5133203A group called the Tea Party Patriots, which is affiliated with the Dick Armey-backed lobbying group FreedomWorks, is calling on supporters to "storm Senate offices" on December 15th in order to "to flex our muscle and exert that influence to hold the line in our fight against the government takeover of healthcare."
"The intention is to go inside the Senate offices and hallways, and play out the role of patients waiting for treatment in government controlled medical facilities," according to a message on the group's Web site. "As the day goes on some of us will pretend to die from our untreated illnesses and collapse on the floor. Many of us plan to stay there until they force us to leave."
"We know it's a sacrifice to do this right before Christmas," continues the message. "But throughout history American Patriots have made far greater sacrifices than this to protect our liberty. Now the burden (and the honor) falls on us."
The "tea party" movement is energized and making plans for 2010, as the Washington Post reports, and it represents both a challenge and opportunity for Republicans.
While activists affiliated with the anti-government movement are highly motivated and associated with the traditional GOP base, they are also hard for mainstream Republicans to control. A special House election in a conservative-leaning New York district earlier this year resulted in a Democratic victory after tea partiers rallied around the conservative party candidate, forcing the moderate Republican to drop out of the race.
FreedomWorks, which has organized many of the tea party protests, is in the process of reorganizing its political action committee with the goal of raising millions of dollars for its cause.
In early November, thousands of angry tea party protesters took to the Capitol to rally against the Democrats' health care reform efforts, which House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) called in a speech at the event "the greatest threat to freedom that I have seen in the 19 years I've been here in Washington."