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. Todd

    Picture says it all. Freaks!!!

    February 5, 2010 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  2. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    "...fiscal responsibility, lower taxes, states' rights and national security."

    Sounds good to me, and I'm going to be interested in finding out what people don't like about it, and why.

    Of course, there will be the usual nuts shrieking about how "states' rights" is somehow racist, but who could be against fiscal responsibility, lower taxes, and national security?

    February 5, 2010 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  3. Windy

    I'm just curious, why are there just white people in this organization? It feels somewhat like the Klu Klux Klan in a disguise. As an American reading this article...it scares me.

    February 5, 2010 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  4. Dieter Zerressen

    Let's see, I think I got your litmus test right here:
    1. are you white?
    2. are you male – OK we'll let in a few women so no one will mistake us as queer.
    3. are you a bible thumper?
    4. do you believe the world is flat?
    5. are you paranoid?
    6. do you think minorities should be put back into their place?
    You get the idea.

    February 5, 2010 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  5. Jim

    Call it what you will, this is the party of racism and negativity. I hope they do run a candidate for president. Then we can all see what they REALLY stand for...

    February 5, 2010 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  6. Marry

    The Tea Party represents a way of thinking that brought America to the brink! Gung-ho on starting wars for profit never mind the human and economic cost and there the government and spending cannot be big enough. (By the way, one top reason why Christians can not engage with their "first principles"!) But when it comes to the American people the TP has no idea on how to bring the country into a prosperous future. So, as long as they do not come up with better ideas as to reuse old ones that do not work, they should stop sniping at the President who is doing a heck of a job considering the circumstances.

    February 5, 2010 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  7. kd

    Gee, a whole 600?

    February 5, 2010 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  8. Lee

    Those nutty teabaggers are good for a laugh, that's about it.

    February 5, 2010 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  9. Marie MD

    Excuse me while I choke on my water. 🙂 Principles? Since when is bigotry and lack of facts about principles?
    Six hundred attendees from all over the country. 🙂 🙂

    Make sure faux news (the CEO of this party) gets the count right this time. With all the snow we are getting at least they can't show the Summer and Fall small crowds and try to lie about attendance.

    February 5, 2010 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  10. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    Uh, why must Christians engage? What's religion got to do with any of this?

    February 5, 2010 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  11. Orange Curtain, CA

    Sell-out with only 600 people? Are you kidding me...ClusterFox News will show video archives of old events and lie as usual claiming there are 1 million people.

    February 5, 2010 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  12. Julie

    After reading what Tom Tancredo said that their convention, I have a feeling being part of the KKK will be a prerequisite as well. People who support this group are clearly racist jerks, who go through life with rose colored glasses on.

    February 5, 2010 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  13. markiejoe

    "a sell-out crowd of around 600 attendees".


    February 5, 2010 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  14. B. Churchill

    The three chief indicators of fascism – 1. pre-occupation with notions of "purity" – whether, political, ethnic, spiritual, racial, etc. 2. insistence on social conformity. 3. governance indistinguishable from corporatist agendas. Folks – fascism has come to the USA – the movement has been picking up steam since the Reagan administration. You can see it – or turn a blind eye. The fascists are counting on the latter..

    February 5, 2010 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  15. Mark L.

    And allow me to be the first to say, the Tea Party is run by a bunch of facists that will look to destroy & bring down Social Security, MediCare, etc. Good Work Folks – You want to talk about a Revolution? Yeah, there'll be a Revolution if you pull the plug on Social Security and MediCare...The People that side with the Tea Party and the GOP are JUST PLAIN STUPID FACISTS...And I would rather live under Marxist socialist values than Hitler's facist values anyday...

    February 5, 2010 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  16. If it looks like a dummy....

    Let me get this straight, 600 attendees, $550 a head, not including hotel & air fare or food. These people who are constantly whining about "fiscal responsibility" probably paid close to a million dollars to go to some wing nut convention and make Sarah Palin rich.

    If you were REALLY a fiscal conservative as you claim to be, you would have invested that money into the small businesses in your community, to help jump start the economy.

    Oh, but I forgot. It's really not about doing the right thing for America is it? It's about being manipulated into giving your money to the corporate interests involved in this event. What exactly is it these people are trying to "conserve" again?

    February 5, 2010 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  17. brains

    must be white, must not be college educated.

    thats all it takes.

    February 5, 2010 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  18. Bertina

    Of course there's a litmus test just like for Republicans now. It proves that Republicans and tea party members are just racists pretending to be something they aren't.

    February 5, 2010 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  19. CommonSense09

    This Tea Party Organization is nothing but bull!!. This country is already divided as is with the Republicans, Democrats, Independents and Ross Perot's; now to add another movement.....just crazy! The leaders and organizers need to be slapped!!!

    February 5, 2010 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  20. RO

    It sure is embarrassing to have this" Tea Party" Convention happening in my state..ugh. Already, on the first day,, to hear what one of the speakers had to say... I am turned off. This convention had turned away even one of our most conservative member, Marsha Blackburn. That tells me something right there.

    February 5, 2010 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  21. George Sales

    The Rethug, Tom Tancredo, in his keynote address urges the Teabag Convention to "take back the country". Please don't do us any favors! These mostly disgruntled, Rethuglican, white racists were in complete charge for eight Bush/Cheney years. Their recklessness cost us our economy (the worst recession ever), the middle class and millions of American jobs. Now they talk about fiscal responsibility and the deficit.
    They avoid mentioning their war in Iraq (going on seven years), which could eventually cost us three trillion dollars! That alone could have completely paid for healthcare reform. If we turn over congress to the Rethugs any time soon, shame on us!!! Also, middle class, independent voters should not be helping these jerks try to take back power. Remember people, you get the government you deserve.

    February 5, 2010 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  22. James

    This looks more like a PALIN party or a Republican convention than a Tea Party. Only rich Republicasns can afford a ticket at 500 dollars a plate. I would rather see something done like a Woodstock free concert. The people behind this convention are the same old geasers we have seen in politics over the past decade. If they couldn't make a change then, they won't now. Their next convention will probably be sponcered by a foreign country or large corporation. Sounds familiar? Just be careful folks, it may not be grandma laying in the bed, just the same old big bad wolf.

    February 5, 2010 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  23. Bill

    Tea party principles should be called "anti-principles" because they are anti-gay, anti-abortion, anti-immigration(legal or illegal), anti-any religion except Christian, anti-social programs of any kind, and anti-tax principles.

    Therefore, they should be called the "Anti-Tea Party"

    February 5, 2010 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  24. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    A Tea Party litmus test? Isn't that an oxymoron???!

    February 5, 2010 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  25. Hoping for an intelligent female GOP candidate

    600 is a sell-out crowd!?

    February 5, 2010 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
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