If a Tea Party campaign to "fire" targeted members of Congress succeeds this November, it won't be the first time the movement's cost someone his job. Several people from across the ideological spectrum have already been fired after drawing the ire of the burgeoning grassroots movement. Here are five "Tea Party casualties":
LANCE BAXTER: One-time "voice of GEICO" on TV ads (also known as D.C. Douglas)
Tea Party connection: Left a voicemail at the offices of Tea Party-backer FreedomWorks, suggesting that Tea Partiers are "mentally retarded"
What happened: FreedomWorks CEO Matt Kibbe posted Baxter's voice message and cell number on the conservative blog BigGovernment, urging Tea Partiers to call Baxter and GEICO. GEICO promptly fired Baxter from an upcoming voiceover job.
JASON LEVIN: Middle school teacher in Beaverton, OR
Tea Party connection: Created a website, "Crash the Tea Party," in an attempt to undermine the movement
What happened: The Beaverton School District put Levin on administrative leave April 15, after his name was linked to the anti-Tea Party site and angry activists flooded the school district with angry calls. Authorities are now investigating if Levin broke district rules by working on the site on school computers or during school hours.
SUSAN ROESGEN: Ex-CNN reporter
Tea Party connection: Conducted an on-air interview with Chicago Tea Partiers at an April 2009 rally
What happened: CNN declined to renew Roesgen's contract in July 2009, after she became the target of a "Fire Roesgen" campaign by conservative commentators. Her crime? Taking an adversarial tone with participants at the Chicago rally, and characterizing the event as "highly promoted" by Fox News. Afterwards, a conservative blogger triumphantly lay claim to Roesgen's "scalp."
SHARI WEBER: Former Kansas House majority leader and local director of American Majority
Tea Party connection: Headed the Kansas chapter of American Majority, which trains Tea Party candidates
What happened: American Majority fired Weber April 16, after allegations emerged that she was besmirching the anti-tax movement's image with a scheme to secure taxpayer funding for her start-up business. "I felt it was best that we went our different ways," said American Majority president Ned Ryun.
MARTHA COAKLEY: Massachusetts attorney general
Tea Party connection: Lost a U.S. Senate race to Tea Party–backed Republican Scott Brown
What happened: Though Coakley was not literally "fired," she was considered a sure-thing to win the Senate seat left vacant by Sen. Ted Kennedy's death until Brown, tapping into Tea Party energy and money, pulled off a huge upset victory. "If it wasn't for the Tea Party movement, Scott Brown wouldn't have gotten that seat," says Michigan-based Tea Party activist Jeffrey McQueen.
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