Tea Party movement

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For more information, see: Restructuring of the U.S. political right.

The Tea Party movement consists of conservative political organizations in the United States of America that campaign on a variety of issues and endorse candidates for public office. It began in 2009 via a series of protests against new laws. Individual candidate positions varies, but the most common threads are fiscal conservatism and reducing the size of the Executive Branch of the Government of the United States. Signs frequently capitalize TEA, as an abbreviation for "Taxed Enough Already". Many describe themselves as constitutional conservatives, such as incoming Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky and Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minnesota) in her campaign for a House leadership role.[1]

The term "movement" is used because there are many autonomous groups that identify with the "Tea Party". There is no single national Tea Party organization; there are contending organizations, but also a certain sentiment that the group is inherently decentralized. It is not, at this time, a political party. According to one national-level activist, Eric Odom, executive director of the American Liberty League, their goal "is just to facilitate an environment where a new movement would be born."[2]

While some liken it to the Populist Party and similar movements, others have compared the Tea Party movement and their political allies to Richard Hofstadter's conception of "the paranoid style in American politics",[3] which Hofstadter argued surfaces with some regularity in U.S. politics. A number of the signs at the Tea Party rallies have compared President Obama with Hitler or with Communism.[4] Either of these explanations, however, is compatible that with the idea that it taps into deep anger.

2010 election effects

A number of candidates supported by the Tea Party won election, although prominent ones lost. Prominent winners included Senators Marco Rubio (Florida), Pat Toomey (Pennsylvania) and Rand Paul (Kentucky). Some of the more visible candidates, who had little political experience and made controversial statements that alienated the center, such as Senate candidates Christine O'Donnell (Delaware), Joe Miller (Alaska) and Sharron Angle (Nevada), lost. According to New York Times exit polls, 4 in 10 voters showed support for the movement.[5]

Bid for leadership

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minnesota), an incumbent who started the Tea Party Caucus, claims a mandate and is a candidate for the chair of the Republican Leadership Conference, the fourth-ranking member of the Republican leadership.[6] Bachmann claims that a constitutional conservative must be in the leadership.[1]

She lost her bid, and eventually supported the "establishment" candidate.

Rep. Jeb Hensarling of Texas, and top Republicans are making it clear that he is the insider’s choice. Minority Whip Eric Cantor of Virginia and outgoing Conference Chairman Mike Pence of Indiana already have endorsed Hensarling, sending a clear message that if Bachmann wants the job, she’s going to have to run an insurgent race for it.[1]

Hensarling has been introduced by established conservatives such as Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, who wrote "Jeb's economic expertise and strong ability to communicate are what we need in our conference chairman to articulate our unified commitment to get our country back on track,.This position requires someone who has a command of these issues and has a history of successfully debating them."[7] On 10 October, she gave up her campaign and endorsed Hensarling.

"Jeb Hensarling has my enthusiastic support for his candidacy to become Republican House Conference Chair. Jeb has demonstrated his commitment to limited government, reduced spending and lower taxes, and he will be a strong voice for the Tea Party's call for these values.[8]

Candidate identification after election

A relatively small number of U.S. Representatives, 12 freshmen in the total of 30, formally joined the Tea Party Caucus organized by Bachmann. The freshman members at the February 2011 meeting were: Sandy Adams (Fla.), Tim Huelskamp (Kansas), Stephen Fincher (Tennessee), Vicky Hartzler (Missouri), Mick Mulvaney (South Carolina), Dennis Ross (Florida), Marlin Stutzman (Indiana), Tim Walberg (Michigan), Rich Nugent (Florida), Joe Walsh (Illinois) and Allen West (Florida). Three members of the founding caucus declined to join in the new Congress: Paul Broun (Georgia), Walter Jones (North Carolina (U.S. state)) and Cynthia Lummis (Wyoming).[9] According to a political analyst with the Washington Post, some Republicans are hesitant, once in office, to identify too closely with the Tea Party, over concern that they will alienate independents.[10]


While there have been many earlier movements that recognized the historical significance of the Boston Tea Party, it does not appear that there were organizations, which explicitly called themselves Tea Parties, before 2009.


The Rand Paul political campaign had a 2007 event that celebrated the anniversary of the Boston Tea Party, but no separate movement using the Tea Party name appears to have resulted. It did spawn Rand's Campaign for Liberty (CFL) "a significant stand-alone, membership-based non-profit institution headquartered in Virginia [that has] played a noteworthy role in the growth of the Tea Party movement, even if few CFL members have enrolled in any of the national Tea Party groups."[11] The Libertarian Party of Illinois picked up some of the CFL momentum, and claims to have inspired the Tea Party call, in February 2009, from Rick Santelli. As with the Paul campaign, this group focuses on the concept rather than the name. Eric Odom had been a member but affiliated directly with Santelli.[12]

Tea Party organizations

The Tea Party name, however, came into national view as part of an estimated 750 city-level anti-tax protests[2] on the U.S. tax day of 15 April 2009. There indeed were several hundred protesters in Boston, Massachusetts.[13] It was preceded by small local demonstrations in February, although it is unclear if they used the name "Tea Party" at the time or have subsequently inherited the title from leaders who are now active in the named movement. Many participants say it is a genuine bottom-up movement, whose members learned from the community organizing of groups on the left, especially citing Web-inspired groups such as MoveOn.org. Subsequently, it held national protests on 4 July 2009 and 12 September 2009, and its supporters have been visible at both local and national events.

Some of the national-level groups that have supported local Tea Parties have received large funding from major conservative contributors. For example, Freedomworks and its predecessors received in excess of $10 million in funding from groups associated with the owners of Koch Industries.[14] The funding is sometimes even more obscure: The Tea Party Patriots received a $1 million donation from an anonymous source. The donation was reported in the news media in September 2010. The donation would be divided up among other Tea Party groups by Oct. 4, 2010, at the donors request.[15]

It has been characterized, however, by opposition and anger more than specific recommendations, by endorsement of candidates rather than policy papers. Nevertheless, its recurring themes are, most strongly, reducing the power of the Federal government and encouraging fiscal conservatism. It contains libertarians, paleoconservatives and social conservatives, with inherent conflicts among them.


As mentioned, its first major protest was on 15 July 2009, but the movement considers that "Round 2". Several events took place in February 2009. There is no single originator of the Tea Party movement, but several people had roles in the beginning.

There is no love lost among some of the factions.[16]

February 2009

Several key events took place in this month, and the timeline is worth examining in detail.

16 February

Seattle resident Keli Carender, tired of politics as usual, and decided to call a few conservative friends to set up a rally on 16 February 2009. The rally was attended by 120 people; she held one on the 23rd that had 300.[17]

19 February

Rick Santelli is also credited with creation of the Tea Party movement, but it appears that Carender and Santelli were working simultaneously.[18] On 19 February, Santelli, a CNBC cable-news reporter, offered to form a Chicago based Tea Party. Within hours the OfficialChicagoTeaParty.com web site was brought online. Within weeks Tea Party protests throughout New England took hold leading to the growth of the Tea Party.[19]

27 February

Another rally took place on 27 February, resulting from a conference call on 20 February, moderated by Michael Patrick Leahy.[20] The organization that resulted first was called the Nationwide Chicago Tea Party, and was to become the National Tea Party Coalition. Its initial three leaders were Michael Patrick Leahy (Top Conservatives on Twitter), Eric Odom (#dontgo, now American Liberty Alliance) and Stacy Mott (Smart Girl Politics}.[21]

This collaboration put up a website on 27 February. Newt Gingrich's group American Solutions was added as a cofounder.

After February

Later rallies spread throughout the United States making Carender a celebrity. Her activism started when she was unable to influence legislators about the stimulus bill.

“I basically thought to myself: 'I have two courses. I can give up, go home, crawl into bed and be really depressed and let it happen,'" she said this month while driving home from a protest at the State Capitol in Olympia. “Or I can do something different, and I can find a new avenue to have my voice get out."[22]

After Caleder's rallies, she worked with Michelle Malkin.[23] She received training from the national conservative organization, Freedomworks, which has vied for leadership of the movement. Later rallies spread throughout the United States making Carender a celebrity.[22]

Assistance to national organizing

Three preexisting conservative groups have been involved in organizing, Freedomworks, the conservative action group established in 2004 and chaired by Dick Armey; dontGO, now the American Liberty Alliance, which dates to August 2008, and Americans for Prosperity, an issue advocacy/activist group, established in 2004. All three insist they are assisting a genuine grass-roots movement.[24] DontGO did create the original website, taxdayteaparty.com website, now inactive but promising a return as 1773 Media. There is a Tea Party National Advisory Team, associated with a subsequent protest on 4 July 2009, the U.S. national independence day.[25]

Another issue raised with these preexisting organizations is the extent to which Republican and national conservative strategists may be channeling funds and resources to the Tea Party, as a matter of mutual tactical interests rather than specifically advancing Tea Party goals.[24] In particular, funds from the leadership of privately held Koch Industries, and the group Americans for Prosperity, have been mentioned as ways in which extremely wealthy individuals,[26] much as does George Soros on the left, influences group policy.

Tea Party Patriots

For more information, see: Tea Party Patriots.

The Tea Party Patriots political and social action group is an outgrowth of Carrender's first political efforts. The Tea Party Patriots web site claims to be the national organization for the Tea Party movement, and the organization does emphasize its grassroots character.

Tea Party Patriots, Inc. ("TPP") is a non-partisan, non-profit social welfare organization dedicated to furthering the common good and general welfare of the people of the United States. TPP furthers this goal by educating the public and promoting the principles of fiscal responsibility, constitutionally limited government and free markets. Tea Party Patriots has not endorsed candidates for public office."[27]

Chicago Tea Party Patriots is part of the Tea Party of Illinois, but, while affiliated with the Tea Party Patriots, also traces its ancestry to Rick Santelli's call for action in February 2009. Its website welcomes a wide range of ideologies to join the Tea Party movement. "Tea Party Patriots Chicago is made up of individuals who believe in liberty, constitutional principles and fiscal responsibility. We are a non-partisan, grassroots group of people committed to freedom and united by the core values and principles found in the U.S. Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Tea Party Patriots Chicago welcomes all conservatives, libertarians, centrists, Republicans, Democrats and Independents who stand for freedom and individual rights."[28]

Tea Party Nation

For more information, see: Tea Party Nation.

Tea Party Nation is a for-profit group that organized the first 2010 convention.

Tea Party Express

For more information, see: Tea Party Express.

The Tea Party Express offers no group information at their web site other than requests to support their selected political candidates. Members of the media can contact them for information as an email address is listed at the web site.[29]

The Tea Party Express is best known for supporting rallies throughout the US when supporters would travel by bus known as the Tea Party Express.[30] Mark Meckler of Tea Party Patriots criticizes them as not grassroots, but run top-down by Republican campaigner Sam Russo.[16]

Controversy seems to surround the Tea Party Express. Several media outlets have reported the Tea Party Express did not refute potentially racist remarks made during a rally.[31] It was expelled from the National Tea Party Federation over these remarks[32]


1776 Tea Party

For more information, see: 1776 Tea Party.

This group, formed in Texas and whose president is Dale Robertson, has anti-immigration issues as a major part of its platform:[33] It has ties to the Minuteman Project, a preexisting group concerned with immigration.

According to Burghart and Zeskind, it is the one national faction most directly connected to the Minuteman Project and the anti-immigrant movement, and also the smallest national faction. Its corporate

It was formed in Texas in February 2009, but its staff is in California. Describing itself as

a Christian political organization that will

bridge the gap of all parties, in particular Democratic and Republican Parties. It will welcome all peoples and ideological perspectives, with the intent to streamline government and adhere to

the Constitutional Rights addressed in the U.S. Constitution, and by God above.

"6,987 online members, as of August 1, 2010,43 the 1776 Tea Party is the smallest of the national Tea Party factions. Its membership is lightly dispersed around the country, with no more than 30 members in any city..."

The group has a policy of being confrontational. While there has been some cooperation with ResistNet, other national factions, such as Freedomworks and Tea Party Patriots, refuse to work with the group.[34] On February 27, 2009, Robertson attended a Tea Party event in Houston with a sign reading “Congress = Slaveowner, Taxpayer = Niggar.”[35] He’s also sent out racist fundraising emails depicting President Obama as a pimp.[36]


Several national opinion polls, cited in the October 2010 Burghart-Zeskind report, point to support for the Tea Parties running at approximately 16% to 18% of the adult population, which would put the number of sympathizers in the tens of millions. That would be the outermost ring of support. At the next level is a larger less defined group of a couple of million activists who go to meetings, buy the literature and attend the many local and national protests. At the core is the more 250,000 members in all fifty states who have signed up on the websites of the six national organizational networks that form the core of this


An October 2010 poll by the Public Religion Research Institute reported:[38][39]

  • 11 percent of those polled say they are part of the Tea Party
  • 55 percent of people identifying with the Tea Party" say they are part of the tea party agree that "America has always been and is currently a Christian nation" - 6 points more than the percentage of self-described Christian conservatives who would say that"
  • "Among the differences between Christian conservatives and tea partiers is their source of news, with 39 percent of the former group saying Fox News is their most trusted source for "accurate information about politics and current events" and 57 percent of the latter group saying that."
  • "Nearly two-thirds say abortion should be illegal in all or most cases, and 45 percent said there should be no legal recognition for same-sex couples." This contravenes the "conventional wisdom" that the group is principally libertarian,[38] although it should be noted that some of the major national contributors, such as David Koch, are strongly linked to libertarianism.

According to Gallup Polls (Spring 2010)[40] among Tea Party supporters there are

  • 78% are Republicans or independents who lean Republican
  • 77% are non-Hispanic whites
  • 69% are conservatives
  • 62% are married
  • 56% are men
  • 47% are 55 or older
  • 23% are under 35

and they share the following beliefs:

  • Concern about the US federal debt. 92% believe the federal government debt is a very serious/extremely serious threat to the nation's future well-being.
  • Safety. 90% believe terrorism is a very/extremely serious threat to the nation's future well-being.
  • General unhappiness over how things are going in the US. 90% are dissatisfied with the way things are going in this country.
  • Disapproval of congressional Democrats. 87% disapprove of the job congressional Democrats are doing.
  • Growth of the US federal government. 85% believe the size and power of the federal government are a very/extremely serious threat to the nation's future well-being.
  • Congress' ability to take care of business. 83% say most members of Congress don't deserve re-election.
  • President Barack Obama should not be re-elected. 83% say President Obama doesn't deserve re-election.

A Rasmussen poll in December 2009 indicated there was greater support for Tea Party than Republican congressional candidates, although it was not a formal party. When 1,000 likely voters were asked, without knowing specific candidates, who they were most likely to select

  • Tea Party: 23%
  • Republican: 18%
  • Democrat: 36%

The poll, with a margin of error of 3%, showed that the Tea Party would split the Republican vote. The poll of 1,000 likely voters was conducted Dec. 4-5 and had a margin of error of 3 percentage points. Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele recognized the potential threat, saying

"we can all come together...This is the conservative party of the country...We offer that ... political infrastructure, if you will, if you want to run for office or if you want to be involved politically. This is the best place to do it.

National positioning

While the Tea Party's original focus was on taxes, its scope has broadened, although it continues to be characterized more by protests and anger than an actual platform. Three national figures associated with it are Sarah Palin, Fox News host Glenn Beck, and Rep. Michele Bachmann. CNN contributor John Feehery said while it energizes the Republican base, it also presents problems.

The Tea Party combines the best elements of civic activism with some of the worst elements of fringe extremism...While most Tea Party activists are genuinely concerned about the future of the country, some others see conspiracies around every corner and use unacceptable rhetoric to communicate their displeasure with the president."[41]

Bachmann invoked it against the H.R. 3962 Democratic health care reform legislation. After calling for a protest on Sean Hannity's television show the previous week, saying "she hoped viewers would come to her press conference and then walk through the congressional office buildings, "up and down through the halls, find members of Congress, look at the whites of their eyes and say, 'Don't take away my health care.'"[42] Officially, her 5 November 2009 event, at the U.S. Capitol, was a press conference and not a rally, since there was no demonstration permit; an estimated 5 to 10,000 supporters attended.[43] Appearing with her was House minority leader John Boehner (R-Ohio), U.S. House Minority Whip Eric Cantor, and Republican representatives Todd Akin (R-Missouri), Steve King (R-Iowa), Paul Broun (R-Georgia), Jean Schmidt (R-Ohio) and Bill Cassidy (R-Louisiana).

February 2010 Convention

A National Tea Party Convention was held in February 2010, a production of Tennessee lawyer Judson Phillips and Tea Party Nation, of which Sherry Phillips is vice president. Phillips has said he expects to make a profit on it, but many activists are complaining about the $550 ticket price and the $100,000 speaker fee to be paid to Sarah Palin. Reps. Michele Bachmann (R-Michigan) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee), previously listed as speakers, have withdrawn, saying they were concerned how the convention's revenues would be spent.[44]

Former Rep. Tom Tancredo verbally attacked both 2008 presidential candidates, John McCain and Barack Obama, always referring to the latter as "Barack Hussein Obama," whom he called a "committed socialist".[45] He continued to say that the President was elected because "we do not have a civics, literacy test before people can vote...People who could not even spell the word 'vote' or say it in English put a committed socialist ideologue in the White House."[46]

The issue of whether the movement should form a new political party, or take over the Republicans, was an open issue. Andrew Breitbart told Time Magazine "Form another party? Why would we want to do that? That's exactly what the Daily Kos wants us to do and we'd just be playing into liberal hands," but others disagreed.[47]

Dick Armey expressed concern about prominent "wedge" issues such as Tancredo's position on immigration, and Joseph Farah speaking on the Birther Movement. He said "That kind of rhetoric is counterproductive. It feeds into the hands of the left and allows [the tea party] to be portrayed as people who are angry and accusatory, inflammatory. That is not what this movement has been about. We have to keep our eye on the ball; we have to work to stop people who believe the government should control vast sections of the economy." Armey suggested that President Obama was using the gays-in-the-military question specifically to divide the tea-party movement. "He's hoping the grass roots would jump on this and turn away from economic issues," Armey said. "And Obama would just love to change the subject, so my own view is, don't take the bait."

Future positioning

One of the major questions is whether the movement will stay in the Republican Party or form a new party. Fox News reports that the Tea Party could well influence the 2010 U.S. Congressional election, with most commenters assuming it will focus on Republican primaries.[48] Groups are establishing political action committees for the financial support of candidate.

Phillips said Tea Party Nation opposed a third party, preferring to take over the Republican Party. She was joined by Freedomworks' Matt Kibbe, who said that Conservative candidate Doug Hoffman, who drove Republican Dede Scozzafava out of the race but lost to a Democrat, Bill Owens, was an "anomaly". said the special election in upstate New York last month -- in which Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman drove the Republican candidate out of the race with the help of tea party activists -- can be considered an "anomaly." He said "I think a more practical solution is to take over the GOP... explaining that the tea party movement can have the most impact by directing volunteers and money in support of GOP candidates who reflect their small-government values. " Kibbe mentioned candidates Pat Toomey in Pennsylvania and Marco Rubio in Florida as examples of conservative challengers within a Republican framework.

Rep. Mark Souder (Indiana) is one Republican expecting a primary challenge from a Tea Party activist. "It's hard to tell if this will help the Republican Party win...What it's done is energize people. The question is what will happen with the energized people: Are we going to maintain an effective two-party system or are some of them going to split off?"[49]

May 2010 Convention

Much more accessible than the February convention was a May convention in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. With a $35 admission fee, this was quite different in cost from the earlier event. "Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), who generated considerably less media buzz than Sarah Palin. More than twenty local Tea Party groups in Tennessee sponsored the gathering. The sponsors claimed to have pre-sold 1,000 tickets to the event, and told the press they expected more to attend. To the casual observer, however, there never appeared to be more than 300 people attending at any one time."[50] It was well positioned for the target, however: local Tennessee groups.

Burghart and Zeskind expressed concern that its workshops had a significant presence of what they considered extremists:

  • Pamela Geller, "an anti-Islam agitator"
  • Oath Keepers, "a quasi-militia group that focuses on recruiting law enforcement officers and military personnel, and defending their version of the Constitution".
  • Spike Constitution Defenders
  • Samuel Duck, conducted a workshop advocating repeal of both the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Amendment, which, respectively, authorized a Federal income tax and direct democratic election of the U.S. Senate. Proponents of the latter, including Ron Paul and Tony Blankley, see it as a return to states' rights.

Contract from America

A number of affiliated groups called upon candidates, in September 2010, to pledge to follow a Contract with America, whose main points are:[51]

We, the citizens of the United States of America, call upon those seeking to represent us in public office to sign the Contract from America and by doing so commit to support each of its agenda items and advocate on behalf of individual liberty, limited government, and economic freedom.

  1. Protect the Constitution
  2. Reject Cap & Trade
  3. Demand a Balanced Budget
  4. Enact Fundamental Tax Reform
  5. Restore Fiscal Responsibility & Constitutionally Limited Government
  6. End Runaway Government Spending
  7. Defund, Repeal, & Replace Government-run Health Care
  8. Pass an ‘All-of-the-Above” Energy Policy
  9. Stop the Pork
  10. Stop the Tax Hikes

Conflict on racism

There has been media and blog commentary on racism in the Tea Party, but the issue is not clear in October 2009. One research report, with a foreword by Benjamin Jealous, president of the NAACP, and issued by the Kansas City, Mo.-based Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights, which is funded, in part, by the liberal Firedoll Foundation, with its primary author being specialists in white nationalism.[52] The report highlighted individuals and groups in Tea Parties and in antisemitism or white nationalism.[53]

A different report, also reported by the Post, said that University of California at Los Angeles graduate student Emily Ekins had photographed and counted signs at the 9-12 Project rally, and found few with racial themes.[54]

The Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights (IREHR) study focused on six organizations it considered at the heart of the national movement:

Campaign criticism on the right

Writing in the conservative National Review, Jim Geraghty questioned the possible irony of "The Tea Party movement in all its myriad forms — free-market groups, little old ladies, crusty in flag hats, fans of Beck’s 9/12 Project — have done everything one could possibly ask to derail a government takeover of the health-care system. It will be a perverse irony if their high-visibility protests end up persuading Democrats to damn the torpedoes in the face of near-certain electoral doom." He suggested that while some Democrats might lose their seats if they vote for the bill, if they fail to do so, they might enrage the Democratic base, with the Republican base already activated, and lose control of the House in the 2010 elections.[55] It is characterized, however, by opposition and anger more than specific recommendations.


In some recent elections, it has been suggested that perceived ultraconservatives it supported to win Republican primaries may not appeal to independents or more moderate Republicans, and actually cost Republican seats by creating unelectable Republican nominees. Another view, however, is the reality that the Tea Party Republicans winning seats against Republican favorites shows organization and appeal to voters.



Such a Tea Party candidate is Christine O'Donnell, who won the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate, seeking the long-Democratic Delaware seat in the U.S. Senate, formerly held by Vice-President Joe Biden. O'Donnell was endorsed by Sarah Palin. Delaware Republican chairman Tom Ross had called an O'Donnell victory a "complete train wreck" for the party.[56]


Out-of-state Tea Party activists have not necessarily fit local agendas. Missouri Tea Party groups issued a joint statement that they were incensed by Rep. Michele Bachmann's endorsement of Senatorial candidate Roy Blunt.[57] Bachmann is a national favorite among Tea Party members, as is Palin and Sen. Jim DeMint, but the national figures may not be in tune with local issues.



From another conservative group that can cross party lines, neoconservatism, there is conflict with some of the libertarians and paleoconservatives in the movement. The former, represented in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, include the heads of the American Enterprise Institute (Arthur C. Brooks), the Heritage Foundation (Ed Feulner) and the Foreign Policy Initiative (Bill Kristol) is directed at Obama Administration military spending cuts, the real message, according to Marc Armbinder, political editor of The Atlantic, is to tell the movement that defense spending is untouchable: "there will not be 'long-term prosperity' if the US military is 'hollowed out and can't defend the country." They are concerned with comments from movement figures such as Ron Paul, and Senate candidates Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Ken Buck (R-Colorado). Buck, for example, has said that as Iraq winds down,

I think the military budget will become a less significant part of the overall budget. We've obviously got a commitment in Afghanistan. We've got to figure out what the goals are there and what we can do there. So there may be less need in two or three years than there is now. I think it's still important that we promote research and development in the military budget, but some of the costs of deploying troops may be significantly reduced in the next few years.[58]

Another conflict potentially comes between social conservatism and libertarianism. While the Tea Party has a general position against enlarged government, the social conservatives want government to enforce their strongly held moral views.[39]

Relationship to moderates

In April 2010, Senator Scott Brown (R-Massachusetts) declined to join Sarah Palin at a Tea Party movement rally in Boston, Massachusetts. Larry Sabato of the University of Virginia said “He wants to mainstream himself before the election.” His office said he would be busy in Washington, but he applauds the “energy and enthusiasm” of Palin and the Tea Party.[59]

After O'Donnell's primary victory, national Republicans said they were diverting funds from the Delaware race, which they had hoped to win, to other races where they had a better chance. Karl Rove said, on Fox News,

There’s just a lot of nutty things she’s been saying that just simply don’t add up. I’m for the Republican, but I’ve got to tell you, we were looking at eight to nine seats in the Senate. We’re now looking at seven to eight. In my opinion, this is not a race we’re going to be able to win.[60]

Possibly fraudulent Tea Party candidates

It has been alleged that New Jersey Democrats, supporting the candidacy of incumbent John Adler against Republican John Runyan, may have worked to nominate a fake Tea Party candidate,[61] Peter DeStefano, to split the Republican vote in the 3rd Congressional District. DeStefano, a political unknown, announced his candidacy in July. According to the New Jersey Star-Ledger, no organized Tea Party group claimed to know him.[62]

In March 2011, charges were filed against two former Democratic Party officials in Oakland County, Michigan, charging they formed a fake Independent Tea Party to split the opposition to Democratic candidates. Other charges were made relating to fraudulent mailings.[63]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Jake Sherman and John Bresnahan (4 November 2010), "Bachmann leadership bid adds drama", Politico Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "Politico2010-11-04-Bachmann" defined multiple times with different content
  2. 2.0 2.1 Liz Robbins (15 April 2009), "Tax Day is met with Tea Parties", New York Times
  3. Richard Hofstadter (1964), The Paranoid Style in American Politics
  4. Robert Shrum, The Republicans' Paranoid Style, The Week, April 21, 2009
  5. Kate Zernike (2 November 2010), "Tea Party Comes to Power on an Unclear Mandate", New York Times
  6. Molly Hooper (3 November 2010), "Race for Republican leadership posts starting to heat up", The Hill
  7. Jake Sherman and John Bresnahan (4 November 2010), "Bachmann leadership bid adds drama", Politico
  8. Perry Bacon Jr. (10 November 2010), "Michele Bachmann ends bid to join GOP leadership", Washington Post
  9. Shane D'Aprile and Russell Berman (28 February 2011), "House Tea Party Caucus gains fewer than a dozen House freshmen", The Hill
  10. Aaron Blake (17 March 2011), "The misappropriation of the tea party label (and the headaches it’s causing)", Washington Post
  11. Devin Burghart and Leonard Zeskind (2010), Tea Party Nationalism: A Critical Examination of the Tea Party Movement and the Size, Scope, and Focus of Its National Factions, Institute for Research & Education on Human Rights, p. 15
  12. "Libertarian Party of Illinois: We gave Rick Santelli the idea for the Tax Day Tea Parties", Independent Political Report, 14 April 2009
  13. Thousands of Anti-Tax 'Tea Party' Protesters Turn Out in U.S. Cities, Fox News, 15 April 2009
  14. Freedomworks, Conservative Transparency: MediaMatters
  15. Tea Party Group Gets $1 Million From Unnamed Source : It's All Politics : NPR. Retrieved on 2010-09-27.
  16. 16.0 16.1 Chris Good (22 September 2010), "A Guide to Tea Party Infighting", The Atlantic
  17. The New Discontent: The Tea Party Movement from the Ground Up, Mount Holyoke College
  18. The rise of the Tea Party movement: The New Yorker. Retrieved on 2010-09-26.
  19. Chicago Tea Party | Tea Party Patriots Chicago. Liberty, Constitutional Principles, Fiscal Responsibility. Retrieved on 2010-09-26.
  20. Biography, Official Website of Michael Patrick Leahy, The Conservative Radical
  21. About Us, Nationwide Chicago Tea Party
  22. 22.0 22.1 Unlikely Activist Who Got to the Tea Party Early - NYTimes.com. Retrieved on 2010-09-26.
  23. 'Boiling Mad': A Tea Party Origin Story : NPR. Retrieved on 2010-09-27.
  24. 24.0 24.1 Chris Good (13 April 2009), "The Tea Party Movement: Who's In Charge?", The Atlantic
  25. The National Leadership Team, National Tea Party Coalition
  26. Jane Mayer (30 August 2010), "Covert Operations: The billionaire brothers who are waging a war against Obama", New Yorker
  27. Tea Party Patriots | About Tea Party Patriots. Retrieved on 2010-09-26.
  28. About the Chicago Tea Party. Retrieved on 2010-09-26.
  29. The Tea Party Express. Retrieved on 2010-09-27.
  30. 'Tea Party Express' Takes Protests Cross-Country : NPR. Retrieved on 2010-09-27.
  31. National Tea Party Federation Bags Tea Party Express Following Racist Satire. Retrieved on 2010-09-27.
  32. Tea Party federation expels Tea Party Express - Politics - msnbc.com. Retrieved on 2010-09-27.
  33. About, 1776 Tea Party
  34. Burghart & Zeskind, p. 26
  35. David Weigel (4 January 2010), "’N-Word’ Sign Dogs Would-Be Tea Party Leader", The Washington Independent
  36. Zachary Roth, “Tea Party Email Shows Obama As Pimp,” Talking Points Memo, January 28, 2010, cited by Burghart & Zeskind, pp. 23-24
  37. Burghart & Zeskind, p. 3
  38. 38.0 38.1 Robert Jones and Daniel Cox (October 2010), Religion and the Tea Party in the 2010 election: an analysis of the third American Values Survey, Public Religion Research Institute
  39. 39.0 39.1 Michelle Boorstein (5 October 2010), "Tea party, religious right often overlap, poll shows", Washington Post
  40. USA TODAY/Gallup polls taken May 24-25 and June 11-13 of 697 Tea Party supporters. Margin of error +/-5 percentage points. Analysis by Jim Norman.
    What is the Tea Party? A growing state of mind - USATODAY.com. Retrieved on 2010-09-27.
  41. Ed Hornick (7 December 2009), "Tea Party movement threatened by internal rifts", CNN
  42. Christopher Beam (5 November 2009), "Bachmania: Michele Bachmann invites tea partiers to Washington for another swig.", Slate
  43. Laurie Kellman (5 November 2009), "'Kill the bill' protesters target health care", Associated Press
  44. Bachmann, Blackburn say they're out of Tea Party Convention, Associated Press, 28 January 2010
  45. Steven Portnoy and John Berman (4 February 2010), "Tea Party Fireworks: Speaker Rips McCain, Obama, 'Cult of Multiculturalism'", ABC News
  46. "Former Congressman Tom Tancredo Says Obama Won Because There is No Literacy Test Before Voting", Cleveland Leader, 5 February 2010
  47. Jay Newton-Small (8 February 2010), "Five Lessons from the Tea-Party Convention", Time (magazine)
  48. "Tea Party Movement Evolves Into Political Force With Eye Toward 2010", Fox News, 15 December 2009
  49. Dan Eggen and Perry Bacon Jr. (12 September 2009), "GOP Sees Protest As an Opportunity: 'Taxpayer March' in D.C. Attracts Party Leaders, but Some Are Wary", Washington Post
  50. Burghart & Zeskind, pp. 43-44
  51. The Contract from America (summary), 23 September 2010
  52. Krissah Thompson (20 October 2010), "NAACP backs report that ties racist groups to tea party", Washington Post
  53. Burghart & Zeskind, pp. 7-8
  54. Amy Gardner (14 October 2010), "Few signs at tea party rally expressed racially charged anti-Obama themes", Washington Post
  55. Jim Geraghty (6 November 2009), "Inverse Reaction: House Democrats may fear the consequences of not passing a bill more than any other.", National Review
  56. Brian Faler and Catherine Dodge (15 September 2010), "Tea Party-Backed O'Donnell Wins Delaware Senate Republican Race", Bloomberg News
  57. Missouri Tea Party Groups Have NOT Endorsed Roy Blunt for U.S. Senate, "28 [Tea Party] Groups, Representing over 8,660 Patriots, 28 July 2010
  58. Marc Armbinder (1 October 2010), "Washington Conservatives Worried About Movement Conservatives on Defense", The Atlantic
  59. Edward Mason (12 April 2010), "Scott Brown snubs Sarah Palin, bags Tea Party rally", Boston Herald
  60. Jeff Zeleny (15 September 2010), "G.O.P. Leaders Say Delaware Upset Hurts Senate Hopes", New York Times
  61. South Jersey Tea Party candidate is a Democratic plant, report says, Associated Press, 8 October 2010
  62. Did Adler camp plant a fake candidate?, Star-Ledger/NJ.com, 25 July 2010
  63. Mike Martindale (17 March 2011), "2 ex-Dem leaders charged in fake tea party scheme", Detroit News