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Will Identity Crisis Divide Florida Tea Party?

They all hate taxes, so why can't all tea partiers love one another? This week has revealed divisions within the tea party activist community of South Florida, and in Central Florida the infighting has spilled into the courts, where an Orlando radio host is being accused of "hijacking" the tea party name.

Seems that host, Doug Guetzloe, was a little too eager to combine his tea party membership with the free market principles that tea partiers hold dear. As you can see from his website, Guetzloe's hawking "Don't Tread on Me" T-shirts and his own greatest hits CDs. But what really ticked off some tea partiers was when registered a party under that name, then allegedly started dictating who was allowed to identify as a tea party member.

"Hijack" is the same term

that the South Florida Tea Party used to describe the maneuver of Karin Hoffman of Coral Springs, credited with bringing the tea party to a meeting with Steele. She defended herself against that charge yesterday in this Juice post.

And these are hardly the first instances of hijacking. That was the charge last May, when governors Mark Sanford and Rick Perry, of South Carolina and Texas, respectively, staged a "Fight for Freedom" dubbed by some as an official tea party event -- and by others as phony.

All this comes at the same time as tea partiers nationwide face questions about how to pay for group activities, the subject of a public radio report this morning.

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Thomas Francis

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