Tea Party Patriots vs. Tea Party Express
I reported yesterday that there was some friction between the Tea Party Patriots and Our Country Deserves Better PAC, the organization that launched the Tea Party Express. Today, I confirmed that the discord is real, and that Amy Kremer, formerly a national coordinator of Tea Party Patriots, was pushed out last week because of her decision to join the upcoming Tea Party Express tour.
“As an organization, we do our best to be completely nonpartisan,” said Mark Meckler, a national coordinator for Tea Party Patriots. “That’s one of things that’s allowed us to survive when we were called Republican tools. Tea Party Patriots are very dissatisfied with the Republican Party — we have nothing against Our Country Deserves Better PAC, but they raise money for Republicans.”
Meckler did say that the antics of Mark Williams, the former radio host who has become a spokesman for Tea Party Express — and is often identified as a “Tea Party leader” because of this — played a role in the pushback.
“Williams has a tendency to go out to national media and say exceptionally inflammatory things,” said Meckler. “That can lead to the Tea Party movement being painted by the left as a bunch of racists. And that’s not the Tea Party movement.”
Joe Wierzbicki of OCDB disputed my characterization of the group as “Republican-centric” and “late comers” to the Tea Party movement.
“We had 2008 Libertarian Vice Presidential Candidate Wayne Allen Root speaking in Las Vegas,” said Wierzbicki, “had Independents AND Democrats speak at the various tea party rallies.” And he provided evidence that OCDB had endorsed Tea Parties from the beginning. Still, members of Tea Party Patriots argued that they had brought OCDB into the actual day-to-day of the Tea Parties, and that Williams was taking credit for a movement he had not started.