05/02/2013 10:03 am ET

Harry Reid Defends Comparing Tea Party To Anarchists: They 'Throw Monkey Wrenches' Into Government


Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) spoke with conservative radio host Rusty Humphries on Wednesday, The Hill reports, standing by an earlier contention that the tea party and anarchist movements were similar in their general disdain for government.

“I believe that, my experience with the Tea Party is they are against government in any form. They do throw monkey wrenches into the government,” Reid told Humphries, who had earlier said that he considered himself to be a tea party guy. “It’s evident. We can’t get things done. They don’t want anything to happen in government. We pass laws. They fight funding the laws we pass. They don’t want government to work. I want it to work."

Reid made the initial claim last month during a Senate floor speech in which he argued that "government is inherently good." While he admitted that the tea party wasn't violent like anarchists in their anti-government expression, Reid claimed the movement's distrust had made legislating much more difficult over the past years.

"We have a situation where this country has been driven by the tea party for the last number of years," he said. "When I was in school, I studied government and I learned about the anarchists. Now, they were different than the Tea Party because they were violent. But they were anarchists because they did not believe in government in any level and they acknowledged it."

Reid continued: "The Tea Party kind of hides that. They don't say they're against government, but that is what it all amounts to. They're not doing physically destructive things to buildings and people, directly, but they are doing everything they can to throw a monkey wrench into every form of government, whether it's local, state or federal. That's what it's all about."

Reid has been a chief skeptic and critic of the tea party since its rise to power in the early part of President Barack Obama's first term. In early 2011, fresh off defeating a tea party challenger in his 2010 reelection, Reid predicted that the movement would "disappear" once the economy got better. While the movement has dropped in nationwide popularity recently, it doesn't appear to be going anywhere just yet.

Instead, according to a recent survey, the tea party appears to be drifting further away from the larger GOP and developing a set of distinct electoral and policy goals that could pose problems for Republicans going forward.



Senate Majority Leaders Through The Years