"A clear pattern of behavior has emerged over the last 16 months," Tea Party activists Mark Meckler and Jenny Beth Martin write in an op-ed published Wednesday on the Politico website. "According to liberals, if you disagree with their thinking, and if you disagree with the Obama administration, you are not only wrong, you are a 'racist.'"
Before pointing to charges of racism leveled against former President Bill Clinton during his wife's pitched primary battle against then-Sen. Barack Obama, Meckler and Martin state "The left has a long history of using the race card. It has been pulled on people across the political spectrum."
"This card is generally played when all else has failed," they write. "It was inevitable that it would eventually be used aggressively against the tea party movement."
Meckler and Martin point out that national Democrats have referred to their increasingly influential movement as a bunch of disgruntled voters, nothing more than "'astroturf,'" "a flash in the pan that would disappear overnight," and "an 'angry mob.'"
But, the two write, the real motivation for the recent attacks on the Tea Party movement is political survival during an election year.
"The Obama White House and liberal interest groups are hitting the panic button as they read weekly polls showing diminishing support for their radical big government issue agenda, and a weariness for the politics of division."
In the op-ed, the two activists also admit that their movement has a fringe element that, they say, does not represent the values of the conservative, grassroots movement.
"The racist posters of a few at a Tea Party rally do not represent the feelings or behavior of Americans who believe in this movement," they write.
Instead, Meckler and Martin say their movement is colorblind and dedicated to a few core principles.
"The tea party is a truly post-racial movement. Based strictly around the three simple principles of fiscal responsibility, constitutionally limited government and free market capitalism, the movement is uninterested and uninvolved in the politics of race."
The op-ed was published a day after the NAACP passed a resolution asking the Tea Party movement to condemn racism within its ranks. Earlier Wednesday, Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele, the first African-American to head the national party committee, sent a simple message to the longstanding civil rights organization: "Enough with the name-calling."