Tea Party groups are pretty worried about their newly elected stars going to Washington and immediately becoming corrupt spineless hacks. So they're hosting their own orientations, to school these incoming freshmen properly. And the inter-Tea Party competition is fierce!
Keeping in line with their reputation as jaded, urbane hipsters, the competing Tea Party groups are each trying to show orientation-seeking lawmakers that their orientations are more authentic or anti-establishment than the others. Tea Party Patriots, for example, are totally DIY. The Claremont Institute? Fuckin' workaday sell-out squares, man:
There are several different groups competing to shape impressionable minds. And with a heavy Tea Party presence in the incoming class – about 40 new House members are tied to the movement – each orientation is pitching itself as the least establishment of them all, even as they all rely on big establishment names to train the new lawmakers.
Tea Party Patriots, an umbrella group for Tea Party groups across the country, sent out an e-mail blast Thursday afternoon, accusing another organization, the Claremont Institute, of falsely trying to claim to be the "official" orientation for new lawmakers.
Tea Party Patriots had planned an orientation at exactly the same time, and urged its activists to call and e-mail incoming lawmakers to tell them to choose its event over Claremont's.
"D.C. Insiders Indoctrinating OUR Freshmen," read the title of the e-mail. "Don't let them steal OUR new members of Congress."
So those are the rules: the most anti-establishment groups are apparently the ones that most want to suck up to powerful new legislators. The Tea Party Patriots probably aren't helping to woo over these prospective freshmen, though, by publicly posting all of their private phone numbers and email addresses.
Former Rep. Dick Armey's uber-establishmentarian Tea Party hub FreedomWorks, meanwhile, is hosting a retreat at a Baltimore hotel. Major red flag! The very first part of any Washington orientation program should be a warning: Never travel with Dick Armey to a Baltimore hotel. He will steal your dirty underwear. Do not listen to him when he blames it on the maid. It was just him, dressed in a maid's outfit.