A prominent Tea Party leader from Texas is warning that the movement "is becoming nothing more than a wholly owned subsidiary of the Republican Party," and slamming Sarah Palin as representing "a growing insider's attack to the heart of the Tea Party."
Dale Robertson, the founder of TeaParty.org, is just the latest Tea Partier to express concern that the movement is being hijacked by the GOP.
In a lengthy statement -- entitled "Warning: Tea Party In Danger" -- posted yesterday on the TeaParty.org homepage, Robertson instructs his felllow Tea Partiers to "[b]e alert to turncoats and deceivers being herded into the Tea Party by usurpers from the weakened Republican Party for the sole purpose of capturing our populist movement."
[W]hat I am witnessing is an attempted defilement of the concept of what the Tea Party's purposes are and where we are going. The bastardization of our message I find bilious and disingenuous on its face.
Tea Party members are being eyed as just another piece of voting meat. Tea Party members are targeted for filling the rank and file of minion laden political operations, most of which are lead (sic) by failed Republican hacks.
As for Palin, whose appearance last week at a controversial Tea Party convention appears to have given her a claim to be the de facto leader of the Tea Party movement, Robertson derides her "neo-con flippant viewpoint" and calls her "a duck out of water among true constitutional conservatives."
She represents a growing insider's attack to the heart of the Tea Party. Very much like a wolf in sheep's clothing entering in at the gate as an ally, but for all intents and purposes there to seize and capture, not only one or two stray sheep, but the whole flock!
The Houston-based Robertson rose to prominence in the movement last year when he helped organize local rallies and founded Teaparty.org, a for-profit conservative activist site. But his influence within Tea Party circles is open to question. The Houston Tea Party Patriots distanced themselves from him after a photograph emerged of him holding a sign that compared taxpayers to "niggars."
Robertson's animus toward the GOP also appears to have developed only recently Last month, he complained to a reporter that he had been trying to contact the RNC to discuss working together, but hadn't received a call back.
Still, Robertson is hardly alone in warning that Republicans are trying to hijack the Tea Party movement. Several grassroots Tea Partiers have sounded similar alarms -- some to TPMmuckraker -- partly in reference to the convention at which Palin spoke.
You can read Robertson's full statement here.