FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
Despite last year's midterm shellacking of the Democrats and record low approval ratings for President Obama, there is a big potential problem for Republicans heading into the 2012 presidential election. Other Republicans.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2011/images/04/21/art.tea.party.jpg caption="Last week's 2011 Palm Beach County Tax Day Tea Party."]
More specifically, the Tea Party; that grassroots movement that helped the GOP win the House last fall and weaken the Democrats' hold on the Senate. These days they are all but driving the Republican agenda. They want big spending cuts and a much smaller government. The thing is a lot of Americans agree with them. And many of the newly-elected lawmakers who ran on those platforms have proven they're willing to stick to the budget-slashing principles even if it effectively paralyzes Congress.
Fifty-four Republicans in the House voted against last week's budget bill and for a government shutdown, a sign that upcoming battles like raising the debt ceiling and reforming Medicare could get very ugly.
The old line establishment Republicans aren't nearly so extreme, and that could become a problem when it comes time for the GOP to run against the Democrats in next year's elections. Potential GOP candidates like Sarah Palin, Tim Pawlenty, and Donald Trump have all made appearances at Tea Party events this month. Others like Mitt Romney and Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour have chosen to steer clear of events, while still speaking favorably of the group.
According to a CNN/Opinion Research poll, just 32% of Americans have a favorable view of the Tea Party, while 46% have a favorable view of the Democratic party and 44% have a favorable view of Republicans.
Here’s my question to you: Which will cause Republicans more problems next year: Democrats or the Tea Party?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?
The Tea Party. They will drive the nomination to some extreme reactionary who will prove unelectable in the general election. The Democrats will continue to try to throw away the Presidency but won’t succeed.
Steve in Clifton, Virginia:
The GOP, like the Democrats, are their own worst enemy. Both parties try to cater to all elements within their parties and end up divided, confused, indecisive, undecided and not necessarily standing for anything that the country can collectively rally around.
Amber in Austin:
The biggest problem for the GOP? Pick one: Sarah, Donald, Newt, Mitt, Michelle, Mike, Haley. Not an ounce of Presidential material in any of them.
Iris in California:
The Tea Party will give the Republicans nothing but grief! The same thing will happen with the presidential election that happened to Meg Whitman who ran for Governor here in California. She had to go further and further to the right to get the nomination and then had to backtrack most of what she said in the primary to get the moderate independents to vote for her in the general election. It did not work!
Jeff in Bishop, Georgia:
Yeah, that evil Tea Party wants the government to operate within a budget, to lower taxes and to limit the overreaching power of the feds. As Democratic New York Senator Chuck Schumer said, "That's just too extreme."
Steve in Florida:
Tea Party, for sure. They force any Republican into such a far right corner that it will impossible for them to move anywhere near the center to win a general election. By the way, this couldn't make me happier!
Rich in Texas:
If people actually listened to what the Tea Party is saying and not just to the Democrats' talking points, I think they would be amazed at how much they agree with them. I know you agree with the Tea Party, Jack. You just don't have the guts to admit it because of CNN's liberal bias.