February 5th, 2010
10:35 AM ET
8 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. stranger in an increasingly strange land

    I am all for the tea party. What this country needs is a political party just for ultra right wingers, those who think minorities are not deserving the rights granted everyone else and other radical right wing crazies. Then perhaps the Republicans can become what they should be. A voice of moderation and fiscal responsibility to balance my own particular left wing beliefs. I am a devout liberal, but I do think that a balance between the far left and the rfar right is needed.

    Not to mention it would put all the really radical conservatives where people could keep an eye on them.

    February 5, 2010 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  2. CHIPS

    Hook up to an EKG and test you brains.

    February 5, 2010 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  3. Stop the Nonsense

    The Tea Party's opening speaker claims Democrats and liberals are "socialist" and out to "destroy the Constitution".
    just once I would love to hear how either is true.
    Has any member of Congress proposed moving the homeless into one of the mansions of the ultra rich to share their wealth? Has the government siezed any corporation (or have they simply helped them and in return gained stock control)- and install a government employee as head of any corporation?
    As for the Constiution- Have these groups been silenced? They should be for yelling the political equivilent of Fire! Gun laws and rights have been expanded not cut. The right to trial under our Constiutiion is more in question by the Right than the Left.
    The only election usurped by the Supreme Court went to a Republican The definition of free speech has been twisted by a conservative court. Healthcare reform is being proposed and voted on by our Congress. History and economist ( who tend to be conservative by nature) all agree that we needed to bailout our banks and save AIG.
    So just exactly where is the destruction of the Constiution or the socialist agenda. Why don;t hey just come out and call Mr Obama what they want- an uppity_______.

    February 5, 2010 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  4. RH

    Please. I can't wait to see these champions of truthiness split the Republican vote.

    February 5, 2010 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  5. What a bunch of hypocrites

    The first principle will be, that you must be a good Christian.

    Well, that pretty much cancels out all of the tea partiers. There is nothing remotely Christian about any one of them. Being a Christian means that you emulate our Lord Jesus Christ in word and deed. These people are so filled with hatred that when they call themselves Christians, they should be hit with a lightening bolt.

    February 5, 2010 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  6. Vic of New York

    So I'm confused. If "fiscal responsibility" is one of the planks of the TEA party; why are they associated with one of the most reckless fiscal parties on the planet ....Republicans?

    It seems like they have been hoodwinked by a case of "do as I say, not as I do". Republicans in three successive administrations (Reagan, Bush, Bush Jr.) have driven up taxes and left our economy with deficits. These so called "Republicans" have played a financial game of smoke and mirrors creating fake "tax breaks" that later have left the economy depleted.

    I say if you REALLY believe in fiscal responsibility, the TEA partiers should be organizing a lynch mob down to Crawford Texas to teach Republicans what happens when the lie!

    February 5, 2010 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  7. Marty, Grand Rapids MI

    What do you do when "lower taxes" conflicts with "fiscal responsibility"? Lowering taxes is going to make our 1.3 trillion dollar deficit worse. You could cut our entire defense and medicare budgets and still not balance the budget. Furthermore, why should the defense budget be a sacred cow when we spend more on military then the rest of the world combined? You can't justify that is needed to keep this country safe.

    February 5, 2010 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  8. Robert

    A sell-out crowd of 600; I'm impressed.

    February 5, 2010 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  9. Jane/Seattle

    So many of these partiers support the very folks who grew government the most – the WARMONGER Crew! They support WAR, the killing of which their very own God said don't do! Justification is a wonder to behold. Don't kill UNLESS the President says so for he is annointed of God and ordained in his own mind to KILL anyway! What logic escapes these folks. Starve children and make WARS! Cut all social programs, but never cut Corporate Welfare! That might starve a few billionaires out! Unions bad? They have secured any protection workers ever have enjoyed. Socialists? No, they don't believe in accumulation of wealth only for the wealthy who leach from the Commons without paying their fair share. Could go on and on, but you Tea folks need to read outside the circle of your choir.

    February 5, 2010 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  10. Roger Whipple

    As a decendant of the founding fathers I find this whole tea party group offensive. This group was formed by for profit group not people organically. And their convention is a for profit enterprise.

    One of their keynote speakers is against "multiculturalism." Huh? Sounds like racism to me. Aren't these the nut jobs who think that Obama was born in a foreign country?

    Sounds like a bunch of angry bigots. If it walks like a duck...

    February 5, 2010 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  11. Not Tea ... It's Hemlock For America

    This "so-called" Tea Party is the Republican Party. You need only look at who it's speakers are and what they say to see that.

    Sarah Palin is their "keynote" speaker ... doesn't that sort of reveal their true mindset?

    Tom Tancreado, former Republican candidate for President spoke to kick off the event and he went down the Barack "HUSSIEN" Obama ... he's not an American ... track.

    it's the same old, warmed over, white-purity American Party crap you get from Limbaugh, Beck, Hannity, O'Reily, Coulter, Ingram. etc.

    They will try to spin this as a new, grass roots uprising. It's not.

    February 5, 2010 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  12. Dan Holiday

    God forbid that the politicians should be held to a litmus test. That almost seems unfair. So what they are proposing is that if the politican does not represent the ideals they find sacred, then he will lose their support. So these tea-partiers are not going to just blindly follow a candidate? So the tea-partiers will basically hold sway over the politicians? They will have say in the policies set forth in this country? Wow that is a lot of power to be given to the people. So I guess that the people will have power over the politician and not the other way around? This just might work. I think our founding fathers would be proud. Keep it up tea partiers. You rock.

    February 5, 2010 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  13. John


    Yet another group of petty ignoramuses who promote "state's rights."

    Until, of course, some of those states pass laws allowing gay marriage, doctor assisted suicide, or gun control.

    Tea parties are proof that conservatism is a communicable disease that can make people loud and stupid.

    February 5, 2010 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  14. Len in Washington

    "...sell out crowd of 600 attendees.."
    Are you kidding?
    In a Nation with more than 300 MILLION this number seems insignificant at best. Is this really a "movement?"
    A good bowling tournament draws this many people.

    February 5, 2010 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  15. Wmscot

    Lets see if I can make the cut:
    1. I am white
    2.I am over 60
    3.1 want fiscal responcibility in the country
    4. I am college educated ( but cannot spell with out spell checker)
    5. I am all in favor for a strong national defence
    6. Iam in favor for all employeers to hire only legal workers both US citizens and legal aliens
    7.I feel American priorities come first over international priorities.

    So far so good ?
    Whoops I am a democrat
    I guess I did not make it !

    February 5, 2010 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  16. Taylor

    In other words this is the recruitment for the KKK.
    Wow A sell out crowd of 600 (lol)

    February 5, 2010 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  17. Kate

    Hmm..they've adopted the same principles that our Pres. wants to follow.. fiscal responsiblity, lower taxes, etc. Wake up and listen.....

    February 5, 2010 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  18. Mike in SA

    I consider myself party of the "Tea Party" movement. Unfortunately there are some among us that have delusions of grandeur and think they can speak for us and set ground rules for us. While I agree with most of the seminars they are having, these "organizers" have no right to speak for me or tell my group what "the standard" is for who to support. And no, that doesn't mean the movement is falling apart. It means that we're just going to ignore them and do what the heck we want anyway.

    February 5, 2010 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  19. dale

    Thank god

    That's what everyone should be asking their candidates on both sides

    February 5, 2010 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  20. Wisconsonite

    I can harldy wait . . . . this should be a real hoot!

    February 5, 2010 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  21. Cindy PA

    "First principles”, we the people should control Congress.

    We the people demand:
    Term limits on Congress.
    The people vote on Congressional pay raises
    The president, Congress and every Federal employee is moved into Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, their current pension plans roll into the general fund.
    The president, any person in Congress or Federal employee that is indicted of a crime steps down or is suspended from employment.

    February 5, 2010 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  22. Voice of Reason

    States' rights and National security? I thought the "tea party" was about taxes... Wasnt TEA a retronym for "Taxed Enough Already"? So why all this vitriol about Immigration and National Security. Why Tancredo's getting down on people who cant speak english, but still want to vote?

    News fflash people: this isnt about Taxes.

    The so-called "Tea Party" is a republican forum for astroturfing. plain and simple. Soon we'll be hearing all the other traditional GOP talking points. (2nd amendment; abortion; gay marriage; terrorism, etc.)

    This whole movement is about as 'spontaneous' as Dick Cheney is a pacifist. Wake up and smell the ... Tea?

    February 5, 2010 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  23. Jim

    "Tea Party" makes these people sound like fun. The are Facist Neo Nazi's who fear and hate anyone who isn't the same color or religion they are. The are not the majority in America, not anywhere close, but they are delusional enough to think they represent America.

    America is a democracy where a large majority of Americans elected the President and the Democrats to govern. These people refuse to accept the will of the majority, therefore they oppose America's democracy and fight to destroy it. That sounds like treason to me.

    These are right wing radicals that are more a threat to all Americans than Al Qaeda could ever hope to be. Like many radicals, they want to make laws to control others, while making exceptions for themselves.
    It's time to recognize the hate group in our midst and expose them for what they are. There is free speech and violent hate speech. There is a difference.

    February 5, 2010 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  24. http://twitter.com/whybs

    Scott Brown won in MA on the promise of smaller, more efficient government! So, let's craft the Tea Party's "first principles" to allow him be qualified for the GOP's 2012 Presidential nomination!

    How could we put a positive spin on the fact that his mother was on welfare? http://bit.ly/8GTp7d

    February 5, 2010 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  25. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Thanks to Tom Tancredo's speech that exposed exactly what this tea party is all about, spreading racism and no principles as they proclaimed. 600 people in attendance because the other 600 people couldn't afford a $500 dinner of steak and lobster at a 5 star hotel while their people spokes people were paid up to $100,000. That's a big slap in the face after waving signs and standing for hours in tea party rallies when these spokes people weren't even there.

    February 5, 2010 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
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