Tea Party toughens up Republican Party – Gingrich
The Tea Party movement is a good thing for the Republican Party, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich says. It toughens up the GOP.
(Anyone else thinking biker jackets?)
Rather than fragment the Republican Party in the coming November elections, the conservative anti-tax, small-government Tea Party movement will rev it up, says Gingrich, who helped orchestrate the 1994 Republican Revolution when the party won control of both houses of Congress in the midterm elections.
And wins by Tea Party-supported candidates in the primaries leading up to the November midterms will benefit the Republican Party, “if the Tea Party movement and the Republicans stay together to defeat Obamaism,” Gingrich said on NBC’s “Today” show.
“The Tea Party movement adds energy, it adds drive, it adds a toughness that the Republican Party needs,” he said.
The Kentucky Republican primary for Senate today will be one test of how well a Tea Party supported candidate (Rand Paul) can fare against a party establishment supported candidate (Trey Grayson) at the ballot box.
Gingrich would not pick a candidate in the Kentucky primary, saying he had friends on both sides but had a hunch that Paul has the edge.
Gingrich’s comments that the Tea Party could strengthen the Republican Party come against other measures that point to it as a potentially divisive force for Republicans and thus a possible benefit for Democrats.
Sweeping conclusions about the effect of the Tea Party on the 2010 elections at this stage risk turning out to be wrong, given not all Tea Partiers are Republicans and it will be the first election since the movement was established.
Will 2010 be the year of another Republican Revolution?
Photo credit: Reuters/Rick Wilking (protester waiting for Tea Party Express bus to arrive in Denver), Reuters/Rebecca Cook (West Michigan Tea Party logo)