Editor’s Note – A common question after the Nov. 2nd elections is what’s next for the tea party movement?
As you will see here, accountability is high on the list and there are no better organizations out there assisting the grassroots movement than Americans for Prosperity and FreedomWorks.
The prevailing message for the 112th Congress? “We’re watching!”
Tea Party Groups Holding Legislators To Promises
By Amy Gardner
The conservative tea party groups that helped elect dozens of new candidates to Congress on Nov. 2 are now delivering a warning to them: We’re watching you.
At least three right-leaning organizations staged orientation sessions for incoming members of Congress over the weekend to urge them to stick to the low-tax, small-government principles on which they ran. On Monday, one of the groups, Americans for Prosperity, held a rally on Capitol Hill to remind lawmakers of the signal voters sent on Election Day. If the new members don’t vote the way they promised they would, the group’s leaders vowed, they will work just as hard to get them out of Congress as they did to get them in. At one point, the crowd broke into a chant: “We’re watching!”
Perhaps no group is doing more to keep Republican members in line than FreedomWorks. The Washington-based organization, led by former House majority leader Richard K. Armey (Tex.), is trying to establish itself as the tea party movement’s watchdog of the new Congress. FreedomWorks held an orientation session of its own last week for about two dozen incoming lawmakers. Organizers distributed policy notebooks and spoke of how to stay true to the conservative principles that dominated the 2010 election cycle.
And on Tuesday, the group will debut an Internet-based social-networking tool called FreedomConnect that will make it easier for local activists to keep the pressure on lawmakers as the new Congress convenes. Developed by California-based Terra Eclipse, a company that has also done work for Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex.), FreedomConnect shares many characteristics with President Obama’s 2008 campaign page, MyBarackObama.com, a hugely successful effort that connected local activists.
FreedomConnect will provide a forum for activists to list the times and locations of town hall meetings and tea party gatherings. It will also provide tools to help tea partiers start letter-writing campaigns before important congressional votes – and to send a stern note to lawmakers who vote against them.
“This taps into all the local energy,” said Matt Kibbe, president of FreedomWorks. “We provide the platform, but it’s no longer dependent on us making those calls. That’s where you had the huge impact in the last election cycle. You got Facebook and people finding each other without any middleman. This is the next step.”
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