Tri-state Tea Party group aims to broaden its appeal to conservatives
A Tea Party organization targeting Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey is dropping the “Tea Party” from its name and broadening its policy agenda to attract more mainstream Republicans.
“We just think after five years the message has caught on, and as an organization we want to be a little bit more widespread,” said Don Adams, who co-founded the Independence Hall Tea Party in late February 2009, shortly after CNBC's Rick Santelli delivered the speech credited as the catalyst for the national Tea Party movement,
The group's split from the Tea Party brand occurs amid political observations that after reaching the peak of its influence in 2010, the national movement may have run its course.
“This is fairly normal in the history of political movements,” said Lara Brown, associate professor at George Washington University's Graduate School of Political Management. “Everybody is on the same page when they start, then when they actually have success, they start to fight over what that success should translate into, and then they usually begin to break up.”
Sam DeMarco of North Fayette, chairman of Western Pennsylvania Veterans and Patriots United, said his group always has viewed itself as part of the Tea Party movement — but intentionally never used “Tea Party” in its name.
“We didn't want to tie ourselves to one group, especially the larger national groups, because you tend to get co-opted,” DeMarco said.
As the movement evolved, DeMarco and the group's members recognized the importance of collaborating with sitting politicians — while still working to oust unfavorable incumbents — and making reasonable compromises.
“Some folks say that the Tea Party is dead. We don't see it that way. I don't need to stand out here with a sign because I'm working to get people elected in communities across the state,” he said. “You can't just rally and complain about things. You have to work with folks.”
The southeastern Pennsylvania-based Independence Hall's leaders, who claim thousands of members, did not characterize their decision as a “breakup” from other Tea Partiers, but rather a chance to influence a larger swath of conservatives in more policy areas. Among some goals: promoting educational savings accounts, advocating for Israelis and Ukrainians, and demonstrating how arts and culture can promote conservative values.
The Independence Hall Tea Party PAC, which raised about $40,000, no longer will exist.
“We saw this whole pitting of the Tea Party against the establishment as counterproductive,” Adams said. “We should all be united in trying to defeat policies of the Obama administration.”
Jenny Beth Martin, co-founder of the Georgia-based Tea Party Patriots, wrote on Friday in an email that “there is no centralized tea party organization dictating to local groups” and the Independence Hall leaders are “absolutely free to do what is in the best interests of their communities and members.”
“The core principles of freedom appear to remain at the center of their efforts,” Martin wrote, “and we applaud their work to promote them.”
Natasha Lindstrom is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-380-8514 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Ligonier Township police officer killed in wrong-way crash; K-9 injured
- Starkey: Pirates’ trade of Snider still reeks
- Penguins seek minority-owned firm to build Hill District residences
- Pittsburgh police searching for man who robbed bank in Deutschtown
- 2015 Allegheny County Summer Concert Series announced
- 7 arrested in Greensburg street argument
- Dispute over iconic McKeesport lounge headed back to court
- Teen killed when car strikes Monongahela building
- Rostraver man arraigned on murder charge
- Vehicle strikes pedestrian near UPMC McKeesport
- West Virginia offensive lineman charged with burglary