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Philadelphia-Based Tea Party Group Changes Name, Shifts Focus

Tea-Party-MovementFive years after the Tea Party movement first gained steam, there are local signs that it may be starting to cool off.

The Independence Hall Tea Party Association, the largest Tea Party group in the tri-state region of PA, NJ, and DE, announced today that it will be removing “Tea Party” from its name and will henceforth be known as just the Independence Hall Foundation. The organization will also be shifting its focus and dissolving its PAC.

“We wish to pursue a larger, more mainstream conservative agenda-while respecting the mission of the broader Tea Party movement,” President Teri Adams said today at a press conference.

Adams claimed that although tensions between the Association and the national Tea Party movement exist, the Association’s decision to change its name and focus derives primarily from the Association’s belief that it has successfully achieved what it set out to do when it formed in 2009.

“While we have usually agreed with most Tea Party objectives, we have not always agreed on Tea Party tactics – especially those espoused by national groups – proving, despite its portrayal as such in the media, that the Tea Party was not monolithic,” she said.

“And just like the original Tea Party of the 18th Century, our organization envisioned the modern Tea Party as a protest movement – not necessarily a permanent social/political movement or party – but one which could lead to peaceful revolutionary changes in government.”

Adams focused throughout the conference on the successes of the Association, which was formed primarily to focus on the Philadelphia media market.

“Over the last five years, our Association, like the broader Tea Party movement in regions across the country, has made a difference,” she said. “We woke up many Americans to an ever-expansive and intrusive federal government.”

“More Americans seem to be aware of our nation’s alarming $16 trillion national debt and the scandals involving renegade bureaucracies, within the federal government, such as the Internal Revenue Service, the National Security Agency, and the Veterans Administration.”

In addition to discussing the broader Tea Party movement’s victories, she also highlighted the Association’s own accomplishments, pointing to its successful lobbying for a Voter ID bill that was eventually signed into law (but was later struck down as unconstitutional by a Commonwealth Court judge) and its annual Congressional Scorecard.

Adams claims that these successes are the reason for the organization’s rebranding, as it is “time to take matters to the next level.”

“While we obviously agree with the core principles of the Tea Party as clearly enunciated during those early 2009 Tax Day Tea Parties – a free enterprise economy based on lower taxes, smaller government, and less regulation – we would like to expand our efforts to include non-traditional tea party issues such as Religious Liberty, Sanctity of Life, Culture and the Arts, Educational Savings Accounts, Foreign Affairs, and Defense,” she said.

Adams closed with a description of what the Association hopes to be and to do as it changes its focus under a new name. “In the future, we wish to be referred to as The Independence Hall Foundation – a conservative educational organization dedicated to promoting the principles enshrined in our founding documents – the Declaration of Independence, the United States Constitution, and the Bill of Rights.”

12 Responses

  1. @ Honest Abe:

    It is possible to conclude that this entity successfully accomplished its serial goals, establishing itself as a durable force among its supporters; it never really interacted with other “TEA Party Movement” entities [constantly going-it-alone programmatically], so the name-change actually served to “catch-up” with reality.

    Remember, the “TEA” denotes “Taxed Enough Already” and, as is readily apparent both in the article and in Teri’s narrative, the ambit of this entity extended beyond economics; the key-challenge will be whether it can remain relevant after retrenching, for I suspect the Adams-Siblings have been exhausted by a half-decade of self-motivated activism.

    There will always be people who reflexly scorn the work of others; they should, perhaps, take pause before attacking so that they can acquaint themselves with what they are about to “trash,” for such blogging only serves to reveal their ignorance.

  2. To Matt Santos:

    So irrelevant that they got you to comment.

    What’s irrelevant to one person is not always irrelevant to the next.

    Perhaps the relevancy of this particular organization is not so obvious–it may take a few years to judge the matter.

  3. Hahahahahaha! Nothing more entertaining than watching the Tea Party try to run away from itself. Hint: No matter what you call yourselves, you will still be wingnuts.

  4. @ Andrew:

    You may wish to read more polls, starting with that which was published by the NY-Times/CBS.

  5. They can spin their name-change all they want, but the fact is, “Tea party” has become a toxic brand. And it’s not just the clown show (Cruz, Gohmert, etc.) in their “movement.” Every poll I’ve read shows that Democratic policies are supported by the majority of Americans. The only reason these people get electoral traction is that they lie through their teeth.

  6. @ Isaac L.

    Your conceptualization of a docile GOP hasn’t been productive for the R’s [perhaps befitting your politics, but not its self-interest]; that’s why the TEA Party Movement arose and has become mainstreamed.

  7. I see our Philadelphia friends are smart enough to jump off that burning and sinking ship, what with the Tea Party brand so damaged by the extremists that it’s polling a little better than Congress.

    I’ve often found Philadelphia-area Republicans to be on the more reasonable side of things, many trying to continue the party of Goldwater rather than joining the uncompromising zealots in charge of the party today. As an individual whose politics are center-left, I hope to see the “Independence Hall Foundation” offer principled conservative alternatives as a voice of reasonable conservatism that furthers the national discourse and a good alternative to the blind, kneejerk partisan zealotry we see far too many places elsewhere. Best wishes to Ms. Adams and friends!

  8. Thank you for the correction! : )

    Independence Hall Tea Party has been fortunate to have had many successes…14 buses to DC on 9/11…28 buses to DC on 8/28….Our 2009 Tax Day Tea Party with now Senator Pat Toomey and others; our “Take Back Congress Tax Day Tea Party” in 2010 at Independence Hall with 1100 attendees and 17 speakers….all candidates running for Congress; Our 2012 Tax Day Tea Party at the Franklin Institute in Franklin Hall with Mitt Romney (the atmosphere was electric) – the culmination of 3 years of hard work; ….helping to get Voter ID and other legislation passed;…..Our July 4th Tea Parties with Bill Kristol, Herman Cain, John Bolton, Pamela Geller and John Fund; Hosting Unitea at Independence Hall with 700 attendees and a slew of minority speakers like Charles Paine…and also the Late, Great Andrew Breitbart…And a host of other well known speakers both national and local like Newt Gingrich, Dom Giordano, Chris Stigall, Gary R’nel, Rich Zioli, Christine Flowers, and the late GREAT Joey Vento. Our press releases earned our members appearances on National TV and Radio like Neal Cavuto, Greta Van Sustern, Fox News, The Don Lemon Show, the Steve Marlesburg Show, The Tammy Bruce Show, Rita Cosby and more, as well as Philadelphia based programming like the Morning Show on Fox News and the Sunday Morning Show with Steve Highsmith, The Dom Giordano Show the Chris Stigall Show, NJ TV and international programs broadcast in Europe, China and the Soviet Union. Our organization was quoted in conservative and mainstream publications around the country like the L.A. Times, The National Review, the Wall Street Journal, the Chicago Tribune and the Pittsburgh Tribune Review to name a few – all too numerous to mention and due to our own PR efforts and not because of our association with any National Group. Most importantly were the election successes of our PAC….we won 80% of our primaries, helped many Congressman and Senator’s in our region get elected in 2010, most notably helping Congressman John Runyan defeat Democrat incumbent John Adler in New Jersey’s CD3;……our efforts also helped Tom MacArthur defeat Steve Lonegan in the 2014 primary who hopefully is poised to defeat Democrat Aimee Belgard in NJ’s CD 3….Lastly we helped Mitt Romney capture the Republican Nomination endorsing him January 2, 2012, and helped put him over the top defeating Rick Santorum in PA Primary with our Tax Day Tea Party which hosted Governor Romney in 2012….as well as all our other efforts on his behalf in 2012 in the general election(our Ryan, Romney Smith signs and two events one with WPHT organized to distribute them -we also gave them out at churches and conservative events in our area – our ardent GOTV efforts by over 150 of our members and friends from PA & NJ who worked at Victory headquarters throughout our region, our efforts to pass Voter ID to help prevent voter fraud in November 2012, signing up over 70 poll watchers for the November 2012 election ….This is by no means an exhaustive list but highlights our most important successes and contributions. We have been honored to have noted the successes of other Tea Party Groups, Military Support Groups, and Conservative Organizations, throughout the years, as well as the highly effective work of many individual grass root conservatives in our region with our announced awards every July 4th. We have many allies nationally and locally and hope to continue most of our non-partisan efforts with Independence Hall Foundation as well as develop new efforts.

  9. Fair article and much appreciated, BUT Teri Adams, president of Independence Hall Tea Party Association, is a SHE not a he.

  10. @ Matt:

    You are incorrect; although I have been critical of some of their moves [such as the early-endorsement of Romney], it is undeniable that they have built a steady constituency, manifest [in particular] each 7/4.

    Illustrative of this cultural success is their ability to have migrated from the sweltering heat/humidity outside…to the ballroom inside [charging a nominal fee] on that date; they attract national figures [such as Pamela Geller] and provide awards to otherwise-unsung “heroes.”

    They also have developed a niche within certain facets of conservative society [such as a go-to media presence on Sunday-a.m. news-shows and strong relationship with Dom Giordano]; thus, rather than disparage the selfless energies the Adams-Siblings have devoted to helping to save America from the ravages of BHO, you may wish to recognize how they have chosen to manifest the “independence” in their appellation.

  11. Let them do what they want, they’re still the most irrelevant political advocacy group in the city

  12. Arguably, these goals were extant all-along–particularly the desire to embrace the Pro-Life movement–but dissolving the PAC reflects the possibility that strong “politicking” won’t be easy.

    This should not be perceived as a retrenchment because it reflects an evolving recognition that the conservative values that have animated the Adams-Siblings have Judeo-Christian roots that encompass the Constitution [but can now be perceived as mutually exclusive thereof].

    To “translate” that last ‘graph, it would appear that they will want to maintain their linkage to an established identity [Independence Hall] in a more positive/assertive fashion [devoid of any trappings of engrained desires to “protest”]; IMHO, they will do well to invite their supporters to create regional subgroups [starting with a tri-state division] which they might then coordinate [depending upon the issue being pursued].

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