The Tennessean reports this morning on a rift in TEA Party groups across Tennessee. From the article:
Some seek close ties to Republicans, others want to foster independence. Some are skeptical of moneymaking ventures tied to the movement, while others endorse the capitalism.
Competing groups in the Memphis area, the Mid-South Tea Party and the Memphis Tea Party, illustrate the diverging interests among activists groups around the state.
“We don’t want to become ‘Teapublicans,’ ” said Mark Herr of Memphis, an activist with the Mid-South Tea Party.
“Our objective is not the party’s; their responsibility is to find candidates and get them elected,” said Herr, 40. “The purpose of the tea party is to create a well-informed electorate.”
Members of the Mid-South Tea Party were dismissive of Phillips’ group, along with the affiliated one run by Skoda, for what they say are too-close relations with the GOP.
“When we see someone that is attempting to turn the tea party movement into their own little moneymaker, that’s a red flag for us,” said Carmon Heilmann, 50, of Germantown. “We challenge that individual or that group’s motivations.
“I don’t understand the groups that say, ‘Oh, we can’t be involved, we can’t have money,’ ” Phillips said. “I’m sorry, it takes money to run a campaign. It’s a fact of life.”
While there are probably elements of the TEA Party movement that are organic, it seems clear that the “brand” has been co-opted by those who would seek personal gain from the national attention it has received. Personally, I’ve never felt that the TEA Party’s message has ever been that clear, except that they don’t like ANYTHING about the current administration in Washington.
If the TEA Party, en masse, recognized that the economic conditions began long before this administration came into office, and railed against that as well, then perhaps I could take them more seriously. That omission calls their motives into question.
Also, threatening elected officials isn’t a way to really help your cause, unless your cause is to look completely irrational.