If tea party Republicans stick to plans to defund Planned Parenthood – even at the cost of a government shutdown – it would raise questions about whether the movement is driven more by small government ideals or classic Republican 'values' issues.
Many grass-roots activists want candidates to sign pledges to, say, undo health-care reform. Will such pledges tie lawmakers' hands later, or improve accountability?
Grass-roots groups, mostly on the right, insist that House and Senate candidates in Election 2010 make specific pledges, before giving their thumbs' up. Spending cuts and repeal of the federal health-care law are often on the pledge list.
Here's your guide to FAQs about the tea party: What is the tea party? How did the movement get started? Could it determine the balance of congressional power?
Dismantle health-care reform, stop pork, and protect the Constitution are three of 10 election priorities in the 'tea party' movement's Contract From America, to be unveiled Thursday.
The release of the top three 'tea party' issues this week gives a glimpse of a small-government movement growing, maturing, and looking increasingly more like middle America.
The 'tea party' movement coalesces around fiscal responsibility and limited federal government, not bans on abortion or gay marriage. It's an agenda that some say will attract more people to the Republican Party, though it may leave social conservatives wandering in the wilderness.
Taking a cue from the GOP's success in 1994, the 'tea party' movement is putting together a Contract from America – a platform for the 2010 elections culled from thousands of suggestions.