Tea Party activists circulate ‘declaration of independence’ and distance selves from Republicans

Alex Pappas Political Reporter
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A network of Tea Party activists are circulating what they call the “Tea Party Declaration of Independence,” a document meant to define the movement and establish its independence from Republicans.

“We reject the idea that the electoral goals of the Republican party are identical to the goals of the Tea Party Movement,” the document, released Tuesday, reads.

Activist Bob MacGuffie, involved in the drafting process and also known for authoring a memo last year on how to disrupt health-care town hall meetings, said activists, “got tired of being defined from the outside and decided to do some self-definition” themselves.

MacGuffie said the idea for the document came from a number of leaders who attended a summit hosted by conservative group FreedomWorks, which has been heavily involved in the movement but was not officially involved in the drafting. He wouldn’t say specifically who drafted the document, but said there are at least 60 groups nationally behind it.

“They would just end up being targets,” he said of the drafters. “We’ll remain nameless for now.”

He also said it’s “hard to say” who’s co-signed the document, saying, “It’s just organically moving out there,” mainly on the Internet.

The movement will work against Republicans if they try to force RINO’s on them, according to the document, referencing “Republicans in Name Only” or members of the GOP seen as too moderate or liberal. It also demands that Republicans understand that activists will “reject its attempts to co-opt” the Tea Party movement.

The declaration says activists will “organize, demonstrate and vote” to achieve their goals.

It doesn’t just declare the movement’s independence from the Republicans, but from Democrats and the media as well.

“We reject arrogant left-wing politicians who furtively hide from public scrutiny, as they cut corrupt deals loaded with earmarks and pork in order to produce 2,000-page pieces of legislation so purposely incomprehensible, they do not even bother to read them before foisting them upon us,” the document reads.

The document said the media “has proved itself to be anything but a fair and balanced enterprise and which focuses more on entertainment, fear mongering and shock value than investigation and unbiased fact.”

They also reject that anyone leads the movement, including “self-styled ‘leaders’ who claim to speak for the Tea Party Movement.”

“This movement is not a brand name to be used to sell product; nor is it a logo to be used to justify profiting off its name,” the document reads. “We reject those who seek to personally capitalize on our popularity and momentum by trying to associate with our cause.”

John Loudon, a leader of the Tea Party political action committee Ensuring Liberty PAC, said he was e-mailed a copy of the document, which he said is “generating quite a bit of buzz” among Tea Party activists.

Even though the document speaks for the entire movement — something that would appear to irk activists known for being adverse to any type of leadership — Loudon said he doesn’t “see it that way.” Instead, he said, someone was just “putting out their thoughtful work and hoping that it gets picked up.”

“If they were trying to claim leadership, I think they’d try to put their name on it,” he said.

McGuffie said he has not heard any negative responses yet to the declaration and doesn’t see it making any Tea Partiers angry as the document is voluntary for activists to sign off on.

The declaration comes at a time where several other manifestos have emerged trying to define what the conservative movement stands for. Last week, several Tea Party groups unveiled plans for drafting a list of specific legislative proposals desired by activists called the “Contract from America.” And a group of leaders — representing the economic, social and a foreign policy wings of the conservative movement — signed the Mount Vernon Statement last Wednesday before the start of the Conservative Political Action Conference.

Read the full “Tea Party Declaration of Independence” here.

Jon Ward contributed to this report.