While the rise of the tea party movement has helped the GOP's efforts to block President Obama's agenda, it has also put Republicans in a tricky spot. Polls show a hypothetical Tea Party outperforming the GOP, and influential right-wingers have declared their intention of "beating the Republican establishment."
Consequently, relatively moderate Republican lawmakers -- Rep. Mark Kirk (R-IL), for example -- have been forced to lurch rightward in the name of self-preservation. Meanwhile, influential conservative leaders, such as RNC Chairman Michael Steele, former Gov. Sarah Palin, and Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) have encouraged a Republican-Tea Party merger.
Today, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) became the latest GOP leader to reach out to the right-wing movement. During an interview on Mike Gallagher's radio show, Boehner said there's "no difference" between Republicans and the tea party activists:
"There really is no difference between what Republicans believe in and what the tea party activists believe in," Boehner said during an appearance on the conservative Mike Gallagher's radio show.
Boehner said his advice to Republican lawmakers going into this fall's elections has been to "prove it to the tea party activists that we really are who we say we are."
In light of Boehner's statement, it's worth revisiting exactly what the tea party activists "believe in."
Tea partiers are a hostile, often delusional bunch. Many of them are racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, and anti-Semitic. They believe the president is a Muslim communist who was actually born in Kenya, and that Glenn Beck is the answer to America's problems. Yet Republicans not only want their votes, but are eager to "prove" that they're one and the same.
That's something to remember next time Boehner and his pals start blowing smoke about bipartisanship on Fox News.
Cross-posted at Media Matters Action Network.