Tea Partiers Attacking the GOP Leadership
By supporting the tea parties with a nod and a wink, the GOP may have created a monster: Tea partiers turn on GOP leadership.
Whether it’s the loose confederation of Washington-oriented groups that have played an organizational role or the state-level activists who are channeling grass roots anger into action back home, Tea Party forces are confronting the Republican establishment by backing insurgent conservatives and generating their own candidates—even if it means taking on GOP incumbents.
“We will be a headache for anyone who believes the Constitution of the United States … isn’t to be protected,” said Dick Armey, chairman of the anti-tax and limited government advocacy group FreedomWorks, which helped plan and promote the Tea Parties, town hall protests and the September ‘Taxpayer March’ in Washington. “If you can’t take it seriously, we will look for places of other employment for you.”
“We’re not a partisan organization, and I think many Republicans are disappointed we are not,” added Armey, a former GOP congressman.
In Florida, where the national party has signaled its preference for centrist Gov. Charlie Crist in the GOP Senate primary, tea party activists are lining up behind former state House Speaker Marco Rubio in reaction to Crist’s public backing for President Barack Obama’s stimulus package.