Here is the video courtesy of Media Matters:
When Cavuto asked Quayle about the rally in Nevada, he said, “What’s going on in the country and I think it is reflective with the people at the rally is that there is a lot of angst. There’s a lot of anxiety. There’s no jobs, the Obama administration has not focused on the economy. There’s been a radical expansion of government, and God bless these folks, they’re trying to take things into their own hands, and they’re making a difference. They’re being heard, and that’s important but there’s a lot of people, Neal, around the country that are just very upset, and instead of sitting on the sidelines, and being a part of Richard Nixon used to call that silent majority, they’re silent no more.”
Cavuto asked Quayle if the tea party will divide the GOP. Quayle brought up an interesting point that most of the tea partiers are inclined to support the Republican Party, but that right now they are a movement, and not a party. He said he will become concerned about splitting the GOP if the tea party breaks away from the GOP. His comments provide some insight into the notion in mainstream Republican circles that the tea party can be harvested and exploited for Republican gain.
It is important to point out here that there are actually two tea parties. The original tea partiers started with the 2008 Ron Paul campaign and consist of Libertarians. The other tea party is an attempt by the Republican Party to exploit the original movement for their own gain. The real tea party will not automatically support Republicans, while the Astroturfers are Republicans pretending to be Independents.
The tea party is already splitting the GOP because there is an ideological war taking place over the future direction of the party. I think that Quayle’s notion that the GOP can exploit the true tea party is wishful thinking at best. However, it is a symbol of the desperation of the right that they are embracing such an extremist movement. Quayle’s statement that God should bless a radical movement based on homophobia and racism was either naïve or desperate, but either way, when a movement’s intellectual champions are Dan Quayle and Sarah Palin, I would not count on it having intellectual weight, mass appeal, or a very bright future.
Photo: Liberal Values Blog