Tea party = Republican? Not so, say the Tea Party Patriots, the nation’s largest tea party organization that boasts more than 3,300 affiliated groups.
“A pledge of allegiance to the Republican Party, or any other party, violates what the tea party movement is all about and is completely out of touch with grass-roots Americans,” says cofounder Jenny Beth Martin.
“The tea party movement grew out of disillusionment with both political parties who have rejected the principles of fiscal responsibility, limited constitutional government and the free market. We are independent and will remain so,” she adds.
Mark Meckler, the other Patriots co-founder, says he’s seen little support for Mitt Romney, noting, “It’s premature to say whether anyone would support him if he were the nominee, and anyone who says that tea partyers would support him is certainly not speaking for the movement at large.”