Tea party insists it's alive and kicking

The foot soldiers of the tea party movement dismiss the chatter about its demise and stand ready to use their unbending political force against both President Barack Obama and the Republican establishment this election year.
AP Wire
Mar 2, 2014

The Tea Party Patriots, one of the major grass-roots groups, marked the fifth anniversary of the movement Thursday, attracting hundreds of members and plenty of speakers to a Washington celebration in which they directed their animosity at the Washington establishment.

Keli Carender, national grass-roots coordinator, said the strength of the group was reflected in the $1.2 million and counting that it raised in 10 days.

To the "establishment and permanent political class," Carender said, "we don't need their millions, we've got our own."

Republican primaries this election year will be a crucial test for the movement as the GOP establishment has aggressively challenged tea party-backed candidates in Kentucky, Kansas, Idaho, Mississippi, Michigan and elsewhere. Republicans blame the tea party for losses in winnable races in 2010 and 2012 that many believe cost the GOP a Senate majority.

The tactics were on display this week in Colorado. Tea party-affiliated Ken Buck, who lost a close Senate race in 2010, stepped aside to run for the House while more mainstream Rep. Cory Gardner launched a Senate bid in a political deal.

Tea partyers, who helped Republicans capture control of the House in 2010, made clear they don't like what the GOP establishment has done to their conservative agenda of limited government, free-market policies and what they consider fidelity to the Constitution. They signaled they will work hard to elect their uncompromising candidates no matter what the establishment does.

In Kansas, the Tea Party Express endorsed Milton Wolf, who is opposing three-term Sen. Pat Roberts in the Republican primary.

Addressing the event, Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Kan., was interrupted by the crowd, which stood and cheered when he said, "It's high time we retire (House Speaker) John Boehner." When the applause died down, Huelskamp completed his sentence that it was "high time to retire John Boehner's biggest excuse that we only control one-third of the government."

Viveca Stoneberry of Spotsylvania, Va., said she was disillusioned with the Republican leadership because Boehner and others "pretend to be on the side of conservatives." Irene Conklin of Gainesville, Va., said Boehner needs to "take a solid stand."

The frustration isn't limited to House leaders.

Steve Gibson of Columbus, Ohio, said he had offered to help Matt Bevin, the Republican businessman challenging Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. McConnell, according to Gibson, is conservative 70 percent of the time, but then "throwing in the towel every time." Gibson was particularly upset with McConnell's recent votes on allowing the nation to borrow more money.

Boehner, for his part, said Thursday that he has "great respect for the tea party and the energy they brought to the electoral process. My gripe is with some Washington organizations who feel like they've got to go raise money by beating on me and others."

If Boehner and McConnell were drawing the movement's ire, Sen. Ted Cruz was collecting praise.

The Texas freshman and potential 2016 presidential candidate got a standing ovation and wild applause when he addressed the event, cheered for his fight last fall against Obama's health care law that precipitated the 16-day partial government shutdown. He offered no regrets and argued that the effort has proved successful in the long run, contributing to Obama's low approval ratings and the law's unpopularity.

Cruz drew a rousing response when he told the crowd he was "absolutely convinced we are going to repeal every single word" of the health care law.

Cruz, who has helped raise money for groups targeting incumbent Republicans, has refused to endorse his state's senior senator, John Cornyn, the Senate's second-ranking Republican, in Tuesday's primary. Cornyn faces Rep. Steve Stockman.

Another tea party favorite and possible 2016 candidate, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., told the group it needs to offer a happy message.

Support for the tea party has declined slightly since 2010, when members rallied around opposition to the health care law.

Just ahead of the 2010 elections, an Associated Press-GfK poll found that 30 percent of adults considered themselves supporters of the tea party movement. By October 2013, that figure had dipped to 17 percent, then rebounded to 27 percent last month.

Separately, a CBS News-New York Times poll this week found that 50 percent of Republicans who say they back the tea party complain that the party's candidates are not conservative enough, while just 19 percent of non-tea party Republicans said the same.

While tea partyers expressed frustration with the GOP, they were fierce in their opposition to Obama.

Speakers described the president as an emperor, radical and socialist whose administration has abused its power. They railed against the Internal Revenue Service's audits that they argue target conservatives and other political groups on the right as well as the NSA surveillance as an intrusion on Americans' privacy.

Members of the Tea Party Patriots pressed for broader congressional investigations of the IRS and the attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans. They argue the administration is involved in a cover-up and greater oversight is necessary.



Mystic Michael

'Keli Carender, national grass-roots coordinator, said the strength of the group was reflected in the $1.2 million and counting that it raised in 10 days. 'To the "establishment and permanent political class," Carender said, "we don't need their millions, we've got our own."'

Correction: You've got Mr. Koch's millions - as well as the other Mr. Koch's millions. But what happens when they finally realize that they're not getting a good return on their investment in you? What will you do when they ultimately cut off your allowance?

Blah, blah, blah. It's all the usual jive, full of noise and nonsense, signifying nothing. Republicans, thinking of nothing other than raw partisan advantage, and blithely assuming they could ride this wave of idiocy - without getting pulled under by the undertow of stupidity - have only themselves to blame. Yet the entire country continues to suffer as a result of this New Dark Age that they have ushered in.

Great job, guys! What's next? Medicinal leeches to cure anemia? Another Spanish Inquisition (Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!)? Feudalism?

I can hardly wait to find out what the knuckle draggers have in store for us all next...


How is them having the Kochs millions any worse than the Democrats having George Soros's millions? Knuckle Draggers? I thought you were the party of tolerance? Isn't name calling a bully tactic?

Mystic Michael

You really don't know the difference? Seriously? OK then:

1) First, there's the matter of motives. The Koch Brothers are in it for the sake of pure self-interest, as well as the selfish, narrow interests of the one percent in general. Pushing politicians and policies that weaken the labor unions, for just one example, keeps Koch Industries' employees relatively powerless when it comes to negotiating for reasonable pay & benefits, dignified working conditions, and so forth. GOP/TP politicians likewise are much more prepared to insist upon even more corporate tax loopholes in order to benefit their corporate masters. And so forth.

George Soros, by and large, is more of a political philanthropist - not a robber baron. He funds interests & causes that for the most part don't benefit him directly (other than allowing him to sleep better at night), and he does it in order to try to make the world a better place. Yes, really.

2) Second is the matter of size & scope. For all the millions that the Democratic Party and progressive interest groups in general raise from private corporate interests, it pales in comparison to the amount raised by ultra-conservative & Republican groups - especially since the onset of the Citizens United SCOTUS ruling. Simply put, progressives have relatively few George Soros billionaires on their side. But the Right has the Koch Brothers. They have Sheldon Adelson. They have Pete Peterson. They have Rich DeVos. And SO many more.

In an era when the most wealthy 1% of Americans control 40% of the country's entire wealth, and the least wealthy 80% of Americans control only 7% of the country's wealth, this disparity in political funding is no accident. It's all designed to maintain the dysfunctional status quo in favor of the powerful plutocrats - at all costs.


Harry Kovaire

"George Soros, ... is more of a political philanthropist..."

It's stuff like that that makes this one of the best satire sites on the web. Keep up the the good work!


That made me giggle too!

Mystic Michael

Conservatives ALWAYS try to do this: Use progressives' values against them. Whenever a progressive, in a fit of exasperation and frustration, indulges in a bit of a rant - no matter how moderate - conservatives are the ones to swoop in to chide them for not being tolerant - though they themselves, being the ideology of social Darwinism and zero sum games, feel no particular obligation to do so.

Tolerance of anti-democratic machinations that would destroy our country is no virtue. Intolerance of those same machinations is no vice.

Barry Soetoro

Pass me the tissues.


So emotional.

Barry Soetoro

No doubt. LTA told me I need to man up and I happen to agree. Be sure to make all the t-shirts you order for me long-sleeved.


Too late. I ordered them all as wife-beaters. If I'd only known sooner.....

Barry Soetoro

In that case I'll need the new P90X-3 workout videos or whatever version they're up to now...

Back to the Wall

What in the name of the gods are you talking about?

George Soros did his level best to collapse the economy of Great Britain in the early 90's by short selling the British Pound.

In 1998(?) Soros used his profits from his Great Britain victory and devalued the currency of Southeast Asia over some perceived anti-Semitic remarks.

How can you equate philanthropy with devaluing a nation's currency and undermining the economies of entire regions for fun and profit?
Whose economy will be next? Do the ends justify the means?

You brought the man into this debate.
Do you not have any conscience or is your deceit intentional?




Sounds like a reasonable question to me nsblgr. How about why is it some insist on baseless charges and name calling when they don't understand or agree with anothers viewpoint?

Harry Kovaire

Debating leftists is like playing chess with pigeons and teaching pigs to sing.




Someone once said you could put lipstick on a pig, and I played chess once with a magpie in an avian research center.


DON'T TREAD ON ME. Praise God , pass the AMO and get out of our way

Former Grandhavenite

As someone who agrees with almost zero percent of Tea Party policies I wish them the best of luck in their efforts. I hope they're able to succeed in their efforts to pick off actually electable Republicans during the primary process in favor of loons who are doomed in the general election.


Echoes of Obama telling Putin what's in Russia's best interests - well played.


The Tea Party is largely a group conceived, bought, and paid for by the Koch Bros, and misguidedly is fighting against their own best interests; want to coerce America to think, act, and believe like they do even though they advocate for less interference in civilian life; want to "take America back", even though they are not in agreement with what "back" means, or how to "take" it, and seem woefully ignorant of what the consequences of that ideology portend .

The cream of the crop intelligently pledge allegiance to the Constitution; the rest seem driven more by hatred for our first half-black president. Their candidates thus far are largely unelectable, and say the darndest things; in particular they don't seem to understand women's reproductive anatomy, science, logic, reason, or critical thinking.

Some of my best friends are members of the Tea Party. I understand their frustration with the recession, the Bush years, the corruption within the political spectrum, the debt. I wish them well.


Please provide us with one instance of a Tea Party group spewing hatred for a (your words)a "half-black" president. Or are you just upset Sarah Palin was right about Russia, so you are calling them racists?


"Please provide us with one instance of a Tea Party group spewing hatred for a half-black president". Since you asked nicely, I will respond in kind. There have been countless events, forwarding e-mails, public town-hall meetings, statements made by elected officials, and billboards just to name a few, that record a racist bias towards Obama. Six years in the Tea Party has learned to act innocent when the topic comes up. Believe me - I know what I'm talking about.

Sarah Palin was not right about Russia. She wasn't right about much, but I admire her abilities as political entertainment and her skill at milking her fans which has thrust her into multi-millionaire status.


I guess it escaped your cute little progressive mind that the Tea Party originated to protest the spending policies of George Bush.http://www.nationaljournal.com/w....

Thus, per Lanivan, the Koch Brothers conceived, bought and paid for a group partly driven by hatred for none other than the Bush you love to hate. This is another fine mess you've gotten yourself into. http://youtu.be/SZfg9rk_9iQ


Thank you for the compliment. I'm afraid I'm unable to reciprocate. Yes - the Koch Bros did indeed conceive, buy and pay for the Tea Party. This is documented up the ying yang, so please don't feign pitiful ignorance. Don't think for one minute the Tea party is an autonomous group of independently governed patriots. The Tea Party constitutes the Koch Bros sock puppets, to be used for their agenda to downsize America, eliminate regulations, and carry water for them.

Now, it just so happens that two events converged to create the impetus behind the emergence of the Tea Party 2008 - the "fine mess" of 8 years of conservative Bush, followed by the election of our first black president.

The big problem for the Republican Party is that the Tea Party is doing more damage than good; their masters, the Koch Bros & CO stand to lose big should the US actually default from a Tea Party-backed refusal to raise the debt ceiling. Thus the impending implosion.


So, after shoveling the smoke, did the Tea Party start opposing Bush or not? Let's try to be accurate, even if it ruins your Koch Brothers derangement syndrome.


They started to oppose Bush after voting for him twice, and marching in lock-step with everything he uttered and every move he made for 8 long, miserable years, and after many of their sons and daughters died in the wars, or came home altered for life. Even now, it's like pulling teeth for them to admit Lord Bush was a BIG spender. Made lots more EO's than Obama. Lied to the people with great audacity.

Where's the inaccuracy here? The contradiction is in the fact that Barack Hussein Obama actually governs further to the right than Lord Bush.


You, my friend, are either delusional or simply earning your pay from Axelrod.

Back to the Wall

Except for the dementia-rattled ramblings of elderly racists, it's always "progressives" reminding us of the president's heritage.


..there goes the race card again when anyone disagrees and dares to comment as such, what a joke. Guess I'll take the White half then since it's the Black half Americans have a problem with despite being elected twice.


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