Tea Party Mad as Hell, and Sort of Nonexistent

Obama 'swinging wildly' at them, needs to co-opt energy
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 26, 2010 1:10 PM CDT
Tea Party Mad as Hell, and Sort of Nonexistent
Members of the Olympia (Wash.) Tea Party demonstrate Thursday, Oct. 21, 2010, in Seattle.   (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

The Tea Party is mad as hell and ... that's about it, writes Richard Cohen in the Washington Post. Beyond anger, the Tea Party "has no leader. It has no address, no phone, and no Washington headquarters. It is everywhere and nowhere." When a Post posse tried to track down 2,300 local tea-drinking groups, it could verify only 647. Cohen writes that "the Tea Party exists in the vapors," bound only by anger and the Internet. The latter eliminates the middleman—"in this case an actual political party, which was once called the organization because it actually organized."

"Now that's done laptop to laptop so like-minded people can get together, even if they do not actually get together." This creates an "asymmetrical," impossible-to-nail-down enemy for Obama, but it's an enemy who is seeking change—which is exactly what pushed Obama into the presidency. "The Tea Party is here to stay if only because the Internet is here to stay. But its emotions and its grievances can be co-opted, engulfed, absorbed and made part of the engine of change that Obama himself once both personified and promised. As I recall, the original Tea Party was open to anyone. All you needed for admittance was anger." (Read more Tea Party stories.)

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