Yesterday, DNC Chairman Tim Kaine announced the Democratic Party’s new effort to link the GOP and the Tea Party movement as “one and the same.” Today on C-Span, Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA) disputed Kaine’s characterization. “What Gov. Kaine just said is absolutely untrue,” Gingrey contested. But earlier in the segment, Gingrey conceded the “intent” of the new House Tea Party caucus is “to make sure” that the relationship between the Tea Party and the GOP “was solidified.” Later, when host Susan Swain asked if their Tea Party caucus is going to be a “big tent” group, Gingrey seemingly misunderstood the question, and answered in terms of the GOP as a whole:
SWAIN: Will you as members of Congress adopt a statement specifically suggesting that you want to be a big tent organization?
GINGREY: We are a big tent organization if you are referring to my party, the Republican Party, I don’t think we’ll ever be as big a tent organization as the Democratic Party, their DNA is just a little bit different from ours quite frankly.
Perhaps the reason the GOP will never be as inclusive as its rival Party is because many of its members want it that way. Last year, former GOP Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee stated definitively that a “big tent” will “kill the conservative movement.” “Conservatives are conservatives because they have convictions and convictions aren’t preferences,” he said.