Julian E. Zelizer: It's Tea Party vs. Bush and Obama





[Julian E. Zelizer is a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University. He is the author of "Jimmy Carter" by Times Books and editor of a book assessing former President George W. Bush's administration by Princeton University Press.]

Former President George W. Bush loomed large throughout the 2010 campaign even though he has been out of office for nearly two years.

The upcoming publication of Bush's memoirs, "Decision Points," offers us an opportunity to consider the relationship between the former commander-in-chief and the Tea Party activists who played such a major role in energizing the GOP this summer and fall. While the Tea Party attacks on President Obama and his policies were front and center, their anger was also directed toward the nature of Republican politics in the age of Bush.

The Tea Party movement has opened up a civil war within the Republican Party. Recently these tensions exploded when Bush's top political adviser, Karl Rove, said the Tea Party was not very "sophisticated." Former Arkansas governor and presidential candidate Mike Huckabee called Rove an "elitist" and said that "unfortunately, there is an elitism within the Republican establishment. And it's one of the reasons the Republicans have not been able to solidify not only the Tea Party movement but solidify conservatives across America."...


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