At NYT, Kate Zernike's Clueless Advice to GOP Candidates: 'Enlist (Tea Partiers), but Avoid Speeches on the Constitution'

ZernikeIt's almost tempting to just run a few paragraphs of Kate Zernike's latest item in the New York Times and simply have folks take their rips, but a bit of background would be helpful.

Zernike (pictured at right) is the Times reporter who seems to have made it her mission to somehow singlehandedly discredit what may when all is said and done come to be seen as the most significant grass-roots movement in America in a long, long time. Earlier today, Clay Waters at NewsBusters reviewed Zernike's new book, "Boiling Mad -- Inside Tea Party America," noted that she "evinces little sympathy or feel for conservative concerns," and is intent on "finding racism everywhere she looks in Tea Party land."

In a late March post (at NewsBusters; BizzyBlog), I noted a Zernike item ("With No Jobs, Plenty of Time for Tea Party") which cynically questioned "whether the movement can survive an improvement in the economy, with people trading protest signs for paychecks."

This is the same Kate Zernike Andrew Breitbart memorably called “a despicable human being” after she claimed to have found racism that really didn't exist at CPAC in February.

With that background, the paragraphs that follow from Kate's latest calamity won't surprise anyone too much, but they will as usual disappoint if you're foolishly expecting anything resembling fair treatment (bold as mine):

So you’re a Republican candidate and you want to take advantage of the Tea Party energy that jolted once-sleepy primaries. But you aren’t sure whether that means you have to take a stand against masturbation or urge your supporters to gather their bayonets — tactics that seem to have worked for a few Tea Party candidates so far. You’re not certain most Americans share the Tea Party enthusiasm for repealing the 17th Amendment (or even know that it established direct election of United States senators by popular vote). You don’t have Sarah Palin’s phone number.

Not to worry. There’s no doubt that the Tea Party is a double-edged sword: a New York Times/CBS poll last week found that while most Americans had not formed a view of the Tea Party, the percentage of independent voters who view it negatively had increased.

But the Tea Party has brought a swell of new participants to the political process, and historical and economic trends are working in favor of the party out of power — that would be you, G.O.P. The trick is to take advantage of the Tea Party passion and stay away from its extremes. Celebrate the genius of the Constitution, but don’t get into the particulars. Tea Party activists, Republican moderates and independent handicappers all agree that the road for Republican candidates is to talk about the debt and concerns about the new health care legislation — areas where Tea Party sentiment is more aligned with the views of most Americans.

... Tea Party activists — and their candidates — pose a problem when they move the discussion into a broader one about the role of government.

“You see these rallies and the signs are all about the Constitution,” said Stuart Rothenberg, editor of a nonpartisan political report. “They want it to be about these big ideological ideas, when I don’t think most voters think that way. It’s very clear that what’s best for the election is to make it about Obama, Pelosi, health care, the deficit.”

Rothenberg is about as "nonpartisan" as Larry Sabato, i.e., give me a break.

He also doesn't get it if he really thinks that enough voters to matter aren't worried about the Constitution and how its limits on Executive Branch perogatives are being ignored. You'll note that Zernike didn't quote a bona fide Tea Party member about her novel suggestion to "not get into the particulars" of the Constitution.

Zernike? The arrogant condescension continues. Remember in November.

Cross-posted at

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