The Tea Party movement evolved as a way to protest tax increases, reduce government spending and promote strict adherence to the Constitution.
However, over time, radical-fringe-right-rhetoric and messages of hate and intolerance became detracting characteristics of the Tea Party Caucus, which was championed by such conservative political voices as Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin.
The New York Times described the Tea Party as having an ill-defined agenda that appeared to be “anti-government, anti-spending, anti-immigration and anti-compromise.”
Nonetheless, today’s Tea Party has become more entrenched and influential in the current political process and has been instrumental in creating the existing Congressional gridlock.
Governor Romney, who described himself as a “severely conservative” candidate, moved his policies severely to the right in order to secure the GOP presidential nomination.
In August, when Governor Romney picked Paul Ryan to be his vice-presidential running mate, he brought the Tea Party to his ticket.
“Selecting someone like Paul Ryan, who is so popular with Tea Party activists, proves that Mitt Romney is committed to addressing the economic issues that have been troubling our nation for the last four years,” said Amy Kremer, the chairwoman of the Tea Party Express, after the VP pick was announced.
All of Ryan’s speeches around the country have echoed the sentiments of Tea Party conservatives, as he has attacked president’s economic record, called for lower taxes and cast a wide tent of blame on Obama for the economic downturn.
But Romney’s campaign speeches have increasingly inched to the center on issues and each debate has revealed him to be a person willing to pivot on a dime, in order to shed the “severely conservative” image he previously embraced.
Rumors of a Romney/Ryan rift on issues have quickly been denied by their advisors, but the more Romney tries to broaden his appeal, the more Tea Party support he jeopardizes, while Ryan continues to exploit his “darling” of the Tea Party image.
Vice-President, Joe Biden, while talking to a group of voters on Wednesday, said that Romney has used his “etcha-sketch” to change his statements and political positions too many times.
On Romney’s statements of reversal or omission in the third and final debate, Biden said this:
“I didn’t know if Romney was there to debate President Obama or endorse him.”
Critics of Romney’s new-found moderate positions are quick to say that he can’t be trusted, because he hasn’t demonstrated a conviction to anything other than whatever currently resonates enough with people to get their votes.
Comparably speaking, Tea Party Republicans and their convictions have remained the same: Whatever it takes to remove President Obama and give them a more dominate place at the White House table.
Therefore, Tea Party conservatives will most likely hold their noses and vote for shape-shifter Romney, in the hopes that Paul Ryan would be able to assert his influence should they get elected.
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