By Janie Lorber
The state of the tea party evokes Mark Twain: Reports of its death were an exaggeration.
Tea party activists who say they deliberately sat out the fiscal cliff debate are ready to reassert themselves as Congress and the Obama administration take up the debt ceiling and automatic spending cuts under the sequester.
The Tea Party Patriots, a national umbrella organization that claims 15 million supporters, is urging its members to confront lawmakers in their districts. They want Congress to let the $109 billion in cuts stand and not increase the government’s borrowing power. And with an eye toward 2014, the nonprofit is soliciting donations and identifying targets for its newly formed political action committee.
“We have six or seven weeks to be influential here,” said Bill Pascoe, a Washington-based conservative strategist who provides weekly legislative updates to the Patriots.
“Get on their schedules, so that they understand that we are not going away, that the movement is growing up a bit,” added Jenny Beth Martin, the Patriots’ co-founder, in a conference call with supporters Sunday night.
Activists such as Martin are warning followers not to openly advocate a government shutdown as a way of resolving the debt limit talks.
During the fiscal cliff showdown, tea party activists were silent, only going public after a deal was struck to chastise those who voted for the package. They say that was all part of a plan to highlight what they see as Speaker John A. Boehner’s political weaknesses — and then deny him another term as speaker.
Read entire article