Is there such a thing as a tea party Democrat? The answer, it seems, is yes. Polls show the group exists, but determining its impact is difficult. What role the group could play in the 2012 elections is even murkier, except as a rallying cry for Republicans who say the movement is a bigger tent than it appears.

Recently, Republican leaders have gone out of their way to make the argument that the tea party is more than just a group of (somewhat) disaffected Republicans who are angry about government spending they perceive to be out of control and the large size of the federal government.

Republicans contend that the tea party movement, which surged in the 2010 midterm elections, includes not just Republicans but also independents and Democrats.

In announcing her 2012 presidential bid this month, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) described the tea party this way: “It’s made up of disaffected Democrats. It’s made up of independents. It’s made up of people who have never been political a day in their life.”

Continue Reading on www.washingtonpost.com