WASHINGTON, DC – “There are two things: There’s the [Tea Party] movement, which are the people organized into groups, and there’s the Tea Party sentiment, that gave rise to these groups in the first place. Both are viable, and both are important. They have energized a group of people that heretofore have largely been sitting on the sidelines and brought about big, important change,” Karl Rove told radio host Scott Hennen in an interview today.
Those sentiments – a commitment to lower the debt and deficits without raising taxes along with government fiscal responsibility and accountability – are “probably enough to turn the 2012 election if properly dealt with,” Rove stated, citing the large influence they exerted on independents in the 2010 election.
Rove noted that since the founding of the Republican party, which grew out of the Abolitionist movement, there have been movements similar to the current Tea Party movement, that have exerted significant influence on shaping party platforms. Rove said that these have “by and large been very healthy for the system.”
“Should broadly speaking the Republican party be encouraging of and welcoming of the Tea Party sentiment? Yes. Should they be welcoming and encouraging of the Tea Party movement? Yes.” Rove continued, “But they also ought to respect that a lot of the people in the Tea Party do not want their groups to become merely an adjunct to the Republican party like the local chapter of the federated women’s clubs or the young republican clubs.”
Rove also emphasized the importance of candidates’ remembering that the Tea Party’s concerns over the deficit, debts, and government spending are shared by many more people than just those showing up at rallies.