Gingrich: Tea Parties are ‘likely to end up as the militant wing of the Republican Party.’

Last week, when former President Bill Clinton compared the political atmosphere around the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing to the political atmosphere today, conservatives freaked out and claimed that Clinton was trying to “smear Tea Party protests” — ignoring the fact that Clinton said he welcomed the Tea Parties. Speaking in Pennsylvania yesterday, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich described the Tea Party as potentially “militant,” a description that might draw similar ire from Tea Party supporters:

But while attendees supported many of Gingrich’s assertions, his characterization of the Tea Party as “militant” was lost on [Springettsbury Township resident and teacher Susan Livermore] and others.

Reading a selection of questions to the former Speaker, [Manufacturers’ Association of South Central Pennsylvania executive director Mike Smeltzer] asked Gingrich about the future of the conservative group.

Gingrich said the movement is a “natural expression of frustration with Republicans and anger at Democrats,” which is “more likely to end up as the militant wing of the Republican Party” than as an independent or third party.


“I wouldn’t use the word ‘militant,’” Livermore said, adding that she supports the Tea Party tenets of lower taxes and “government getting out of my life.”

In the same speech at the Manufacturers’ Association of South Central Pennsylvania’s 104th Annual Event, Gingrich also attacked unemployment benefits, saying that “last year’s extension of unemployment benefits was like a bribe to people to tolerate legislators’ incompetence.”