In a 10.24 Washington Post article called “Gauging The Scope of the Tea Party Movement in America,” reporter Amy Gardner, drawing upon a herculean effort to canvass and quantify “hundreds of local Tea Party groups,” says that the Tea Party “is not so much a movement as a disparate band of vaguely connected gatherings that do surprisingly little to engage in the political process.
“The results come from a months-long effort by the Post to contact every Tea Party group in the nation, an unprecedented attempt to understand the network of individuals and organizations at the heart of the nascent movement.
“Seventy percent of the grass-roots groups said they have not participated in any political campaigning this year. As a whole, they have no official candidate slates, have not rallied behind any particular national leader, have little money on hand, and remain ambivalent about their goals and the political process in general.
Midway through the piece she writes that “the Tea Party has been accused of racism by its political opponents” due to “comments from some prominent members and signs at several major rallies this year that attacked President Obama for either his race or the false belief that he is a Muslim.
“At [Tea Party] rallies, organizers have kicked out questionable members and have sought to project a more tolerant image,” she writes. “But the [Washington Post] interviews found that Obama’s race is, in fact, important in more than one in 10 Tea Party groups.
“Andy Stevens, 68, a video producer and a founder of the Tea Party Patriots in Anacortes, Wash., said he described Obama’s race and and religion as ‘somewhat important’ to members of his group because they remain troubled by what they see as the president’s un-American and un-Christian behaviors.
“In Stevens’s view, those include Obama’s ‘socialist’ policies and intentional failure to mention ‘the creator’ when talking about inalienable rights.
“There are questions that don’t get answered, like citizenship and his birth certificate,” Stevens said. “I don’t know why questions keep popping up all the time. If something is irrefutable, the questions wouldn’t keep popping up.”