The tea party has a voice in Congress now, and it’s not thrilled about it. To many activists, Michelle Bachmann’s new 49-member Tea Party Caucus looks like an attempt to co-opt the movement, Politico reports. “Ultimately, I worry it destroys the tea party—which started out as a nonpartisan group,” wrote one well-respected party blogger. Some of the movement’s congressional allies agree. “I’m 100% pro-tea party,” said Rep. Jason Chaffetz, “but this is not the right thing to do.”
Leaders from the Tea Party Patriots did attend the meeting, however, and some appeared with Bachmann at her press conference afterward, as she promised the group would serve only as a “listening ear to the tea party.” But Patriots officials said they appeared not in solidarity, but “to make sure that people didn’t think they could speak for the movement.” Some are demanding the ouster of caucus members who annoyed them during the meeting, or whose track record isn't conservative enough.