TEA party picking up steam

By Philippe Djegal - email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - bio | email

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - While the president's job approval hovers around the 50-percent mark, many Americans are fed up with Congress. In fact, the latest Gallup poll shows just 25-percent approve of the job Congress is doing.

Much of that was vocalized in the TEA party protests last year, and they seem to be picking up steam.

"They're militant," said David Henderson, the Smith County Democrats chairman.

"Obviously, there's anger at what's going on in Washington," said Ashton Oravetz, the Smith County Republican's chairman.

"They're scruffy," said Henderson.

"They've got some Congressmen scared so badly that these Congressmen now want to wait. They've been protesting against this health bill all year long," said State Representative Leo Berman.

And, local Democratic leaders say the groundswell of angry voters seem to be ready to fight to, as they say, take their country back.

"Having been militant and scruffy and itching for a fight on the opposite side of the spectrum in my youth, I really can't disparage that," said Henderson.

In a Gallup tracking poll, conservatives finished 2009 as the number one ideological group, something local Republicans credit the TEA parties for.

"And, I think it's gonna change the composition of Congress and the Senate come November," said Oravetz.

The movement is being likened to the grassroots efforts that helped President Obama get elected, but with some differences.

"They don't have a national organization, neither do the Republicans for that matter; their leadership is weak," said Joanna Reagan, with the Texas Democratic Women.

Reagan says that TEA party organizers have generated a solid conservative base. But, on the national level, their impact may be marginal.

"We're an aspirational society," said Reagan. "We want better. We want to do better. And, I don't know how far anger takes you."

President Obama campaigned on hope and change, inspiring Americans to strive for a better tomorrow, but some aren't yet satisfied that he has done what he promised.

"People are realizing now, what type of change he was talking about last year, and they're not happy with it," said Berman.

And, that dissatisfaction could cost Democrats House and Senate seats in November, possibly even the majority.

U.S. Representative Parker Griffith's recent switch from the Democratic party to the Republican party highlight the tough battle Dems have ahead of them.

Democrats still hold a 79-seat majority in U.S. House of Representatives. But, two Democratic Senators recently announced their retirements.

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