The rise of the Tea Party is closely linked to America’s Scots-Irish heritage, according to Senator James Webb.

The movement has its roots “in the populist-style, bottoms-up democracy that emerged from Scots-Irish migration to America”  said the Virginia senator during a recent address to the Washington Ireland Program, at the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill.

The group was made up of Catholic and Protestant university students from the 32-counties of Ireland, who are interning this summer throughout Washington.

Webb, a descendant himself of Scots-Irish settlers, who arrived in the U.S. in the 18th century, said “the Tea Party movement is right out of this culture.”

During his address he spoke about the legacies of Scots-Irish migration, such as country music and fundamentalist values of the Bible Belt.

“They vote on issues of dignity — they don’t vote their pocket book,” he said.

“Karl Rove understands this culture completely,” he added. “Democrats don’t even know it exists.”

A former Vietnam marine and successful author, his book “Born Fighting” explores how the Scots-Irish shaped America.
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