Jenny Beth Martin and Mark Meckler, national coordinators of Tea Party Patriots, expect tea party will have bigger role in 2012 primary season – eyeing incumbents from both parties.
Michael Bonfigli / The Christian Science Monitor
Tea party leaders Jenny Beth Martin and Mark Meckler are national coordinators of Tea Party Patriots, which says it is America's largest tea party organization, with 3,500 affiliated groups. They were guest speakers at the July 27 Monitor breakfast in Washington.
Martin: "Our organization truly is nonpartisan. We are looking for ... what's best for America rather than what is best for a particular party.... Our folks are dissatisfied with both political parties."
Dissatisfaction with House Speaker John Boehner over deficit reduction efforts:
Martin: "We did an internal poll of our ... entire supporter base [on July 26], asking if they are satisfied with the leadership in the House: 81.5 percent said they are not satisfied ... and 74.1 percent either thought we should [get a new speaker] or were undecided and leaning toward a new speaker."
Tea party involvement in the 2012 election:
Meckler: "2012 is going to be extraordinarily different.... The biggest difference ... is [tea partyers] are going to be dramatically engaged in the primaries on both sides of the aisle."
The targeting of congressional incumbents:
Meckler: "We actually have a two-party political system. It is called the incumbents versus the citizens.... You are going to see ... massive turnover in the primaries and a much larger turnover in the general election than we saw in 2010."
Calls for immediate federal spending cuts when the economy is weak:
Meckler: "Yes, there will be hardships, but there are already hardships.... We have an obligation ... to put the country on a healthy track."
Meckler: "He has taken ... positions that are contrary to what an average tea partyer would take.... He is in real trouble with the tea party base."