Building off of my earlier post about the viability of Tea Party candidates, via The Hill I see that NBC and the Wall Street Journal have a poll out showing that the Tea Party movement has better approval rating than either Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid (though not the President or the Democratic Party). The Tea Party movement also scored higher than the Republican Party, so it seems safe to assume that it would have beat out McConnell and Boehner had their approval ratings been tested.
The President is, while still clocking in at less than 50%, doing better than any other person/party polled, save the First Lady. And so his relative popularity helps to pull his Party up. Congress, on the other hand, is still polling at historically low rates. So the dismal perceptions of their respective institutions wind up pulling Reid and Pelosi down.
The months (years? decades?) old gripe about Congress is that, despite all its high flown rhetoric, it continues catering to special interests over the desires and needs of average Americans. So in essence, Members of Congress continually say one thing and then wind up doing another. Whether that is due to political timidity or the realities of the political process, the result winds up being a lack of credibility that is significantly hampering those Members.
And the midst of the worst recession in recent history is the last time a Member of Congress wants to appear duplicitous.
If there is one thing that the Tea Party movement does well, it is counter that very perception about itself. Whether you agree or disagree with the basic tenets of the movement, few people have any misconceptions about where it and its members atdn on various issues. Nor is there much doubt that Tea Party members and candidates will follow through on those beliefs, if given the chance.
While I think it remains fair to say that a majority of Americans probably don’t hold the same beliefs as the Tea Party movement, the degree of commitment that the movement demonstrates towards those beliefs comes off as an unmitigated advantage in this political and economic environment. Members from both political parties would do well to take note of this fact.