    “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.

    Rand Paul's unfortunate statement and explanation is because of his inexperience in the polital field. He spoke his true mind and that of the teaparty, instead of beating around the bush not saying what he truely meant. How's that for an explanation.

    May 23, 2010 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  20. Liz

    I disagree that the Tea Party movement is "affiliated" with the GOP. More appropriately, both parties are at the effect of the Tea Party. The two majority parties belong to an equal opportunity decision by outraged Americans to remind the nation of its roots. Furthermore, these same members of the Tea Party understand that the change they assumed would happen is not the change that they have been getting and so are defining the change that America needs while simultaneously bringing politicians into account for their profligacy with hard-earned tax dollars, tax dollars that keep coming in regardless of the recession. The daily work of America is supported by the daily work of Americans, and these Americans do not have the privilege, liberty, or opportunity that is accorded to corporate entites.
    Politicians have forgotten who they are, what they are in government to accomplish, and who made it possible for them to be there.

    May 23, 2010 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  21. DVSD

    Let us look at Pawlenty's record here in MN. As a resident of Minnesota, I've witnessed first hand what Pawlenty has accomplished. He managed to turn billions of dollars in surplus in this state to a $3 billion deficit in less than four years. He gave tax cuts to big businesses who shipped jobs out of state. He gave tax cuts to wealthiest in the state. He refused to sign any bill that might have raised taxes on the people of Minnesota, but imposed user fees on everything the rich do not use. Basically, he increased the taxes on everyone else but the rich. He took a tax that was levied on all medical procedures that were to be used to fund health care for the poor, and used it to give those tax breaks. The fund had a surplus of about $2 billion, and was gone within 8 month when Pawlenty shifted the money to pay for his tax cuts.

    Pawlenty can say he never signed a bill that raised taxes on Minnesotans, but he sure managed to raise fees on every service and product in the state. Pawlenty's word for tax is "fee". So don't let this so called fiscal conservative fool you. His plan is to basically just spend, and give tax cuts to big business. Meanwhile, he has managed to increased the burden on the middle class, and creates a larger population of poor in MN.

    Pawlenty has had his political aspirations on the White House, and has dropped the ball in his own state. He has spent more time in the past two years out of state than in his own state. He should have just done what Palin did and just quit. He hasn't done any good for MN and if he runs for President the rest of the country will see the same thing.

    May 23, 2010 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  22. ib

    Bob you and Save america are in for a big wakeup. People are fed up not only with the far left takeover but with the GOP not coming up with any ideas on how to stop the out of controll spending. It's both parties people and the ones in congress that won't stand up to that need to go no matter what party they belong to.

    May 23, 2010 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  23. Dave

    I just think the Tea Party is off base. They want responsibility in government but they primarily support Republicans that oversaw the most invasive, expensive, and debt ridden decades in our government’s history. The Reagan deregulation has turned us into a country that had a manufacturing base to a failing economy based on financial speculation. We need to get back to supporting all Americans not just the rich. Everyone needs healthcare and education and without that you will have more social destruction, we should see these as a right and stop the USA slide down to second class state.

    May 23, 2010 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  24. NVa Native

    The real elitists are th Repubs who are so rich and uneffected by the down turn in the economy they don't care about it. Why else would they continue to support corporate welfare at the expense of the middle class.
    The tea-baggers are a great example – Dick Army is so rich he wants to abolish medicaid and medi-care. Which of course are the social programs that so many in the middle-class (and tea-baggers) depend on.
    The tea-baggers are a curse on the Repubs when it comes to winning elections which depend on the support of moderates and independents – but the Repub base (tea-baggers) hate any compromise or rational thought which is what makes someone independent and/or moderate.
    Frank Luntz is the anti-American.

    May 23, 2010 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  25. Annie, Atlanta

    Mr. Meyers – I agree and couldn't have put it better.

    Stevegee – you do realize that Beck, Rush, Hannity, etc. make tens of millions of dollars telling you lies to rile you up so you'll keep coming back so they can make tens of millions more, right? Maybe you should keep that in mind the next time you tune in.

    May 23, 2010 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
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