15 Members of the U.S. Senate have a verifiable connection to the Tea Party, gaining a campaign boost by participating in the Tea Party Caucus or getting an endorsement from Tea Party Express or FreedomWorks in the 2010 elections. Each of these organizations has made a public stand against the intrusiveness of “big government” and for a federal government that remains within the limits set by the U.S. Constitution.
But when push came to shove earlier tonight, as the Senate voted to reauthorize the provisions of the USA Patriot Act, did Tea Party-identified Senators walk the Tea Party’s talk? The Patriot Act allows agents of the government to search, spy on and even seize the property of people with none of the probable cause specified by the 4th Amendment. As Rep. Dennis Kucinich pointed out last week, in practice Patriot Act powers have been used to spy on Americans who have been lawfully engaging in first amendment activities of free speech and protest. Along with the 4,058 Little Brothers Watching You in the form of private surveillance contractors, surely we have reached the tipping point beyond which we say enough is enough.
Or have we? Not if you look to the Tea Party members of the U.S. Senate. Most of them were happy to go along with this intrusive big goverment spying program. As you can see below, most of them voted a hearty YES to the Patriot Act tonight.
Tea Party Members of the Senate who voted FOR the Patriot Act on February 15, 2011
Senator John Boozman of Arkansas: endorsed by “Tea Party HQ” FreedomWorks in 2010
Senator Marco Rubio of Florida: endorsed by FreedomWorks in 2010
Senator Mike Crapo of Idaho: endorsed by Tea Party Express in 2010
Senator Jerry Moran of Kansas: a member of the Tea Party Caucus in the House of Representatives in 2010, and endorsed by Tea Party Express in 2010
Senator Scott Brown of Massachusetts: voted into the Senate in a 2010 special election propelled by Tea Party activism
Senator Richard Burr of North Carolina: endorsed by FreedomWorks in 2010
Senator John Hoeven of North Dakota: endorsed by both Tea Party Express and FreedomWorks in 2010
Senator Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire: Endorsed by Tea Party Express in 2010
Senator Rob Portman of Ohio: Endorsed by Tea Party Express in 2010
Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma: Endorsed by Tea Party Express in 2010
Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania: Endorsed by both Tea Party Express and FreedomWorks in 2010
Senator John Thune of South Dakota: Endorsed by Tea Party Express in 2010
Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin: Endorsed by FreedomWorks in 2010
Tea Party Members of the Senate who voted AGAINST the Patriot Act on February 15, 2011
Powerful elements of the Tea Party movement supported these politicians’ campaigns, and many Tea Party members voted for them. Now that they have demonstrated their opposition to constitutional liberty and their support for the encroachment of big government, will the organizations and the people of the Tea Party movement continue to support them? Wait, watch and see.