The Washington Times - January 7, 2013, 09:42AM

Critics who dismiss the tea party take note: Some big names will assemble in South Carolina this weekend for “State of the Union: A Constitutional Perspective,” a two-day gathering of experts, speakers and authors intent on crafting “pragmatic, common-sense solutions to the greatest threats facing the country since the Constitution was written in 1787.”

The roster is a who’s who of the grass-roots movement. Heritage Foundation President-elect Jim DeMint and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley will send video messages. Among those attending: Republican Reps. Jeff Duncan, Mick Mulvaney and Tom Rice; FreedomWorks President Matt Kibbe; Americans for Prosperity President Tim Philips; Center for Security Policy founder Frank Gaffney; High Frontier Chairman Henry F. Cooper; former Navy SEAL Benjamin Smith; and organizers Jenny Beth Martin of the Tea Party Patriots and Joe Dugan, state coordinator for the South Carolina Patriots.

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“Our republic is tearing at the seams as our Constitution is pushed further from the public square,” Mr. Dugan says. “We must ensure our government remains restrained by it.”

The convention will be staged at the Springmaid Beach Resort in Myrtle Beach. Meanwhile, tea party ferocity is still intact.

“We will strike back,” notes a new message from the Tea Party Patriots to the 3,4000 local chapters in its membership. “We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: We are on our own.”

See more on the group here: http://www.teapartypatriots.org/