Tea partyers exult in Democrats’ name-calling
Epithets attest to efficacy, swell ranks, leaders say
Democrats in Washington have called them terrorists and extortionists, but tea party activists say the name-calling is only proof they are finally having a real impact on the debate over government spending.
“Our enrollments go up, and people start new chapters,” said Mark Meckler, co-founder of Tea Party Patriots, as the dust settles from the recent epic battle with President Obama and congressional Democrats over government spending and borrowing. “It’s definitely worked to our advantage.”
During the contentious fight over raising the nation’s borrowing limit, Republican lawmakers affiliated with the tea party were targeted for especial scorn as they held out for deeper spending cuts and no tax increases. Rep. Mike Doyle, Pennsylvania Democrat, complained to Vice President Joseph R. Biden in a closed meeting of House Democrats that the tea party-allied lawmakers “have made it impossible to spend any money.”
“We have negotiated with terrorists,” Mr. Doyle said.
Several sources in the room said Mr. Biden agreed with the characterization and repeated it, although the vice president later denied it.