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Tea Parties Succeed in Turning Off Independents

Some Republicans and Independents view the fallout from the tea parties as very bad for the GOP.
 
 
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It's been two days now since angry conservatives hosted a series of tea parties across the country, and the fallout has some Republicans nervous.

While the anti-tax sentiment of the protests may have been sincere, the images pulled from the events have often been offensive, embarrassing, or politically problematic.

It is a development that has tripped up the GOP before. The rallies outside McCain-Palin events included some of the same bile that was seen at the tea parties: charges of fascism, terrorism and other malicious criticisms leveled at Barack Obama. And it did the Republican ticket little good in its efforts to bring moderate voters to the cause.

Tea Party:
 

McCain-Palin Rallies:
 

Not everyone sees the connection. But some Republicans and Independents do view the fallout between the tea parties and the McCain-Palin rallies in a similar way: bad for the GOP.

"It is not clear-cut that the tea-party phenomena helps the GOP, unless they have a specific measure or policy (like Prop. 13 in 1978, and income tax cuts after that) to coalesce around," said Steven Hayward, a scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute. "Right now it reminds me a bit of the free-floating 'angry moderates' of 1992 who fueled the Ross Perot candidacy, and that is the hazard for Republicans I think. I think the crazies at the rallies are a problem, but probably out of proportion (they always get the media attention) to the real breadth of sentiment underneath, which I think is largely authentic."

Self-professed middle-of-the-road political types were even more biting in their critiques.

Sam Stein is a Political Reporter at the Huffington Post, based in Washington, D.C.

 
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