Back in October, a bitter feud broke out between the Tea Party Patriots and the Tea Party Express, with the former accusing the latter of aligning too closely with the GOP. Then, in March, the Tea Party Express alleged that Scott Ashjian, a self-proclaimed Tea Party candidate for U.S. Senate in Nevada, was a Democratic plant working to get Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) re-elected.Interesting.
Now, the stage has moved to Florida, where an Orlando rally this weekend saw Tea Partiers criticizing the Florida Tea Party’s motives.
The rally, organized by Americans for Prosperity, brought together several dozen people to oppose the “big government policies” of Reps. Suzanne Kosmas and Alan Grayson, Florida freshmen on the Republican “hit list” of vulnerable Democratic incumbents. Speakers denounced excessive regulation and government spending, and several reserved special wrath for the Florida Tea Party, which they fear could hurt their side’s chances in November.
The long-simmering dispute between party and movement took on new significance last week as the party entered a spate of new candidates before Friday’s filing deadline. Activists claim the Democratic Party is behind many of the candidates.
Bruce O’Donahue, part of the crowded field of contenders in the Republican primary vying to challenge Grayson for the District 8 congressional seat, held a press conference Thursday in the same location as Saturday’s rally. He condemned the Tea Party and its candidate, Peg Dunmire, who he called a “Grayson stooge.”
Grayson’s response, as quoted by Politico: “All right, you got me. I invented the Tea Party. Sarah Palin is a puppet, and she does whatever I tell her to do.”
By the filing deadline Friday, the party had slated 20 candidates in Florida races.
The right-wing fringe who claim to be independent from the GOP are attacking an actual political party called the "Florida Tea Party" for popping up because they challenge the teabag-backed candidates in the Republican races.
I like Grayson's response to these allegations that he is behind the new party: “All right, you got me. I invented the Tea Party. Sarah Palin is a puppet, and she does whatever I tell her to do.”
What makes the teabag Republicans even more ridiculous is that they even admit that the Tea Party has connections with the overall movement, which makes the claim that some of the candidates are plants even more idiotic.
“While a few Tea Party candidates across the state do have ties to the tea party movement, in the majority of instances, it appears that the Democrats have coordinated a dishonest attempt to hide phony candidates behind the name ‘tea party’ and to confuse voters who may be supportive of the tea party movement, effectively stealing votes from true conservative candidates and injuring the grassroots tea party movement as a whole,” Republican Party of Florida chair and state Rep. John Thrasher said in a statement.
The teabag fringe has even gone so far as to sue the party, claiming it is taking away from their grassroots movement and becoming something they are against - a political machine - which is interesting because they seem to be backing candidates in the GOP machine because as local Orlando radio host and teabag organizer Jason Hoyt put it, the teabaggers need to support a united conservative front.
"We don't want to become what we're fighting," said Everett Wilkinson, chairman of the South Florida Tea Party and a plaintiff in the lawsuit filed Tuesday in West Palm Beach. "Filing as a political party is detrimental to everything we've done."Beth Reinhard pointed out for the St. Petersburg Times that there are roughly 80 different tea party groups in Florida and there are even some national groups that share the same name, like Tea Party Nation, the Tea Party Express and the Tea Party Patriots.
Orlando lawyer Fred O'Neal, who officially registered the "Tea party'' five months ago, acknowledged that he had never actually been to an official tea party. No matter. He said the "Tea'' in his party stands for "Taxed Enough Already."
"The t-e-a is what attracted me to the name," O'Neal said. "If I wanted to organize a party for the tea party movement, I would have called it the tea party movement party."
Some of the other complaints coming from the fringe regarding the Florida Tea Party is that founder Fred O'Neal was once a registered Democrat, yet you don't see the tea party movement rescinding their support for former Democrat and current GOP Nevada senatorial candidate Sharron Angle, do you? And what about all those reports and polls coming from the right-wing that showed there were a small percentage of Democrats who joined the ranks of the tea party movement?
Essentially it boils down to this: the Republicans who have worked hard to court the tea party are upset that someone had actually created a real political party that is designed to prop up conservative non-Republican candidates. These Republicans who were fishing for votes in the fringe are upset because they see their chances of winning election dwindling fast, so what better way to get ahead then to destroy the competition, either by defamation or threats of legal action (sounds a bit like John Smithson's tactics).