No ideal tea party candidate
February 21st, 2012
06:07 PM ET
2 years ago

No ideal tea party candidate

(CNN) – The motto for the organization Tea Party Patriots is "100% Grassroots, 100% of the time."

And to keep that philosophy, the group's co-founder Mark Meckler recently paid a visit to Cincinnati. Ohio's primary is part of "Super Tuesday," meaning the Buckeye State has seen its share of the Republican presidential contenders.


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Meckler's job is to get the grassroots excited about voting, no matter for whom.

"In the presidential primaries, all of the candidates are speaking to tea party values," Meckler told CNN Radio. "I don't think any of them [is] the perfect tea party candidate, if you look at their records [on] tea party principles."

The candidates, plus the respective super PACs supporting their White House bids, have gone after each other on issues such as voting records in Congress, earmarks, health care reform (real and imagined), and ethics.

So there's always something for a tea party activist to find troubling, Meckler said, theorizing the slate of concerns might explain exit polls showing voters who self-describe as tea party supporters not coalescing behind one GOP contender.

"They've all embraced, fully, tea party principles," Meckler repeated, but noted all candidates, "with the exception of Ron Paul, are big-government Republicans. These are guys that have believed in and voted for big government programs. These are big spenders."

When a nominee is crowned, Meckler figured not much would change in terms of what the movement wants.

"The goal of the tea party is to see that principles in which we believe - fiscal responsibility, constitutionally limited free government, free markets - become part of the debate in every election around the country," he said.

Also see:

Paul ad slams Santorum

Obama campaign takes a swing at Santorum

Gingrich describes Obama as a national security risk

Franklin Graham questions Obama, Romney on Christian Faith


Filed under: Tea Party movement
soundoff (41 Responses)
  1. Little Jimmy Truth

    Tea Party is real patriot.

    Obama's Occupy Wall Street isn't real patriot.

    February 21, 2012 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  2. CoJo

    well give Ron Paul and Romney credit, Santorum acknowledged he screwed up while he was in congress. Santorum voted for increasing the debt ceiling multiple times and other big government spending. As he stated, he did what was good for Pennsylvania (spend federal money). All politicians can say the exact same thing. So where is the tea party now? They want a person (Santorum) that has publically acknowledged he screwed up and voted for big government spending? Tea party people are hypocrites if they continue to back a person that has a record to goes against what they want. Only now does he come clean (when someone points it out). Only now he is against it when he is no longer in congress...

    February 21, 2012 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  3. Four and The Door

    "The goal of the tea party is to see that principles in which we believe – fiscal responsibility, constitutionally limited free government, free markets – become part of the debate in every election around the country," he said.
    _______________________________________________________________________________________________
    I believe in every one of these principles and this is what I want from the next administration. Romney 2012!

    February 21, 2012 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  4. Ryan

    How ridiculous. The ONLY conservative candidate in the race is Dr. Ron Paul. He has never voted to raise the debt ceiling and never been in favor of big government programs. Yet, the main stream media continues to silence this guy out because he threatens the elites of both parties. I guess the puppet strings have been pulled and the media only wants certain candidates to win.

    February 21, 2012 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  5. DarthKtar

    The Tea Party is NOT America!!!

    February 21, 2012 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  6. Four and The Door

    "The goal of the tea party is to see that principles in which we believe – fiscal responsibility, constitutionally limited free government, free markets – become part of the debate in every election around the country," he said.
    _______________________________________________________________________________________________
    Well said. These are important considerations for who I will vote for in November. Romney 2012!

    February 21, 2012 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  7. Rudy NYC

    No ideal Tea Party candidate. You can say that again. The top three names being thrown around are Daniels, Christie and Jeb Bush. Over the weekend, Gov. Daniels reiterated the fact that he has no desire to run. Gov. Christie is a Romney supporter, which leaves Jeb Bush.

    Jeb Bush.
    Wasn't he the guy that the Tea Party rejected and ran a primary candidate against him? Yup.
    Wasn't he the guy who was all but thrown out of the Republican Party for saying that the Stimulus worked? Yup.
    Wasn't he the guy who was labeled "Obama Lover" because he appeared with the president on stage? Yup.
    I don't think Jeb Bush will be running on the Republican ticket. Do you?

    February 21, 2012 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  8. Debbie

    The goal of the tea party is to sign a pledge to one person (Norquist) vs upholding the oath to the US Constitution. The goal of the tea party is the Koch Brothers Birch Society. The goal of the tea party is to destroy America. They have already suceeded in destroying the Republican party.

    February 21, 2012 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  9. rcw

    The Tea Party is a joke....

    February 21, 2012 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    Go Tea Party!

    February 21, 2012 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  11. Raphael

    Their placard says "The Tea Party Is America." Well, not exactly. There are others. In fact, the Tea Party is a minority in America. A loud, in-your-face one that is both arrogant and intolerant of other America(n)s. To me that is un-American period.

    February 21, 2012 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  12. Kyle

    More Ron Paul media bias... The title of the article is "No Ideal Tea Party Candidate" yet within the article itself, they quote the Tea Party co-founder as saying, "all candidates, "with the exception of Ron Paul, are big-government Republicans. These are guys that have believed in and voted for big government programs. These are big spenders."

    Sounds like they narrowed it down to the only viable candidate.

    February 21, 2012 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  13. Busted

    These people are such idiots. Will someone please explain to them a group financed by a well established conservative interest group and founded by a an ex senior GOP congressman is not grassroots.

    February 21, 2012 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  14. Russ

    The tea party is a bunch of has beens.........sorry they are no longer relevant. Not one candidate could or would fit their outlandish, right wing critera. They are toast. So go take back your rocket chair and enjoy socialist handouts that you all ralley against but so willingly accept every month.

    February 21, 2012 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  15. rs

    Well there may no candidate that is ideal TO the TEA Party, but after 3 years of their radical nonsense, there is nothing ideal ABOUT the TEA Party either. They are the ruination of the GOP, and the GOP will be lucky to survive between their TEA Party flirtation with the nutjob ultra right, and the fundamentalist religious crazies.

    February 21, 2012 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  16. deeerrrr

    For those hacks who call themselves Tea Partiers and don't know the origin of the resurgence of the term, let me clear it up for you... Grassroots supporters of Ron Paul held a Money Bomb for him on the Anniversary of the Tea Party in '07... if you contributed you were considered a Tea Partier... and when the movement picked up speed "conservatives" like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh invaded it with their neo-con idiotic ideology (this was the same time Beck switched to Faux)... so yes, you do have a candidate... the Founder of your movement, Congressman Ron Paul. Educate yourselves...

    February 21, 2012 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  17. geg

    i think the USA has gone nuts–looks more like 1930 germany

    February 21, 2012 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  18. Four and The Door

    "The goal of the tea party is to see that principles in which we believe – fiscal responsibility, constitutionally limited free government, free markets – become part of the debate in every election around the country," he said.
    _______________________________________________________________________________________________
    Even better than having these issues becoming part of the debate, they should be principles of our next President. I know who will get that done. Romney 2012!

    February 21, 2012 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  19. Edna

    "ideal candidate" and "tea party candidate" are mutually exclusive.

    February 21, 2012 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  20. C4LCNCPLS

    "They've all embraced, fully, tea party principles," Meckler repeated, but noted all candidates, "with the exception of Ron Paul, are big-government Republicans. "

    "If the Republican Party nominates a draft-avoiding, crony-capitalist, anti-gun, pro-choice, socialized-medicine candidate over a strict free-market Constitutionalist who served his country and carries our his political office with integrity, then the Republican party might as well change its symbol from an elephant to a wooly-mammoth now because that party will become extinct."

    February 21, 2012 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  21. John

    The Tea Party Is a 100% crap all the Time. That what has gone wrong with the Republican Party. They are Listen to these Idiot why to much.

    February 21, 2012 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  22. vote the Tea Party OUT in 2012

    not to have a Tea Party candidate doesn't seem to be all that bad to me. The way the Tea Party congress people messed up in the House we sure don't need one in the White House.

    February 21, 2012 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  23. west

    grass roots. I think they have been smoking to much grass. Nothing but a bunch of clowns running.

    February 21, 2012 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  24. Liz the First

    The Tea Party is astroturf from the get-go and in no way represents America. most Americans worthy of the title don't want to bankrupt the country. they don't hate everyone different from themselves. the teabaggers who made it to congress have proven they have no ability to govern. this gang of fascist goons needs to crawl back under their rocks and stay there!

    February 21, 2012 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  25. Larry L

    The motto for the organization Tea Party Patriots should "100% Republican Bigots, 100% of the time." Any candidate acceptable to these radicals will be totally unacceptable to moderates and independents across the country. We see this now with the low turnouts in the primary – only the crazies are voting. The Tea Party set up the conditions for the defeat of all Republican candidates because nobody can be crazy and hateful enough to please the Tea Party yet pragmatic, intelligent and compassionate enough to serve as President of the United States.

    February 21, 2012 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
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