Election Watch Coverage Here: With Citizen Watchdog

Tuesday, November 6th, 2012

You can watch election coverage hosted by Tony Katz and featuring commentators and activists across the country here:

Starts at 6 pm eastern. See you then!



The Tea Party’s Purpose: True The Vote, Results The Left Hates [See Also Wisconsin Recall]

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

So, Tea Party Patriots co-leaders Mark Meckler and Jenny Beth Martin weren’t so much “co” and fought over leadership. And then they spent $250,000 on the ridiculous Southern Republican Leadership Conference to host the debate which by all accounts was an unmitigated debacle.

What will come of the Tea Party?

Locally, Tea Parties are either getting involved on issue advocacy or remaking their state GOP or working on getting elected, etc. Nationally, I’m not sure the groups continue to have much purpose anymore–thus the acrimony.

It is long past time for Tea Party leaders (of whom?–the Tea Party movement was/is like an amoeba breaking apart and coming back together depending on need) to either go back to civilian life and make a difference by getting a job and getting involved civically locally or to have a concrete mission. There is already an over-abundance of political organizations who don’t do much good but do manage to fundraise a lot of money.

A couple years ago when the Houston Tea Party split up, the two leaders displayed some wisdom: they chose different missions and stayed friendly.

One, True The Vote, has been doing the tough job of cleaning up elections–cleaning up voter registration lists, validating registered voters, teaching people how to be poll watchers, etc. They had over 17,000 volunteers to help Governor Walker verify signatures on the recall ballot and managed to get it 92% finished by the absurd deadline.

The volunteers from all fifty states entered over 4.5 million pieces of data in only 32 days. In stark contrast to anything Democrat, the data is uploaded and completely transparent for all to see.

What did they find? Donald Duck. They found people who signed the petition multiple times.

In short, they found Democrats being Democrats.

Unsurprisingly, the Democrats are displeased. They operate more happily when they can commit their fraud unchecked. Well, they’re being checked.

Democrats view the Scott Walker recall election as symbolic and worthy of all their resources. They figured they could push through the recall with no transparency.

Republicans need to see the urgency in Wisconsin, too. The Left must be pushed back. Please listen to Alan Vera, National Training Director of True the Vote, implore activists to get involved. [Text at link, too.]

Catherine Englebrecht, founder of True the Vote, has been sued, vilified, threatened, and continually harassed. Yet, she sees True the Vote’s most important work ahead and that keeps her motivated.

“If the government won’t do their job, we as citizens must do the job they won’t do,” she says of stopping voter fraud.

So, what should the Tea Party groups do? Find a mission like True the Vote. Find issus to advocate. Get or make a job and do it.

The next phase after awareness is action. Part of the reason for all the scuffling is one, a fight over resources and two, a lack of clear mission. The latter will clear up the former.

Learn more about True the Vote Summit here.



The Tea Party Is Killing The Republican Party And Therefore America

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

The Tea Party would be the assemblage of the most annoying people on the planet if the Republican Party didn’t already exist or if Tea Partiers didn’t breath the same air as Democrats, Liberals and the Occupy Wall Streeters. Political people are annoying. They are, by their very essence motivated by ideas and care enough to do something about it. Most people just want to live their lives and be left alone. People in the political realm want their ideas and rantings to matter. They want to change things. That makes them annoying.

Tea Partiers are getting a bad rap right now. In fact, I just spent far too long debating Outside The Beltway’s libertarian curmudgeon James Joyner about the root cause of trouble in the GOP. It’s the Tea Party’s fault, he says:

Oh dear. Bad Tea Party! Bad, bad Tea Party!

Whenever I see these assertions, I never see the GOP pondering their really bad choices in politicians that had money but had little charisma, political deftness or policy intelligence. See also: Meg Whitman, Carly Fiorina, and Linda McMahon. And that’s just three of them. Many bad candidates put forth by the GOP got trounced in the primaries by these Tea Party candidates because the candidates stunk so badly.

GOP apologists also don’t seem to remember what prompted the Tea Party to begin with: The Bailouts. TARP (something I was on the fence about, myself, but eventually came out against on the principle that everything the government touches turns to poo), GM bailouts, the stimulus and the gnawing anger that Republicans left their values behind with the creation of things like Medicare Part D and the Department of Homeland Security (two things that infuriated me at the time).

The Republican party leadership left their party planks and so people who actually believe in smaller government, in personal liberty, in freedom, left the GOP.

The sense that the government is doing too much for too many for little or not return; the sense that the government is piling up debt for a future generation enslaving them and their children horrified average people who decided to become politically involved and joined the Tea Party.

Anyone who is a third generation Christian knows the joy and dismay being around a new convert. It’s wonderful to see their wonder, love and affection for God and His word. It’s a little disconcerting to see scriptures distorted and extreme behavior in the name of zealotry.

The new Tea Partiers are nothing if not zealous. Sometimes, they misdirect their energy, but overwhelmingly, their impulse has been the right one.

Do Republicans really want to argue for the individual mandate, government control of the internet, and on and on? Well, actually, the current crop of Republican presidential candidates seem to, yes. They’re being “pragmatic”. No, they’re being sellouts.

The Republican party has consistently chosen big money candidates hoping self-funding will help the party. They’ve been consistently proven wrong on this account.

The Republican party continues to cling to big government ways and means. It’s power after all, and they seem disinclined to give it up. Even Paul Ryan’s budget is incremental, long-term and likely to not be enough to save the Republic.

The Republican party leaders cannot articulate conservative values (Santorum articulating conservative social values, notwithstanding) in a positive way because they don’t believe them.

And yet, it’s the Tea Party, the group who reflects what regular Americans believe, who is going to ruin the Republican party and by extension, the Republic?

The Government is too big and too powerful average Americans believe. This is not some wild-eyed notion. And yet, Republicans are not articulating a smaller government message.

Worse, Republicans are not voting that way. So, to the dismay of many long-time Republicans, notorious Dem-liters like Orrin Hatch and Dick Luger, don’t represent their states constituency or their party’s planks. Why have them? Terror at being primaried and losing power seems to be the only thing that penetrates the consciousness of politicians. So, pain is on the way.

Before the Tea Party came along, the Republican Party was a hot mess. The New York, California, Nevada, Ohio, and Colorado GOP (just to five states off the top of my head) stunk. Calcified, self-protective, hierarchical, detached, and consumed by infighting, it’s rich that people want to blame the Tea Party for failure when the Tea Party new blood is coming in and attempting to right the sinking ship.

Is the Tea Party blameless? No. I was dismayed when Tea Party Express went into the Nevada primary and endorsed Angle. The other two candidates were good enough and had a great chance against a very weak Harry Reid. In Pennsylvania, one Tea Party leader has nearly derailed very good school choice initiatives by being absolutist and self-aggrandizing.

Still, the Tea Party energy and idealism has been great for the Republican Party, the body politic, and the country. America teeters on the edge of insolvency and has been pushed leftward fiscally by not only liberals, but so-called “Blue Dog” Dems and Republicans, too. It’s appalling.

Two years ago, I wrote that Mitt Romney was a weak candidate and that the GOP leadership should be looking, and intently, for better alternatives. They chose to travel the path of least resistance. They should not be surprised that the majority (not just the hard-core Tea Partiers, who seem to be divided themselves) are seeking a candidate who shares at least some of their conservative values.

As for me, I’m not particularly attached to any of the candidates. It would be nice for a GOP complainer to make an affirmative conservative, or even Republican (read the party planks) case for Mitt Romney. I have yet to see it. But I do see a lot of pre-emptive blaming of the Tea Party.

Sorry, the GOP needs to look for another scapegoat. Looking in the mirror would be a good start.



Wherein I Agree With Occupy Wall Street Protesters

Thursday, October 13th, 2011

The Occupy Wall Street folks have finally, at long last, figured out that the Bank Bailouts did nothing but help the rich and powerful. Too bad they didn’t join with the Tea Party who also balked at the huge transfer of wealth from the middle class taxpayers to irresponsible investment bankers who gave loans to people who couldn’t afford them.

Unfortunately, the OWS folks put their hope in Obama’s promised change and got more of the same. I remember a conversation with a prominent liberal activist. She was decrying the money in politics and corruption of the power. I said to her, on election day,”How do you think Barack Obama got elected? All that money came from Wall Street and lobbyists. They’re your problem now.”

Three years later, disenchanted socialists drum in circles and scream in frustration at what was blindingly obvious. The Dems are wholly bought and paid for.

Where the Occupy Wall Streeters differ from Tea Partiers is fundamental philosophy: Instead of the middle class bailing out banks and investment houses and GM, the Occupy Wall Street folks would prefer that the money had come directly to them. Pay off their student loans. Pay off their mortgage. Pay them $20/hour whether they work or not. Just pay them. In short, they want a socialist society where behavior is completely untethered from consequences.

Tea Partiers want to keep what they earn. They don’t want to pay for someone else’s stupidity. They don’t want someone to pay for their stupidity. They want to be free from the burden the Smartypants Set™ put on them and their children. They fear that this debt will make slaves of American citizens. They worry that their children will have less opportunities to pursue the American dream–to pursue happiness.

Like Tea Partiers, the Occupy Wall Street crowd feel disregarded and diminished. They feel that the little guy doesn’t get a break.

Students are disillusioned: They have student debt for worthless degrees for jobs that don’t exist. Many kids live with their parents and will never be employable with the education they have. As an aside, David Mamet has a wonderful essay on the hopelessness and entitlement of these folks in his book The Secret Knowledge.

The Occupy Wall Street folks have plenty to be angry about. Many Tea Partiers are angry, too. It’s just the cause and solutions that differ–well, solutions, and tactics.

Starting riots, pooping on police cars, laying in filth, sharing drugs, making it impossible for the working class people to work, is no way to make a point. Or rather, it makes the wrong point.

The Democrats will use the Occupy Wall Street crowd to foment discontent and cause confusion going into the 2012 election. It should be noted that they (hello Chuck Schumer, Chris Dodd and Barney Frank) were architects of both the absurd lending practices and then the bailout of those same institutions when they failed.

For those on the conservative grassroots side, it’s unwise to dismiss OWS’ers all out of hand. Some of these people really believed that Barack Obama was going to bail them, personally, out. They believed that he cared about them. They believed that he was a man of the people and understood them and would bring fundamental change in America that would benefit them.

Many of these people are seeing the suffering and believed the Democrats had the solution.

These folks share the alienation from the “elites”. Tea Partiers are scorned, loathed and feared by establishment Republicans. Now, politicians try to curry favor from Tea Party types, but it’s only to save their own hides. Will real reform ever come? Can the Tea Party expect transparency from the GOP when the Republicans are in charge again? It will be demanded. Will the demands be heeded? The Occupy Wall Street folks face the same problem with the Democrats.

The average American citizen feels profoundly alienated from the leadership who continues to make promises and continues to break them. This electoral swinging is a desire, on the part of voters, to find leaders who are responsive to the average, working middle-class person and small business guy who doesn’t have lobbyists making sure to guard his interests. The only place the citizen has to express their discontent is the ballot box. They’ve been doing it over and over and the message keeps resulting in disappointment.

Here are some areas where both sides can agree:

Government transparency

No more bailouts

Higher Education reform

Re-looking at American foreign policy and the best use of military resources

Government-corporate nexus (aka crony capitalism)

There’s more, but this is a start. There are many dark elements of the Occupy Wall Street crowd–the use of intimidation and violence to achieve ends, for one. Still, the alienation and betrayal and the looking helplessly toward the future seems to be a universal American citizen phenomenon these days.

America’s elected leaders no longer seem to serve their citizens but themselves and the big money folks who put them in power. Changing that is something everyone can believe in.



Think Progress Uses Tea Party Infiltrator As Proof Tea Parties Are Racist [Video at link]

Friday, July 16th, 2010

div class=Amp_Commentary_Wrapdiv class=Amp_Post_TextpThe Left is so eager to make the case that the Right is racist, that they’re willing to make stuff up to prove it. Of the thousands of videos out there, of the hundreds of Tea Parties videotaped, there is zero evidence of racism. But this isn’t about racism, ultimately. This is about getting the Democrat base riled up, fearful and willing to vote now that Obama isn’t on the ticket. Trumping up a racism charge is the way to do that. It’s despicable./p/div/divdiv class=Amp_Content_Outerdiv class=Amp_Top_Wrapdiv class=Amp_Source_FirstspanAmplifyrsquo;d from a rel=clipsource target=_blank title=http://confederateyankee.mu.nu/archives/303685.php?utm_source=twitterfeedutm_medium=twitterutm_campaign=Feed%3A+ConfederateYankee+%28Confederate+Yankee+Blog%29 href=http://confederateyankee.mu.nu/archives/303685.php?utm_source=twitterfeedutm_medium=twitterutm_campaign=Feed%3A+ConfederateYankee+%28Confederate+Yankee+Blog%29confederateyankee.mu.nu/a/span/div/divdiv class=Amp_Middle_Wrapblockquote class=Amp_Content_Item cite=http://confederateyankee.mu.nu/archives/303685.php?utm_source=twitterfeedutm_medium=twitterutm_campaign=Feed%3A+ConfederateYankee+%28Confederate+Yankee+Blog%29table cellpadding=0 cellspacing=0trtdh3 id=AutoGeneratedID-0Think Progress Ripped Content From Tea Party Video To Create Fraudulent Racism Vid/h3/td/tr/table/blockquotediv class=Amp_Content_Hr/divblockquote class=Amp_Content_Item cite=http://confederateyankee.mu.nu/archives/303685.php?utm_source=twitterfeedutm_medium=twitterutm_campaign=Feed%3A+ConfederateYankee+%28Confederate+Yankee+Blog%29table cellpadding=0 cellspacing=0trtdp id=AutoGeneratedID-1Remember Activist 2, span id=IL_AD2the Saint Louis/span Team Party infiltrator, that claimed I’m a proud racist, I’m white?/p/td/tr/table/blockquotediv class=Amp_Content_Hr/divblockquote class=Amp_Content_Item cite=http://confederateyankee.mu.nu/archives/303685.php?utm_source=twitterfeedutm_medium=twitterutm_campaign=Feed%3A+ConfederateYankee+%28Confederate+Yankee+Blog%29table cellpadding=0 cellspacing=0trtdp id=AutoGeneratedID-2It seems that Think Progress used a clip from this video, a video entitled a rel=nofollow href=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GYfmShJe5MAfeature=player_embeddedProof that the Tea Party is not racist/a./p/td/tr/table/blockquotediv class=Amp_Content_Hr/divblockquote class=Amp_Content_Item cite=http://confederateyankee.mu.nu/archives/303685.php?utm_source=twitterfeedutm_medium=twitterutm_campaign=Feed%3A+ConfederateYankee+%28Confederate+Yankee+Blog%29table cellpadding=0 cellspacing=0trtdp id=AutoGeneratedID-3The guys at SharpElbows.Net thwarted this infiltrator, a rel=nofollow href=http://sharpelbowsstl.blogspot.com/2010/04/dem-shill-wears-nazi-gear-to-tea-party.htmlheavily documenting/a his attempt to mingle with Tea Party protesters in Saint Louis. /p/td/tr/table/blockquotediv class=Amp_Content_Hr/divblockquote class=Amp_Content_Item cite=http://confederateyankee.mu.nu/archives/303685.php?utm_source=twitterfeedutm_medium=twitterutm_campaign=Feed%3A+ConfederateYankee+%28Confederate+Yankee+Blog%29table cellpadding=0 cellspacing=0trtdp id=AutoGeneratedID-4Think Progress misrepresented everything this video and the Tea Party stands for, and against./p/td/tr/table/blockquotediv class=Amp_Content_Hr/divblockquote class=Amp_Content_Item cite=http://confederateyankee.mu.nu/archives/303685.php?utm_source=twitterfeedutm_medium=twitterutm_campaign=Feed%3A+ConfederateYankee+%28Confederate+Yankee+Blog%29table cellpadding=0 cellspacing=0trtdp id=AutoGeneratedID-5If staffers, including editor-in-chief Faiz Shakir should not be terminated for this behavior, I’d like to know why./pspan class=Amp_Source_Buttona rel=clipsource target=_blank title=http://confederateyankee.mu.nu/archives/303685.php?utm_source=twitterfeedutm_medium=twitterutm_campaign=Feed%3A+ConfederateYankee+%28Confederate+Yankee+Blog%29 href=http://confederateyankee.mu.nu/archives/303685.php?utm_source=twitterfeedutm_medium=twitterutm_campaign=Feed%3A+ConfederateYankee+%28Confederate+Yankee+Blog%29Read more at confederateyankee.mu.nu/a/span/td/tr/table/blockquote/divdiv class=Amp_Bottom_Wrapnbsp;/div/divdiv class=Amp_LinkSee this Amp at a href=http://bit.ly/da2qqKhttp://bit.ly/da2qqK/a/divbr/



The Key To Socialism In The USA: Destroy The Tea Party Movement

Saturday, March 27th, 2010

Why stop at socialism? I mean, really. That’s just a pretty way of saying communism. Here’s the most accurate label for the New Left: NeoComms. I plan to use it everywhere.

Think I’m being extremist? Well David Frum and all his smooth talking moderate talkers can chew on this:

These debates are happening on the basis of charges like reformism, revisionism, and right opportunism. For me, this is proof that not enough has been done to modernize our organization and to transform Marxism from an old catechism into a real guide to action and a way of understanding the concrete conditions of struggle in our own country and in our own time. As one of the main preconvention documents said, “We have to accept and adapt to the reality that times have changed” (from U.S. Politics at a Transition Point).

The growing influence of the Tea Party movement, the long and grueling fight that was healthcare reform, and so many other features of the current struggle should demonstrate convincingly that though the 2008 election dealt a major blow to the ultra-right, it did not knock them out completely as we had hoped.

Rather than jumping to the conclusion that we need to shift our focus to criticism of Obama, the Democratic Party, or the labor movement, we should instead be seeking to recommit ourselves to defeating the ultra-right and building the broad democratic coalition more strongly than ever. This is the orientation that the main discussion documents point us toward. We have to keep in mind who the “main social force(s) hindering progressive development” are and keep our fire aimed at them (from U.S. Politics at a Transition Point).

If the policy of defeating the ultra-right was correct in the 1980s, the 1990s, and 2008, how can it not be just as correct now that we are in a moment of transition toward a time when we can more forcefully go on the offensive? Let’s update our strategic policy to take account of post-election developments of course, but let’s not take a path that would isolate us from the rest of the coalition for change.

So the threat to Marxism-Leninism isn’t from President Obama and the Democrats. Indeed, the problem with the Democrats is their implementation. The communists merely disagree with how it’s happening. They like that it’s happening.

And in fact, the real problem is the Tea Partiers. The pesky folks pushing back against socialism must be stopped. Notice that they didn’t mention the Republicans.

The article ends with a plea to change the communist movement, maybe even renaming it and making it more palatable to the modern world.

Why? Why hide what you are? Ultimately, don’t bother. Just call yourselves Democrats and be done with it. And commies should worry about Tea Partiers. They name you. And the Democrats, too.

Communists. Socialists. Statists. Totalitarians.

NeoComms.

The name change won’t disguise a NeoComm. The ideas reveal the heart of these people.

Much as they’d like to destroy the Tea Party movement, it won’t happen. The Tea Party movement is organic. It will morph and change and grow. It isn’t headed by an organization. It doesn’t require one leader to exist.

But most of all, the beliefs of the Tea Party folks will help them win in the end. Liberty. Ingenuity. Creativity. Life. Happiness. Freedom. Those values beat the smallness of socialism. Always.

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The Tea Party Movement, Tea Party Nation & Judson Phillips: A Round-Up

Friday, February 5th, 2010

Well, this is the big weekend. I’m seeing tweets coming from the gathering. Nothing splashy yet–just lots of pictures of a very up-scale hotel.

Luke Obrien of AOLNews has a fascinating exposé on Phillips. Here’s a snippet:

Phillips’ big idea was a social network for conservatives. It would eventually be called Tea Party Nation. In Phillips’ mind, it could be bigger than Facebook. And it would be his. But he couldn’t build it on his own. Over the course of 2009, he cajoled others into volunteering hundreds of hours of their time to help. Most thought they were giving structure to the broader, inchoate movement.

The first sign that something was amiss was the donation box on the Tea Party Nation Web site. Smith says he felt uncomfortable linking the box directly to Sherry Phillips’ PayPal account, but that Judson assured him the arrangement was temporary. It wasn’t. More than $4,000 in donations came in while Smith was helping Phillips. “We don’t know what happened to it,” Smith says. “We still don’t know.”

Indeed, the Phillipses have refused to fully account for the money that continues to flow into their personal coffers. When Phillips registered Tea Party Nation as a for-profit company, Smith walked out. Other volunteers were alienated as well. But Phillips bulled forward, persuading a new crop to help him take Tea Party Nation to a bigger audience. “I thought he was very kind, a real sweet guy,” Kilmarx says. “Maybe that’s the charm of a viper.”

As Phillips jockeyed for supremacy in the Tea Party movement in Tennessee, he undermined people he saw as rivals and lashed out at those who challenged his decisions, most notably through the forums of the Tea Party Nation Web site. Phillips deleted posts when people disagreed with him over candidate picks. He banned people when they questioned the direction he was taking the organization. The more outspoken dissenters received bilious e-mails threatening legal action.

More here.

For Sarah Palin’s part, Andrew Malcolm believes she’s forging her own, new political path. Palin explains her reasons for going to the Tea Party Convention here.

Sarah Palin will also be at other events. I’m going to be reporting from the Perry-Palin gathering here in Houston, February 7 (for free, I might add).

And what of the Tea Party movement, generally? Can it get its act together? Does it need to? From Newsweek:

Though tea-party activists still tend to look askance at political professionals and the Republican Party as an institution, such veterans have provided strategic leadership, even on the grassroots level. In a movement that prides itself for being “leaderless,” groups like the Nationwide Tea Party Coalition have drafted 28 local activists to form a “national leadership team” to sift through the noise. The group is spearheaded by Michael Patrick Leahy, a former delegate to the Republican Convention who had last agitated to elect Romney in 2008.

The group’s habitual conference calls, however, have produced neither a set of Republican talking points nor a singular national agenda, but rather an opportunity for certain messages and calls to action to become amplified on a larger scale. “We have a healthy distrust of political folks, whether they’re Republican or not—we tend to trust fellow tea-party organizers,” says Hennessy. “It’s like neighbors talking over a fence.”

The Tea Party movement is evolving. Some parts are more productive. In fact, many groups growing out of the movement aren’t using the “Tea Party” name, but infusing new political activism with Tea Party ideals.

Some groups are doing great works in the Tea Party name.

And some groups exploit the whole idea for personal gain.

This outcome is really kinda predictable. There are bad actors, good actors who are stupid, and then there are good actors who manage to lead with inclusion.

Tea Party people aren’t thrilled with overlords and some Tea Party self-proclaimed leaders are notoriously tyrannical–something they vehemently oppose in their own leaders. This irony is not lost on their followers.

In this movement, though, there are some very good fruits being borne of the energy and ideals of the people. Very talented folks who had remained anonymous and behind-the-scenes are getting involved and contributing.

The Tea Party energy is classically different than the Obama enthusiasm. Tea Partiers are less personality-driven and more policy-driven.

They are looking for people to reflect their values rather than a person on whom they can project their values. They have also shown themselves to be pragmatic. Many of these people are the people contributing to a New England Republican like Scott Brown. People know he’ll be better than Ted Kennedy or Martha Coakley. That’s obvious.

But there are limitations, too, but this sort of thing takes time to experience. There are many opinions and no one voice is going to represent such a diverse group of people.

The liberals and media would like to paint the movement with a broad brush, but that’s just not possible.

The Tea Parties are just getting started. It’s only been one year. A year ago, politicians and pundits alike scoffed at the whole notion. No one is laughing now.

The movement may have hiccups as it grows, but it is a big mistake to underestimate its power to change the political scene. And that’s a very good thing.



Tea Party Implosion?

Friday, November 20th, 2009

The Politico has an interesting article about the Tea Party groups dividing. Read the whole thing. I disagree with this conclusion:

The organizational chaos — combined with a widening apathy at the edges of the movement — has produced a growing consensus among local, state and national tea party leaders that for the movement to evolve from the loose conglomeration of fired-up activists who mobilized this summer to register their dissatisfaction with Obama and Congress at town hall protests and marches across the country into a sustainable bloc with the power to shape the GOP and swing elections, it will require the emergence of a national leader, group or structure.

Ned Ryun, president of American Majority, a nonprofit that has conducted organizer-training sessions for many tea party activists, said “the next three to six months” are going to be critical in determining “what’s going to happen with the tea party movement. Are they going to be a bunch of fingers, or are they going to come together to be a fist?”

The diagnosis is wrong. Why will someone have to be in charge? The movement has done fine and no one is in charge of the Tea Parties now. The national organizations could be best described as facilitators and supporters.

Do they want to be in charge of the Tea Party movement? I don’t even know. So I contacted Freedom Works to find out. Here’s what Press Secretary Adam Brandon said:

“FreedomWorks is looking to facilitate the Tea Party in any way that we can. We were never looking to own or control it. The focus needs to be on the issues at hand.”

And then, I contacted American’s For Prosperity Director of Membership and Online Strategy Erik Telford, who has been heavily involved with the Tea Party movement and asked him if AFP would like to be in charge of the Tea Party movement [Full Disclosure: AFP has sponsored me to go to some workshops and I won their 2009 Award for Online Excellence]. Erik said, “No, the Tea Parties are a grassroots, bottom-up movement. We feel privileged to be a part of it.”

Asking the “who’s in charge” questions about the Tea Party movement is to fundamentally misunderstand conservatives. Conservatives do not like being told what to do. The notion of subsuming self-interest for “the greater good” is anathema to them. That makes replicating the Borg-like work of ACORN and Moveon.org organizations nearly impossible on the right. When conservatives see a goal, they’ll take 50 roads to get there. The left will get on the Huffington Post highway and ride along together.

Because of the uniqueness of the conservative activists, there has been some jostling. Impassioned individuals, some with exotic backgrounds like paralegal or college student as examples, were thrust into the spotlight in their respective cities. No training. No experience. Boom! Life transformed in an instant by an internal feeling and desire to get the country going the right direction. Some of these patriots were unprepared for what it all meant. Others have grown and shone in their new-found roles.

And now, the movement as a whole is morphing. Without giving away details, I know of grassroots planning that includes going after corruption, tackling voter fraud and filling precinct chairs. New organizations are growing out of the Tea Party movement and it is all grassroots work.

The national conservative organizations have been trying to help–give training, give funding for venues, give advice for growing organizations. They have been invaluable, background players in a emotionally-charged, fired-up grassroots phenomenon.

The Tea Party movement isn’t imploding. It’s maturing. And that’s a good thing. There’s lots of work to be done. So now that everyone has found a like-minded community, well, the real work begins. So new outgrowths will sprout to fill the many needs out there. That’s what’s happening now.



The Tea Party Movement Is Not A GOP Creation

Monday, November 16th, 2009

The Tea Party movement is a reaction against the Republican party. Sorry to keep beating this drum, but this truth needs to be said loudly and often. It is popular among the press, the left and even some within the Republican party to paint the Tea Party movement as an Obama-hating reaction to socialistic impulses. That is part of it. The heart of it, though, is that many Americans, across the spectrum, felt betrayed by the GOP for abandoning fiscal conservatism and ethical governance.

So here’s a letter from a Texas blogger friend and typical Tea Partier attacking this meme in a letter to the editor of the Houston Chronicle:

Ms. Burton (It feels weird typing that BTW).

My name is Stan Burton (no relation that I am aware of, but we Burtons have multiplied like rabbits, so it is entirely possible that we are related somewhere back in the depths of time.). I am both a Harris County GOP Precinct Chair as well as one of the founding members of the Texas Chapter of the American Conservativer Party. Your story today makes a bad assumption that is simply unsupported by the facts.

The tea party movement is not, and never was “created by the GOP”. If anything, it was created in response to the GOP as it exists today. The GOP contingent in Congress has over the last few years attempted to move to the left and has become virtually indistinguishable from the Democrats. The Tea Party movement was created by the grass roots in order to show our leaders in Washington DC that the people are not leftist, we are by huge majorities, right of center. I realize you may not understand the true meaning of the words “Grass Roots” because it has been misappropriated and misapplied to groups that are in fact “astroturf” groups. Most of these astroturf groups are in fact promulgated by democrat organizations to support democrat causes. The most famous of these is ACORN and it’s hundreds of front organizations, including SEIU. Let me be clear here, the true meaning of a grass roots organization is one that SPONTANEOUSLY forms by individuals, not by groups in order to give political cover to said groups. The Tea Party movement is just such a spontaneous group, as is the ACP.

The Tea Party movement was not formed by the GOP, at least not intentionally. It was formed BECAUSE of the GOP and it’s shift leftward. It is not in of itself partisan, but it does lean to the right, on both fiscal as well as social issues. The ACP however IS partisan and it too was formed as a response to the GOP’s shift leftwards.

You really should do a bit more homework before you dive off into such rhetoric because you just look like a democrat toady and hack propagandist instead of an actual unbiased journalist. Frankly your biases are showing in spades. Talking to your leftist co-workers over beers at some trendy bar is NOT research. You really should have contacted Felicia Cravens or someone else in the tea party movement before you went and stuffed both of your feet in your mouth.

The Tea Party movement is a problem for many in the GOP. They did not create it, nor do they control it, much to their chagrin.



Podcast: NY 23 With Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser And Valour IT With Marine Steve Schippert

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

An inside look at NY 23 and conservatives versus the Republican establishment. Also, we talk about identity politics and Republicanism.

Steve Schippert joins me to discuss what it means to servicemen and women to be connected during their times of rehabilitation. Remember, you can donate at this site.

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When Melissa isn’t on the radio, you can find her at melissaclouthier.com and on Twitter. Her username is MelissaTweets.