Editor's note: John Feehery worked for former House Speaker Dennis Hastert and other Republicans in Congress. He is president of Feehery Group, a Washington-based advocacy firm that has represented clients that include News Corp., Ford Motor Co. and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. He formerly was a government relations executive vice president for the Motion Picture Association of America.
Special to CNN
It is altogether ironic that the one person to have a Sam Adams beer at the infamous beer summit, hosted by the president, was Skip Gates, the Harvard professor whose arrest led to the summit.
Sam Adams was the key revolutionary figure in the Boston Tea Party of 1774, the spark that lit the American Revolution.
And now, 235 years later, Tea Parties have sprung up around the country as a reaction against the rule of President Obama and the Democratic Congress.
It is unlikely that Skip Gates will be spending any time addressing a Tea Party in his hometown of Boston any time soon.
And unlike the popular perception promoted by some in the media, the Tea Party is distinct from the Republican Party, probably as distinct as Sam Adams beer is from Bud Lite.
The Tea Party presents the first truly grass-roots threat to the ambitious agenda of President Obama. Largely misunderstood as anti-tax activists, and attacked by congressional Democrats as a collection of crazy right-wingers, the folks who go to Tea Parties are not concerned primarily with tax policy (although if the Democrats move to raise taxes on just about everybody, that could change).
Instead, they are mostly motivated by out-of-control spending, towering debt, and the pervasive feeling that government is too big, too powerful, too unaccountable and too cozy with Wall Street.
While the Tea Party movement presents a threat to the Obama administration, it also presents a challenge to congressional Republicans. After all, many of the protesters have as low a regard for the GOP as they do for the Democrats, and they hold the previous administration in as much as contempt as they do the Obama White House.
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