September 10, 2011


In NH, the Tea Party movement is smaller than advertised (FERGUS CULLEN, Sep 10, 2011, Union Leader)

Even the Tea Party has its own establishment, if a self-anointed one. The New Hampshire Tea Party establishment just had a very bad week which exposed the movement as a much weaker force than advertised.

First, Jack Kimball, an authentic product of the Tea Party, got deposed as chairman of the state Republican Party. Kimball's last-bunker supporters called for a Tea Party vigil on the eve of his removal to demonstrate exactly how much support Kimball had among grassroots activists. It didn't work out quite the way they'd envisioned. A dozen people showed up.

Days later, New Hampshire primary frontrunner Mitt Romney spoke at a Tea Party Express rally in Concord. His appearance prompted some of the same Tea Partiers to organize a protest against Romney. This time maybe 20 people showed up, counting out-of-staters. In an example of Tea Party media savvy, organizer Paul Gagnon declared himself "disappointed" so few anti-Romney people turned out.

On Labor Day, not even celebrity television personality Sarah Palin could draw more than a couple of hundred people to a Tea Party rally in Manchester. That's less than one-tenth the crowd that attended the most recent minor league Fisher Cats baseball game a couple of blocks away (6,074 according to the box score).

And in Tuesday's special election for state representative in the Seabrook area, a Republican candidate who had easily won a primary despite Tea Party opposition went on to win his general election, overcoming continued Tea Party resistance. In all three special elections that have taken place this year, Tea Party-backed candidates got blown out.

A Republican who has helped candidates win elections for much longer than just the past two years looked at these four occurrences inside one week and shared his conclusion with me: "The New Hampshire Tea Party has no clothes."

It helps that every lever of power in the state is already in conservative hands.

Posted by at September 10, 2011 8:32 AM

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