Understanding the Tea Party Movement

While at a conference in Cleveland, Ohio last week, I picked up a copy of Scott Rasmussen and Dough Schoen’s new book Mad as Hell: How the Tea Party Movement is Fundamentally Reshaping Our Two-Party System. The book is an eminently readable dissection of the tea party movement. More importantly, Rasmussen and Schoen are uniquely qualified to get beyond anecdote and really understand the motivations and values that underly the tea parties and their supporters.

Rasumussen and Schoen do a commendable job, using poll data and other sources, showing this is a broad-based popular movement that is, at its core, rooted in core governing principles imbedded in the U.S. Constitution. An open question is whether the dominant parties will recognize the lessons and recognize the broad-based principles that are driving the tea party’s popular support: fiscal restraint, limited government, and decentralization.