The Washington Times - October 8, 2013, 02:49PM

It is a cultural moment of the political variety. Is the tea party just a bunch of has-beens, or powerful enough to cause the federal shutdown? The tea party itself wants to know, now that its critics conveniently blame them for all the woes of Washington, and possibly the known universe.

“The media, the ruling elite, the Senate, and President Obama are doing all they can to blame this mess on us, but all we wanted was them to think twice about forcing a law that isn’t ready on the American people, say organizers at the Tea Party Patriots, the nation’s largest umbrella group for the movement, representing some 3,000 local groups.

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“All we wanted was the American people to be treated equally under the law as the ones who forced this on us. And now all they can say is that we are anarchists, arsonists, holding the economy hostage, holding a gun to the heads of the American people,” the Patriots say in a declaration issued Monday.

“It’s time for this nonsense to stop. The president a few years ago called for a new age of civility, they continue, noting that a year ago, the tea party had been dismissed by their critics as “inconsequential”.

Seems like a conflict, perhaps.

“Today, we are so powerful that according to the president and the Democrats in Washington, we have shut down the federal government. Which one is it?”they ask.