Mother Jones magazine investigates tea party in three-part series

Editor’s note: Mother Jones magazine has launched a three-part series on the tea party patriots. This is the first. I will link to the others when they run later in the week.

“Two years ago, Tea Party Patriots got its start as a scrappy, ground-up conservative organization. Its rowdy activists demanded more transparency and less business-as-usual in the nation’s capital, and they worked hard to elect candidates who they believed wouldn’t succumb to the ways of Washington.

“But it didn’t take long for the grassroots tea party organization to embrace the DC establishment—and some of its more questionable practices. Lately, Tea Party Patriots (TPP) has started to resemble the Beltway lobbying operations its members have denounced.

‘”Tea Party Patriots? I can’t attribute one victory to them at all,’ Laura Boatright, a former TPP regional coordinator in Southern California who has become an outspoken critic, told the publication. ‘Where’s the success with what they’ve done with all this money? My view is that it’s just a career plan’ for its national leaders—namely Jenny Beth Martin, who in 2010 was named by Time as one of the 100 most influential people in the world, and Mark Meckler, now a regular commentator on Fox News. (Meckler and Martin did not respond to a request to comment for the Rolling Stone story.)

The rest of the article is here.

TOMORROW: TPP says it’s a nonprofit political charity. “News to us,” says the IRS.

Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for years, was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News, and was Editor of The Union, a 145-year-old newspaper in Grass Valley. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing and trout fishing.

29 thoughts on “Mother Jones magazine investigates tea party in three-part series”

  1. Since we all know that there are at least five or six major players in what is referred to as “the tea party movement” should this type of investigative hype be taken seriously?


      1. Bruce,

        I guess I still remember the days when I worked for American Life Lobby or Gun Owners of California in very modest offices operating with very small budget reading similar pieced by “investigative” reporters who thought we were very well funded and in the process of taking over the world.

        All we could do was chuckle and wish we had just a small portion of the funds and influence they claimed we had.


    1. I think from the latest part of the reporter’s piece at least the IRS is taking this story quite seriously…Is that toast burning? 😉

  2. I believe KVMR did a segment on the Mother Jones/ Tea Party story.

    Laura Boatright expressed an unspoken truth. The Tea Party success has been on the backs of the corporate segment of the movement. Not a single tea party candidate that ran under a political flag outside of the republican party won their race.

    1. My memory may not be all that it was but it seems to me that Senators Toomey, Rubio, Buck and Rand took on the establishment candidates big time.

      Which Tea Party candidates do you have in mind?


  3. There’s some bloggers, wingnut ones, and a tea people one, that is saying that CPAC was “run” and monied by “the Muslim Brotherhood”. Furthermore, they have linked Grover Norquist and CPAC to the muslim brotherhood in their tea soaked oblingatas. Mother Jones could do no more harm than these peeps doing inside their own um, warring, party…holy smokes, bat#$&% crazy they’ve gone. I thought Barbour and Rand were delusional, this is the big enchilada of nutso…

      1. What I am saying John, is the GOP, including the tea people, seem to be running around chasing their own tails…and depending on what tea people you talk to, they are either interested in social conservative issues (some that are frankly out there), no geopolitical game (even wackier theories) and both spending like drunken sailors (Kochs and the Supremes and Bush’s braintrust Rove) vs. screaming about spending on small bits of mess like PBS and Sesame Street. It’s like a seriously dysfunctional family…amusing but kinda ewky. You have Ron Paul, with a demonic son, who wins the CPAC, which is boycotted by the GOP because of some gay people,but then there’s people like Palin, alternately slapping and kissing McCains staff and “the Donald”…its just well…odd.

      2. Wow, I’m impressed that you are on a first-name basis with “Grover.” That’s usually a sign of admiration. Is that what it is?

        Do you agree that we should shrink the federal government down to a size that we can drown it in a bathtub?

      3. Kate,

        Dysfunctional family is certainly the right description! 🙂

        But then you have to consider what you have on the other side!

        I would rather go with Ben.


  4. Take away the (R) after their name on the ballot and they lose, period. So called tea party candidates that ran under Independent, Libertarian, Constitutional, and so on all lost their races.
    “As an organization, we do our best to be completely nonpartisan,” said Mark Meckler, a national coordinator for Tea Party Patriots.
    It is assumed that non partisan in the US political world means – neither republican or democratic.

  5. Ben,

    I think you are missing what the “Tea Party movement” is all about: They want a return to constitutionally limited government and they are willing to work within either or both parties to achieve that goal.

    You are all close to Meckler’s group because he is based in your home county, but on a national scale he is only one of the groups and sticks strictly with education. You need to make sure you are not missing the forest for the tree.


  6. John,
    “I think you are missing what the “Tea Party movement” is all about: They want a return to constitutionally limited government and they are willing to work within either or both parties to achieve that goal.”

    The Tea Party movement is all about making sure President Obama is a one term president. If they are about returning to a constitutionally limited government as you state then where were they during the entire Bush administrations?

    It is not a coincidence the tea party movement came about after Obama was elected President. It is an escalation of the Two Santa Claus Theory. Republican administrations spend spend spend while cutting taxes and regulations for the wealthy while in office and then scream about deficit spending when out of office.

  7. Ben,

    I don’t think we are that far apart once again: It was in many ways the Bush administration and the run-away Republican congress that gave birth to Tea Party movement.

    They voted for “change” in 2008 and when President Obama simply doubled down on all the things they were upset with they decided that we needed more change!


    1. “It was in many ways the Bush administration and the run-away Republican congress that gave birth to Tea Party movement.” Hear, hear Mr. Stoos.

      Ben: You need to talk to the Tea Party people. Further, your opponent (McClintock) takes Bush out to the wood shed in every townhall. If you went to one, you would know that.

    2. Yeah, Meckler, et al, want “change”…”loose change” and lots of it from people who don’t know any better, bless their hearts…

  8. Barry and John,
    I’ll tell you where the tea party were at; they were telling me to move to France and I hate America. I was being told that I was a shill for the democratic party. I was protesting the shredding of the US Constitution and our civil liberties.

    Little did they know I was and still am outspoken opponent to many policies of the Clinton administrations. It was during the Clinton administration when I left the Democratic Party. I now oppose many of the Obama administration policies and catch lots of flak for it.

    I debated to go talk with the NCTPP or not too. When NCTPP backed the immigration bill of AZ I couldn’t bring myself to come try and get any kind of endorsement or approval from the group. I hope in the near future the group becomes much less partisan so I can come join in on some of the conversation. My surrogate grandmother was from Portugal who spoke with an accent and had a dark complexion. She was a proud American and would have had to carry her birth certificate to prove her citizenship for no other reason than being for her speech and color.

    1. Hear Hear Ben! And apparently the tea people supported the Arizona minutemen, a female member of which was just found guilty of killing a 9 year old hispanic girl in cold blood in her own trailer home. Have fun in prison, Shawndra…

  9. Obviously I am not a big Tea People supporter! That said, progressives and TEA PARTY have several of the same concerns. I AM ALSO WELL AWARE of the internal infighting which IS news. Good to see it exposed.

    They should work towards working together to ID THE ISSUES AND COLLECTIVELY TAKE ACTION.

    Together much more can become reality but they gotta decide what to do about these two high profile folks and the $$$$ gravy train.

  10. From Krugman’s column in the NY Times today:

    “Why cut a billion dollars from a highly successful program that provides supplemental nutrition to pregnant mothers, infants, and young children? Why cut $648 million from nuclear nonproliferation activities? (One terrorist nuke, assembled from stray ex-Soviet fissile material, can ruin your whole day.) Why cut $578 million from the I.R.S. enforcement budget? (Letting tax cheats run wild doesn’t exactly serve the cause of deficit reduction.)…And as for the future costs — a population damaged by childhood malnutrition, an increased chance of terrorist attacks, a revenue system undermined by widespread tax evasion — well, tomorrow is another day.”

    Well said.

  11. Michael,

    Come on down where some of those needy pregnant women live and eat and I can show you why spending that billion dollars from Washington DC is not such a good idea.

    I suspect that the nuclear proliferation money does as little to actually keep us safe from terrorists, but I can’t speak first hand in that area.


    1. Cool, John…and Paul Begala is asking the federal government to “defund” Kentucky. They get at least $1.51 for every dollar given to the feds (as of 2005, I’m sure its waaay more now). They want Rand Paul and states rights, lets see em tear up their medicare cards and make more meth to sew up the difference. Californians get .81 cents for every dollar GIVEN… so California needs that money. So before you come to California tommorrow President Obama could you please defund Kentucky? Governor Brown is smart with money and he’ll use it well. Thanks and welcome from the “Golden State’! Kate

  12. A lot of Republicans have been predicting that re-ditrciting in California will lock in a permanent greater than 1/3 super-minority for their party, thus protecting the magic number for opposing tax increases. Here’s one mans take on why I would not bet on that

    Re-districting may be the closest we come to real representative democracy in California in the last and next decade.

  13. Karen, appears that one of Russ’s minions needs a translation of your comments. See, when your oblongata gets so soaked in Tea that your ability to involuntarily follow stream of consciousness humor is permanently impaired, that coupled with one neglecting to read the daily press regarding the latest conspiracy, just leads to confusion and they can’t keep up…… 8)

    Nice work!

    1. You too Steve…here is something like a “dogwhistle” for the Steele, Pruetts and Mecklers of the world: (watch em come when called) ahem…”Ponzi Scheme” and “Buy Gold”…watch out for the stampede….

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