Dems seek to tie GOP to Tea Party movement

Democrats on Wednesday rolled
out what they said was a major initiative to link Republicans to the Tea Party

The Democratic National
Committee (DNC) will unveil a new campaign called the “Republican-Tea Party
Contract With America,” a play on the Contract with America, the 1994 platform
on which GOP candidates campaigned.

The campaign will lay out “how
the Tea Party is now the most potent force in Republican politics and … an
institutionalized part of the Republican party,” said a DNC source. 

The campaign is meant to cast
Republican candidates this fall as inextricably tied with the Tea Party
movement, and is part of an effort by Democrats to underscore the difference
between themselves and the GOP ahead of November’s elections. 

“They are one and the same.
The positions espoused by the Tea Party is the governing platform of the
Republican party,” the DNC source added. “And as voters make their choice this
fall it’s important to understand what the Republican-Tea Party wants to do if

By tying the GOP to the Tea
Party movement, Democrats hope to portray Republicans as outside the mainstream
and unfit to govern. 

Confidence in this strategy
has been bolstered by victories in a few House races where Democrats have run
against candidates backed by the Tea Party, and by new polls showing Senate
Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) in a stronger position now that his
opponent is Tea Party favorite Sharron Angle, who has made controversial
statements about Social Security. 

But in an election year where
voters are angry with incumbents, there’s no guarantee the strategy will

Republicans have tried to
take advantage of the energy of the Tea Party movement, and some Republicans
have pushed their party to embrace it. A new Tea Party House caucus was formed
last week by Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.).

The DNC is billing the Tea
Party Contract as a major part of their election efforts, less than 100 days
before the election. The effort includes a website and new Web video (below),
and will likely include paid advertisements. DNC Chairman Tim Kaine will join
with Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), a DNC vice chairwoman, to detail
the plan. 

The effort is also a bid by
Democrats to define the GOP platform before Republicans have a chance to do so

Republicans are working on a
new “Contract for America” similar to the campaign document unveiled by the GOP
before the 1994 elections, when they won the House majority. Top Republicans
have suggested they are likely to lay out some sort of written platform this
year, but not until they have a chance to confer with constituents during the
August congressional recess.

Democrats worried about
losing the House this fall are trying to go on the offensive against
Republicans in August.

“While GOP leaders are still
promising to hold town halls and online forums to develop a contract of their
own, it’s already clear what that agenda will be based on — what self-professed
Tea Party adherents have said they stand for and the Republican adoption of the
Tea Party,” said the DNC source.

The items on the “Tea Party
Contract with America” are:

1. Repeal the Affordable Care Act (Health insurance

2. Privatize Social Security or phase it out altogether

3. End Medicare as it presently exists

4. Extend the Bush tax breaks for the wealthy and big oil

5. Repeal Wall Street Reform

6. Protect those responsible for the oil spill and future
environmental catastrophes

7. Abolish the Department of Education

8. Abolish the Department of Energy

9. Abolish the Environmental Protection Agency

10. Repeal the 17th Amendment which provides for the
direct election of senators

Find the DNC’s new video

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