Armey: Tea Party Candidates Should Avoid 'Tea Party' Label

Are they stealth candidates now? The tea party folks should avoid the hard questions and use disguises? There’s nothing like an informed electorate.

"Former Republican House Majority Leader Dick Armey, one of the drivers of the Tea Party movement, is suggesting that Republican political candidates should shy away from the “Tea Party” label to avoid harsher scrutiny.

Armey’s conservative nonprofit group FreedomWorks has facilitated Tea Party activists with guidance and resources, allowing for the growth of the movement that supports candidates like Kentucky’s GOP Senate candidate Rand Paul and Nevada’s GOP Senate candidate Sharron Angle. But Paul’s and Angle’s association with the Tea Party could be making their campaigns harder, Armey said, according to Politico.

Democrats have tried to portray Paul and Angle as extreme candidates. Paul, for instance, came under scrutiny for questions about whether he supports the Civil Rights Act. Paul faced a litany of tough questions on the subject on MSNBC’s “Rachel Maddow Show” – going on the show in the first place was another mistake Paul made, Armey reportedly said.

Armey, Politico reports, said candidates like Paul should stick to interviews with local media outlets and Fox News, which has several hosts who are friendly to Republicans.
However, Angle has taken heat for largely avoiding reporters, and Democrats are suggesting Angle and Paul cannot survive questions from mainstream media because their ideas are out of the mainstream.

While Armey said Tea Party candidates should avoid the “Tea Party” label to avoid scrutiny from the press, blogger Allahpundit on the conservative blog Hot Air writes that Armey is surely aware of polls showing a downturn in public support for the Tea Party. "

So the candidates should not have their feet held to the fire, and while putting on the tea party mantle, should avoid being identified with it? This is a strange development.

Without the negative portrayal in the media, baseless racism charges, and sexual perjoratives, it probably wouldn’t be necessary. :smiley:

If the charges are baseless, refute them! That should be easy.

If you can’t stand the heat … how can you be a representative?

As has been done. You just refuse to accept the evidence. People making a bunch of noise does not make for truth.

Armey is trying to channel the Tea Party enthusiasm into real political results; and to lay claim to leadership of the movement at the same time. I wonder if his real concern is not that candidates will be tarnished by the Tea Party label as much as it is that the Tea Party is being tarnished by some of the candidates. I think he is really trying to mitigate the negative attention some candidates are attracting to the movement. I think Armey sees candidates like Angle (and to a lesser extent Paul) has threatening to the Tea Party “brand.” I am sure he is also frustrated because he doesn’t control the brand he purports to represent.

I think that is part of it. There really is a low cost in labeling yourself a tea party candidate. There’s no responsibility, either. So it can attract some real doozies.

But any candidate should be able to field media questions.

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