The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.

The Final Tea Party Frontier

By Hatewatch Staff on August 10, 2011 - 4:03 pm, Posted in Patriot Groups

A new Tea Party group in Florida is boldly going where no Tea Parties have gone before – space.

Tea Party in Space, an offshoot of the South Florida Tea Party, is, of all things, pushing to end the government’s supposed monopoly on space exploration.

“Our goal is nothing less than the expansion of American civilization into the solar system,” says the group’s platform. “We must return to traditional American free-market principles to expand permanently into space.”

Tea Party in Space is complaining that, as its founder Andrew Gasser said, “NASA is being forced to fund programs that are behind schedule and ridiculously over budget.” But that’s not all. Gasser sees a great ideological principle here: “It is socialism when you have the government coming down and saying, ‘this is what we want to build, and this is how we want you to build it.’”

According to Tea Party in Space logic, the Erie Canal, Hoover Dam, our national highway system, and Mount Rushmore are all just examples of unnecessary government socialism.

Of course, Tea Party in Space has a rock-solid standard bearer, proudly noted in its “Core Values”: “I am a child of Ronald Regan [sic], Ronaldus Magnus. ”

Houston, we have a problem.

As NASA recounted in its statement in honor of Reagan’s death in 2004, “President Reagan spoke … about how the shuttles were the modern day equivalent of the Yankee Clipper ships that opened new horizons for our young nation.” In his 1984 State of the Union Address, the statement continues, Reagan “announced plans for a permanent human presence in space with the construction of a space station, and he tasked NASA to including the international community to be part of a project designed for the benefit of everyone on Earth.”

It seems the Gipper – or President Magnus, if you prefer – wasn’t exactly opposed to a little government socialism now and again when it came to space exploration.

But Tea Party in Space does not consider itself wholly unreasonable. As Andrew Gasser continued, “There has to be limited government. There has to be a partnership.”

Unless Tea Party in Space hasn’t noticed, the U.S. government is no longer the only game in space town. On Tuesday, NASA announced that is partnering with seven private spaceflight companies to work on new technology for future spaceflights. All of the companies are also producing their own commercial spaceships. And just last week, Boeing revealed plans to finalize its own spacecraft, to be launched by 2015.

Still, you can imagine the placards at the next Tea Party in Space rally: “Keep your government hands off my Solar System!”

  • A.D.M.

    Eric, provide proof of your accusation of leftists being hateful. By the way, just so you know, I’m not a leftist. I’m an independent and my views are what I consider practical. A lot of it is not leftist.

  • Vladislaw

    It costs NASA 2.4 billion a year for the shuttle workforce. The Senate wants NASA to keep those and build a heavy lift in 5 years for 11 billion. The labor bill for 5 years is 12 billion, so tell me, how much actual hardware is going to be built if they are going to appropriate 11 billion for a rocket when just the labor is 12 billion in those five years?

    The Nation will get exactly what we got from the Constellation program where we spent 13 billion. Nothing, not a single orbital launch. If the SLS gets pushed through it wil just be another repeat with a different President canceling the program because it is over budget and behind schedule and then we can wash, rinse, repeat and start another new program with another new name.

    It is time we open the space sector up with more commerical players competing.

  • Vladislaw

    That’s the point, the Senators from space states, Shelby, Nelson, Hatch, et cetera, do not support President Obama’s space policy, it cuts into their pork. They legislated just how NASA will build the SLS. They are demanding that NASA use the old heritage hardware from the space shuttle and keep the 200 million a month labor bill for launching it. They want NASA to keep the contractors going and just rewrite old constellation contracts for the “new” heavy lift vehicle. They are actually trying to forbid NASA from even first doing a competitive bidding process. Two democratic senators from california and a republican have written both the President and NASA calling for competitive bids.

    A conservative may vote in favor of NASA funding but if it is attached to anything else more, like a tax increase, than likely not. The house of representatives just voted to cut NASA by 2 billion but fully fund the pork laden SLS. Which is cutting all the President’s programs like earth science, climate change, commercial crew ect. The message is plain, if you want your programs then fund the pork train SLS.

    The Senators are not willing to fund the SLS at a level that NASA can complete it with traditional funding through FAR. It doesn’t matter to these Senators if the rocket actually ever gets built and flies. They are not funding a single payload for a 130 ton launcher, they are not even talking about a single mission for the 130 launcher.

    All they are saying is, give us the funding to WORK on it in the “traditional” NASA cost plus no bid way we have always did. It doesn’t matter if it just get added to the long list of multi billion dollar programs that were canceled, As long as the jobs stay, the contractors get their contracts and they get their votes and campaign contributions, that’s the bottom line.

    That is why we are where we are. Those congress members do not want to see commercial competition and the voting public to realize just how much we are NOT getting for our NASA tax dollars. NASA recently released a report that if they would have did the SpaceX Falcon 9 the traditional way it would have cost over 4 billion, SpaceX did it for 800million and only 300 million was COTS funding.

    SpaceX has said they could do a HLV for 2.5 billion, NASA says it will cost them 38 billion. The Senate says do everything the same way you did Constellation and do it in less time and less money 11 billion. But unless the Senate allows them to competitively bid it and instead forces them to use shuttle derived it can’t be done for 11 billion. So the space state senators do care they have told NASA to start on it anyway.

  • wodun


    Do you know how big NASA’s budget is?

    A tax increase should not be needed to fund NASA.

  • Leslie

    If conservatives support President Obama’s space program surely they won’t have a problem paying for it with higher taxes. Even the Senator’s from the space states will be able to convince their constituencies that these programs are important for our country and hopefully will not add to the deficit.

  • Vladislaw

    It would be nice if the posters here actually knew anything about the space program.

    In 2004 President Bush put forth a new space policy called the Vision for Space Exploration, it called for getting the space shuttle back in operation, finish building the International Space Station with the shuttle and then retire the space shuttles in 2010. It also called for commercial space to take over the routine job of crew and cargo to LEO to resupply the ISS.

    Another phase was for NASA to return to Luna in 2015 and no later than 2020. NASA was not to build any new launchers according to the VSE but use existing commercial launchers.

    The Constellation program, that was born out of the ESAS report ran by ex NASA Administrator Griffin and he soon hijacked the VSE and instead started building 2 new rockets for NASA. These cost plus, no bid contracts blew through 13 billion dollar and produced no flight hardware and never had a single orbital launch for the effort. For each year the Constellation program ran, it fell another year behind schedule. In order to pay for it Griffin wanted to deorbit the ISS at the end of 2015. He also cut funding for COT-D, that was the part of the COTS program that related to commercial crew.

    When President Obama saw the mess he appointed a blue ribbon panel to give him some options. The Augusting panel had as one option the flexible path.

    President Obama canceled the train wreck of pork called Constellation and then funded commercial space for crew access now called CCDEV and it was funded with 50 million from the stimulus, he wanted 400 million but some Senators wouldn’t fund it. NASA also funded 250 million for CCDEV 2. In the current budget request he was asking for 850 million for commercial crew but the pork train senators are blocking it and only want 350 million going towards commercial crew.

    There are certain members of Congress now pushing the SLS or Space Launch System. This is just a new name for the pork train called Constellation. NASA has said it would cost 38 billion to build it. But congress will only fund 11 billion. NASA is waiting for an independant cost analysis on cost, but the Senators want to supena Adminstrator Bolden to provide documents.

    Altough I do not support the tea party, I do support the work that Andrew is doing with the tea party in space, and if you actually dug into the subject of space policy you would know that he supports the President on the path he is pushing for NASA. It was one of the very few things that some members of the conservative party support the President.

    So before you just start shouting sound bites, actually dig into the history of how we got where we are with the space program and what the real issues are.

    There are certain Senators from Space states that have a NASA center and are fighting tooth and nail for the pork train to keep on sending them their money. This gives them the make work jobs in their districts, gets those votes and also gets contributions from the usual suspects, ATK, Lockheed Martin and Boeing for their cost plus no bid contracts.

    I support President Obama’s space program and his desire to bring more commercial into the space sector, every President since Nixon has called on NASA to get more bang for the buck by utilizing more commercial services but the pork train Senators have always blocked it.

  • Eric

    Why do you leftists hate so much?

  • Brendan

    Truth, the problem is that these Tea Party in Space troglodytes are NOT DEMOCRATS. Therefore they are haters. That’s why SPLC put them on “HateWatch.”

  • Ed Minchau

    Have any of the above commenters read even a single post at the Tea Party In Space blog? Can anyone point to a single hateful thing said on that blog that warrants scrutiny from the SPLC?

  • wodun

    The readers here might find it surprising that the Tea Party in Space is a supporter of Obama’s original NASA restructuring after the cancellation of Constellation.

    Does that mean that Obama is going to be put on “Hatewatch” or the readers here will advocate sending Obama to colonize Pluto?

    You guys should try doing a little research about the organization, you just might find you agree with them.

  • fizz-e-sist

    Makes me laugh. Comments (and the original article) are symptomatic of the allergy the “progressive” hivemind has to logic, facts, good sense, and objective facts. It is clear that Mr. Pucci either didn’t read or didn’t understand the original article. Do any of you ever have anything to say that isn’t just a concatenation of the same tired old long-disproven liberal talking points? If you were serious about “Fighting Hate, Teaching Tolerance, Seeking Justice”, you’d disband your whole organization. The comments here are far from tolerant. In fact, by categorizing relatively innocuous views as “Hate” is itself an act of hate. And the SPLC continually exhibits a racist view of justice. In short, your whole organization is a joke.

  • K Lundermann

    I dislike the Tea Party, but the Tea Party in Space is on target in saying “you have the government coming down and saying, ‘this is what we want to build, and this is how we want you to build it.” Specifically, in the 2010 NASA authorization, Congress lays out *technical* specifications for the big rocket (Space Launch System) it wants NASA to build. Congress has no business doing that; these things should be left to the engineers. The specs force NASA to build a rocket that keeps public money flowing to the same defense contractors that built the Space Shuttle, even though no mission has been specified for this new rocket.

    It’s socialism for sure, corporate socialism.

  • Leslie


    That doesn’t surprise me–Limbaugh and Hannity are all about show business and having actors as callers would make it easier for them to control their own script. LOL.

  • skinnyminny

    that is too funny! Here is something else that didn’t make big news, Premiere, Limbaugh and Hannity parent co. admits to hiring actors to call radio show, this was admitting to a lawsuit filed.

    Go figure, people listening to live shows (tv or radio) for call ins may be listening to actors instead of actual listeners. People wonder why some shows have such high ratings, or think they are listening to real people over certain issues may be getting fooled.

  • Leslie


    The Tea Party does pose a danger to the country when they threaten the entire financial system by voting to default on paying the government debt. This goes way beyond just having an opinion. They support military intervention in Afghanistan and Iraq but don’t want to pay the bill or pay for a soldier’s medical care–yet they think they are patriotic. Michelle Bachman wants the federal government to pay for a 300 million dollar bridge in her district but will not vote to raise taxes to pay for the bridge. Yet, she wants to cut entitlement spending of social security and medicare because of the deficit that will be added to by this pork barrel project. This is a threat to our democracy when a small group of people can hold the government hostage and deny others their rights.

    BTW, here is an article about a Tea Party backed Representative in Georgia who defaulted on a 2.2 million dollar loan. He said it is the bank’s fault because the bank should have known he would not be able to repay the loan. Of course, he ran on a platform of fiscal responsibility.

  • skinnyminny

    it makes me laugh thinking about the name you are using! Truth, huh!

    I guess you think this website sucks, is it because you’re used to hearing, ‘corporations are people, the lies about we the people, and tax cuts?’

    I will be nice, and just say, troll.

  • Truth

    Coming from a Latino, this website sucks. You guys will never end racism just sitting behind a computer and bitching all day. I think the Tea Party has every right to have their opinion. They do not pose any real danger to our country more than any other political group!

  • Gregory

    Ruslan, the SPLC is silencing rroberts by printing his comments, presumably unedited. By allowing him to speak, the SPLC is depriving him of his voice. That would appear to be the logic of a conservative.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    Robert, please provide evidence that the SPLC silences people who are conservative.

  • rroberts

    The question is: What does posting this news item this has to do with the purpose that this organization (SPLC) is supposed to exist?
    Or is the real purpose of SPLC to do whatever it can to silence anyone who is conservative?

  • Shadow Wolf

    Just let them get “Lost in Space”.

  • Jane Schiff

    Does theteapartyinspace want the space thing in addition to, or instead of seceding terrestrially from the U.S.?

    Remember the “Prime Directive” from Star Trek?

    …”The Prime Directive is explicitly defined in the Star Trek episode “Bread and Circuses,” which is set in 2267:
    “ “No identification of self or mission. No interference with the social development of said planet. No references to space or the fact that there are other worlds or civilizations.”…
    Maybe their P.R. department has hijacked the
    “Prime Directive” and the “Omega Directive” and lacks the verbal skills to spell out that they
    …”The Prime Directive is a Starfleet regulation, and thus only applies to Starfleet officers. Civilian citizens of the Federation are not bound by it. In fact, if a Federation citizen has chosen to personally interfere with another civilization, Starfleet is powerless to remove that individual, under penalty of court-martial.[1]…”

    ..”The only stated exception to the Prime Directive is the Omega Directive, in which a captain is authorized to take any means to destroy Omega Molecules when detected. Whenever the Omega Directive is in force, the Prime Directive is effectively rescinded.[2]…”

  • difluoroethene

    Richard Branson is planning to expand into space soon, too.

  • CM

    In space, no one can hear you scream … inanities.

    Bon voyage.

  • Ryan

    Please tell me this is a parody.

  • Peter M Gatliff

    It seems the Tea Party has infiltrated ever aspects of our country and now NASA and the space race? It seems the propaganda machine if the Fascist has met its goal set out in 1934 as been accomplished. Reading the above only confirms my thinking of “Mission Accomplished” in the over throw of our thoughts,policys and freedoms from the “Business Plot” of 1934. This can be found on YouTube and Google.

  • ruben

    space would be a fitting place for these nut jobs……somehow i get the feeling that most of these teapot loonies also believe that they were abducted by aliens.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    Ah you see John, these people see “governent” and the private sector as two completely separate entities, the former being inherently evil(except the military) and the latter being inherently good. So it’s “socialism” even when the government hires private contractors and other private companies to carry out its business.

  • John

    “It is socialism when you have the government coming down and saying, ‘this is what we want to build, and this is how we want you to build it.’”

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t this the same as when anyone else hires a contracter to build something? “We want to build a porch, and this is how we want you to build it.” “We want a new lighting system, and this is how we want it to look.” And so on.

    However, if these clowns want to go homestead Pluto or something, I’m all for it.

  • skinnyminny

    Let me guess! This will be funded with tax-payer money, even though they don’t want to pay taxes.

    Interesting how they hate government, hate the poor, hate taxes, they still think the people they hate owe them something, or should I say owe them everything. This is off the subject, but, former city of Bell (Califas – mayor) official Robert Rizzo, had given himself a $650,000 a year pension, this was just recently reduced to $50k a year, and now he’s appealing this. This is why the pension programs are running short of money, because of the management salaries, perks…not because of the union workers/medical…so, I would like this tea group to prove how they are going to pay for this adventure – I would like for them to prove that they will not use money from the govt or taxpayer funds. I mean, it is just recently that the NASA programs was just defunded and thousands of workers are without jobs.

  • Gregory

    “Our goal is nothing less than the expansion of American civilization into the solar system,”

    Maybe they should try developing civilization in America before they start annoying extraterrestrials.

  • Aron Levy

    Tea Party in Space?

    Hoo boy. That’s it.

    I’m officially embarrassed to call myself a tea drinker.


    (Also, I think it would be better to refer to the TPiS as Tea Party in Spaaaaaaaaaaaaaace…)

  • Linnea

    What next from the Tea Party? This is just getting better and better… now where’s the popcorn?

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    “Gasser sees a great ideological principle here: “It is socialism when you have the government coming down and saying, ‘this is what we want to build, and this is how we want you to build it.’”

    Any time one of these ignorant morons tries to define socialism, you can basically replace their description with virtually any string of words. For example: “It is socialism when peanuts scissor tables under a magnet gale hoof.”

    In any case, I wholeheartedly support their endeavor to permanently expand into space.