On Wednesday, former presidential candidate and Democratic Party chairman Howard Dean said the Tea Party is fueled by an older generation that has a discomfort with change, including the idea that America now has an African American president.
“I think it’s the last gasp of the 55-year-old generation,” Dean told a group of reporters. “It’s a group of older folks who have seen their lives change dramatically … They don’t know what to do. It’s just a huge change. They never thought the day would ever come. Every morning they see the president they’re reminded that things are totally different than when they were born.”
Dean later tried to clarify that he didn’t mean to say the Tea Party is racist at its core, but that the process of getting used to change is difficult for the movement. Some, however, are not satisfied with Dean’s clarification.
“Dean is throwing a verbal tantrum and making unfounded claims about racism,” said Deneen Borelli, Project 21 Fellow. “His analysis is a complete misdiagnosis of the Tea Party and the issues that are driving change in America.”
“Dean is attacking the symptom – the rise of the Tea Party – and not the disease – President Obama’s toxic policies,” Borelli continued. “The progressive hold on all three branches of government during the last Congress has brought the American people high unemployment and a war on fossil fuels that’s yielding three dollars a gallon gasoline. You don’t need a medical degree to see the real cause of what’s unsettling to Americans.”