Do you know one Tea Partier?

I keep reading all these polls that say how many tens of millions of them there are, and how 56% of Americans (or some ungodly high figure) identify themselves as part of the movement, etc.

I was just thinking about it, and I realized . . . I have not met - to my knowledge - one of these people. And I live in a red state. I know a lot of Republicans, right-wingers, and general conservatives. I’m not saying that there’s definitely not one among the people I know, but I am not aware of one.

Do you know any?

I don’t know anyone who has identified themselves to me as a Tea Partier. However I don’t talk politics or religion with anyone.

I have not personally met any, but I’ve seen tons of stickers and flags on my end of the Valley (east Mesa/near AJ) Cisco.

Tea Party stickers and flags? What do they look like?

My in-laws would qualify ideologically, but they don’t go to rallies or anything, so I don’t know if they would count.

I don’t want to count libertarians, paleo-conservatives, tighty-righties, or anyone else who seems like they would fit in well with the Tea Party. I want to count Tea Partiers.

The Tea Party is still in rough form and it isn’t a real political party yet. No one agrees on what it means at all and some of the definitions are opposed to one another. I know lots of friends and family members that fit some definitions of a Tea Party member. Those would be people that want to slap the Republican Party back in shape and focus on fiscal conservatism. If that is the working definition, you could count me in. If it involves social conservatism as a core part of the agenda, count me out. I am a Scott Brown Republican or a libertarian. The Sara Palin Republicans are also fighting under the same umbrella and that won’t fly with people I know.

There is no way to count those because they aren’t remotely the same. Do you want to know if you have ever met someone that ever went to some Tea Party type event? Even that would include people that aren’t part of what it will end up being if it ever comes to anything? Attendance at social events is a poor measure of political identification in any case.

Same could be said for “Christian”, “atheist”, and countless other appellations, but you generally know one when you meet one. I don’t want to get overly-analytical about this. Someone who calls themself a Tea Partier is sufficient.

I said that I know one. I’m basing this on how, when there was a Tea Party rally on my (fairly left-wing) university campus, one of my friends made his Facebook status “Maybe our country isn’t totally hopeless after all!” Or something to that effect.

He also posted some offensively stupid stuff about how it’s the responsibility of the Church (what Church exactly, I remain unclear on) to take care of sick people when the health care reform bill passed. We got into such a heated argument that I had to ban myself from Facebook for a few days.

Anyway, I could be wrong, but it’s clear to me that he identifies with Tea Party politics.

I’ll call myself one right now if you want but that doesn’t mean much. I just like the libertarian and fiscal conservative elements of it. I think both major political parties are hopeless and need a slap back to reality. I want small government except in certain areas like the military, personal freedoms, minimal bureaucracy, and accountability for even dollar that is taken from private citizens as to where it goes and what it is for. Granted, not all of that can be a perfect balance given the requirements I just gave.

There are a bunch of other Tea Party identifiers that don’t believe much of the same things I do. They tend to be much more socially conservative. Your litmus test for “know one when you meet one” wouldn’t meet any type of liberal standard now would it?

I was afraid to vote, because I’m truly afraid I know a lot more people than I think who are tea partiers.

I do know at least one, based on emails he keeps sending me.

I know 7 or 8 of them. Two are friends-- one’s my best friend, one is a mutual friend-- which makes get-togethers awesome. We agree to disagree on political matters, but still manage to get into weird arguments. They’re both basically “moral majority” type Republicans, and are hoping the Tea Party will reform the GOP to be religiously conservative; they’re willing to vote for a Democrat if they feel the Republican candidate goes against their religious ideals. Two are regular customers of mine at my retail job who come in and regularly harangue whomever they can corner, and they’re more fringe; one’s a birther, and the other really comes across as a Christian Identity guy. Both are hoping/predicting the Tea Party will become the viable third party that the Constitution, et al., parties never were. Another’s a gym buddy who always has Tea Party stuff regarding the economy and fiscal responsibility soaped in his rear window; he seems to be a hardcore fiscal conservative and social libertarian. Not sure if he hopes the Tea Party will become a viable third party (perhaps replacing the Libertarians) or if he’s hoping TP ideals will be taken up by the main parties. Dude hates Pelosi, though. A couple of others are students who come across as being “Miss Me Yet?” Bush 2 fans, who are hoping the GOP can profit off of Tea Party success.

I marked 6-9 but those are only the people I know personally who would/do self-identify as such. I am positive there are quite a few more that I know and it’s just that the conversation has never come up. And yes, that horrifies me.

I know a fair amount of conservatives, but none who identify themselves as tea partiers, or who have attended a meeting or rally.

I did see a bunch of them in a 4th of July parade in a small town in Texas. They got just as much polite applause (and no boos) as the county dem and repub floats. In fact, they were smiling and seemed right friendly. I can’t imagine any of them wanting to punch Obama in the nads.

Politically speaking I am a “conservative libertarian.” So I agree with most (or all) of the Tea Party’s platform, or principles, or whatever you want to call it. Have even been to one rally.

I think I know one- my sister’s husband, a fact which depresses me greatly. He’s the closest thing I have to a brother, and his gleeful hatred of anything Democratic was really eroding my love for the guy.

I have a couple relatives and one Facebook “friend” (old classmate) who are self-identified Tea Partiers, Glenn Beck fans, and Obama-haters. They’re all in the D.C. area, so they’ve all been to the major rallies held there. They’re all the same flavor of evangelical Christian/social conservative and none of them were even remotely interested in politics or anything in the news beyond Britney Spear’s latest antics until Obama was running for office.

I work with lots of people from New Hampshire and several of them espouse Tea Party ideals, though I haven’t heard any identify themselves as being in the Tea Party. They have anti-Obama bumper stickers, two or three believe that he is ineligible to be president because of the birth certificate issue, they all believe taxes should be cut and that “entitlements” should be abolished (though, of course, when pressed they don’t want to get rid of Medicare or Social Security - “entitlements” is code for “welfare”). They are big on defense. They love the Second Amendment but are willing to sacrifice the First Amendment in the name of security. Abortion is killing babies (I actually agree with them on this, though I don’t think abortion should be outlawed).

I think it’s safe to say that I know several Tea Partiers. I haven’t met anyone from Massachusetts who fits the bill. I know lots of conservative Republicans from MA, but they stick to normal Republican beliefs.

I know plenty of right-wingers but none that actually gone to a rally or gotten a Lipton tattoo or anything like that.

I know one fellow who is a member of the Brandeis Tea Party Chapter, but I get the feeling he doesn’t actually identify with their politics but just as a Republican on campus wanting to help out the conservative cause. There’s also a blogger I’m online friends with who is always putting out his opinions on facebook and on his blog, and in the past was kind enough to comment on stuff I put up; he seems to identify pretty completely with tea party politics.

So I’ll count each of those as a half and say “I know one.”