The Washington Post conducted an extensive canvass of Tea Party organizations around the country and found them to vary widely in size, level of organization and mission, defining it "not so much a movement as a disparate band of vaguely connected gatherings that do surprisingly little to engage in the political process."
Seventy percent of the grass-roots groups said they have not participated in any political campaigning this year. As a whole, they have no official candidate slates, have not rallied behind any particular national leader, have little money on hand, and remain ambivalent about their goals and the political process in general.
Post reporter Amy Gardner said the newspaper successfully identified more than 1,400 different Tea Party groups, and more than 600 responded to a lengthy questionnaire that helped identify what they do.
If anything tied the groups together, it was what motivated their members to participate. Virtually all said that economic concerns were a factor, and nearly as many cited a general mistrust of government. Opposition to President Obama and Democratic policies was a big factor, but only slightly more so than dissatisfaction with mainstream Republican leaders.
The complete article can be found here.
The description of Tea Party groups around the country as not politically active would not match that of organizations in the Akron-Canton area, which have taken an aggressive role in encouraging voter turnout and welcoming candidates to speak at meetings.
The Portage County Tea Party, for example, has an active Web site, where it has posted video of candidate forums, endorsements and information about group activities.
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