Here’s a good example of how the mainstream media just doesn’t get it when it comes to the Tea Party. Read these two paragraphs by Jennifer Steinhauer in today’s New York Times about the Tea Party, but pay attention to the last line.
The Tea Party is very much alive in the drive for Republican control of the Senate, portending a potential shake-up in the mind-set of the chamber. The easy Republican primary victory in Texas on Tuesday of Ted Cruz, the 41-year-old Sarah Palin-blessed upstart, virtually assured the latest Tea Party candidate a seat in the chamber next year. And he will not be alone when it comes to those backed by the movement, which propelled Republicans to control of the House in 2010.
Among 17 contested Senate races and in Texas, more than half a dozen of the Republican candidates — or those currently running ahead in their primaries — are Tea Party-embraced. The infusion of new conservative blood could alter the complexion of the Senate, increasing the sorts of conflicts between moderates and far-right Republicans disinclined toward compromise that have characterized the House for two years.
Did you see how she labeled Tea Party candidates/politicians as the “far-right?” That’s liberal speak for saying that these folks are crazy and off the reservation. The Tea Party calls these “far-right" folks “constitutional conservatives.” That’s the difference. The-latte sipping crowd in the NY-DC media corridor sees it one way and writes accordingly. The heartland of this country in flyover country sees a much different reality.
The challenge for the Tea Party is to increase their numbers so much so that they become a majority up on Capitol Hill and they turn the media’s “far-right” language into words like “mainstream.” The key is for the Tea Party to coherently explain why their message is commonsense and mainstream and then work hard at convincing skeptical Americans.
When voters read that the Tea Party is “far-right” it becomes that much more of a challenge to set the record straight. They have to overcome the media characterization but they also have to show that their Tea Party message is a winning one and that they can legislate in Washington, not just be against everything.
That will come with time as the numbers build.