Make Me Your Tea Partyer-in-Chief!

The Tea Party's founders say it's leaderless by design. But that was before they met me

  • Illustration John Ueland for TIME

    I don't know much about what the Tea Party stands for, but I do know it's my big chance to gain political power. Moving up in the Democratic or Republican Party would take decades, but the Tea Party is searching for leaders. Getting in on a movement early is how you get to be Sam Adams or Jesse Jackson or Obama Girl.

    For advice, I called Mark Williams, founder of the Tea Party Express, which raises millions of dollars by traveling in a bus and putting on shows with acts like former Saturday Night Live cast member Victoria Jackson and a rapper named Polatik. "Get together a local group to read the Constitution just the way religious people get together to read the Bible," he suggested. You have to come up with some insane ideas to torpedo your competition when you've got Victoria Jackson and a rapper named Polatik.

    To get the Hollywood Tea Party started, I contacted Jenny Beth Martin, who, at just 39, is a co-founder and national coordinator of the Tea Party Patriots. Martin totally approved of my Hollywood Tea Party idea. Better yet, she said I'd be an official local coordinator, the highest-ranking title in the organization, and invited to take part in the weekly California conference call. Being a local coordinator, however, started to feel a little low level when I learned that there are 2,197 other local coordinators. So I asked Martin if she could give me a better title, like whip. That's when Scott Boston, an Ohio coordinator, yelled from the back of Martin's car that I could be Sir Writes-a-Lot. This is a great, great party.

    Martin handed the phone to her fellow national coordinator and co-founder, Mark Meckler, who explained that the Tea Party Patriots is a leaderless organization by design, then warned me against getting into this half-assed, which was slightly more ass than I'd intended. "If it's not genuine for you, you're going to piss people off." The idea of pissing off a group of people who are already pissed off seemed a little scary. He also clued me in to my new party's infighting by cautioning me to stay away from the Tea Party Express. "Mark Williams is trying to take advantage of the Tea Party movement. He is a disgusting person. I won't stand in the same room as that guy," he said. I sided with Meckler, partly because I preferred his politics but mostly because Williams had not knighted me.

    For four hours on a recent Friday, I worked Twitter, and Facebook to invite people to a meeting the following Sunday at a coffee shop called the Bourgeois Pig. I offered coffee, tea, pastries and the Hollywood Tea Party vice presidency. I then called Sonja Schmidt, a comedy writer in L.A. who speaks at lots of Tea Party events and is in a conservative comedy group called Right to Laugh. Schmidt suggested I start by reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. "Don't forget to bring some American flags," she advised. After a long pause in our conversation, she said, "You want me to bring you some flags?" I was glad Schmidt was coming to my meeting, largely because she is black, and I was absolutely sure the liberal elite mainstream media covering my event would mention her race, since the liberal elite mainstream media covering my event was me.

    But Schmidt did not make it. Only two people did. Michael Greer, a woman who used to run a casting agency, showed up exactly on time. Greer, who got involved in politics last year, has been to Washington for two Tea Party protests, one of which involved her being forced to leave the office of Senator Joe Lieberman under threat of arrest. She was clearly Hollywood Tea Party vice-presidential material.

    Eventually, we were joined by Nathan Mintz, a 26-year-old radar-systems engineer who founded the South Bay Tea Party and is a Republican candidate for the state assembly. Though Greer was willing, Mintz thought reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in a crowded coffee shop without a flag around was a bad idea. He was, however, willing to read from a pocket Constitution I got from Glenn Beck. We agreed that other than Prohibition, the 17th Amendment was the lamest. Then we complained about the government, which apparently wants to prevent us from buying black cars and force us to paint our roofs white. It is not, by the way, the colors we object to. It is the principle.

    Greer and Mintz said they had a good time. Far more important, I'm now the official local coordinator of the Hollywood Tea Party. I am ready to appear on TV and radio, am willing to be quoted by any publication and will accept money to speak to crowds even if they're in Tennessee. I promise to yell and, as much as possible, make my yelling rhyme. Nobody can deny that Sir Writes-a-Lot likes big budget cuts, and he cannot lie.