February 5th, 2010
10:35 AM ET
5 years ago

A Tea Party litmus test?

The Tea Party Convention organizers are preparing a set of 'first principles.'
The Tea Party Convention organizers are preparing a set of 'first principles.'

Nashville, Tennessee (CNN) - Tea Party Convention organizers tell CNN that they are proposing a set of "first principles" for candidates seeking support from the one year-old small-government movement.

Organizers of what is being billed as the first national Tea Party Convention are expected to announce the principles at a news conference Friday afternoon at the event, which is being held at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel and Convention Center in Nashville.

Mark Skoda, a businessman and founder of the Memphis Tea Party, who is also serving as spokesman for the convention, refused to term this as a litmus test but said that candidates would have to adhere to the principles to be eligible for tea party fundraising and support.

The principles include fiscal responsibility, lower taxes, states' rights and national security.

Organizers say the convention has attracted a sell-out crowd of around 600 attendees from across the country.

Among the sessions scheduled for Friday are workshops on how to conduct voter registration drives and where to find conservative votes, women in politics, how to organize a Tea Party group, how to involve youth in the conservative movement, grass-roots "on the ground," how to unite state Tea Party groups, technology in the Tea Party movement, and why Christians must engage.

– CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report


Filed under: Uncategorized
soundoff (163 Responses)
  1. Dave

    The movement is being hijacked by neo-cons like Palin and Beck. It is not about neo-conservatism.

    February 5, 2010 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  2. judy

    Where were these teabaggers when Bush was spending for the Iraq war???

    February 5, 2010 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  3. Chipster

    Will their platform include dismantling Social Security and Medicare? Let's hear the specifics? What services do they plan to cut in order to lower taxes? College tuition loans? National Park Services? Small Business Loans? Emergency Management?

    Let's hear it? What services does the Tea Party plan to cut or end?

    February 5, 2010 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  4. Ferret out the BS

    From reading the previous article it sounds like a subversive organization committed to the overthrow of the government. But using the guise of a political movement.

    February 5, 2010 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  5. aproudmemberoftheunpatrioticmob

    Sounds like CNN is terming it a "litmus test" not the TEA party. That is pretty smart of them, don't let a MSM that is dedicated to your eradication start dictating what you are and what you are doing. Liberals and their MSM counterparts are real quick to label their opponents and then demean and degrade them (it is a liberal tenet of operations) so the TEA party is not going to make it easy for them. Bravo.

    February 5, 2010 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  6. ThinkAgain

    They want a "purity test". And my guess at the top of the list is "White" and "Christian."

    They should just change their name to "Nazi" and be done with it – because that's what they are: A bunch of ignorant, hate- and fear-mongering, racist Fascists.

    February 5, 2010 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  7. Kevin

    Litmus Test – Principle 1: You must have an IQ < 40.

    February 5, 2010 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  8. Jay

    Given the comments of their first speaker, I would think one of the tea-bagger's "first principles" must include: "I am a proud gun-wielding racist reactionary who deplores anything to do with people of color, people holding other cultural values, people who speak a different language (even though english may be their first language), people who strive to understand another's point of view and compromise for the benefit of all, people who think for themselves, people who believe that the Bill of Rights bolsters the creditbility of the Constitution to the rest of the world, people who believe the strength of our country comes from the rich blend of all it's peoples and values." Notice Sarah, I didn't say, 'retarded' anywhere in my rant.

    February 5, 2010 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  9. Brewhafunk

    At the kickoff of the tea party convention, the opening speaker, former congressman Tom Tancredo said: "people who could not even spell the word 'vote', or say it in English, put a committed socialist ideologue in the White House. His name is Barack Hussein Obama." The only way that comment could be more racist is if he said N@#$ers and Wet@#$%s. Shameful.

    February 5, 2010 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  10. Steve-Illinois

    In another article CNN has as the headline Tea Party fails to Impress Many.
    Problem is the poll states that 24% never heard of the tea parties, and 16% didn't have enough knowledge of them to form an opinion.
    What's interesting, is that those that have heard of them, and have formed an opinion, are considerably more in favor than against. Who do you suppose is more likely to vote? People that are aware of current events, such as the tea parties, or those who have never even heard of the tea parties?
    Politicians had better be careful before dismissing the tea partiers as a bunch of wing nuts. Many people agree with the general principle of lowering debt and deficits, along with keeping government intrusion into their lives down. The majority of these people are not out makeing signs and joining any particular movement, BUT they will VOTE! And they are well aware of the message.
    Never underestimate the power of the silent majority.

    February 5, 2010 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  11. Ryan

    The Tea Baggers are simply a club for angry white racists who want the wealthy 1% to rule over America. It doesn't even make sense because under President Obama, the people in this tax bracket that largely make up the tea bagger movement – received a tax cut that they NEVER would have seen under any Republican administration!!!

    The whole reason they can't afford their medical bills or taxes as is – was because for the 8 years Bush was in power, he kept hiking those expenses up and if you're going to make an argument that he didn't... then explain why when the Republicans were in power (the first 6 years) why did they do nothing while the banks lined their pockets are our expense? And the insurance industry collected record profits while 46 million Americans died through denied coverage and costly treatments they couldn't afford !?

    Then again, anyone calling themselves a tea bagger is clearly in need of some psychiatric help.

    February 5, 2010 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  12. ThinkAgain

    I read in another CNN article that Tancredo spoke at the teabagger ball and electrified the audience with his racist, fear-mongering words about "taking our country back."

    Funny, coming from a person with a last name like "Tancredo" – what is that, Hispanic? Italian? Greek?

    Doesn't sound like he's the right ethnic background or color for the teabagging folks.

    But then again, teabaggers are so completely blinded by their hatred and self-importance, they probably haven't noticed Tancredo is one of the “other” they so love to hate.

    February 5, 2010 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  13. gary davis harbor oregon

    wow 600 idiots paid alot of money to the goose stepping racist stars and bars group .. the new order of purity . america is in for a sick awakening . a small group of hate and threats and fears of national security . conspericy's and a black man as president , is more than this small group can handle .. sick bunch of freaks

    February 5, 2010 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  14. Sgt. USMC

    I think trancedo said enough for everyone to change the channel. See you all may be the TEA drinking type, but us hard working AMERICANS drink coffee. Keep your tea and your racist agenda... I'm happy with my change.

    February 5, 2010 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  15. ThinkAgain

    The teabagger ball with Tancredo speaking reminds me of how Hitler got his start in Germany:

    Tell an angry crowd of white people how the "other" keeps them down, is ruining the Fatherland, only whites and Christians are worthy, and that we must "take our country back."

    Seriously, the teabaggers are pretty much taking their plays from the Mein Kampf playbook.

    February 5, 2010 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  16. chill

    Fiscal responsibility and lower taxes given the current situation are not compatible. We've all been living on borrowed money for most of the past 30 years and it's time we started paying our way. My guess is many of these people were supportive of the tax cuts and unfunded wars of the Bush years that created most of the deficits. I'll be impressed when they come out for cutting waste in the huge DOD budget (see major weapons systems that the military doesn't want) and their suport for cutting Social Security and Medicare. There is no other way to cut our way out of this mess without tax increases for someone.

    February 5, 2010 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  17. melba

    This is the party of do as I say, not as I do. what a joke.

    February 5, 2010 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  18. Justin

    A whole 600 attendees? Wow, stop the presses!

    That is a movement; a bowel movement.

    February 5, 2010 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  19. Steve

    The Tea Party just sound like angry fanatics that cant stand a black man as President. The more radicalized they get, the better. Their hate will be their undoing eventually.

    February 5, 2010 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  20. kmp

    WOW 600 attendees that is impressive.

    Yes I am being sarcastic....

    February 5, 2010 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  21. Thomas

    I'm sure they will open the Tea Party convention with a moment of silence in memory of Timothy McVeigh.

    February 5, 2010 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  22. felicia

    cnn is promoting racist kkk tactics for these people, i really hate cnn this is not my america.

    February 5, 2010 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  23. Brian

    Tim Tancredo just killed the Tea Party Movement.

    After reading Tim Tancredo's rant about how he believed President Obama was elected, it made me realize
    that I and others should not take this movement too seriously. Especially if they are willing to pay
    Sarah Palin $100,000 to speak at their convention. I thought the premise of the tea party movement was to be
    against EVERYONE in the establishment even the 2008 Republican Ticket (which included Palin). So I believe this movement is nothing more than a "for profit" gig for insincere racist leaning radicals who want to make a buck off the stupidity of those who attend. The movement just died. Thanks Tim.

    February 5, 2010 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  24. Charles W. Skinner

    This is great. It sets out specific standards that a candidate must adhere to, and will give the voters a way to quickly identify if a candidate is going to be looking out for the best interest of the country (Moderate Republicans have abandoned the country, and the Democrat party were never looking out for it in the first place).

    It is likely that many conservative candidates will find a home in the Tea Party movement, and with the extra publicity that the movement is currently getting, may well ride to a victory in November.

    Conservatism is on the rise.

    February 5, 2010 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  25. The Voice

    After hearing about Tancredo, we all now what the tea party represents. A bunch of white racist neo-cons. Some tea-party leaders and participants have even been linked to white supremist organizations.

    What I am wondering is where were all these clowns when GOP destroyed our nation the last eight years. Didn't think so!

    This is a racist movement! They lost the election, now they want the black man out of office. Simple as that!!

    February 5, 2010 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
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