Opportunists of all sorts have been attacking the Tea Party movement in the wake of an NAACP resolution condemning alleged "racist elements" in it ranks. In defense of their movement, Tea Party leaders have pointed to this month's Gallup Poll that found that 6% of Tea Party followers were African-American and 17% were Hispanic or Asian. But that only led "diversity consultant" Luke Visconti to sneer on CNN: "There were Jewish concentration camp guards. I mean, there were capos."
The Tea Party is also being trashed by elements of the GOP establishment in Washington. Trent Lott, the former Republican Majority Leader in the U.S. Senate, now a Beltway lobbyist, told the Washington Post that he feared the arrival in the Senate next year of rabble-rousers elected with Tea Party support. "We don't need a lot of Jim DeMint disciples," he said. "As soon as they get here, we need to co-opt them." Mr. Lott went on to express confidence that any Tea Party caucus in the Senate would be small: "I still have faith in the visceral judgment of the American people."
Hmmm. Since the only known Tea Party candidates are running under the Republican banner, Mr. Lott seems to be saying he would rather have Democrats reelected if the alternative is a Tea Party-backed GOPer. For example, should Sharron Angle lose in Nevada, Harry Reid would return to the Senate. Mr. Reid may be a Democrat, but the fact that he served 17 years in the Senate with Mr. Lott makes him a man a D.C. lobbyist can do business with. Ms. Angle, on the other hand, just might think that the cozy deals cooked up by politicians and lobbyists in Washington should be questioned. Maybe that's why both liberals and ostensible conservatives there fear the Tea Party so much.
-- John Fund
The Wall Street Journal
Political Diary Online
19 July 10