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NAW President Van Dongen Calls Tea Party ‘Taliban Minority’

At first glance, the headline in Thursday’s edition of the Washington Post is definitely an attention-grabber.

“Business groups stand by Boehner, plot against tea party”.

The story talks about the support House Speaker John Boehner maintains with the business community, and the Washington Post reports organizations like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce are standing behind him.

But the budget battle has exposed two sides that have formed in the Republican Party.  Traditional Republicans, like Boehner, have strong support from business owners.  Tea Party Republicans have the support of activist groups like Heritage Action.  And right now, they aren’t seeing eye to eye.

Dirk Van Dongen is the President of NAW, and holds strong political ties in Washington, D.C.  The Washington Post quoted him on his feelings about the Tea Party Republicans.

“I don’t know of anybody in the business community who takes the side of the Taliban minority,” Van Dongen said.

tED magazine had a chance to talk with Van Dongen about the comment.

“It’s a colorful phrase,” Van Dongen said. “What I mean is these guys are purists, and if you are not 100% pure, you’re a bad guy.”

To be clear, NAW and NAED are in lock step on nearly all political issues facing the country right now, from budgeting to the Marketplace Fairness Act to the regulatory agenda to health care reform.

Van Dongen adds that the Tea Party is on the same page as NAW and NAED on most of those issues, but the way it is trying to accomplish goals is hurting the Republican Party.

“Their rebellion disarms the Republican majority (in the House).  Tactically, they don’t want to play the game, and it doesn’t make sense at all. If you are only going to get 80% of what you want, take it.”

Van Dongen believes it is too early to tell what will happen during the primary season, and if any races will be targeted as more important than others, but he hopes the debt-ceiling and government shut-down issues of this month will lead to better times.

“One would hope they have learned some lessons from this experience,” Van Dongen said.

 

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