Does the Tea Party have a money problem?

posted at 8:48 am on August 9, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

How far can a grassroots movement go in changing the direction of American politics without becoming a cash-generating machine?  Politico asks the question about the Tea Party movement, which thus far has not focused on fundraising as much as it has on organizing and protest events.  Could their success become a flash in the pan without building a financial infrastructure?

Some leading tea party activists are concerned that their efforts to reshape American politics, starting with the 2010 elections, are being undermined by a shortage of cash that’s partly the result of a deep ambivalence within the movement’s grassroots over the very idea of fundraising, and partly attributable to an inability to win over the wealthy donors who fund the conservative establishment.

Many tea party organizations have shied away from the heavy-handed solicitations that flood the email boxes of political activists. And the handful of tea party groups that have raised substantial amounts, either by embracing aggressive fundraising or through pre-existing connections to wealthy donors, are viewed suspiciously within the movement.

Local groups have been left to literally pass hats seeking donations at their meetings or rely on their organizers’ bank accounts, while ssome national groups have failed to live up to their bold fundraising predictions.

Part of the Tea Party’s charm has been its eschewing of traditional political forms, including fundraising.  The “suspicion” that some cast on elements within the movement is directed towards those who may have intentions of co-opting the grassroots for traditional party power.  Its bootstrap quality attracts people to the rallies even if it does leave question about the movement’s ability to survive.

Besides, there is a basic conundrum in this question.  While there have been many motivations and provocations that have pushed the movement’s growth, the poor economy and the top-down policies of Democrats that have created stagnation are the most powerful.  That leaves people with not much discretionary cash to donate, making it ironically a bad time to launch a massive new political organization based on grassroots fundraising.

Politico’s Kenneth Vogel points out one issue with money that could create problems eventually for the Tea Party.  Many of the events get funded out of very few pockets, which will lead to two major issues sooner or later.  First, those pockets will dry up at some point, and if none are left to replace them, the events will grind to a halt, and the movement along with them.  The other issue is direction.  Having only a few people funding events and promotion leaves the movement at the mercy of just those few.  He who pays the piper calls the tune, and while that hasn’t been a problem up to this point, the decentralized nature of the movement and the lack of broader sources of funding might create opportunities for embarrassment and misdirection at some point.

For a political movement with such a broad impact, the future seems somewhat murky.  Will the Tea Party movement be satisfied with turning out Democrats in the upcoming midterms?  Will it continue to gather energy long enough to help make Barack Obama a one-term President and put Republicans back in charge?  If so, activists will have to start planning for long-term funding and embrace some of the parts of politics that has until now been distasteful for these grassroots.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Come on, Pelosi assured us we are all corporate tools, we have plenty of money.

rob verdi on August 9, 2010 at 8:51 AM

On a serious note as long as the web of connections o s held together and the votes can be delivered, being light in on the donations end is not the end of the world.

rob verdi on August 9, 2010 at 8:52 AM

Michelle O and her posse seem to have an unlimited supply of dollars to party, vacation and order designer threads

clnurnberg on August 9, 2010 at 8:52 AM

Volunteer people are far more valuable than funds …

tarpon on August 9, 2010 at 8:55 AM

I think the Tea Party’s done pretty well so far. Thousands turn out for rallies. Several veteran GOP politicians have either gotten run in the primaries(Bennett, Inglis) or been forced out of the party because they’ve been exposed as DIABLOs(Crist, Scuzzy-flavor). And the Dems and media(I know, I’m being redundant) are obviously concerned enough with the influence of the movement that they’ve been playing the race card for well over a year now to no avail.

The Tea Party was never meant to be an actual political party. It’s not about electing third party candidates in order to replace the GOP. It’s about getting politicians at the local, state, and federal level to adhere to the Constitution and respect the principles of limited government, lower taxes, and free market economics. And based on the results thus far, I’d say it’s a huge success.

Doughboy on August 9, 2010 at 8:57 AM

This is another stupid attack on the Tea Party MOVEMENT. The writer presumes members of the Tea Party want to form a national party with substantial resources……NO WE DON’T. We want to know our voices are being heard and our elected officials reflect that collective voice in their voting behavior.

A million Tea Party folks made it to Washington DC last year without any financial assistance. We will be back again this September, without any financial assistance. Unlike the libtards, we don’t require direct payments to protest.

David in ATL on August 9, 2010 at 8:59 AM

Doughboy, well said

cmsinaz on August 9, 2010 at 9:00 AM

Wherever a crowd assembles there follows along a soul with dreams of a career in politics if only he could gain control of the assembled throng.

Anyone seeking to emerge as the face of the Tea Party is doomed to disappointment. The people assembled under the Gadsen Flag are not seeking some politician to lead them. The Tea Party is a genuine, spontaneous uprising of the citizenry anxious to deliver a message to the political class in November: ‘We are Citizens to be led, not Subjects to be ruled.’

potkas7 on August 9, 2010 at 9:02 AM

Tea Party is not about fundraising, it is a philosophy of governance that will demonstrate its power on November 2 with out asking or spending a dime from Tea Party supporters like myself…

mjbrooks3 on August 9, 2010 at 9:03 AM

Is there really a Tea Party “party”? It’s a movement. I instantly get nervous about “Tea Party endorsed candidates.” There is no one party… so… who exactly is doing the endorsing?
The “party” has done an awful lot without official fundraising… and I like that. Money corrupts. As long as citizens have access to the internet (I’m sure Dear Leader would like to change that) the “tea party” will continue.

Sugar Land on August 9, 2010 at 9:03 AM

Sounds like they are disappointed we don’t get Federal funding like ACORN and La Raza do.

Jeff2161 on August 9, 2010 at 9:04 AM

We are Citizens to be led, not Subjects to be ruled.’

potkas7 on August 9, 2010 at 9:02 AM

Actually, we are their employers and they have been insubordinate for too long. Fire them in November.

Jeff2161 on August 9, 2010 at 9:06 AM

Sounds like they are disappointed we don’t get Federal funding like ACORN and La Raza do.

Jeff2161 on August 9, 2010 at 9:04 AM

That’s good. First, it means the tea party members aren’t beholden to anyone but themselves. Secondly, it guarantees that when(not if anymore since we’re on the verge of bankruptcy) the government teat runs dry, the tea party won’t vanish into obscurity due to a lack of federal dollars.

Doughboy on August 9, 2010 at 9:10 AM

You out-wonked yourself on this one, Ed. The simplicity of the Tea-Party movement is its charm. No need to make it appear like a political rats nest.

pugwriter on August 9, 2010 at 9:10 AM

Does the tea party have a money problem? Not unless the price of a cup of Earl Gray “Hot”, has skyrocketed! (The elite AssClownS just don’t get it do they & hopefully they won’t until it’s too late! :)

Dread Pirate Roberts VI on August 9, 2010 at 9:12 AM

Michelle O and her posse seem to have an unlimited supply of dollars to party, vacation and order designer threads

clnurnberg on August 9, 2010 at 8:52 AM

Her recent most excellent adventure in the Land of Don Quixote cost taxpayers a paltry $75,000 a day. Hope she enjoyed that Caves of Drach tour and sampling those bodega liquours. I want to make sure my tax dollars were wasted properly here!

pilamaye on August 9, 2010 at 9:13 AM

For a political movement with such a broad impact, the future seems somewhat murky.

What did the original Tea Party give way to? It metamorphosized into something else. This movement will continue into a Phase II, post election movement with similar attributes, different tactics, and the end results will be the same. Money or not.

ted c on August 9, 2010 at 9:13 AM

Did King George ever say, “Look, they’re not throwing Tea into the harbor anymore! All is well, All is WELL!”????

ummmm. nope.

ted c on August 9, 2010 at 9:14 AM

Glenn Beck had 4 different “leaders” from various Tea party groups on is show recently. They discussed their goals, among which were, “what happens on Nov 3rd” – the day after the 2010 elections. I inferred they were anticipating large Repub gains. So, then what? Will the movement be just as motivated if Repubs control the House &/or Senate? Cash was never mentioned as an issue.

humdinger on August 9, 2010 at 9:14 AM

The decentralization of the Tea Party movement has been it’s strong point to date, in large part because it flummoxed the typical “Rules for Radicals” type tactics Democrats and the current White House occupants had played so well since Katrina in 2005. They were able to get swing voters over to their side by personalizing the Republican leadership and demonizing them. But there was no one person leading the Tea Party, and the Dems’ attempts to anoint a leader (Beck, Limbaugh, Fox News, etc.) failed because each group pretty much went it’s own way on the details, coming together only for the specifics.

That left the Democrats trying to demonize the Tea Party membership, which is a lot tougher — you might convince a swing voter that someone they’ve never met is a knuckle-dragging bigoted cretin filled with malicious evil, but it’s a lot harder to convince them many of their neighbors or co-workers fall into that category. And, at least for now, the attacks are doing more to motivate swing voters towards the Tea Party’s ideals than away from it, even it the moderates don’t plan to participate.

Put a face on the movement right now via officials ‘money raisers’ would be a mistake. They might not be the ‘deep pockets’ people funding the movement, but they would become the de facto leaders in Washington, just because of their cash access, and would then be the ones getting the full Alinsky treatment. If the group is going to start becoming a fund-raising machine, it probably needs to wait and see if the current GOP leadership does nothing if they regain control of the House and/or Senate this fall. Then having a political movement with an independent source of funding would become a necessity.

jon1979 on August 9, 2010 at 9:20 AM

Pray to God it doesn’t fall prey to the money problem.

Our American Revolution had a money problem. That didn’t prevent dedication through effort to see the battles through until victorious. The Dutch and French did not call the tune then, though they financed our debt.

I perceive the point of the Tea Party being ANTI-FRAUD based upon constitutional conservancy.

It isn’t as if the Tea Party needs to fund an enormous MSM advertising campaign to broadcast what is wrong with this Congress and this Potus. Every move that Congress makes and that Obama makes grates against citizen tax payers’ sense of justice under the law.

I think that Michele Bachmann’s Congressional Tea Party Caucus, that does not require grassroots donations to exist, will be effective in fighting unconstitutional legislation via alliance of Republicans with Libertarians and Independents. THAT premise requires American protest of Cantor’s elitist abstention that in Washingtonian translates into neoconservative debauchery of Republican unity on principle: ANTI-FRAUD. Cantor likes his kickbacks and ain’t gonna sacrifice his alliances with globalist financiers.

Funding an official Tea Party bureaucracy would simply squander grassroots donations better directed to specific candidates, imo. The point of constitutional conservancy should be EVERY American’s interest. That it isn’t is obvious. Nonetheless, given the principle of least interest, those who care will indeed work to succeed in demanding our government to function as our Constitutional Republic, not as an authoritarian autocracy as we currently have in official ILLEGITIMATE power.

A lot of purging will, of necessity, be by trial and error, as opportunists will flock towards the opportunity to be the ones raping America, though elected on the platform to purge fraud. Seduction is Washington’s specialty.

Imo, the only established ideology that would NOT plunder from the Constitution is the Libertarian Conservative ready to make those cuts that taxpayers MUST have, ready to slash those unconstitutional bureaucracies, ready to enforce Constitutional Law to preserve our constitutional governance.

Btw, all the griping against Libertarians because they won’t promote unconstitutional CIA international warfare is self destructive for those who demand constitutional governance in America. Libertarians depend as much for our liberty on the US Military as anyone else. WHAT MATTERS IS WHO’S IN CHARGE of that “vast military industrial complex” (which Eisenhower both promoted and finally, too late to change its course, warned against).

I also fail to see how our funding for the UN, NATO, Global Bank bailouts, etc. has bettered the lives of truly conservative people around the world. Rather, we’ve been duped. And there isn’t a neoconservative who would do anything to curtail our “global obligations” determined by globalists because neo-conservatism is by nature globalist.

maverick muse on August 9, 2010 at 9:22 AM

…what gives with all this morning’s hangups for my comments?

maverick muse on August 9, 2010 at 9:24 AM

http://southdakotapolitics.blogs.com/south_dakota_politics/2010/08/al-franken-a-vote-for-herseth-sandlin-is-a-vote-for-nancy-pelosi.html

We need to be able to have somebody here in South Dakota who’s going to vote for Speaker Pelosi.

ninjapirate on August 9, 2010 at 9:26 AM

Does America really need the a sequel to the Reform Party? That was a complete disaster.

year_of_the_dingo on August 9, 2010 at 9:29 AM

And the Dems and media(I know, I’m being redundant)

Doughboy on August 9, 2010 at 8:57 AM

How about this:

Democrats And Media, Big Labor, Academia

for short:

DAMBLA

Kafir on August 9, 2010 at 9:31 AM

“It’s not a party party.”
— W. Goldberg

onlineanalyst on August 9, 2010 at 9:32 AM

For a political movement with such a broad impact, the future seems somewhat murky.

Which is good…hopefully in 2 years they won’t be around…the problems will be resolving.
The beauty, and of course the MSM is ignoring, is that this is not a “party”, it is a group of individuals with a common goal, that is the strength.
“Party’s” last as long as there is money, Tea Party will last as long as their is a problem.
The “Tea Party” has always been around, they have always been part of the political movement…they just decided to get together when things became extreme.
It is amazing that people like Ed or Allah, still don’t get it…it is a MOVEMENT, not a “Party”.

right2bright on August 9, 2010 at 9:32 AM

You out-wonked yourself on this one, Ed. The simplicity of the Tea-Party movement is its charm. No need to make it appear like a political rats nest.

pugwriter on August 9, 2010 at 9:10 AM

This is another more succinct way to put it.

right2bright on August 9, 2010 at 9:34 AM

Many of the events get funded out of very few pockets

This has not been my experience. I live in the DFW area, where tea party events are very large and very well attended. Individual donations at these events, along with vendors and other sponsors, is what funds these events, as a small group of individuals could not.

I hopped on the Tea Party “train” early on because it was so accessible and new. Trying to become a part of the established, entrenched local GOP is more difficult than I had imagined. But to my delight, a wonderful, working relationship between the Tea Partiers and the GOP- and there are A LOT of cross-over members- has emerged over the last year. So what I see happening, at least for me, locally, is the best of both worlds: older, established, well-funded political activists (GOP) being infused with energetic, motivated new-comers.

The only challenge has been keeping our identities separate enough to please the leadership on both sides. I’ve held a couple of leadership roles during certain events for the local tea party, but I’m happiest as a free-floating “worker bee” flitting between the two. And I’m getting a lot done that way!

parteagirl on August 9, 2010 at 9:36 AM

The lack of organization is a good thing. A different Vogel/Politico article explains the philosophy:

“The Starfish and the Spider: The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations,” has a thesis with understandable attraction for tea partiers — that poorly funded groups and companies loosely organized around basic shared ideas can change society, often by outmaneuvering governments or mega-corporations.

The title is based on the contrasting biology of spiders, which die when their heads are chopped off, and starfish, which can multiply when any given part is severed — a trait the book’s authors posit is shared by decentralized entities ranging from Alcoholics Anonymous to Al Qaeda to Wikipedia.

…“‘The Starfish and the Spider’ was almost written for this leaderless movement,” said Adam Brandon, spokesman for FreedomWorks. “You take the Dayton tea party, and you cut it in half, and it becomes two of them — and that’s what’s been happening. It’s a better model for the type of activism we want to do. So we talk about it a lot. We recommend it.”

Laura Curtis on August 9, 2010 at 9:38 AM

As always, when arguing with liberals and the media, question the premise of the question. The Tea Party is not “a party.” It is a movement funded by the power of the people. To create a money machine is to become part of the machine. That is contrary to the purpose.

BTW, for those in Texas, there is a rally today at the capitol at 5:30 p.m.: Hands Off Texas — our message to President Obama who is visiting today.

publiuspen on August 9, 2010 at 9:38 AM

What infrastructure/fundraising was needed for the original tea party?

Going down that road will lead to another corruptible party.

Valiant on August 9, 2010 at 9:38 AM

Ooops. Block quoted the wrong part. Sorry!

Many of the events get funded out of very few pockets

This has not been my experience. I live in the DFW area, where tea party events are very large and very well attended. Individual donations at these events, along with vendors and other sponsors, is what funds these events, as a small group of individuals could not.

I hopped on the Tea Party “train” early on because it was so accessible and new. Trying to become a part of the established, entrenched local GOP is more difficult than I had imagined. But to my delight, a wonderful, working relationship between the Tea Partiers and the GOP- and there are A LOT of cross-over members- has emerged over the last year. So what I see happening, at least for me, locally, is the best of both worlds: older, established, well-funded political activists (GOP) being infused with energetic, motivated new-comers.

The only challenge has been keeping our identities separate enough to please the leadership on both sides. I’ve held a couple of leadership roles during certain events for the local tea party, but I’m happiest as a free-floating “worker bee” flitting between the two. And I’m getting a lot done that way!

parteagirl on August 9, 2010 at 9:39 AM

The TP movement doesn’t need $$$$$ in the trainload amounts the RNC or DNC churn out (and spend recklessly/inefficiently) each election cycle.

To remain successful and effective as a grassroots movement, the TP simply has to ‘keep it local’. Spread the word government is imploding because spending – on the public sector, e.g unions) is out of control, our politicians believe they’re entitled to their jobs as a lifetime sinecure, there are too many people in the cart with too few of us pulling the load.

If you agree with these statements, MAKE SURE YOU VOTE REPUBLICAN COME NOVEMBER, AND GET YOUR NEIGHBORS TO DO LIKEWISE.

Does voting Repub guarantee success? Perhaps not, but we’ve seen voting Dem has guaranteed disaster with more/worse to come if they remain in power. It’s less a matter of $$$$ than it is acting out of a sense of rage. That’s what formed the TP; that’s what’ll it keep it going!

alwyr on August 9, 2010 at 9:40 AM

Guys,

Palin can only be in so many places at one time.

Got cloning?

victor82 on August 9, 2010 at 9:43 AM

Ditto to all the comments above.

The author of this piece at JournoList er, Politico, ever on the lookout for ever more oblique ways to diminish & discredit the movement, invites us to infer that there’s something terribly wrong that The Tea Party isn’t evolving into & functioning as a traditional political party.

Um, it isn’t one. It wasn’t supposed to be one. The minute it does begin acquiring all the trappings of institutionalized power & the inherent limitations which those trappings impose,in fact, is the day you can order the headstone for its grave.

leilani on August 9, 2010 at 9:43 AM

leilani on August 9, 2010 at 9:43 AM

Well said!

parteagirl on August 9, 2010 at 9:50 AM

BTW, how much funding is needed anyway ? PA system and a stage, maybe a permit… Ya’ don’t need a lot of money for that and don’t need to pay for trash pick-up afterwards neither.

Jeff2161 on August 9, 2010 at 9:52 AM

The Tea Party was never meant to be an actual political party. It’s not about electing third party candidates in order to replace the GOP. It’s about getting politicians at the local, state, and federal level to adhere to the Constitution and respect the principles of limited government, lower taxes, and free market economics. And based on the results thus far, I’d say it’s a huge success.

Doughboy on August 9, 2010 at 8:57 AM

Dittos, Doughboy.
The reason the Tea Party is associated with Republicans is simple. Although there aren’t many of them, the limited, government, lower taxes, free market economics believers are in the Republican Party. If there were any at all in the Democrat Party, we’d be supporting them. There aren’t. The last conservative Democrat was driven out years ago and the closest they can come is “blue dog”, a mythical term that the Obamacare vote proved was a mirage.
We would be delighted to support true conservative Democrats, but our chances of finding one rank behind our chances of finding a Yeti in our dining room.

Extrafishy on August 9, 2010 at 9:59 AM

pugwriter on August 9, 2010 at 9:10 AM

This.

The last thing the Tea Party movement needs is some kind of national organization, which would ultimately result in the choosing of a leader and creation of a useless structure (like the DNC and RNC) to sit on their butts in offices, a national convention (you’d like that, Ed; they’d surely include a “Blogger’s Row”) and all the stuff that ultimately moves them into a useless, mainstream political party.

This is an idea, not an organization. The sooner it fades away, its mission completed, its message of Constitutionality, responsibility and conservatism successfully delivered, the better.

MrScribbler on August 9, 2010 at 10:01 AM

That political power flows from a checking account is beltway wisdom. When, in truth, power flows from the consent of the governed. If money is enough for you, get on down to the beltway. If your want to find out about the consent of the governed try a Tea Party.

snaggletoothie on August 9, 2010 at 10:02 AM

A million Tea Party folks made it to Washington DC last year without any financial assistance. We will be back again this September, without any financial assistance. Unlike the libtards, we don’t require direct payments to protest.

David in ATL on August 9, 2010 at 8:59 AM

Like unions such as SEIU, who hire protesters and bus them to the target.

cartooner on August 9, 2010 at 10:02 AM

What do they need money for? To run commercials on networks that regularly ridicule them? As long as they can reach motivated people with their message, they’ll be fine.

The Dems found a way to get around fundraising rules by forming non-party support organizations. Conservatives might have leapfrogged that by creating a movement that organizes and messages largely for free using the internet.

hawksruleva on August 9, 2010 at 10:03 AM

Wise words, Ed.

I used to belong to a tea-party type movement (I’ve typed that before, but on a long-distance basis. And I was the webmaster!) I no longer support the Tea Party movement, but what is happening right now is totally expected at this stage of the game.

See, because this is an effort that people embraced, created and they’re as grassroots as possible-so no head of the movement, no leader for the whole country-pops on the media, they have to pony up e v e r y t h i n g .

In one town/city/state they have to figure out who’s the best at what, and use those talents to the max; from kids to a graphic artist. Everybody counts. BUT when it comes to fund raising, it is hard amongst their own because they’re putting enough effort already-even pay for meeting locations, for example.

If this is what is happening, they have to figure out how can they continue their hard work and fetch powerful, wealthy people that support their cause, even if they are in the closet. Tricky part, how this can be accomplished without being forced to come out as one, and have an official, structured “flowchart-type” of voluntaries dedicated to fund raising.

There was a leadership problem in the South, if I remember correctly. We all know how power given to one person can balance things out in the wrong tip of the scale. I saw that in the movement that I used to be part of, I blew the whistle, flew back home and my sis didn’t want a scandal to break off in a mini-coliseum.

It’s hard. It’s up to them what path they must choose.

ProudPalinFan on August 9, 2010 at 10:15 AM

The Tea Party is, more than anything else, an educational movement and it serves as a pep rally. It doesn’t need huge budgets to accomplish what really needs to be done – moving the country further right by persuading people that smaller government, less taxation, and more liberty provides for a better, more prosperous life than big government nanny statism. Once that’s done, dragging the GOP back to the right and winning elections will take care of itself.

Laura Curtis on August 9, 2010 at 10:32 AM

Get rid of enough incumbents in 2010 and the establisment will want to start throwing money at the Tea Party. Thats when we have to be vigilant that the movement isn’t corrupted.

Look at November of 2010 and the rest we can worry about later.

Vince on August 9, 2010 at 10:32 AM

I don’t know about other “Tea Party” groups but in our area we are focusing on educating and empowering people; educating them on the Founders and the Constitution and empowering them by showing them that they can make an “individual” difference. It is a long term project that is awakening people to the fact that we are where we are today because too many of us stopped paying attention and took our freedom for granted. We are waking up and we won’t be going back to sleep any time soon! It has nothing to do with money or the “Party”.

indccc on August 9, 2010 at 10:34 AM

The funding concept is the great divider between “party” and “movement.” It’s called a Tea Party, but it is not a party. The finances of the donors, and those who would attempt to direct, or at least steer, this group is of no concern to me when I step into the voting booth. If they go bankrupt; if they make fortunes; if they capture the media; if they become political failures – none of this changes my vote. Ideas might change my vote, but financial pandering will not. That’s the movement.

Perhaps we will not be able to get together in big groups; perhaps the media will stop covering us. No matter, we are still there and our numbers are undiminished. It’s good to get together to “keep the batteries charged.” But it is not a necessity. November isn’t that far off anymore.

ss396 on August 9, 2010 at 10:38 AM

Ditto to all the comments above.

The author of this piece at JournoList er, Politico, ever on the lookout for ever more oblique ways to diminish & discredit the movement, invites us to infer that there’s something terribly wrong that The Tea Party isn’t evolving into & functioning as a traditional political party.

Um, it isn’t one. It wasn’t supposed to be one. The minute it does begin acquiring all the trappings of institutionalized power & the inherent limitations which those trappings impose,in fact, is the day you can order the headstone for its grave.

leilani on August 9, 2010 at 9:43 AM

Well said – wasn’t it last month they were all wondering how the Tea Party could survive without leaders? It’s just more MSM/Left projection – there’s no way we could get anything done without people telling us what to do and some rich moneybags/DC money funding us, so how can Tea Partiers possibly be getting anything accomplished.

PatMac on August 9, 2010 at 10:46 AM

The Tea Party Movement needs to AVOID at all costs the money machine trap. That way lies the same corruption that now grips political parties, lobbyists and politicians.

The strength of the movement lies in networking to share information and turning our the vote. Tea Partiers can and do make their own contributions independently. Politicians who measure the strength of political groups by the bank balance of their PACS, BEWARE!

If post-election analysis suggests that politicians who support Tea Party principles benefited at the polls from Tea Party support, that Tea Party power will translate into respect from politicians that PAC money can’t buy.

novaculus on August 9, 2010 at 11:25 AM

This article is simply another Obamacrat attempt to destroy opposition.

They want to create the impression that the Tea Party is a political party…and therefore subject to Federal regulations and their oversight…so that they can destroy it.

It won’t work.

The Tea Party is a true ‘grass roots’ movement. It includes members of all political parties: an inconvenient truth which the Obamacrats are trying to hide.

The Tea Party Movement arose because Washington forgot what “Consent of the Governed” means.

landlines on August 9, 2010 at 12:01 PM

These geniuses that are big time political gurus are being driven crazy by the Tea Party. Tea Party gotta do this, gotta do that, can’t survive w/o a leader. Now it’s gotta have money. These Ya Ya’s will never understand us—WE ARE THE AMERICAN PEOPLE! The only way we are going away is when we get back to American Founding Fathers principles’ and ideals. Don’t cost nothing to believe. (And that’s the truth!)

Herb on August 9, 2010 at 12:28 PM

The GOP is part of the reason the Tea Party does not contribute to established party structures. We rely more on web sites like this one to find Freedom loving candidates. Rather than contribute to an unreliable party structure I like to make my contributions directly to a candidate I can support. The great thing about the Tea Party is they just announce the candidate and we can decide to finacially support this candidate directly on our own.

lwssdd on August 9, 2010 at 1:15 PM

All the commenters so far get it. Fantastic!

Also the loose TP structure is great at spreading the word about candidates who promise to follow TP principles in the Federal legislature, and we donate to them. Every $25 or $50 helps. Even if we don’t have a lot of money, we use the “wisdom of crowds” to put it where it will do the most good. Which is how we think the economy ought to run in general: leave most things to the voluntary decisions of individuals, and they will allocate their resources in the most effective way.

YehuditTX on August 9, 2010 at 1:44 PM

The history of Alcoholics Anonymous is instructive. When it was first organized the founders tried to get John D. Rockefeller to give a lot of money because their mission was so important. Rockefeller refused and told them that what they had organized would only be tainted and possibly destroyed by allowing money to become a factor. Fortunately the founders were wise enough to see that he was true. And AA remains untroubled by large sums of money. Each meeting is autonomous and self-supporting from small contributions of its members. There are few expenses beyond rent on a space for a couple of hours a week, coffee, donuts and such. And if a meeting cannot attract that small amount it is a good sign that it is not needed. The larger operations such as the local offices and main office in New York live on donations from the surplus of the local groups and donations from members. Any money contributed by nonmembers is returned with thanks and an apology because such money is never accepted. Because there is no financial obligation to outsiders, there is no outside input into the operation of the fellowship. Democratic principles are followed. Most decisions are the result of local boards made up of representatives elected by the local groups. The lack of outside money has helped to keep AA versatile and full of life. It is almost 75 years old and has millions of members around the world.
The Tea Parties would do well do look at such a success especially since much of their mission is also altering self-defeating attitudes and habits.

snaggletoothie on August 9, 2010 at 3:05 PM

Is there really a Tea Party “party”? It’s a movement. I instantly get nervous about “Tea Party endorsed candidates.” There is no one party… so… who exactly is doing the endorsing?
The “party” has done an awful lot without official fundraising… and I like that. Money corrupts. As long as citizens have access to the internet (I’m sure Dear Leader would like to change that) the “tea party” will continue.

Sugar Land on August 9, 2010 at 9:03 AM

I agree. Last April, I wrote an article on my blog about how I think the T.E.A party movement shouldn’t be in the business of endorsing candidates. I feel vindicated by my concern.

Any attempt to endorse candidates will only pull the tea party from its objectives and goals of this movement.

Conservative Samizdat on August 9, 2010 at 4:26 PM