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Tea-party groups prep for policy battles

(WASHINGTON POST) GREENVILLE, S.C. — It had been four days since House Speaker John A. Boehner slammed conservative groups for opposing a bipartisan budget deal, saying they’d “lost all credibility,” and “I don’t care what they do,” and other things read as a declaration of independence from the tea party movement that has held sway over the Republican Party.

Now it was Monday evening far from Washington, in a restaurant called Tommy’s Country Ham House, and the very people who felt insulted by Boehner’s remarks were beginning to gather — a crowd of 150 or so coming to say they were not done yet.

Although poll numbers showed the tea party more unpopular than ever, here was Mary Beth Green arriving in a car with a bumper sticker that read “I Am a Free American.” With a budget deal they staunchly opposed about to be passed in Congress, here came Linda Weeks with “Economic Freedom in Action” T-shirts and Debbie Spaugh with a fresh white banner she hung by a Christmas tree in the corner.