GOP convention to show tea party influence

By Daniel Malloy and Laura A. Bischoff The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Welcome to the first…

Georgia (Aug 27, 2012) — By Daniel Malloy and Laura A. Bischoff


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The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Welcome to the first Republican National Convention of the tea party era. 

The conservative movement that began in 2009 as discordant activists protesting government spending and bailouts, burst forth as a Republican electoral force in 2010 and grappled with governing during the 2011 debt-ceiling standoff, has arrived at its first convention as a source of inspiration and conflict.

The tea party is pulling the GOP to the right and electing candidates to local school boards, city councils, county parties and higher offices. It also has caused friction with a Republican Party that embraces the movement's small-government enthusiasm while it resists some of its more aggressive candidates.

In its platform and speakers, Republicans are using the convention to attempt to harness the movement's energy toward electing Mitt Romney as president.

While tea party activists have resisted a party label, they have made their imprint on the Republican platform this year.      …

As Republicans seek to define themselves to the nation, much of their party identity is aligned with the tea party. Many Republican officials hopped on the bandwagon quickly.

"There obviously are some differences but I think the convention, if it does its job right, will make 99.5 percent of them feel good about going out and electing Mitt Romney," said Kerwin Swint, political science professor at Kennesaw State University. "They're not going to forget their differences. If Mitt Romney wins, there are Republicans who are going to want to remind him of the priorities of the movement." 


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