Chuck Schumer's plan to drive a wedge in the tea party

Sen. Charles Schumer (N.Y.), the Senate Democrats’ political guru, has a plan to poison the Tea Party by driving a wedge between its rich funders and its blue-collar rank and file.

Schumer, one of the Democrats’ most influential strategists, will argue in a major speech on Thursday that super-wealthy Tea Party donors have hijacked the grassroots movement that grew out of the economic anxiety of the 2008 financial collapse to suit their pro-big business agenda.

He’ll lay out a blueprint for how Democrats can exploit what he argues is a weakness in the opposition in the address at the Center for American Progress, a pro-Democratic think tank founded by John Podesta, who just joined President Obama’s inner circle at the White House.

Schumer will argue that Democrats must defend popular government programs such as extended unemployment benefits and student loan subsidies to persuade Tea Party voters that they can benefit from federal programs.