Sen. Dan Patrick (R-7) defended the formation of a new Tea Party Caucus today from critics who said its shared goals of Patrick’s Independent Conservative Republicans of Texas invalidate the need for the latter group.
But, according to the state senator, both groups represent the same goals with very different capacities.
Patrick announced the formation of a Tea Party Caucus in the Texas Legislature today, created to represent the interests of followers of the conservative political movement.
According to a press release from Patrick’s office, The Tea Party caucus will be active throughout the session, meeting with conservative leaders from the Tea Party movement, discussing issues, and building support for important conservative legislation.
Meanwhile, the ICROT, Patrick’s post-Republican primary pet cause, serves another purpose, he said.
“The ICROT was never intended to be an active caucus. It was intended to be a statement of what our party stood for as each member signed the pledge,” Patrick said, via email to TL. “The voters will decide moving forward if those elected officials keep their word.”
Members of the Tea Party Caucus will meet more rigorous requirements for eligibility.
Membership, which will be determined by Sen. Patrick prior to the start of the 82nd Legislature, will be determined based on three requirements, including:
- agreement with Tea Party principles of limited government, defending state sovereignty
- signed Texas Conservative Coalition Pledge with Texas
- and, a voting record in line with the TCC
“The Tea Party is the most important political movement of my lifetime and I want to be sure their voice is heard loud and clear in Austin after the election is over,” Patrick said. “This caucus will work with Tea Party leaders across the state to be sure promises made during campaigns are followed up in the legislature.”
Despite Patrick’s enthusiasm, critics said it appears he is abandoning the ICRoT.
David Jennings, of Big Jolly Politics, charged Patrick was already moving on from the organization formed in April, previously predicting the senator would probably “have moved on to something else” before the 83rd Legislature.
As a conservative blogger, Jennings is often critical of the senator for moderate politics, choosing to refer to him on his blog as “D_nny.”
“This might be a record-time dropping of a “cause” for [Dan] – the website hasn’t been updated since April 21st,” Jennings writes. “Remember when, at the start and even during the middle of the Tea Party movement, that [Dan] said the Tea Parties wouldn’t survive if they didn’t tie themselves up in knots with Republicans?”
“Remember, Julie [Turner of the Texas Tea Party Patriots]? Remember what TEA stands for? Now you’ve gotten yourself locked up with a bunch of guys that care way more about what you do in your bedroom than what they take out of your pocketbook.”