Tea Party groups aim to storm caucuses, shake up system
By Nancy Lofholm
The Denver Post
GRAND JUNCTION — The Tea Party Express, the Tea Party Patriots, the 9.12 Patriots and dozens of related groups first drew attention during their angry, sign-waving protests over taxes and health care reform a year ago.
Since then, these conservative groups, or “pro-patriots” as they prefer to be called, have been busy in church halls and in coffee shops from Greeley to Bayfield.
Their plan: Use Tuesday’s caucuses to shake up the established party system that, so far, they have been railing at from the outside.
To that end, Tea Party coffees, “meet- ups,” forums and online chat rooms have been buzzing with caucus talk.
Democrats may be most Tea Partyers’ main nemesis, but the list of other things they are against is lengthy.
(- I can only imagine. Soggy Rice Krispies being high on the list. -mdw)
Separating from fringe
Some have tried to write them off as conspiracy-addled and uneducated, but conservative organizers say the far-right-wing fringe gets too much publicity. The movement is trying to push aside those waving Obama/Nazi signs and advocating armed resistance to the federal government.
“They are crazy. They have no place in our movement,” said Jeff Crank, a conservative radio talk-show host from Colorado Springs and state director of the Americans for Prosperity. “We can’t allow our movement to be hijacked by nuts.”
(- gives the intensity of the local vitriol a context, eh? -mdw)
Lu Busse, who is chairwoman of the 9.12 Project Colorado Coalition that takes in two dozen conservative and patriot groups, said lack of money plus the mostly leaderless nature of the groups make it hard to gauge their strength in Colorado.
(- well, Longmont doesn’t have the money problem.)
Colorado has dozens of groups, each with its own slightly different focus, associated with the Tea Party movement. Among them:
TEA PARTY PATRIOTS
Three core values are fiscal responsibility, constitutionally limited government and free markets.
TEA PARTY EXPRESS
Planning a national tour this spring to demonstrate against bailouts, government-run health care, deficit spending and government takeovers of sectors of the economy.
Followers of talk-show host Glenn Beck who believe the country should pull together as it did the day after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The group’s nine principles and 12 values include a belief in God, the sacredness of marriage and the family, courage and personal responsibility.
AMERICANS FOR PROSPERITY
Republican-based group committed to mobilizing citizens to fight for limited government, free markets and the return of the federal government to what the group sees as its constitutional limits.
HEAR US NOW
The Colorado-founded group helped organize the state’s first Tea Party demonstrations. The organization examines proposed legislation to help educate members.
The Colorado-based Revive Our American Republic says it aims to make elected officials hew to the Constitution. The group researches candidates and monitors proposed legislation.