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What do you call non-Tea Party Republicans?

REUTERS/Rebecca Cook
"Tea Party" is designed to quickly reference both the firebrands who started the American Revolution in 1776 with perhaps a dash of anti-tax sentiment added.

Writing for National Journal, Beth Reinhard updates the developing effort by the kind of elements that we used to think of as the heart and soul of the Republican Party to recapture, well, the heart and soul of the Republican Party, or at least to get the party to nominate slightly more moderate Republicans. From her piece:

“Hopefully we’ll go into eight to 10 races and beat the snot out of them,” said former Rep. Steve LaTourette of Ohio, whose new political group, Defending Main Street, aims to raise $8 million to fend off tea party challenges against more mainstream Republican incumbents. “We’re going to be very aggressive and we’re going to get in their faces.”

The terminology is fascinating, and here I’m not even talking about the word “snot.”

“Tea Party” is designed to quickly reference both the firebrands who started the American Revolution in 1776 (although the actual Boston Tea Party dates from 1773) with perhaps a dash of anti-tax sentiment added (unless I’m overanalyzing, but the original Tea Partiers were indeed tax protesters).

So now LaTourette’s group will try to claim “Main Street” as the concept they are defending. That’s surely not a reference to Sinclair Lewis’ novel “Main Street,” which actually was a snide putdown of Main Street-ism, but perhaps it is intended to invoke the homely values and maybe the common sense of the mythical small businessmen whose stores lined the Main Streets of the revered small-town America back when everything was better.

Anyway, they surely chose well by not naming themselves “Defending Wall Street” (although just as surely some people who work in the New York financial district contribute to the effort to nudge control of Republicanism away from a group that argued that declining to raise the debt ceiling was no big deal).

We can call the Tea Party the Tea Party because most of its sympathizers happily embrace the term and, by now, the attentive public has a clue to that for which it stands. But we don’t have an instantly evocative term for the other wing of the Republican Party.

Here are a few of the stabs Reinhard took at labeling the non-Tea Party Republicans:

“Establishment Republicans,” “the center-right, business-oriented wing of the Republican Party,” “more mainstream Republicans,” “House Republicans who have drawn the wrath of the Club for Growth.”

The 30-second spots run by both sides in this struggle are going to be fascinating. Methinks Ronald Reagan’s famed “commandment” that “Thou shalt not speak ill of a fellow Republican” will be sorely tested by the snot-beaters and their beatees.

Comments (12)

  1. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 10/25/2013 - 10:04 am.

    How about


  2. Submitted by Todd Hintz on 10/25/2013 - 10:25 am.


    It’s interesting to see the whole process of the Republican party’s remake. Part of it is in denial and insists that the rest stay the course. The balance sees the party lose race after race and realizes that they need a different message, different candidates, and a broader platform if they want to stay relevant in American politics.

    There’s going to be a whole lot of sausage making in the next ten years.

  3. Submitted by Jack Taylor on 10/25/2013 - 11:26 am.

    How about

    “intelligent”. From a center right pov, there’s currently no one to vote for, so I vote center left – the far right Tea Party is just too far out there. Get some moderate non TP’ers back in house and I’ll start voting GOP again.

    Lot of folks I know in the same boat, voting wise.


  4. Submitted by Eric Paul Jacobsen on 10/25/2013 - 11:40 am.

    There are two kinds of Republicans.

    There are two kinds of Republicans: those who think they’re brewing tea, and those who know that they’re all in hot water.

  5. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 10/25/2013 - 12:50 pm.

    As Newt once referred to Bob Dole

    Tax collectors for the welfare state. The Tea party stands for the extremist, radical notion that we’re “taxed enough already.”

    Most chamber of commerce-types are republicans because they can’t relate to the left wing secularists who protest the town’s Christmas displays. And as entrepreneurs, they can’t relate to big government liberals who’s idea of the American dream is a good government job.

    But most tea partiers don’t even refer to themselves as republicans, but as conservatives who vote republican. We vote republican because the other major party is the home, ideological and otherwise, of everything we disagree with.

    But none of this is new. The republican party has always consisted of several factions or wings (establishment, social, fiscal, constitutional, libertarian), each enjoying their time in the sun at various times in history and each leaving the stage when another wing’s agenda has a higher priority.

    So right now, the tea partiers, or constitutionalists have essentially forced their way upon the stage because the Bob Dole-George Bush-John McCain-Mitt Romney establishment wing has been letting us down. And it’s time to get serious if we want to save the republic.

    When the Founding Fathers pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor, the establishment-types of their time looked down at their shoes and slowly slinked back into the crowd. We won’t.

    By the way, that photo can’t be right. Those aren’t two old white guys.

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 10/25/2013 - 12:59 pm.

      Assuming the picture is not a spoof

      the Tea Party appears to represent equal opportunity ignorance (although white males are also definitely over represented).

  6. Submitted by Steve Hoffman on 10/25/2013 - 03:34 pm.

    I call them “Republicans.”

    As in “real Republicans.”

    • Submitted by Todd Hintz on 10/26/2013 - 08:11 am.

      Vs Fake Republicans?

      Until you build a bigger tent the tea partiers will never be anything more than a fringe group. As it is you denigrate anyone who doesn’t think exactly like you do, which just takes your small piece of pie and chops it up till you’re scrambling for a few crumbs of society.

      Not that I mind that the Republicans have been eating their own. It’s fascinating to watch them self destruct as they lop off their own limbs, bleeding to death in the process. But if it fits your narrative, by all means define yourself as “real” and everyone else as RINOs and fakes. As the kids in the gaming world love to say, GLOTR.

      • Submitted by Steve Hoffman on 10/26/2013 - 03:53 pm.


        I don’t define myself as a “real Republican” because I tend to vote more Democratic anyway. I MISS the “real Republicans” from back in the days when they were fiscally conservative without being socially insane.

  7. Submitted by Richard Helle on 10/27/2013 - 09:31 am.

    An opportunity

    The tea baggers have co-opted the Republican party because they’re the only ones to show up at primaries. Subsequently we get congresspeople like Louie Gohmert and Steve King. These ridiculous folks have no clue and there’s no indication they’re looking for one. Like any addict, the Republican party won’t be able to begin healing itself until it admits it has a problem. Once that happens, the GOP has a opportunity to remake itself and become a viable political party. I would suggest the GOP embrace the middle class and become a real advocate for workers in this country. Aggressively encourage the formation of labor unions and support policies that will really foster entrepreneurship at the local level. The GOP should blow right past ACA and head straight for single payer health care coverage. Will that happen? No chance whatsoever but the opportunity is there for any in the GOP to make use of.

  8. Submitted by Don Mashak on 11/03/2013 - 07:29 pm.

    What do you call non TEA Party Republicans?

    What do you call anyone that there are not 2 major political parties but one ruling class pretending to be 2 major parties.

    Wake up people, the ruling class has orchestrated 2 party politics to divide and conquer WE THE PEOPLE. While they have us chasing our own tails, being mad and venting at the rank and file membership of the other party, they are robbing us blind.

    The two major party system is used to prevent WE THE PEOPLE from uniting against the tyranny of the Plutocrats and corrupt government officials who trade the property and liberty of rank and file Americans for their personal gain.

    2 major political party politics is orchestrated and choreographed just like TV’s All Star Wrestling… and it is just as fake.

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