In another sign that the Tea Party is mobilizing into an organized political machine with a broad vision and long-term goals, 2011 will see the debut of Tea Party Students. As the name suggests, the new organization will recruit and organize students from America's high schools and universities to advance the Tea Party's political program and philosophy of government.
What is that philosophy?
On its new website, Tea Party Students lists three "core values" of the Tea Party movement: constitutionally limited government, free markets, and fiscal responsibility. Citing a Harvard University study that suggested only 11 percent of Americans aged 18 - 29 consider themselves Tea Party supporters, Tea Party Students describes its mission as "nothing less than a campaign to save the Tea Party movement from extinction."
The public debut of Tea Party Students will be launched by twelve already formally recognized on-campus Tea Party Student groups, including one at Butte College, a community college located in Northern California, the Ivy League University of Pennsylvania; and George Mason University, well-noted for the prominence of its libertarian student and faculty presence. In the spirit of the broader Tea Party movement, Tea Party Students will allow each local chapter to remain 100% autonomous and self-directing, with access to resources that the national organization offers and the prerogative to opt-in to dual affiliations with other national organizations such as the Leadership Institute, Students for Liberty, and Young Americans for Liberty.
Though conceived and founded by student, Danny Oliver, Tea Party Students has an impressive roster of older Tea Party leaders and activists on its advisory board, including Judson Phillips of Tea Party Nation and Michael Patrick Leahy of the Nationwide Tea Party Coalition. Last month on December 16th, the anniversary of the original Boston Tea Party in 1773, Tea Party Patriots endorsed Tea Party Students as "the future of the Tea Party Movement."