Washington (CNN) – Still swaggering after its recent electoral successes, the Tea Party movement appears to be growing more emboldened as it tries to blaze a path to power.
One new bold move: An activist group is publicly parading a list of lawmakers the group is determined to oust from office.
On Thursday, the Tea Party Express added two more names to its "2012 Tea Party Target List" - Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan and Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine.
The language in a press release is emblematic of how Tea Party activists appear to be growing ever more audacious.
"Stabenow has been an advocate for the big government nanny state, forgetting that we the people tell the government what to do, not the other way around," Tea Party Express Chairman Amy Kremer said in the statement. Kremer added, "We think it's only appropriate that the Senate be more fair and balanced by replacing her with a constitutional conservative."
CNN contacted Stabenow's office but did not receive a response.
Tea Party activists have long worked against Democrats. What appears to be growing is a separate tactic: The movement's thumbing its nose at the GOP - the party that most ideologically identifies with the Tea Party.
Activists say moderate Republicans, that they believe are not bona fide fiscal conservatives, should be purged from the party. But some critics essentially accuse the Tea Party of the political equivalent of eating their own.
Case in point: the Express e-mail is especially harsh against Sen. Snowe.
"Olympia Snowe dishonors the notion that the Republican Party is supposed to be the fiscally conservative, constitutionalist political party in America," Kremer states.
The Express recently added Nebraska Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson and Indiana Republican Sen. Richard Lugar to its "Target List." And the group vows to reveal more names later this year.
But conservative activists may be hard-pressed to achieve their goals. Snowe, a moderate Republican, has been re-elected two times since winning the seat in 1994. Also, Maine has gone for a Democrat in every presidential election since 1988. And, despite his critics, Lugar is considered a respected voice on foreign policy and other issues.
Meanwhile, despite helping Republicans take back the House, the Tea Party movement lost three high-profile races that, arguably, it wanted to win the most: Sharron Angle lost to Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid in Nevada; Christine O'Donnell lost to Democratic Sen. Chris Coons in Delaware; and after a protracted battle in Alaska, the Tea Party-backed Joe Miller fell to Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski.
In a statement to CNN, Snowe's chief of staff harshly reacted to the charge that the senator is not a true fiscal conservative.
"The idea that Senator Snowe dishonors the notion that Republicans are the fiscally conservative party is absurd," John Richter said. "If they had supported her legislative trigger mechanism back in 2001, to preserve federal surpluses and pay down our debt, and to open a window of opportunity to strengthen Social Security and Medicare, we would not be in this situation today with our national debt.
Richter added: "If they had supported the constitutional balanced budget amendment she championed throughout her tenure, we would not be in this situation today. And if they had supported offsets as Senator Snowe did in 2003 when she thought it was prudent to do so, we would not be in the situation we're in today. So obviously, they are totally unfamiliar with her record on fiscal responsibility."
CNN, the Tea Party Express and other Tea Party groups are hosting a first-ever Tea Party debate for Republican candidates this fall.
–Follow Shannon Travis on Twitter: @shantravisCNN
Will they be putting out maps with targets on them again?
Wow both arrogant and ignorant, bad combination.
Ooo, the Tea Party (code for extreme partisan republicans) throws a few token republican names on its target list and people suddenly believe the Tea Party is something other than a kissup to the republican leadership? Where were all these partiers when the same republican leadership intruded on civil rights? Where was this party when the republican leadership expanded social programs like No Child Left Behind, Medicare, and scholarships? Where was this party when the republican leadership kept passing record deficit after record deficit?
Oh wait, when republicans do all of that, it's okay. The Tea Party keeps criticizing democrats for EXACTLY the same policies that the republicans championed during the Bush years. And yet, the Tea Party enthusiastically applauds the SAME republican leadership from those years that now got back into power. The same people who pushed FOR those policies!
Don't you believe the Tea Party cares about values. The only thing they value is to keep the powerful of the GOP in power. They may throw in a few republican targets, but notice not ONE of those targets is the GOP leadership!
I love how the Tea Party criticizes the federal government for intruding on states' rights, and yet they can't help but intrude on the elections of other states. Why is the Tea Party so afraid of democracy? Aren't they the 'will of the people?' Oh wait, it's only the will of the people when they get somebody to support their tax cuts AND their Medicare benefits. If people in some other state want to elect a person that actually represents the needs of that state, then it's OKAY to meddle in that other state's affairs and interfere with their election.
Does anyone else suspect that the TEA Party movement does not understand how government should work. They will only support people who vote as they say, speak as they speak, and expect those they support to follow their party line.
Hmmmmm. I think the world has seen people like this before. The idea of absolute power and allegiance has caused so many problems all over the world. If we cannot elect people based on their own statements and views we are losing sight of how a democracy works. I think we should expect our legislators to think for themselves and vote their conscience. IF they must be vetted by the TEA Party and only hold the ideas that the TEA Party accepts we are headed for trouble.
If Olympia Snowe decides to seek election again I would hope that the good people of Maine will be fair and honest in their evaluation of her performance. We need to tell the TEA Party – Hands Off. We can make our own choices and elect those we feel will do the best job in Congress.
Not surprised about either of these, particularly Snowe. I'm a DEM, but concerned about the idea of her being beaten in the primaries by a TP member. You never can predict how the generals will swing and I would much rather Snowe than some extremist
It is fun watching the republicans eat their own!
There are now two republican parties. The conservative and the super conservative. They should kiss and make up.
Maybe the "Tea Party" (yuck) should remember the American voters decide who is ousted-not them. Hopefully voters learned from the mid-terms what happens when you allow your votes to be "bought" by corporate lobbyists.
Nothing wrong with those two selections. Snowe isn't a Republican. Neither is her running buddy Collins. They both need to go. Stabenow just gets it on general principles.
The Tea Party gave us a known criminal for a governor here in Florida. So far he's fired a home grown company that monitored prisoners and put 135 people out of work. He replaced them with a company in Colorado. They gave him 25k during his election. He spent the Super Bowl with a huge lobbyist and had lobbyist's pay for his inauguration. He is trying to give business a cut on their electric bills and to do this he will allow an increase in residential rates. He wants to turn all the Medicaid patients in the state over to a managed healthcare company run by his old healthcare buddies. Can you say death panels? He wants to do away with a database that monitors prescription drugs and prevents doctor shopping, He says it doesn't work, even though it hasn't even started yet and it's financed by grants and private money. He wants to stop the high speed rail system from being built, even though all but 250 million has been paid by the federal government and will create thousands of new jobs. If Siemens gets the bid. They are going to build a manufacturing company to build all the trains used in this country here in Florida. The will create even more jobs, but the crook is trying to stop it. this is just a few of the examples of what the Tea Party gave us. It's Tome to stop the reactionary politics of the Tea Party. They cost the GOP the senate by putting up nuts for candidates. They have not helped the country with their fringe candidates. And they will continue to destroy the GOP.
We should be targeting the Tea Party and getting these ignorant extremists out of office. Stabenow is an outstanding Senator and so is Snowe. Tea baggers are threatened by educated people who understand the issues and actually have read the Constitution. Republicans survivie only through lies. If we get the truth out there and shutdown the FOX hate and lies Republican propaganda machine, we can get these America destroyers out of office.
I hope the effort to eat their own continues. The Dems are our only chance to save a democracy that has been attacked by the religious right. Looking more like Europe does not sound so bad as looking like Iran..
These idiots. What more can you say? They don't really have any idea what they are doing. They are all having a lot of fun hanging out at Club Moron. All of their choices for replacements seem to wither under pressure when confronted with the real world and there is very little room for a reasonable debate of any kind at all.
TEA PARTY a bunch of confuse and senile old men and and old women on the loose.
Snow needs to go
The Tea Party has made a god of Reagan, the father of the massive modern deficit, yet they have the audacity to suggest that Olympia Snowe is not a fiscal conservative? It appears that their ignorance of history knows no bounds. It's probably only equaled by their ignorance of the constitution.
I am so disappointed.... Tea Party has turned out to be nothing more than a party of 50+ old White males and some White females... all set to woo independants and moderate Democrats away from Democrat base...
The backlash could be painful.... imagine what would happen if democrats organize a counter Tea-Party unit that draws in ALL middleclass non-White vote that has traditionally fell halfway between GOP and Democrat.... disaster for Tea Party.
This just gets better and better for the party of no. They allowed the koch brothers to take over the government because nobody had the guts to stop them and they never told the bachman's and other congress members to stop.
By being a bunch of yellow bellied cowards they are now in peril of losing "everything" they have ever done for their rich friends and corporations.
It's sad, but . . . . . . you reap what you sow.
are they going to follow their usual tactics and put their faces in cross hairs – If they had an ounce of intelligence and humanity they would not even use the word target. bunch of slugs
Blah blah blah. Whatever their puppetmasters the Koch boys say. Put crosshairs on them like Snooki Palin did. That really worked out for her.
you have FOUR items about The Half-Term Governor on the left side. seriously?
I am sick of the TEA Party. I want coffee, and I want it now!
Does it concern anybody else that the ascendant faction on the right wing of our political environment has gone beyond touting its own vision, and into "targeting" those whom it considers too moderate? It's one thing for the Tea Party to target liberals; that is, after all, their raison d'etre. But to insist that someone whould be removed from the more conservative of the two major political parties because they aren't conservative ENOUGH should alarm those of us for whom practicality trumps politics. Sen. Snowe has been a much-needed voice of reason since her first election to Congress; she has a strong record of voting her conscience, and her const!tuents (i.e. the people of Maine) have elected her thrice-over because of her dedication to getting things done. Playing politics for its own sake helps nobody.
The Tea party has gotten way out of hand.
They are basically a bunch of loud mouths who love to hear themselfs talk.
They have no idea of what is good for America. All they want to do is cut, cut, cut.
Their God is the almighty dollar. They are really sick. If you look back in history it was a simillar sututation which brought Hitler to power.
Wake up America before it is to late.