‘Top Line’ -- Is Tea Party Influence Exaggerated?

ABC News’ Rick Klein reports: The tea party movement has fully immersed itself in the national political lexicon. If you need evidence, the very fact that it’s routinely called a “movement” is one good indication.

But is it overhyped? That’s the argument put forward by Politico’s Jonathan Martin and Ben Smith today, in a provocative piece that points out that tea party energy is largely a Republican phenomenon, rather than a “movement” capable to remaking national politics.

We put the question out on Twitter today, as our “Top Line” question of the day.

An intriguing counter-point from @TheTonyLee : “TP coverage is overblown for "racism" and buffoonery;" the pull they'll have in politics the next decade is under-covered.”

We talked about it with Jonathan Martin on today’s “Top Line”:

“Ultimately there'll be some impact in primaries. But when these folks go into the ballot booth this fall and they vote for their member of Congress or their senator or what have you, they're going to vote for the Republican I think,” Martin said.

“They're basically a wing we think of the party, a wing that perhaps didn’t exist previously, that perhaps they weren't involved. But their relevance is not as some sort of third-party entity, but as a sort of grass-roots activist force that folks can now put up signs, they can sort of lick envelopes, knock on doors -- for Republicans overwhelmingly this fall.”

Watch the “Top Line” segment with Jonathan Martin HERE.

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