Tea Party Groups Declare Independence

Wednesday, 24 Feb 2010 11:39 AM

By David A. Patten

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Just when it appeared the various tea party organizations couldn't agree on anything, it looks like many of them have found common ground in support of a "Declaration of Tea Party Independence."

They primarily are declaring their independence from the political parties.

The declaration, posted on PolicyNotParty.com, is another sign the tea party organizations will continue to distance themselves from the Republican Party. More than 60 tea party leaders in more than 20 states reportedly have signed on to the new document. Among its highlights:
  • It asserts that "profligate government spending and expansion of the government's power beyond what is constitutionally permissible" could lead to "economic collapse and tyranny."
  • Many powerful interests are trying to "define this movement, to use it, to lead it, to co-opt it, to channel it, to control it, to defeat it," the resolution states.
  • The tea party movement "embraces and serves people of all races, creeds, religions, and political affiliations," according to the document.
  • It declares the movement's independence from the Republican Party, which it says "has in the past manipulated its conservative base to win election after election, and which then betrays everything that base fought for and believed."
  • It adds that GOP party professionals are trying to use the tea party movement "for their corrupt and narrow political purposes."
  • The document singles out so-called RINOs (Republicans in name only) for special antipathy: "We reject the RINOs' statist subversion of the principles of small government for which the Republican Party is supposed to stand."
  • It warns GOP leaders that tea party activists "can make them lose" if the party is "disdainful" of the movement's goals.
  • Its toughest rhetoric targets the Democratic Party, warning that its "power drunk junta" is trying to "impose a Socialist agenda on our republic."

Tea party leaders have expressed concerns that GOP leaders have been trying to co-opt the conservative grass-roots movement for their own political ends. Prominent Republicans, including former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, recently commented that tea-party activists should support establishment Republican candidates in this fall's midterm elections.

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