3.20. 2010 By Chase Kyla Hunter
I began writing about the emerging tea party national coalition last July 2009. You, know during the “we were all astro-turf” period. I’m glad to see that one year later the rest of the nation’s [ahem, so called] journalists have now awakened from their political Rip Van Winkle nap and many news desks have now begun covering this highly significant American grassroots spiritual and political movement with some modicum of respect and accuracy, instead of just fearfully flinging racist pooh, and name calling the movement from behind their fake news desks.
Isn’t it so true, we fear what we fail to comprehend in America? I think, just a hunch, that mainstream America is beginning to awaken to the dire and urgent spiritual and political imperative for the Tea Party Movement to survive and grow in this country. The stakes could not be higher. [Code phrase: “mandatory RFID chips under Obamacare ]
And I DO hate to always say, “see… I told you so…” but I knew last summer that just as soon as the fledgling American Tea Party movement would find it’s sea legs that the listless and now practically impotent and leaderless GOP would try to “lay claim to it” in a desperate attempt to save itself politically, and that because of such a move by the GOP leaders, that all hell would eventually break loose between the two groups.
We’re not quite yet at the “all hell” moment yet, but it’s coming.
There is deep, abiding and justified resentment of the corrupt and misguided GOP by millions of middle Americans, for a multitude of damn good reasons. George W.‘s so called presidency deteriorated into a veritable “lame duck soup” of corrupt Washington D.C. insider misery during his second term, the war dragged on, we all learned the bitter terrible truth about the “WMD” stories, a high level CIA operative’s career was ruined, and one scandal after the next rocked the Bush White House while he played golf, avoided Cindy Sheehan, chortled and made funny faces at CNN cameras. We grew to hate the man we had stood behind right after 9-11.
As for 9-11, don’t get me started. Something deeply wicked and utterly iniquitous was done to the American people that day, by their own government, we all know it and the evidence continues to pile up against the second Bush administration. The subject has been addressed repeatedly by other prominent researchers, investigators, scientists and I believe the operative smoking gun word of the last decade would be “nano thermite.” Google it.
Now come a courting: the GOP seeking to steal some righteous kundalini flame from the first real and genuine grassroots American uprising since the students died and spilled their blood all over the concrete at Kent State University in the 1960s. I wrote about this last summer in an extended and prophetic piece called:
“Eyes Wide Open Is A State of Mind”
I predicted what would take place as the nascent American Tea party uprising matured, and every single thing I predicted has now come to pass. My message to my Tea Party compatriots is the same one year later as it was last summer 2009: Allow the Holy Spirit to guide you, and Do NOT, I repeat, DO NOT get in bed with the Republican Party. I cannot say this loud enough. My soul is screaming it. Please hear me.
Can the Tea Party survive on it’s own? Absolutely.
Will the Tea Party movement ultimately prevail in spite of being reviled by the left, wooed and courted for a sleazy “shot gun wedding” by the right, and mocked and ridiculed by everyone else who’s clueless in the middle? Yep. It sure will. We are literally in a Divine intervention scenario here, and the very heart and soul of the country is now at stake. This is no longer about any of the silly “I’m gonna weep over it” antics of TV “clown for hire” Glenn Beck, but now runs more along the lines of the thinking of Michael Savage, Sarah Palin and Andrew Breitbart. Obamacare’s national ID cards will lead us straight into the “stand in line to get your mandatory RFID chip” George Orwell reality, and that reality is NOT God’s Will for this nation. Her citizens know it too.
The Holy Spirit and the worldwide Spirit of Truth are the underlying spiritual currents prodding the American Tea Party movement, and no one, I repeat NO ONE second guesses the hidden hand of God when the soul of a great nation is at stake. This is no more about “organized religion” than a trout represents a stump in the road.
This now goes deeper than religion and higher than any preacher in his pulpit, with all his well intended misunderstandings. This is about what God’s Will Is for America in the next 10 years, and in the next 1,000 years. Let he/she who has eyes, see what I am saying here.
Listen to the deep deep instincts, en masse, that are prompting you to stand aside and turn down the GOP shotgun wedding.
Let God show the Tea Party movement which way the wind needs to blow next. He will show you how to proceed.
Chase Kyla Hunter
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MANISTEE, Mich./WACO, Texas/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Some Tea Partiers say they can pinpoint the precise moment when they made it clear to the Republican Party they had no intention of being its lapdog.
On a bright, brisk afternoon in mid-February, with snow still thick on the ground from storms that had battered Washington the week before, Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele met with more than 50 members of the Tea Party, the Twitter Age conservative movement that is reshaping the U.S. political landscape.
Steele, RNC chairman since January 2009, had invited them to the plush Capitol Hill Club, built as a clubhouse for the party’s top brass next door to RNC headquarters.
According to several accounts, not long into the meeting JoAnn Abbott, an activist from Virginia who calls herself the ‘Tea Party Grandma,’ raised her hand to ask a question.
She asked about a web page on the RNC site where visitors could send their member of Congress a postcard with a tea bag. On the tag at the end of the string were the letters ‘RNC.’
“Respectfully, sir, while we do not have a trademark on the tea bag, you are well aware that people associate it with the Tea Party movement,” Abbott, 50, recalls saying to Steele. “If you co-opt that image, you damage our brand and weaken our movement.”
Lest there was any confusion, she added: “It does not belong to you, it belongs to us as an independent movement.”
Abbott said within an hour of the end of the meeting the page (www.teaparty.gop.com) was gone — and the Grand Old Party was finally aware of conservative frustrations she and others felt with Republican leadership.
“The GOP now knows we’re not asleep anymore,” Abbott told Reuters. “The giant has been awakened.”
RNC officials said Steele, who according to Abbott and others agreed at the time to hold regional meetings with Tea Party groups around the country, was traveling and unable to comment for this story.
But on Fox News the day after the meeting, Steele described the meeting as part of a “healing process” with people disaffected with Republican leaders. Part of the process includes “acknowledging where we have gone wrong, where we have made the mistakes in spending, in growing the size of government, in stepping away from those very constitutional principles and values that have certainly defined this party,” he said.
Accounts of that February 16 meeting challenge a common perception that the Tea Party movement was founded, funded and dominated by the Republican Party. Most of them are current or former Republicans — up to 80 percent or more, with the rest split between Democrats, independents and Libertarians. And the movement has received help from conservative groups like FreedomWorks, which has provided training and logistical support to Tea Party groups and hopes the movement will boost fiscal conservatives in congressional midterm elections.
But Tea Partiers insist that they are not beholden to the GOP and warn that Republican candidates counting on an endorsement from them in November may well be disappointed.
Interviews with Tea Partiers across the country paint a picture of a genuine, amorphous, conservative grassroots movement united by three core principles: constitutionally limited government, free market ideology and low taxes. The American Constitution is a rallying cry and many now dub themselves “constitutional conservatives.”
They are angry not just at what they describe as the socialist policies of U.S. President Barack Obama. They also feel Republican politicians have betrayed the party’s ideals. For many in the movement, purging the party of moderate Republicans is a major goal.
“I used to be a dyed-in-the-wool Republican. Now if we have a Republican lined up to come to our meetings, I don’t even want to go,” said Nate Friedl, 41, a member of the Rock River Patriots, a Tea Party group in southern Wisconsin.
Following a first year marked by protests, the movement is evolving. The political novices of a year ago are forming coalitions and learning how to change things from the ground up.
After rallying against government bailouts and Obama’s healthcare reforms, as well as mobilizing the vote for key electoral races such as Republican Scott Brown’s victory in Massachusetts in January, many Tea Partiers feel empowered.
“Tea Party people have realized that you cannot change the system by protesting on the outside,” said Richard Viguerie, author of ‘Conservatives Betrayed: How George W. Bush and Other Big Government Republicans Hijacked the Conservative Cause.’
The movement is also debating whether to remain independent — or stage a conservative takeover of the Republican Party. And some, a tiny minority, favor becoming a third party.
“The two-party system is too ingrained in America,” said Rod Merrill, head of the Ludington Tea Party in western Michigan. “Every time someone has tried to form a third party, it has failed.”
An Ipsos/Reuters poll shows that although a majority of Democrats and a plurality of independents voters would support Tea Party candidates, less than one third of Republicans would support them as a third party.
Regardless of the debate’s outcome, Tea Partiers are targeting not just prominent Democrats in the midterms but also key moderate Republicans like Charlie Crist in Florida and former presidential candidate John McCain in Arizona. United as never before by the internet and weekly conference calls, conservatives are eyeing a few “national” primary races.
“The Tea Party movement needs champions,” said Larry Sabato, a professor of politics at the University of Virginia. “They have to be able to say ‘We’re the reason they got elected.’ Otherwise the movement may dissipate.”
The Tea Party movement has resonated with many Americans, as demonstrated by a March 15 Rasmussen Reports poll putting Tea Party candidates in third place with 21 percent approval among voters behind the Republicans at 27 percent and the Democrats at 34 percent. A December poll had put the movement in second place ahead of the Republicans.
Some Republican politicians have actively courted Tea Partiers, whose fiscal conservative focus is close to the Republicans’ stated principles. Democrat politicians have largely shunned the movement.
“This year the momentum is away from the Democrats as they’re the party in power, so Republican candidates espousing Tea Party views in general have a better chance in the midterms,” Sabato said. “But movements like this have come and gone before, so it’s still too early to say if the movement will survive long term.”
In the near term, the mostly white movement faces a possible showdown with the religious right over divisive social issues. But its biggest challenge lies in tackling its extremist fringe, including those who equate Obama with Hitler and the “birther” movement that doubts Obama’s U.S. citizenship and the legitimacy of his presidency.
“The majority of Americans can agree with the core principles of the Tea Party movement,” said Ned Ryun, president of American Majority, a conservative group that has provided training programs for Tea Party groups. “But if it allows itself to be defined by its extremist fringe, then it’s lost.”
THIS REVOLUTION WILL BE TELEVISED
Around 11pm local time on November 4, 2008, America’s first black president-elect strode out onto a stage in Grant Park in downtown Chicago and told a cheering crowd of about 250,000 that “change has come to America.”
Some 40 miles away in the suburb of Grayslake, local businesswoman Janelle Nagy sat up in bed watching Obama’s victory speech in horror, her bedcovers tucked tightly under her chin.
“I told my husband how afraid I was for America,” she said, her hands held close to her face as if still clutching a blanket like a scared child. “Obama said he wants to fundamentally change America. But I don’t want to fundamentally change this country.”
“I love America the way it is,” added Nagy, now a leader of the Northern Illinois Patriots.
Tea Partiers across the country recall a growing sense of anger well before presidential election night in 2008, as outgoing President George W. Bush helped prop up the teetering U.S. financial sector amid the worst downturn since the 1930s and issued emergency loans to struggling automakers General Motors and Chrysler. Under Obama, the government took stakes in both companies.
“I remember just screaming at the TV,” said Tanya Bachand, 35, a trial lawyer and Connecticut state coordinator for the Tea Party Patriots. “I was frustrated long before Obama came along because of how much the government grew under Bush. To me Obama was like Bush, only much worse.”
The moment that launched the Tea Party came a shortly after Obama took office. On cable business channel CNBC, on February 19, host Rick Santelli launched into an impromptu tirade from his regular slot at the Chicago Board of Trade against plans to help struggling homeowners. Santelli proposed a tea party in Chicago in July to protest government bailouts.
This was a reference to the Boston Tea Party, an act of protest against the British government over taxation in 1773, a moment that has resonated throughout American history.
“The Rant,” as Santelli’s monologue has become known, struck a chord with conservatives.
“If we hadn’t had all of those bailouts the economy would be back on track by now,” said Tina Dupont, a founding member of the Tea Party of West Michigan. “The jobs would be back, companies would be coming back. If they’d let the banks and others collapse, we would have had a short, sharp downturn.”
The consensus among economists is that had the U.S. government and Federal Reserve not propped up the markets, a global depression would likely have ensued. Yet Dupont and others profess an unshakable belief in the power of the free market. To them, government intervention makes crises only worse. They argue runaway government spending threatens America’s future.
Tea Partiers say Santelli spoke to a deep-seated anger among conservatives who felt betrayed by the Republican politicians they had believed in. Many want big government spending programs like social security scrapped.
“Social security is socialism,” said Jim Chase, 80, a retiree on social security, who is a member of the Ludington Tea Party. “If we don’t stop all this spending, we won’t have anything left for our grandchildren.”
Chase said he would rather have a system where Americans were able to invest their social security payments themselves, an idea not unlike President Bush’s proposal to privatize social security. So when Santelli let rip, fiscal conservatives were eager to answer the call.
“It wasn’t like all of a sudden we woke up and said we need a Tea Party,” said Amy Kremer, 49, one of the founders of the Atlanta Tea Party. “This came after years of rumblings through the conservative world. The fuel was already there and he (Santelli) just lit the fuse.”
A small group of conservatives on Twitter instantly took up the Tea Party theme and in a conference call on February 20 they planned tea parties for the following week. On Friday February 27, 2009, a total of 48 tea parties were held around the country and coordinators estimated turnout at 35,000 people.
Mark Meckler, 48, a lawyer in Sacramento and independent who was a Republican until eight years ago, threw a party on February 27 thinking he would have six attendees. Instead, 150 people showed up.
“That inspired me to keep going,” he said.
Jenny Beth Martin, a former Republican activist in Atlanta, was on the original conference call and said after the surprising success of February 27, a second round was planned for April 15, the day American’s taxes are due. Activists used Facebook to spread the word.
“It went viral,” said Brendan Steinhauser, director of federal and state campaigns at FreedomWorks. “It was a beautiful moment for us because it’s not like you could create that if you wanted to.”
FreedomWorks, which is in frequent contact with up to 2,000 local leaders, estimates 3 million to 5 million people have participated in Tea Party meetings or donated money.
Martin said according to local organizers, on April 15 some 1.2 million people attended 850 tea parties. Martin and Meckler are now national coordinators of the Tea Party Patriots, a grouping of more than 1,200 local Tea Party groups.
Following the early rallies, the Tea Party movement evolved quickly, cheered on avidly by right wing commentators, above all Glenn Beck on cable channel Fox News.
“The past year has been like drinking out of a fire hydrant,” Martin said. “Everything has moved so fast.”
Early on Tea Partiers found an enduring target in the Obama administration’s attempts to reform the healthcare system.
Highly publicized and frequently angry confrontations with members of Congress at “town hall” meetings in the summer became a hallmark of the Tea Party’s first year.
“I WAS NOT ALONE”
A common thread to tales of Tea Partiers is that in the early months they discovered others felt the same and, all of a sudden, they felt empowered.
Tanya Bachand traveled to New York for the February 27 Tea Party event in New York and was surprised at how many conservatives there were in a liberal city. “I didn’t even vote in the last midterm elections because I felt so disillusioned,” she said. “But all of a sudden I felt I was not alone.”
Bachand returned to Connecticut and started her own Tea Party group. She recalls an early meeting where a biker, a preacher and a businessman in a suit sat together on her living room couch.
“They had absolutely nothing in common, except they wanted to do what’s right for this country,” she said.
Bachand’s group teamed up with others in the state — from gun rights to anti-abortion groups — to form the Connecticut Patriot Alliance. “Everybody in the alliance has their own particular bugaboo,” she said. “But we all agree on the Constitution, so we work together on the big issues.”
They focused on local Senator Chris Dodd, the Democrat chairman of the U.S. Senate Banking Committee. “Every time Chris Dodd set foot in the state, between us we had 50 to 100 people waiting to protest,” Bachand said. “We made a real statement.”
In Waco, Texas, the town’s Tea Party group blocked a local bailout. According to local media reports, in October the Waco City council approved a $700,000 loan to keep a local high-tech firm afloat under new ownership. But when the Waco Tea Party got wind of the decision, they mobilized to prevent it.
“It made me mad,” recalled leadership council member Lisa Dickison, a mild-mannered woman who looks incapable of anger.
Waco Tea Party head Toby Marie Walker said five or six members went to a county commissioner meeting, where the bailout was due to be approved. Walker said their presence alone led the commissioners to stop the bail out.
“We just had to show up and they knew why we were there,” she said.
The healthcare debate is where conservative Tea Partiers feel they have had most impact. They are convinced they forced Republicans into opposing the reform and felt they were a crucial factor in getting Scott Brown elected to the Senate seat left vacant by the death of Ted Kennedy.
“On a conference call in December someone said maybe Brown could win and that we should get behind him,” Meckler of the Tea Party Patriots said. “The idea gained momentum from there.”
People like retirees Calvin and Linda Dykstra wanted to eliminate the Democrats’ 60-seat, filibuster-proof majority that helped healthcare reform pass a vote in late December. They drove from western Michigan to Massachusetts in January and spent a week campaigning for Brown.
Speaking at a Tea Party meeting in Manistee, Michigan, the two beamed and blushed like newlyweds, despite being in their mid-60s. “Not everyone had the time or the money to do what we did, but we felt we had to stop the socialist government takeover of healthcare,” said Calvin, a former physician.
As the movement has grown, coalitions have formed. In Michigan, Tea Party groups have formed the Michigan Tea Party Alliance with supporters of Glenn Beck’s 9.12 Project — a conservative group that wants America to resume the spirit of unity of September 12, 2001, the day after the September 11 attacks.
“The movement is beginning to coalesce around a core set of principles — constitutionally limited government, free market ideology and low taxes,” said Tony Raymond, who was laid off at consulting company Accenture in March 2009 and is now a leader of the Northern Illinois Patriots.
The Tea Party Patriots now have two paid national coordinators — Jenny Beth Martin and Mark Meckler — whose salaries come from member contributions. “I only started getting paid last month,” Meckler said. “I went through my life savings to get to this point and my family has really suffered.”
“I was working for the movement 100 hours a week and they either had to start paying me or I’d have to go back to work.”
There is a mentoring program to teach novice local leaders how to organize, as more than 200 new groups have joined them since the beginning of 2010.
Staff at FreedomWorks believe the movement’s expansion is largely behind it, but American Majority’s Ryun said “the Tea Party is going to continue to grow until the country gets back on the right track.”
Other volunteer groups have stepped in to aid conservatives in their quest for ideological purity. Utah-based Independence Caucus, for instance, vets conservative candidates using a questionnaire containing 80 questions based on the U.S. Constitution. Candidates who answer yes to at least 70 percent of those questions are interviewed by local conservatives.
If they pass muster, Independence Caucus backs their candidacy. “But if we find someone is a chameleon and was lying, our policy is we’ll work twice as hard to remove them from office as we did to get them elected,” said Donald Jakel, the group’s coordinator for Ohio and Michigan.
Independence Caucus has vetted at least one candidate in half the state and national seats up for grabs in Michigan.
The efforts of Tea Party movement have also been backed by some well-funded conservative groups.
FreedomWorks, headed by former Republican House Majority leader Dick Armey, says it was involved from the outset. It helped political novices navigate the bureaucratic requirements of holding a protest, including insurance issues and permits.
The group has provided training for television interview, on meeting congressmen and public relations.
Spokesman Adam Brandon said FreedomWorks’ budget in 2009 was $7 million, up to 70 percent from individual donations, up to 25 percent from foundations and the rest from corporations. The group does not name donors but said the foundations were those that typically give to conservative libertarian causes.
In 2006 to 2007 FreedomWorks had zero online donations; in 2009 they had 19,000 individual online donors who contributed more than $500,000 in total.
The group hopes to add up to 15 fiscal conservatives in the House of Representatives this year, plus four in the Senate.
Purcellville, Virginia-based group American Majority has also provided training. It was founded in 2008 with financial backing from the Chicago-based Sam Adams Alliance, which promotes free market principles. Individual conservatives have given as much as $25,000 or as little as $100 each.
The group’s president Ryun said conservative donors are taking a fresh look at the RNC and wondering if their money would be better spent on grassroots conservative groups.
“The Republican grassroots operation is pretty much defunct,” he said. “Conservatives are looking for a better bang for their buck. There is going to be more competition for money that has traditionally gone to the RNC and I for one am going to go after that money, hard.”
FreedomWorks and Our Country Deserves Better, a political action committee that has formed Tea Party Express, have been accused of being GOP operatives, including by other Tea Party groups. But both groups say their money comes from conservatives. Tea Party Express is staffed by people from Russo, Marsh & Associates, founded by Sal Russo, who began his political career as an assistant to Ronald Reagan when he was governor of California. A review of the Federal Election Commission filings from Our Country Deserves Better shows mostly small donations of a few hundred dollars, many of them from retirees.
Joe Wierzbicki of Russo, Marsh & Associates said the GOP was hostile to the Tea Party movement at first. “The response from the party establishment was that this was bad, that this would look like sour grapes and paint conservatives in a poor light,” he said.
More recently, Wierzbicki said the Republican Party has belatedly tried to woo Tea Partiers.
Some Republicans have openly courted the movement, especially Sarah Palin, McCain’s running mate in 2008. She gave the keynote speech at the Tea Party Convention in Nashville in early February. Organized by Tea Party Nation, the event was derided by some other Tea Party groups as being a GOP front.
“We like Sarah Palin, she’s one of us and she speaks to us,” said Tina Dupont of the Tea Party of West Michigan. “But she does not speak for us.” Her views were echoed by many.
Most Republicans are not so popular. “The Republican Party would like to take over the Tea Party and use it to gain power,” Tanya Bachand said. “It’s the other way around and they don’t know what’s coming.”
“Their reckoning is coming.”
The GOP and individual Republican candidates are actively seeking Tea Party endorsements and votes. “At every meeting we have, we see local and state representatives of the Republican Party counting heads and trying to drum up support from our members,” said Nighta Davis, organizer of the North Georgia Patriots. “For six years the Republicans controlled Congress and the White House under Bush and they could have solved this country’s problems. But they did nothing of the kind.”
“Now they want to co-opt us,” she added. “But they just don’t get it.”
Ray Franz, a local Republican politician in western Michigan for three decades, is running for state representative for the 101st district, which includes Manistee.
“The Republicans and the Tea Party movement are on the same page on most issues,” he said at a local Tea Party meeting. “The party has lost its brand and these conservatives are right to want to hold our feet to the fire and make sure we represent them properly.”
Adam Kinzinger won the Republican primary to run for Illinois’ 11th district in the U.S. House of Representatives.
In a blog in early January Eric Odom, executive director of the American Liberty Alliance, described Kinzinger as a “strong” Tea Party candidate and recommended readers consider donating to his campaign.
Kinzinger said his campaign saw a major spike in small donations between $10 and $20 following that blog. “I’m a conservative Republican, and Tea Party people believe in the same things that we do,” he said. “The movement has helped remind the party that it lost track of the Republican principles that I believe in.”
The polarization of U.S. politics may explain why moderate Republicans are in trouble. According to the Pew Research Center, as recently as 2004, 30 percent of Americans were Republicans, but that fell to 23 percent in 2009. Conservatives made up 37 percent in 2004 and ended 2009 at the same level.
According to Gallup, conservatives went from 36 percent of the population in 1992 to 40 percent in 2009, while moderates slid from 43 percent to 36 percent.
Conservatives derisively call moderate Republicans RINOs — Republican In Name Only. They are angry at moderates over issues like immigration and the cap and trade climate bill.
Joe Walsh, a Tea Party Republican who won the Republican primary for 8th U.S. congressional district in Illinois, said conservatives in his district are furious. “The biggest applause I get from audiences comes when I whack the Republicans over the head for doing the same thing as the Democrats,” he said. “This year, party establishment support could be the kiss of death. What will matter this year is the support of the rank and file.”
Ted Schendel, 53, a semi-retired police officer and a Tea Party Republican, is running against “four millionaires” to be the Republican candidate for the 2nd district of Michigan.
“Just before Christmas I was watching Glenn Beck when I realized that Glenn alone cannot take our country back,” he said, speaking at the Manistee Tea party meeting. “So instead of just shouting at the TV, I decided to run for office.”
“I’m not stupid, I know I’ve got one almighty mountain to climb,” he said. “The only way I can do it is if I can get the common man behind me.”
Tea Party Democrats are a rarer breed. Tim Curtis, 53, is a former U.S. Marine who owns a UPS Store franchise and is a member of the Tampa 9.12 Project. He is running as a Democrat for U.S. Congress in Florida’s 11th district.
“There are those who believe in bigger, more costly and more intrusive government,” he said. “That’s not what this country was intended to be. The Tea Party movement cuts across party lines, as there’s more uniting us than separating us.”
According to the Ipsos/Reuters poll, while 49 percent of Republicans said they identify with the Tea Party movement only 11 percent of Democrats said the same.
While there appear to be Tea Party-inspired candidates running as Republicans across the country, there is not yet a clear picture of just how many are out there.
“We’ve heard from a lot of them from around the country, but I don’t think anyone has counted them yet,” said JB Williams, who runs conservative web site www.freedomforce.us. “But we’ll see more of them as the year goes on.”
“This is a movement that is determined to enact change peacefully,” he added. “But if someone tries to stop them, don’t be surprised if they resort to other means.”
Many others are getting involved in local politics to push fiscal conservatism, including at the precinct delegate level. Called a number of different things in different states, this is the lowest elected unit in both political parties. The average precinct represents 1,100 voters. They get out the vote and can influence candidate selection.
Selected in primaries, few people vote in these races.
“In some counties up to 60 percent of these slots are vacant,” said Philip Glass, a commercial mortgage banker and national director of the National Precinct Alliance. This volunteer group is mapping the rules nationwide for becoming a precinct delegate to aid conservatives take these seats. “The tools for taking over both parties are just lying there waiting to be picked up,” he said.
In Connecticut both parties use a town committee system. As a registered Republican, Tanya Bachand went to her Republican town committee and asked how to run. She was told three of the committee’s 12 spots were vacant and was asked to take a seat.
“We have heard the same story many times from across the state,” she said. “This is the way to take over the Republican party from the ground up.”
Tea party conservatives are also paying attention to key races in other states. “Any race in the country can become a national race,” said Tea Party Patriots’ Meckler.
The movement has its sights set on a number of RINOs in this year’s Senate races. They are backing Marco Rubio against Charlie Crist in Florida, Rand Paul (the son of Republican Congressman Ron Paul) against Trey Grayson in Kentucky, Mike Lee in Utah against incumbent Robert Bennett, Chuck DeVore against former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina in California and, last but not least, J.D. Hayworth against McCain.
“Many people in Arizona feel that John McCain has leaned across the aisle,” said Kathy Boatman, a member of the East Valley Tea Party in the Phoenix suburb of Gilbert. “But the only problem is that when he leans across the aisle … they pull him down, and sometimes flat on his face.”
At a Tea Party event in south Miami, everyone favored Rubio, who has a substantial lead over Crist in the polls.
“Charlie Crist is exactly what we don’t want,” said Nancy Meinhardt, a paralegal and a leading light in the Florida Tea Party movement. “He’s a Republican in name only, he’s not a conservative. It’s all a facade.”
While some Tea Party groups endorse candidates, others steadfastly do not. “We leave that to individual groups to decide on a local level whether to endorse someone,” Tea Party Patriots’ Meckler said.
Tea Party candidates did not fare well in the Texas primaries in early March, though James Henson, a politics professor at the University of Texas, said the state is a “low tax, low service, small government environment.”
“Texas is already Tea Party country,” he said. “You’d have to represent some fairly extreme views to push Republicans here further to the right.”
“In the midterms I wouldn’t be surprised to see Tea Party voters hold their noses and vote for the Republican candidates who won the primaries.”
In the primaries in Illinois in early February, with the exception of Joe Walsh, Tea Party candidates fared badly. Tony Raymond of the Northern Illinois Patriots said Tea Partiers were kicking themselves for not getting involved sooner.
“We missed the boat and are now stuck with some candidates we’d rather not vote for,” he said.
Chris Merrill, a conservative radio host in Kansas City, said even if candidates are not running specifically as Tea Party candidates many are running on fiscal conservative platforms. “In some years the Tea Party message would not have resonated like it does this year,” he said. “It’s hard to say how many Tea Party candidates will get elected, but we will see more fiscal conservatives.”
“We’ll have to wait and see whether that will still be the case in 2012.”
Of the possible challenges ahead for the Tea Party movement the two main ones are not from the left, but from the right.
The first comes from social conservatives, or the religious right. The Tea Party movement is dominated by fiscal conservatives and leaders like Eric Odom of the American Liberty Alliance say social issues like abortion and gay marriage should be avoided.
When asked about abortion, for instance, Tina Dupont of the Tea Party of West Michigan says the group does not discuss it. “Most of us are probably pro-lifers,” she said. “But we avoid the topic because it is so divisive.”
This has been noted by some on the religious right. “At the national level you have people saying it is all about fiscal issues and not about social issues because they say they are divisive,” said Tony Perkins, president of Christian lobby group the Family Research Council.
Chris Merrill said while Tea Partiers can avoid divisive issues at meetings, they cannot if they run for office. “Running a campaign is different,” he said. “At some point they have to take a stand on social issues.”
Some say a showdown between social and fiscal conservative groups may be inevitable. “Fiscal conservatives want to limit the size of government, social conservatives want to use government to further their agenda,” Henson said. “That will likely cause problems.”
The other problem is the extreme fringe of the Tea Party movement, which was evident at a demonstration outside the Detroit auto show on a snowy day in January. More than half of the 20 or so protesters held signs protesting government bailouts. The rest held placards with black and white pictures of President Obama’s face, with a Hitler mustache added.
Within minutes, both groups had moved to opposite corners of their allotted patch of concrete. Andrew Moylan of the National Taxpayers Union said with evident discomfort he had tried unsuccessfully to get rid of the Obama-as-Hitler posters. “I oppose Obama’s policies vehemently, I don’t agree with what he is trying to do,” he said. “But I believe that he is well-intentioned, even if he is dead wrong.”
“Comparing him to Hitler is not only wrong on so many levels, it also reflects badly on us because all the pictures in the papers and on TV will be of them,” he added. “Our message will get lost in that.”
Those who argued here that Obama is like Hitler say that healthcare reform would grant doctors the power of life and death over patients, as under the Nazi regime.
The movement has also attracted members of the Council of Conservative Citizens, which supports some white supremacist causes, and from the John Birch Society and the LaRouchies. In a February 19 column in the Wall Street Journal, former Bush adviser Karl Rove described both as “fringe groups.”
“If tea party groups are to maximize their influence on policy, they must now begin the difficult task of disassociating themselves from cranks and conspiracy nuts,” Rove wrote. “This includes 9/11 deniers, ‘birthers’ who insist Barack Obama was not born in the United States, and militia supporters espousing something vaguely close to armed rebellion.”
(Additional Reporting by Tim Gaynor, editing by Jim Impoco and Claudia Parsons)
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2.19.10 By Chase Hunter
America is “Silent No More” in 2010
Last spring and summer I chronicled the rise of the American Tea Party Movement on this blog when it was brand new, and wrote extensively about the “pro-Obama” liberal mainstream media’s desperate efforts to frame authentic middle American outrage as “domestic terrorism,” “fringe lunacy”, or “contrived astroturf gatherings sponsored in secret by some radical arm of the GOP”.
The blatant lies that came out of the mainstream media flew so fast and furious at once point in 2009 that I was practically camped out at my laptop day and night, offsetting each new lie with a truthful counter-post. Tens of thousands of other furious American patriot bloggers were doing the same thing. Our voice matters, and one year later the whole world knows that when you finally infuriate the sleeping giant of the American “silent majority” suddenly they will be silent no more.
This is what it took in the American blogosphere to counter-balance an extreme left wing American corporate owned media monopoly that now rivals the White House for raw political power and persuasive ability as it’s messages pour out in a nonstop firehose of biased left wing pro-Obama support.
Rupert Murdock’s Fox News quickly surveyed this new political territory and decided their best bet was to pretend to be a part of the genuine American outrage. Suddenly, quite overnight, they began trotting out Glenn Beck to opine and whine loudly before the American people his own pre-calculated “outrage”. It was all as contrived and calculated for effect as any Hollywood movie script I have ever seen drafted.
All American patriots and NWO truth researchers know that the entire media conglomerate in America is owned by less than a dozen corporations who are all part of the secret illuminati globalist club, and Fox News is no exception. Their goal was to suddenly try to “own” the American outrage that inspired the Tea Party movement.
The GOP has been scrambling for over a year now to align itself with the emerging constitutional and philosophical purity of the American Tea Party movement, which remains “leaderless” and intentionally so. I resent these GOP manuevers deeply and so do thousands of other American patriots who support the Tea Party Movement. The operative phrase here is “co-opting”. The GOP is now quite desperate to co-opt and try to “own” the American Tea Party Movement, and I actually think the Tea Party Movement will ultimately outmaneuver the GOP in this regard and slip through their fingers.
After all, the GOP had their day for eight long miserable years, while we threw away billions on two wars in the mideast, neither of which I believe to be ultimately winnable, and both of which have now brought the nation to the brink of financial ruin. You simply cannot “enforce American-style democracy” overseas in a few years on primitive backward, medieval islamic tribal cultures when the irony stares us squarely in the face that we have no real actual democracy here in the USA. We have a media controlled “pretend-democracy” where the most hundreds of millions spent will get you into the White House, as long as the USA media is behind you, pumping out the mesage all the way there. That’s what happened in 2008.
Radical Islam’s fantasy of a world Islamic state will never take place. What will take place if the escalation toward more war does not stop NOW is an incineration of their people on a scale similar to Hiroshima and Nagasaki, if they persist in waging war with the west, upping the antey every few months. Every American knows this.
Those two equations of “bring democracy to the mideast” butto “secretly squelch it in the USA“ do not add up. Washington D.C.’s new national security laws written under the Patriot Act during the GOP’s reign have made innocent Americans lives more open to tacit clandestine scrutiny than ever, Bin Laden still runs free nine years after 9-11, and we all know that 9-11 wreaks of being a FED and military run international “PSY-OP” and false flag event designed to enrage innocent Americans enough to give consent to wage war in the mideast for political dominance and the oil reserves. The eight year reign of King George W. was marked repeatedly by such fascist manuevers and wickedness in high places, as is the present Obama regime.Both the DNC and the GOP are corrupt with UN globalist illuminati insiders to the very root of both political parties. The myth of a free and independent American two party political system is a total sham, a complete and total lie, and it needs to be intelligently dismantled from within and re-structured to being representing the American people’s interests, while keeping America safe from harm.
We now have many wolves circling our wounded nation and I am not unaware of it.
The culture of Islam going back some 700-1000 years needs to work out it’s own destiny from within, wisely realizing that there is no contest between their existing weaponry and ours. The United Nations has employed America’s military might as their global police force for nearly as many years as they have existed. What Americans worry about the most is our own US military turning on it’s own citizens under UN mandated martial law. Increasingly our US soldiers are being asked to swear oaths of alligiance to the United Nations above and beyond their oath to the American soverign nation.
The American Tea Party Movement may be the last great hope for an America free of martial law enforced globalism, within a super-secular borderless “CanMexi-merica North American Union”, operating under UN authority. The stakes are incredibly high here, and this is no time for the Tea Party to consider making any “backroom political deals” with a UN & Bilderberg corrupted GOP or DNC under any circumstances.
My message to the American Tea Party is to stand aside from these corrupt UN backed D.C. “power players” and remain representative of the will and wishes of the American people. That’s the only hope for the survival and growth of the American Tea Party movement.
Copyright Chase K. Hunter 2010-3010, All Rights Reserved. Re-posts are permitted leaving authorship, content and links intact with an essay linkback to this blog.
Tea party’ activists change dynamic at CPAC
Republicans pressed to earn loyalty of conservative group
Amid a euphoria unimaginable just a year ago, activists Thursday at the largest conservative gathering in the country plotted how to ride the “tea party” wave to sweeping Republican victories in this year’s elections – and to force the GOP to govern as conservatives after the vote.
But on the opening day of the biggest-ever Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), the tenuous relationship among conservatives, tea party activists and the Republican Party establishment was also repeatedly on display. Tea party backers vowed not to be taken for granted and insisted that Republicans prove they have learned the lessons of their past support for big government.
“Let’s not leave them to their own devices,” said Dick Armey, former House majority leader and now chairman of FreedomWorks, a prime mover of the tea party phenomenon. Republicans “must come to us and show us they’re worthy of our loyalty. We don’t owe them.”
Added John O’Hara, who helped organize some of the earliest tea party gatherings, “Let’s not let a good counterrevolution go to waste.”
CPAC day two
Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington, D.C., on Friday, Feb. 19, 2010.
New Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts, Senate candidate Marco Rubio of Florida and former Vice President Dick Cheney provided the star power on CPAC’s first day, while House Minority Leader John A. Boehner of Ohio begged attendees for help, promising to reject the old ways of both parties and usher in a new era of transparency in government.
A year ago, CPAC convened as Democrats, under a newly elected President Obama, were using their massive congressional majorities to pass the stimulus bill and lay the groundwork for far-reaching health care and climate change legislation.
But Mr. Obama’s legislative agenda stalled and Republican victories in Virginia and New Jersey governorships, as well as Mr. Brown’s victory in Massachusetts last month, have left conservatives optimistic of winning back the upper hand.
A key difference at this year’s CPAC is the emergence of the tea party movement, which is barely a year old. The famous on-air tirade by CNBC reporter Rick Santelli on the trading floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange about the need for an anti-government “Chicago tea party” was broadcast exactly one year ago Friday.
At one point in Thursday’s program, a speaker asked for a show of hands of who had been involved in a tea party event. At least 15 percent of those in the ballroom raised their hands.
For the newly energized tea party activists, accountability is the key, Mr. O’Hara said in an interview. He said that electing people is the first step, but holding elected officials accountable is just as important.
Copyright 2009 The Washington Times, LLC
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WASHINGTON — Will the real Tea Party please stand up?
Most political conventions are designed to showcase party unity, but the National Tea Party convention where Sarah Palin is to speak Saturday is sending a very different message.
The squabbles that erupted over this weekend’s Nashville gathering reflect larger challenges facing a hot political phenomenon. Tea Party members drew headlines last summer with protests over health care legislation at congressional town hall meetings and a September rally against big government, held in the shadow of the U.S. Capitol, which attracted thousands.
That’s just one of many organizations that sprang up under the “Tea Party” name after CNBC reporter Rick Santelli delivered an anti-government rant on TV last Feb. 19.
To whoops and applause from traders on the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, Santelli argued that President Obama’s bill aimed at reducing foreclosures would force fiscally responsible Americans to bail out people who bought more house than they could afford. “We’re thinking of having a Chicago tea party in July,” Santelli added.
Santelli was kidding, but his words galvanized conservative activists. Within hours, Phil Kerpen of Americans for Prosperity, another conservative think tank, had registered a website called taxpayerteaparty.com.
“It was a cathartic moment for a lot of people,” Kerpen said.
Since then, more than 3,200 websites containing the words “tea party,” have been registered with Go Daddy, which calls itself the world’s largest Internet domain name provider, said company spokeswoman Elizabeth Driscoll. Five organizations using the name “Tea Party” have registered political action committees with the Federal Election Commission.
The different groups are the movement’s strength, Tea Party enthusiasts argue. “It really is a grass-roots movement,” says Tom Gaitens, a FreedomWorks field coordinator who has worked with a number of Tea Party groups in Florida. “They want to remain local.”
The disdain for centralized authority that has given the Tea Party movement much of its energy also has led to disputes over who has claim to the Tea Party name.
• In Tennessee, concerns about the $549 registration fee at the Tea Party convention prompted Reps. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., and Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., to cancel appearances. Palin, in a USA TODAY column, said she “thought long and hard” about participating. The former Alaska governor said she will donate her speaking fee “right back to the cause.” She and event organizers will neither confirm nor deny several news reports — including on Fox News, where she works as a commentator — that put her fee at $100,000.
• In Texas, activists with Tea Party links are split in the Republican primary for governor. Armey is backing Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison‘s challenge to Gov. Rick Perry in the March 2 primary. Palin campaigns Sunday for Perry. Debra Medina, a former GOP county chairwoman with a libertarian platform, has been working the Tea Party circuit as she seeks the GOP nomination.
Meanwhile, Dale Robertson, who owns the website TeaParty.org, has filed papers to run as an independent. He was repudiated by the Houston Tea Party Society after being photographed holding up a sign with a racial epithet. He does not deny carrying the sign.
• In Florida, there is a legal dispute over the Tea Party name. Orlando lawyer Fred O’Neal, who registered a third political party under the Tea Party banner, is being sued by local Tea Party chapters. “This has caused confusion amongst our members,” said Everett Wilkinson, chairman of the South Florida Tea Party and a plaintiff in the case.
The family feuds underscore the delicate task ahead for Republicans who want to tame a tiger that so far has refused to be led. Bob Porto, a Tea Party activist from Little Rock, said his chapter is steering clear of political parties to avoid becoming “their rent-a-sticks.”
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