The Long Dark Tea Party Against Health Care Reform?


In an interview with Politico, Sen. Jim DeMint credits tea-party activists with successfully blocking health care reform legislation so far:

"The only reason we don't have national health care right now is you — is the people outside of Washington," DeMint told a gathering of tea party activists gathered Wednesday night in Washington for the premiere of a documentary about the movement. "I think we do have a shot at stopping this thing," he said of the health care reform bill the Senate began debating this week.

DeMint, one of the Senate's more reliably conservative voters, was speaking at the premiere of a movie about tea party activists, and so, by one of Washington's well-known unwritten rules, was basically expected to declare that attendees were not just influential but the deciding factor in some major political battle. Is it true? As always when attempting to discern causality in politics, it's tough to say. Infighting amongst Democratic factions and constituencies, senior worries about Medicare, and Republican delaying tactics have also been highly influential in slowing reform to its current glacial pace. And polls from the August to September period during which the tea parties were most visible paint a mixed picture: Opposition to the bill trended upward, but, starting mid-August, so did support (though support has fallen in recent months). But certainly, the tea parties have been enormously successful at focusing media attention on opposition to health care, and on making legislators feel as if there is substantial activist pressure to block the bill.

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  1. “and on making legislators feel as if there is substantial activist pressure to block the bill.”

    Feel as if? What the hell kind of sentence is that? I would say there is as evidenced by the tea parties. Does Suderman think the tea parties are astroturf?

    1. Hey Suderman, read this before you post here again:


    2. The song we keep hearing from Republicans, “we can stop it.”

      Not if they keep helping the Democrats as they are now!

      Demint may be the exception, but it’s clear they never had any intention of doing as we told them to do.

  2. And this, too:


  3. I think it took me longer than most to realize this headline was a Douglas Adams reference. Scrolled past it 3 times and then, bam!

  4. Jeez, Suderman. Condescend much?

    1. Were I his woman, I’d have concerns.

  5. People say healthcare costs are going up. However this needs analysis– is it a true price increase or do americans just buy more heathcare goods? In other words, I would bet that a basket of healthcare goods and services in the United States is actually cheaper than that same basket of goods and services is overseas.

    1. Medical tourism is “projected to grow from $56 billion to $100 billion by 2012”. US actually cheaper? I guess Americans are using MT because everyone knows we love the airlines.

  6. basically expected to declare that attendees were not just influential but the deciding factor in some major political battle. Is it true?

    I would put them down as a major factor. The fear they created in Our Masters fueled the infighting. The end-run they created around Washington insiders like AARP who supported the bills in the name of consituencies who were ambivalent-to-opposed made opposition real.

  7. I think the Tea Partiers are also instrumental in addressing massive spending, not just for potential govt health care spending. These groups started really growing when TARP came along and manifested en force upon Stimulus passage. Basically, enough was enough, so everyone started showing up in the leargest rallies at the time the health care debate was the new focus. But, it was all because of TARP and Stimulus that they were ready to show up.

  8. +10 for the Douglas Adams reference!

    I miss that guy’s work.

    1. Well, it is still out there and holds up well to re-reading/listening/watching/playing.

      1. So long, and thanks for all the posts.

      1. Look at the date/time the story was posted @the digits on either side of the comma.

  9. has anyone seen this clip yet?

    hear a congressman explain how plans to draft a “new bill of rights” is classified! I’m moving to europe!

    1. Not to worry. The new bill of rights would still have to be adopted by a two-thirds vote of Congress and three-fourths of the states. Hell, you probably couldn’t get the sacrosanct First Amendment approved these days. The lefties would want some sort of hate speech language, and the righties would want some kind of establishment of religion.

      The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress;

  10. DeMint, one of the Senate’s more reliably conservative voters,

    DeMint is the only US Senator to score 100% for 2008, on the American Conservative Union’s scale. His life time score is 98.40 % making him the most conservative sitting US Senator.

  11. Heretics, all! When Barack Obama manifests his divine power, you shall all pay for your insolence!

  12. Up from the ashes will be a ground swelling against what is illegal mandate better known as Obamacare. Folks it’s time to take back our nation from the Sociolist clowns in the US Congress !!!

  13. What is this health care reform that everybody has been talking about?

  14. So… Does nobody like Osama Bin laden anymore or what, cuz i dont think hes that bad of a guy?

  15. I dontknow about you guys…but I think communism still rocks!

  16. LEGALIZE IT!!!!

  17. LEGALIZE IT!!!!

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