Is Chuck Grassley going Tea Party?
In recent comments — at the Iowa GOP Straw Poll and the next day at the Black Hawk County Lincoln Day Dinner – Iowa’s senior senator praised the Tea Party, but stopped short of dumping tea bags in the pond back on his New Hartford farm.
In Cedar Rapids this week, Grassley explained he’s been following the Tea Party since the summer of 2009. That’s when the upstart political “Taxed Enough Already” movement made its presence felt at meetings Grassley and other members of Congress held around Iowa and the nation.
As he’s observed the loosely organized group’s activities, Grassley said he sees the benefit of its ideas – “commonsense, basic American principles” – to the political process.
Grassley compared the involvement of many previously politically inactive citizens to Barack Obama’s strategy for winning the presidential nomination and election in 2008.
“It’s not different from what the president, as a candidate, did in bringing a lot of new people into the process and winning the election with them,” Grassley said.
While he disagrees with those people and their reasons for voting for Obama, “I compliment (Obama) for getting more people involved,” Grassley said.
“I see the Tea Party bringing people into the political process who have sat it out,” he continued. “To the extent that the Tea Party is getting more people involved, they should be complimented because it will strengthen our democracy.”
So his recent comments shouldn’t be taken so much as an embrace of the movement or a new-found Tea Party religion, Grassley said, but “an acknowledgement of the good I see them doing for the political process.”