Tea Party Rebellion Growing After Vote

Monday, 22 Mar 2010 06:50 PM

By David A. Patten

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The backlash against healthcare-reform has just begun, but already it's clear that tea party leaders plan to keep fighting.

Some tea party activists are leaving posts on conservative grass-roots Web sites implying that they will resort to civil disobedience, presumably by refusing to obey the individual mandate and purchase healthcare insurance.

"Well, they got their 216 votes," stated a participant on the Resistnet.com social networking site for conservatives. "How many of us are going to go along with this? I don't know about you all, but I will not."

One nihilistic post on SmartGirlPolitics.com, the up-and-coming networking site for conservative women, even remarked: "Close all of your accounts, stop paying taxes, stop producing, shut America completely down."

SmartGirlPolitics co-founder Teri Christoph informed Newsmax via e-mail on Monday afternoon: "Our group and the groups we work with don't advocate this kind of tactic. Our position is that we don't give up the fight, we work hard to become better activists, and we set our sights on the midterm elections."

GOP leaders, meanwhile, have called on grass-roots leaders to tone down or channel activists' anger in the aftermath of the vote.

Speaking on a weekly conference call to conservative grass-roots leaders Monday afternoon, Republican Study Committee Chairman Tom Price cautioned: "Many across this land are incredibly angry about this. And I think it's important as leaders in the coalition that all of you work as diligently as you can to focus that anger and that passion into a positive avenue of being irritated with the folks that put this in place at the federal level, as opposed to anywhere else, and that the opportunities for correcting this are in November. And if we concentrate on that and work positively for that, we'll be just fine."

How enduring the anger, and how it will impact the midterm elections, remains to be seen. But there are indications that an energized conservative base is already reacting to Sunday's vote, which saw a last-minute deal by Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., give Democrats they needed to pass the measures that grassroots activists see as a blatant federal takeover of healthcare.

Less than 24 hours after the vote, for example, the FireThe219 Web site went live. A blog created by The Nationwide Tea Party Coalition, the site targets the 219 House members who voted for healthcare reform.

"Fire the 219 is dedicated to removing from power all 219 members of Congress who voted to destroy the finest health care system in the world on March 21, 2010, through any and all legal means possible," the Web site declares.

Its No. 1 target not surprisingly: Stupak.

Other Democratic congressmen listed among the site's top 10 targets: Rep. John Boccieri of Ohio, Rep. Jim Cooper of Tennessee, Rep. Allen Boyd of Florida, Rep. Gerry Connolly of Virginia, Rep. Henry Cuellar of Texas, Rep. Solomon Ortiz of Texas, Rep. Bill Owens of New York, Rep. Earl Pomeroy of North Dakota, and Scott Murphy of New York.

The Tea Party Patriots organization responded to the defeat as well. It posted a petition to "Repeal the Bill."

The group's objective is to gather 1 million signatures.

Several other tea party organizations are holding conference calls to plan their next moves. They include the Nationwide Tax Day Tea Party and the American Liberty Alliance.

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