The mainstream media, the pollsters, and the two major political parties are all quick to declare the Tea Party Movement dead. Establishment forces on both sides of the issues facing our Republic find comfort in minimizing the Tea Party faction.

At the inception of the Republican primaries, the Washington Times and the Zogby organization partnered to follow the Republican candidates. An early finding was that those who were sympathetic to the Tea Party were found to be far more pragmatic than expected. The poll found that 58 percent of the Tea Parties were ready to back anyone who could defeat Obama. According to the Zogby poll, those not sympathetic to the Tea Party were more likely to be ideologically driven, with only about 40 percent saying “beating the president was more important than picking someone who shared all their views.”

We do not challenge the Zogby finding, but we feel that pollsters have failed to discern major structural issues within the Tea Party Movement. Those who see the Tea Party as simply anti-Obama people lacking constitutional principles should consider what follows.

We all know that the “grass-roots” Tea Party movement had its start with the tax rallies in 2009 and the rallies up to and through the 2010 elections. The Tea Party had a great influence on electing Republicans. The Tea Parties have the ability to attract large numbers of people to their events, where the GOP does not. Seeing the value of the Tea Parties’ usefulness, we believe that local Republican Executive Committees (RECs) started infiltrating the newly forming Tea Party leadership teams all over the country.

Just how wide this spread is, is hard to estimate. As part of the Tea Party activists in NE Florida, we can report that power struggles between the Republican REC control and the original grassroots leadership is taking place here. The ideals of small government, constitutional governance and free enterprise are still rallying calls for the Tea Party among their membership. However, this is clearly not the agenda of the Republicans. Their REC’s are only concerned with electing people with an “R” behind their name, no matter what they stand for. When networks were set up to coordinate Tea Party leadership groups within Florida, the REC operatives again sought control. Not all Tea Party groups are controlled by the REC and many groups are now seeking liberation from the REC control.

An example, of one such Tea Party who has obtained its freedom, is the Saint Augustine Tea Party (SATP) in St. Augustine, Florida. At its inception, this local Tea party was infiltrated by REC members, with control in the hands of the local REC’s State Committeeman. When the members came to realize that they were being used by Republicans, they started asserting themselves. After the REC members lost control, they went on a campaign to destroy the SATP, seizing their assets and their mailing lists.

The REC operatives tried to prevent them from using their name. They tried to cancel their meetings. They used strong arm tactics at their meeting place. When all that failed, they formed a new shell corporation controlled by the same REC members to give the Republicans a Tea Party image.

The ‘polls’ are distorted because of the infighting within the Tea Party leadership cells. It is the GOP voters that will vote for anyone who will beat Obama, not the Tea Partiers. The Tea Party movement is about Constitutional governance, Constitutional governance and Constitutional governance. It is all about the Founding Principles that gave birth to a Country based on Individual Liberty. If you see a Tea Party group coming out in a big and united way for one of the three ‘big government’ Republican presidential hopefuls, you have a big red flag. Tea Party groups free from REC control reject Mitt, are not enthusiastic about Newt or Santorum. However, support for Ron Paul is growing. Having been bullied by the GOP, the real Tea Partiers understand that their voice is not going to be heard by The Grand ‘ol Party.

The numbers that make up the individual free Tea Parties is small in numbers (several thousand groups), but wield huge in influence.

To all Libertarians, let the word go out; “ Help liberate your local Tea Party. Your Constitutional friends reside there.”

The Tea Party is not dead. Not by a long shot. Just one stroll down St. George Street with the Town Criers, of the Saint Augustine Tea Party, will attract hundreds of adoring fans and thousands of pictures with families, couples, and curious tourists who want to be photographed behind the Tea Party sign…they see the Tea Party Movement as the Hope of the Nation.

These photos are immediately put on the social network.

The question is: Will the Tea Party become the ‘new’ Party after the 2012 election? We think so.

If it is not, and no other Constitutional identity steps up to capture the “We the People” movement, then we will all live in the darkness of the “Total State” worse than Orwell’s 1984.

Lance Thate

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