Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Tea Party Rhetoric Turns on a Dime

Sean has an interesting post at FiredUp detailing how Republicans (and their surrogates in the St. Louis tea party) are talking in abstract terms about the "anti-incumbent" atmosphere without being willing to mention that Roy Blunt fits the incumbent/ D.C. establishment profile perfectly. This fits well with what I and former members of the St. Louis tea party have been saying: the St. Louis tea party leadership is not advocating for some new government that is fundamentally different than the Bush administration; rather, they are simply trying to put the same old Republicans like Roy Blunt and former Matt Blunt Chief of Staff Ed Martin back in power, while gaining some personal influence along the way.

But I also want to explore in a little more detail just how quickly Bill Hennessy's rhetoric flipped immediately after yesterday's election in a blatant attempt to put a positive spin on an unquestionable disappointment for the Republican Party (and hence the St. Louis tea party). Before the election, Hennessy was talking only about one race: the PA-12 swing district (with Republican candidate Tim Burns). Here are some of his tweets about that:

There's more from Twitter, but you get the idea. Hennessy also blogged about Burns:

But after the election, Hennessy shifted his focus immediately, barely mentioning Burns, all of a sudden talking about Rand Paul (whom he wasn't talking about beforehand), and claiming that this demonstrated an "anti-incumbent atmosphere." The shift can probably be seen most dramatically in two tweets about 10 hours apart. In the morning of election day, Hennessy said:

Apparently, he thought that Paul was going to lose. Must have gotten that from the same source that told him that Prop A was going to be defeated. Anyway, later in the day, when it was obvious that Paul was going to win in a "Randslide," Hennessy changed his tune:

Now, to be fair, Hennessy still said in his later blog post that "No one single race proves the strength or impact of the tea party," but it's still remarkable to see just how quickly he shifted from speaking only about the PA-12 race to claiming Rand Paul as the "Tea Party Candidate" and seeing this as a referendum on incumbents.

1 comment:

  1. Well, the only vote yesterday that placed a new person in Congress was in Murtha's old 12th district. All of the others were primaries.

    So how did the Tea Party favorite (Tim Burns) fare? How did the "true David and Goliath victories under the grassroots belt" do?

    They got their lawn mowed. Tim Burns, to use a tag from Loesch, equals "FAIL".