CBS Analyst: Dems Hope Tea Party Becomes 'Stain' on GOP

Maggie Rodriguez and John Dickerson, CBS On Monday's CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez asked political analyst and writer for the left-leaning blog Slate.com, John Dickerson, if Democrats were "worried" about the "ton of momentum" behind the tea party movement. Dickerson replied: "What Democrats can only hope for is that tea party activists somehow overreach and that that ends up becoming a stain on the Republican Party."        

Rodriguez agreed and touted Democratic Party talking points on ObamaCare: "Right. And also, if you ask the Obama administration, they'll tell you maybe people will see the few health care changes that are taking effect immediately and actually like them and it'll turn the tide of public opinion."

"That certainly is the hope," Dickerson replied, but then lamented: "The polling right now does not give the Obama administration a lot of encouragement on that front." He explained that the American public was simply afraid of change: "The problem is that people are nervous about change and this is an enormous change in their lives....people really just don't believe it yet."

Here is a transcript of the exchange:
7:10AM

MAGGIE RODRIGUEZ: Here at home over the weekend, we saw the growing tea party movement kick off this 42-city protest tour against the passage of health care reform with Sarah Palin leading the charge, promising the Democrats that the upcoming elections would be a referendum on health care reform. How worried do you think the Democrats are? Because this is a party that is growing. Look at the number of people there. And it has a ton of momentum.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Tea Party Politics; Palin Leads Charge Against Obama & Health Care]

JOHN DICKERSON: Well, the worry is that conservatives and tea party activists are energized. And their key argument is that legislators in Washington and the President aren't listening to them and now that this health care legislation has passed that's a perfect piece of evidence in that complaint. And so what they're – what Democrats are worried about in particular is that the opposition, the conservatives, are just more energized, more exercised, and they'll turn out at the polls in November. What Democrats can only hope for is that tea party activists somehow overreach and that that ends up becoming a stain on the Republican Party.

RODRIGUEZ: Right. And also, if you ask the Obama administration, they'll tell you maybe people will see the few health care changes that are taking effect immediately and actually like them and it'll turn the tide of public opinion.

DICKERSON: That certainly is the hope. The polling right now does not give the Obama administration a lot of encouragement on that front. The problem is that people are nervous about change and this is an enormous change in their lives. And then, in addition to that, they saw a political process over a year that didn't give them much reason to be more confident. So now that it's passed, the President's out there stumping, trying to explain people what's in this bill. The problem is people really just don't believe it yet.

RODRIGUEZ: And lastly, how about Sarah Palin campaigning for John McCain and against his more conservative opponent this weekend. You good got to give her props for loyalty.

DICKERSON: Indeed you do. They have maintained their relationship even though there has been this extraordinary out-in-the-open feud between Palin and lots of the top members of McCain's campaign. Ultimately in that feud, McCain had to come out and say he still, sort of, stood behind the former leaders of his campaign. Anyway, all water under the bridge. She's now out there trying to help John McCain, who's in a very tough race.

RODRGUEZ: Alright, John Dickerson. Thanks so much, John.

DICKERSON: Thanks, Maggie.
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC