Tea Party Warns Members: No Pre-Gaming!

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In a mass email sent out last night to the supporter list of the Columbus Tea Party and obtained by TPMmuckraker, leaders of the group issued a set of “do’s and dont’s” for protesters attending an April 15 Ohio State House event — chief among them: absolutely no pre-gaming.

Specifically, the email warns those planning to attend the “Tax Day” event, “No alcohol (or other mood-enhancer) or pre-drinking.”The email advises against “chants or signs that contain language that you would not repeat to your mother or children.”

It instructs, “Display a picture of dignity in the way you behave. No violence, no threats, no profanity, no bigotry or law-breaking. We outnumber them, let’s not act desperate or foolish.”

Tea party groups around the country are becoming increasingly sensitive about a reputation for violent rhetoric and more generally about how the movement appears to outsiders.

The email from the Columbus group underscores that trend. The Columbus Tea Party was among the groups that sponsored a rally outside the offices of Rep. Mary Jo Kilroy (D-OH) that made national news when a protester berated a disabled man who held a sign backing the health care bill.

In an email to TPMmuckraker, Columbus Tea Party President Steven Carr characterized a question about whether pre-gaming has been a problem in the past as making “for a ‘Have you stopped beating your wife?’ set-up.”

“Consider our guidance the same as a student or employee handbook,” Carr added.

The email to supporters seems designed to promote a kinder, gentler tea party. It includes a solicitation for canned goods to donate to homeless shelters.

Next to an illustration of a placard with the words, “It doesn’t matter what my sign says … you’re going to call me a Racist anyway!” the email advises “ACTUALLY, YOUR SIGNS MATTER A GREAT DEAL!”

The whole thing is here.

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