September 19th, 2010
09:00 AM ET

LETTERS TO THE PRESIDENT: #608: 'The Tea Party Parade'

Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Democrats seem to see the Tea Party as largely a problem for Republicans, and it is. But as I note in my daily letter to the White House, that movement’s momentum may not stop after it passes the RNC’s door.

Dear Mr. President,

As the number of microphones in the huddle has increased in pro football, I have been amused by the glimpses we get into the teenager-like fervor of some players; moments of grown men are hooting and hollering as if they are going out to win one for the honor of Ol’ McKinley High School. It’s funny, a little embarrassing, and inspiring all at once.

Just think about it: These guys will get their paychecks no matter the final score, and many of them are already multi-millionaires. On any given play, they have more to gain by playing it safe than by going all out and risking a possible career ending injury. And yet time and again coaches find ways to persuade these guys to risk it all on winning.

That’s kind of what was happening with your campaign a couple of years ago at this time. Voters, volunteers, donors, and other politicians had been swept up in the possibility that you could actually win, and because of that they were willing to go way beyond their comfort zone to make it happen. We all saw the result. The power of such commitment can turn losers into winners, and hopeless causes into hopeful ones.

And right now the Tea Party folks have harnessed just such a burst of power. Only a few months back they were a disorganized mess; no clear direction, no ability to focus their fractious views, and both of the major parties were treating them like an outlaw 4H Club at best. Now? Even though it remains to be seen how much impact they will have in the big vote in November, they are carrying on as if they are going to take over Capitol Hill, the White House, the Supreme Court and everything in between.