Category Archives: Tea Party News

Reince Preibus at RedState 2014

Why Is Erick Erickson Protecting Reince Priebus?

Call it the hand of God.

I was supposed to go to RedState Gathering this weekend, but things didn’t work out at the list minute. Now, I’m glad I wasn’t there.

Red State Gathering is blogger Erick Erickon’s annual conservative gabfest. This year, it was in Ft. Worth, Texas.

Reince Preibus at RedState 2014
Reince Priebus and Erick Erickson at RedState. Photo by anonymous Tea Partier

Reince Priebus, RNC Chairman, was one of the speakers. Priebus is under heavy pressure from Missouri’s Ed Martin and others to investigate Henry Barbour’s role in political attack ads that accuse the Tea Party of racism. So far, Priebus has blocked any such investigation.

Reince Priebus is running cover for Thad Cochran and Henry Barbour who called you, dear read, racist.

Traditionally, speakers at events like RedState Gathering take questions from the audience. But Erickson saw that Tea Party Patriots were armed with signs and tough questions for the Priebus .

I asked Erickson, via Twitter, why he protected Priebus from questions. Here’s Erick’s response.

Erickson’s answer is nonsense. No, Priebus did not authorize Henry Barbour’s attack on the Tea Party. He is not responsible for Barbour’s actions. 

But Priebus is solely responsible for his own response to irrefutable evidence that Henry Barbour funded the ads. Erickson has made himself culpable in the cover-up by protecting Priebus who is protecting Barbour. (Priebus and Barbour go way back, as we shall see later.) It’s typical Republican Establishment “cover your ass” nonsense.

Erickson has not responded to my follow-up question: 

Priebus is Chairman of the RNC, for God’s sake. He’s in charge. He needs a blogger to protect him from Tea Party Patriots? Give me a break.

Enter Ed Martin, Stage Right

Meanwhile, Missouri GOP Chairman, Ed Martin, has risked his entire political future by filing motions of censure against Henry Barbour and the Mississippi Republicans who shamefully libeled tea partiers, plagiarizing the vilest tactics from the Al Sharpton playbook.

I realize it’s considered bad form to set up a guest for humiliation in some circles. I get that. But if you’re going to allow Priebus to speak, you have to let him feel the heat for his failure to investigate the shenanigans in Mississippi. By blocking the investigation, Priebus is protecting the bad actors and further alienating grassroots conservatives.

Of course, we all know why Priebus won’t investigate Mississippi. As the Spectator pointed out, Henry Barbour and Reince Priebus are old buddies:

Martin’s request for an investigation would be, one thinks, a no-brainer. This is, after all, the party of Lincoln. Race baiting has no place in the Republican Party, which came to be in the first place because of its staunch opposition to slavery.

But there’s a problem: Take a look at this link to a site for a lobbying group called Capital Resources, which includes a bio for one of the group’s partners, the aforementioned Henry Barbour. If you scan down a bit there is a series of bullet points describing Barbour’s background. The very first one reads as follows: “Helped run RNC Chairman Reince Priebus’ campaign for chairman.”

Here’s the most depressing part of this whole sordid story. When faced with the choice of offending the Tea Party or the Establishment, Erickson decided to protect the Establishment.

Maybe Erickson was just being a good and gracious host. That’s what I want to think. But to those of us who’ve been in the streets fighting the establishment, this feels like another sell-out.

Tim Kelemen

This Wisconsin Police Chief Admits Illegal Harassment of Tea Party Leader, After Lying About It

The weird thing is: isn’t that Sharp Elbows questioning the Chief? When did he become a detective in Michigan?

The chief pleaded nolo contendere to identity theft charges. He presented himself as a tea party leader signing up for embarrassing, sexual email lists. From the La Crosse Tea Party:

A shocking update to the Town of Campbell Situation this week. Detective Spencer from Monroe County Sheriff’s department called and said that Campbell Police Chief Tim Kelemen confessed to harassment/internet stalking/identity theft regarding my complaint filed to La Crosse P.D. in January when someone signed me up for 15 or so internet accounts ranging from a gay profile on Match.com to Healthcare.com.

The La Crosse city council will meet next week to decide whether to terminate the chief.

For more, see the TCOT Report story.

H/T Christina KBo

Gadsden Flag Cape

What Happened to the Tea Party?

I’ll give Business Insider some credit. After Tea Party-backed candidates came up empty across the board in Tuesday’s Republican primaries, the website that has spent years maligning our rule-of-law movement could have taken the low road.

Instead, blogger Brett Logiurato wrote a fair assessment of what’s happened to the GOP since February 27, 2009.

The much-talked about Republican “civil war” is over, at least for the people who thought it even existed in the first place. Both the Tea Party grassroots and the GOP establishment have taken lessons from the clashes over the past three election cycles. Republicans have learned to adopt more Tea Party talking points, and conservative grassroots voters have shown they are willing to back establishment candidates who have adopted their views.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/tea-party-establishment-republicans-2014-5#ixzz32PKbj6XG

Logiurato describes the changes in Mitch McConnell’s behavior to illustrate the fusion of the two factions:

In 2008, as he had been for much of his career, McConnell was a proud promoter of congressional earmarks and the money he was able to bring back to Kentucky. He ran an ad during that race boasting about the more than $1 billion he brought back to the state.
. . .
By 2010, as Tea Party earned a series of election victories and earmarks became a symbol of waste in Washington, McConnell helped end them. He won’t campaign on “bringing home the bacon” this year, and he stands firmly against an effort to bring back earmarks.

 

“McConnell’s evolving message shows how the real Tea Party can co-opt and win over the GOP establishment when it sticks to its principles,” wrote John Hart, Sen. Tom Coburn’s former communications director, on Real Clear Politics.

Getting Mitch McConnell to talk right is one thing; getting him to vote right is another. 

If the GOP lets the Export-Import Bank of Boeing die a graceful death this year, I’ll be impressed. If McConnell and the House leadership begin turning their backs on corporate lobbyists who use government to thwart innovation and kill competition, then the Tea Party can claim a big victory. But I’m not holding my breath.

Let’s face it: none of us knew what the hell we were doing when 50 little groups held simultaneous protests in February 2009. We had no plan for what to do after that first event, awkwardly titled The Nationwide Chicago Tea Party Protest. After that first wave, some of us got together on a call, and Mike Leahy offered a plan. He said “this is a 10-round, heavyweight fight that will end with knockout on Election Day 2010.”

Yeah, we did that. But we never really had a plan for how we would do it. We knew how to hold a damn fantastic rally, though, so we held a bunch of them. We knew how to change the narrative with video, and we did that. We knew how get under Barack Obama’s skin, and we did that.

But victory is often the cruelest defeat. Following the 2010 election, we thought big. Really damn big. We were certain we’d be calling the shots in 2012. After all, the GOP was on life support after the 2008 elections. George Will scolded conservatives for uttering the word “socialism.” The New York Times predicted a permanent Democrat majority in almost every state.

The only center-right heartbeat leading up to the 2010 election was in the Tea Party. At that first Tea Party, Hall of Famer Jackie Smith said he’d never been to a political rally before. He asked the crowd of over 1,000 people to raise their hands if this was their first time. Almost every hand went up.

These people were not on Republican walk lists. There not consistent voters. They were ordinary people answering a call. They were sick of a government that took their blue collar wages to spare Wall Street millionaires and 8-figure CEOs the embarrassment of admitting “we fucked up the world.”

Hell yes, we lost our focus after 2010. At least I did. I started dreaming about rebuilding the Reagan coalition. I was thrilled to stand alongside people who’d been in the trenches for decades. I didn’t ask if their one, true passion was letting people live their own lives. I assumed it. That was a mistake.

In hindsight, I should have been far more humble. I should have paid attention to my own warnings about assuming the future will be a linear progression of the recent past. But I ignored myself. I looked at the Tea Party’s (and my own) recent past and projected out into the future. I like what I saw. I saw myself on TV, and I thought I looked damn good. (I’m always too eager to get my stupid mug on TV. I watched way too much Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson starting way too young, but that’s another story.)

Three dangerous developments emerged in 2011 that I should have stopped. I didn’t. Either I didn’t want the confrontation, or didn’t realize the danger, or I was afraid that challenging a bad idea might drive away a faction–a faction I thought we needed.

Those three developments:

  1. Fascination with massive conspiracies.
  2. Hedonistic pleasure from angry protests.
  3. Intellectual isolationism around 18th century political philosophy.

Maybe someday I’ll explain those three developments in more detail. For now, I just want you to know that I saw them–and did nothing.

The right direction is the one my friend Brian Bollmann took. Brian hooked up with the Center for Self-Governance. He didn’t just scream and yell at politicians. He learned how to talk to politicians. And now, they call him and ask how they should vote.

Brian got some power back.

When a handful of people get some power back, you don’t need 10,000 people yelling in a park. You don’t. Sure, we needed 10,000 angry people in Kiener Plaza in 2009. It was a recruitment drive. We had to tell the thousands like us, “you’re not alone. It’s safe to come out now.”

When a handful of Brian Bollmanns get some power back, you don’t need to shout about Agenda 21. Instead, you quietly inform poor people in public housing that Smart Meters will raise their electric bills to $120 a month from $25. That’s what Self-Governance students in Memphis did, and Memphis Power and Light removed the Smart Meters.

When a handful of Brian Bollmanns get some power back, you don’t even think about cloistering yourself in an ideologically safe vacuum and pleasure yourself with the vibrating echo. You talk to people who never heard of Thomas Paine about how they’re going to pay off their student loans.

I know it pisses off some good people every time I say I like Ann Wagner. I do. I enjoy talking to her, and I admire the things she’s accomplished. I can’t imagine myself yelling at her, and I know it would hurt our cause if I did. I’d like her to fight against extending the Export-Import Bank because the Export-Import Bank represents a redistribution of wealth and puts the government in the position of protecting large corporations from the free market. In short, the Ex-Im Bank is a clearinghouse of crony capitalism.

I know Ann and many of her Republican colleagues in Congress believe in the free market. But the free market doesn’t have a lobby. Except us. Except me.

So what happened to the Tea Party? I hope it got a lot friendlier and a lot more effective. Maybe now we can stop trying to topple big name “Republicrats” and start using our power of persuasion and influence to get Republicans to vote the way they talk.

 

St. Louis Tea Party Number 1

The Tea Party Is 5 Years Old Today

If you were out on the Arch steps on February 27, 2009, take a moment to consider what’s happened.

  • From near-spontaneous reaction to bailouts, corporate takeovers, and profligate government spending emerged the largest and most sustained political movement since the 1960s
  • Both the GOP and Democrat Party are minority parties, as independents have surged
  • A new generation identifies with libertarian ideals like freedom from government spying, freedom from failed wars on activities war was never meant to stop, insane spending, the opaque and manipulative Federal Reserve, government manipulation of information, IRS abuse of political groups, and Obamacare.
  • A massive turnover in the US House of Representatives
  • A massive turnover in state legislatures
  • Millions of politically dormant citizens are now political activists
  • New media stars are born

In 2009 and 2010, America’s left tried to discredit us. Remember? They called us racist haters. The assaulted us at rallies. They sent forth swarms of paid activists to infiltrate our events.

They thought we’d go away. We didn’t.

For your fortitude, I am honoured to know you, to have stood shoulder-to-shoulder with you at Russ Carnahans, at the Fed, at K&N, at SEIU Headquarters, at the Arch, and at Prop C rallies.

You should be proud.

At the same, we have to admit freedom has lost ground.

  • Obamacare is still the law
  • Barack Obama is still president
  • Obama has used executive orders to rule by decree like King George or a banana republic dictator
  • The military is being cut to pre-World War II levels
  • Red light cameras are going up
  • The FCC has plans to place government censors in newsrooms
  • The Department of Transportation plans to embed license plate readers in every road
  • The IRS continues to harass and bankrupt its political enemies
  • The Fed’s balance sheet is bigger than most countries’ GDP
  • Eric Holder has evaded prison and remains Attorney General
  • The GOP is still beholden to the US Chamber of Commerce
  • Missouri Republicans continue to push for Medicaid Expansion, prescription drug databases, and even more red light cameras
  • Just today, Obama asked the courts to give the NSA even more power to collect your phone records
  • The labor force participation rate has fallen to 1970s levels
  • More people have given up looking for work than ever before
  • And the list goes on

We have a lot of work to do. And, frankly, I’ve made a lot of mistakes. Too many times, I’ve taken the short cut when I should I have followed the longer plan. And I’ve put way too much emphasis on electoral politics and too little on personal persuasion.

It’s clear to me, now, that creating personal connections with people is the only way to fight that list of government wrongs. That means breaking away from our comfort zones and talking to people.

To help me overcome my weaknesses, I’ve begun the Center for Self-Governance’s 5-part course. The course helps people like me learn why it’s vital to recognize and use our power as human beings, endowed the ultimate power on earth.

We’re to use that power to train government to do our bidding, not the Chamber of Commerce’s or the NEA’s.

In my two classes, I’ve learned that shouting as politicians might slow America’s journey to perdition, but it won’t stop it. And it won’t win friends.

I’ve learned throwing myself into electoral politics my change the outcome of an election, but it won’t change the trajectory of history.

I’ve learned that political parties have no ideology, unless you consider the naked accumulation of power ideological. So working for a party only feeds the beast.

But I’ve also learned what I must do.

I’ve learned to treat politicians and government representatives as people, created by God, and deserving my respect.

I’ve learned that most politicians holding office have no idea what the right thing is, so they do what keeps them in power. It’s my job to teach them and encourage them.

I’ve learned that who holds office makes less difference than who exercises their power, and I haven’t been exercising my power very often or very effectively.

I’ve learned that I can apply what I already know about persuasion and influence and behavioral psychology to change the way politicians behave.

I’ve learned that I can influence a politician’s long-term behavior only by active listening, developing empathy, building rapport, earning the right to influence, and using that influence to drive behavior change.

To help me get better at exercising the power I already have, tonight I’m celebrating the tea party’s fifth anniversary at Heritage Action Skills Training. I hope you’ll be there, too.

P.S. You have exactly the same amount of power as Barack Obama and I have. We are created equal.

Note: I wrote this post on 2/26/2014 to publish on 2/27. But I live with rural internet, which isn’t too reliable. I lost service before I could I publish it, so I’m publishing now. 

St. Louis Tea Party February 27, 2009

5 Years Ago Today, The Tea Party Was Born On a Phone Call

Give all due credit to Rick Santelli. His rant inspired a movement. But words don’t wear boots.

More images like this one available at Doctor Bulldog: http://doctorbulldog.wordpress.com/2009/02/27/st-louis-tea-party-by-the-arch/

At 7:00 pm on February 20, Mike Leahy, Eric Odom, Jenny Beth Martin, Michelle Moore, Brooks Bayne, and a few others hijacked the TCOT conference call to answer Santelli’s call for a Tea Party in Chicago.

Two days after that, I posted this on Hennessy’s View: St. Louis Tea Party?

Who’s up for it?

I’m thinking March 14 before the downtown St. Patrick’s Day parade.

  • Toss some tea into the Mississippi
  • Run 3.2 miles
  • Freeze for an hour
  • Drink some Jameson’s and Mich Ultra

If Seattle and Chicago can find enough patriots to oppose Obama’s socialization plans, St. Louis sure can.

Track progress here, on Facebook’s #dontgo group, or follow #dontgoand #teaparty on Twitter.

And, Look!  Someone’s written a recipe for a Tea Party.

How ’bout this;

Date:  Saturday, March 14, 10:00 a.m.  Friday, February 27, 11:00 AM
Where:  Steps of the Arch, Wharf Street
Bring:  5-10 friends, signs, and tea (but not in bags)
After Party:  Everywhere.

Here’s what happened.

St. Louis Tea Party February 27, 2009
Image clipped from http://doctorbulldog.wordpress.com/2009/02/27/st-louis-tea-party-by-the-arch/

Five years later, Democrats like Chuck Schumer consider the Tea Party the greatest threat to the political class. A lot of establishment Republicans feel the same.

They’re right.

Visibility was the Tea Party’s sole tool in 2009. Beginning February 27, at noon Eastern time, 50 tea party protests drew undue media coverage.

I say “undue,” because we dominated the national news on every network, talk radio left and right, and local news and talk in at least 50 major markets.

In St. Louis, between 1,000 and 1,500 people showed up on a cold day with snow flurries in the air. They came to the steps of the Arch with signs, flags, and even pitchforks, much to the dismay of the park rangers.

But visibility comes with a price. We were identified and vilified, by name, by association, by lies, and by innuendo. We were mocked and attacked, beaten, and stalked.

And we flipped 800 seats in Congress and state legislatures in 2010.

I said visibility has a price. But getting punched in the gut steels resolve.

We may not be as visible as we were, but we’re more effective at driving change than we were in 2009 or 2010. We may not be winning elections, but some of us getting better at winning little battles. As Marc Herr says, we’re creating Mrs. Powells.

Mrs. Powell was the woman who asked Benjamin Franklin, “What have you wrought us? A republic or a monarchy?” Franklin replied, “A republic, if you can keep it.”

Mrs. Powell was, of course, a woman. As a woman in 1789, she could not vote, she could not hold public office. She couldn’t even own real property. How in God’s name could such a person with no rights keep a republic?

Because she had power. She all the power God gives to man. She had the power of persuasion, influence, and obstruction. And she used it throughout her life. Mrs. Powell kept her republic.

Have you?

Tonight, Michael Patrick Leahy led a few of us on a stroll down memory lane with one his patented, brilliant conference calls. He asked me what America will look like in 5 years from now.

My answer was simple: freer. I see a generation forming that believes in itself. It believes it alone has the power to make the world better. It distrusts large institutions–big banks, big business, big labor, and big government. It wants to be left alone to solve its problems. If the rest of us get some relief along the way, all the better.

This generation is a Hero generation, much like the WWII generation credited with saving our republic in the Depression and the big war.

If you want to be a Mrs. Powell, forget about your rights. Use your power. You can sharpen your power at Heritage Action Skills Training on the 5th anniversary of the first St. Louis Tea Party, February 27, 2014.

Click here for all the details and to get your free ticket. Only 48 tickets remain.

Conservatives Keep Losing Because They’re Reading The Wrong Books

For the past four years. conservatives have worried more about being right while liberals worried about winning.

We all know how that worked out.

It doesn’t matter how right you are if you’re powerless.Right now we are.

Satisfied?

I didn’t think so.

thinking-strategically

After four years of 5,000 Leap and Constitution study groups, of Constitutional workshops, and rallies in the park, let’s make a vow to ourselves and to each other: We’re Done With Losing.

Here are the books I challenge you to read in the next six months. Hold study groups on these tomes. Get people excited about winning a damn race here and there.

I won’t review. I’ll give you the list. Amazon’s pretty good about turning shoppers into buyers.

READ THESE BOOKS

Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives

Millennials Rising: The Next Great Generation

The Fourth Turning

The Victory Lab: The Secret Science of Winning Campaigns

The Blueprint: How the Democrats Won Colorado (and Why Republicans Everywhere Should Care)

Thinking, Fast and Slow

Steve Jobs

The Next 100 Years: A Forecast for the 21st Century

Thinking Strategically: The Competitive Edge in Business, Politics, and Everyday Life

Imagine: How Creativity Works

The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick)

Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us

These books are not about the Constitution or the wages of socialism. You already know all you need to know about those things.

These books are about winning. If you don’t start winning, it won’t matter what you else you know or believe.

P.S. If you object to any of these titles because they’re by or about a liberal, you’re the problem.

Stop The Crazy Talk: Vote Fraud Didn’t Cost Romney The Election

I wrote yesterday that if you need someone to blame, blame me. Don’t blame bogeymen.

reality-check

Yes, vote fraud is real. Voter rolls in most states need to be cleaned up. Voter intimidation should be harshly prosecuted.

You can sign up at True the Vote or Missouri Precinct Project to take effective, useful action. These organizations do vital work, and they both need more volunteers.

Using vote fraud, however, as an excuse for secession or for blocking the Electoral College vote is neither effective nor useful. In fact, it makes us sound like the idiots the left wants us to be.

Please knock it off.

Try Critical Thinking Instead of Knee-Jerk Emotions

I read a piece American Thinker that made me want to jump out a window. Selwyn Duke tries making the case that Romney lost because of voter fraud.

His case is weak.

I won’t bother with his points about anecdotal evidence, since they’re anecdotal. They can’t be proven one way or the other.

Instead, I looked at the numbers.

Romney Got No Votes In Some Philadelphia Divisions

True, this is odd. It may will be that Romney votes were thrown out. But there are two problems with blaming Pennsylvania’s outcome on this anomaly.

1.  We’re talking about a predominantly or exclusively Democrat area. Had Obama received less than 98 percent of the vote, something would have been wrong. So we’re talking about, at most,  a 2 percent problem in a small area.

2.  The total vote in these Philly division was less than 20,000 votes. Suppose that 2 percent intended to vote for Romney. That’s 400 votes. It doesn’t change the results. It doesn’t even come close.

Military Overseas Ballot Requests Way Down

Duke also cites a drop in requests for absentee ballots by armed forces serving over seas. He points a report that in Virginia and Ohio, requests for military absentee ballots were down by 70 percent:

Frankly, it is inconceivable that military interest in voting could’ve dropped so drastically given conservatives’ passion this election season.

There are several problems with Duke’s argument.

  1. Over 83,000 troops came home. Thirty percent fewer troops are serving overseasin 2012 compared to 2008. And a LOT of them are stationed in Virginia.
  2. The drop in requests was for the entire election cycle, not just the November 8 election. Obama was unopposed in the primaries.
  3. The drop is in requests.  The DoD can’t make people request an absentee ballot. (I was the Voting Rights Officer on USS Woodrow Wilson—it’s not always easy to get people to vote.)

I agree that the DoD did a poor job getting ballots to troops. But the problems were with ballots that had already been requested.  Let’s wait to see  how many military ballots were cast before we lose our heads.

Secession and Disrupting the Electoral College Doesn’t Help Conservatism

If you believe the election was stolen, I get why you want to take extreme measures.  But your extreme measures don’t win any hearts and minds. They make us look nuts.

Read Erick Erickson’s blog about rolling up the welcome mat at RedState. Clearly, I’m not the only one noticing the crazy talk around here.

Our mission is to win-over people who want what we want:

  • A strong economy
  • A smaller, fiscally responsible government
  • A safer world
  • A sustainable immigration policy

These are things that almost everyone in America can agree on—everyone except the far left nuts.

Reagan attracted big numbers with 3 of those 4 pillars. Immigration wasn’t as big a deal then, because our population still had some organic growth going on.

Companies and nations fall when they refuse to face the realities of their situations. The conservative movement is supposed to be the embodiment of hard, cold looks at the national condition. Let’s keep it that way, okay?

Dear Conservatives: We Are Already Losing 2016

If you need to blame someone for our election losses, blame me.

blame-me

I Let You Down

I could have done more. I could have spoken up sooner. I could have been more honest with you about the mistakes we made and the opportunities we ignored. I could have worked harder on what I saw as the most important work we could do.

I let you down. I focused on petty issues of the day, too, instead of working on a different future.

It’s Time To Look Ahead

But it’s Sunday morning. Obama’s been re-elected. The debt is growing as fast as ever. People lose personal power every day.

It’s time to stop blaming bogeymen for the 2012 election and start building a coalition for victory in 2014 and 2016.

Young Voters Matter

Between 2008 and 2012, 9.8 million Americans died. The vast majority were over 65, voted in every major election, and voted Republican over 60 percent of the time.

They were replaced by 16.8 million young people who reached voting age. These new Millennials are much less likely to register and vote, but the ones who do cast votes for Republicans less than 40 percent of the time.

If we do nothing between now and the next presidential election, six million Republican voters will die and 7.2 million kids will become Democrats.  The next election will be over long before November 8, 2016.

We Have Hope

Several surveys late in 2012 found that younger Millennials—between 17 and 21 years old—are far more fiscally conservative than old Millennials. On social issues, especially same-sex marriage, they remain liberal.

As young workers struggle to find meaningful jobs, as their debt burden continues to swell, as the world becomes more dangerous, expect this trend to continue.

If we are serous about restoring the balance of power away from central authorities and toward the people, we have to stop fighting the last election and start helping young adults.

Here’s What You Can Do Now

I’ll write more about this over the next week, but here are four things you can do right now to help win future elections.

Stop:

  • Blaming the election on vote fraud
  • Talking about social issues unless they obviously tie to economic issues
  • Hanging around in conservative echo chambers
  • Talking about secession, nullification, and disrupting the Electoral College vote

Start:

  • Helping young people find jobs
  • Treating young adults like adults
  • Explaining the virtues of being free to choose
  • Subtly explaining the failure of planned economies

That may not seem like much, but it is. Especially the Stops. If we don’t stop turning off potential allies, we’ll continue to lose election after election.

Build On These 4 Pillars

That doesn’t mean we change what we believe. It means we advance the ideas that don’t turn people off. We have many such ideas like:

  • A strong economy
  • A smaller government
  • A safer world
  • A sustainable immigration policy

We can build Big Ideas from these four pillars. We can take on the other problems later.

Please check back here tomorrow to find out how our passions are making us sound ridiculous.

TeaParty2009.jpg

The State of the GOP

by Bill Hennessy and Jim Durbin

John Knowles’s classic novel, A Separate Peace, begins memorably:

I went back to the Devon School not long ago, and found it looking oddly newer than when I was a student there fifteen years before . . . as if a coat of varnish had been put over everything for better preservation.

I get precisely the opposite feel when I look at the Republican Party.

Republicans Return to Disarray

Less than two years after the Tea Party carried Republicans to historic gains in Congress and state housesTea Party 2009 around the country, the Grand Old Party looks much older than grand. Its skin is coarse and leathery. Pachyderm-ish.Or like the broken, bleeding hands of a North Dakota railroad worker in January. It’s as if a coat of Elmer’s Glue had been put over everything to blister and peel and crack like mud under the burning sun.

Across Missouri, people were driven away by heavy-handed party regulars. The disenchanted were mostly newcomers to politics.

Most infamous of these events was the St. Charles County debacle in which the county chairman ruled with an iron fist, inspiring a rebellion that ended with police riot squads clearing the premises and arresting two caucus-goers. Ready to lead, indeed.

In Illinois, a wealthy young man from a prominent family unleashed a tidal wave of lies—flat out, ridiculous, and cruel lies—against a decent and honest opponent.  Meanwhile, the Illinois GOP insiders threatened and cajoled anyone who dared support the young heir’s opponent. At a Lincoln Days dinner in Madison County, I heard a small business owner explain the sticker on his chest: “I’m not supporting him, but they’ll go after my business if I don’t wear this.”

Liberty my foot. The Illinois GOP is every bit as capable of totalitarian control as the Obama administration. It feels like the Republican Party is more interested in protecting the power and redistributive entitlements of its long-time insiders than in growing its base. The party fears new blood (except their properly schooled off-spring), the way closed country clubs of the 1970s feared blacks, Jews, and Catholics.

Where Does the Money Go?

Did I say “redistributive entitlements?”  Yes, I did. When it comes to government spending, the biggest difference between the Republicans and Democrats is to whom they redistribute our money. Democrats buy votes with tax dollars; Republicans buy donors.

Now, I admit, I’d rather live in a nation led by Republicans than one ruled by Democrats. Republicans tolerate more personal liberty and more economic growth. They are more open to learning and to experimenting with better methods than are Democrats. Republicans remain naturally skeptical of experts who’ve never accomplished anything in real life.

But only slightly.

Republicans do not tolerate real competition between businesses. They championed TARP as much the Democrats did, and TARP was the crown jewel of anti-competitive legislation. Nor do they welcome newcomers into the party—at least not newcomers who want an equal say in things.

I realize that people who’ve worked on Township committees for 20 years want to have more influence than some guy who accidentally wanders into his first caucus looking for a public toilet. But rigging the process to produce results that were predetermined by a small cadre of insiders doesn’t help Republicans win or grow the base—it helps launch third parties.

After the Tea Party dragged the GOP across the finish line in 2010, to borrow Mike Leahy’s line, the GOP wanted nothing more to do with us. They’ve quietly toiled to let us know our kind isn’t welcome.  We’re like Irish and Italian immigrants a century and a quarter ago. “We’re going to vote now, dear. Be a good little immigrant and take out the trash.”

If the Republicans don’t wake up and grow up quickly, come November they will find themselves the most exclusive club in America—on their way to joining the Whigs.

Who Held the Line?

The GOP in Missouri wasted the biggest influx of new blood into the political fight in 30 years. Now you understand why so many young people support Ron Paul.  The Democrats are destroying the country, but who has the stomach to work with Republicans?

In 2008 and 2009, Republicans across the country gave up. They let Al Franken steal a seat. They let Arlen Specter slip through their fingers. They embraced the idea of 40 years of Democratic Rule.  Heck, even Roy Blunt was touring the state hoping to stop Robin Carnahan from being the 60th Senator.  They had given up.

  • While the Republican Establishment cut deals with Democrats, The Tea Party stood in the gap and said “No more.”
  • While the Republican Establishment cowered behind city walls, we charged into the streets and parks and hearings and town halls declaring, “we created this government, not the other way around.”
  • While the Republican Establishment ducked its head and buried its wallet and worried about its political future, our flesh and blood held back and reversed the tide to historic victories across the country.

It was the Tea Party that held back Obamacare from fast track implementation in August of 2009.  They were ready to pass it, and we stepped up in the townhalls and said HELL NO!  We were telling them it was costly and unconstitutional long before the CBO and the Supreme Court got involved.  We were right then.  Do you remember?

It was the Tea Party that made a national mission out of Scott Brown’s election in Massachusetts. And if the Supreme Court overturns ObamaCare, it will be because the Democrats rushed the bill through the Senate knowing Brown was the 41st vote for freedom.

It wasn’t just healthcare shoved down our throats.  The Republicans couldn’t stop the stimulus. They put up token resistance and then a bunch of them voted for the omnibus budget a few weeks later (allowing Claire McCaskill to vote against it because Kit Bond voted for it). They ducked the debt ceiling fight.  They refused to defund Obamacare or the czars.  They were given a huge majority in the House of Representatives – the power of the purse, and what have they have done with it?  The debt continues to grow as the Senate refuses to even consider a budget.

Now it’s March, 2012. In Missouri, the Tea Party candidates have been driven out and redistricted and co-opted.  What exactly is a Tea Partier supposed to fight for in Missouri?  Where’s our skin in the game?  Who can we stand behind?

The Republicans don’t appreciate what was done for them.  They will.  They will wake up this fall to empty phone banks, small events, and the full attention of a press eager to prove 2010 a historical anomaly.

Come October, the Occupy Crowd will hound them at local events, and the social media will be all leftwing, all the time.  The Republicans will have lost the narrative, and they will once again be playing defense.

And they’ll put a coat of varnish on the state capitol and talk about the ebb and flow of politics, as the debt tsunami approaches.  The Tea Party was willing to fight alongside Republicans.  We never signed up to fight for them.  The danger is not that Tea Party voters sit on their hands and let Obama stay into office.  It’s that across the nation, publicly funded groups like the unions and the new ACORN and Occupy and Color for Change are preparing for 2012.  The Republicans, in their arrogance, have decided to tell a million volunteers and donors to stay home.

As patriots with families and businesses, we have choices on how to use the limited time God has granted us.  We are forced to choose where to apply our time and attention.  Is that focus to be placed on working with candidates and fighting the mainstream media?  Or is it shoring up our homes, finances, families, and communities for whatever comes next?

3rd Anniversary Tea Party: Thank You!

The 3rd Anniversary Tea Party rocked . . . because of the great patriot-activists who have decided it’s time to act and win.

3rd Anniversary Tea Party--Mike Leahy Keynote

Although Dr. Larry Schweikart couldn’t make it (because of the Chicago snow storm), Friday’s event was better than planned or expected.  Tea Party champion Michael Patrick Leahy jumped into fill a last-minute void, and the crowd loved it.

I had the the pleasure of reading and advanced copy of Mike Leahy’s new book, Covenant of Liberty: The Ideological Origins of the Tea Party Movement in December. It blew me away. (I’ll publish a review shortly.)

Mike’s interaction with the crowd, via Skype, lasted an hour. The conversation showcased the intelligence, integrity, and commitment of both Michael Patrick Leahy and the St. Louis Tea Partiers who attended the event.

But the star of the show on Friday might have been the food. Boaz Steiner, one of our hardest working freedom Boaz Steiner's Banquet at 3rd Anniversary Tea Partyfighters, prepared a remarkable banquet of hors d’oeuvres.  From mounds of gigantic shrimp to stuffed peppers to chicken tenders, cheese trays, veggie platters, Crab Rangoon . . . I can’t even name it all.  It was fabulous. The Crowne Plaza in Clayton should be your first choice for lodging, banquets, and conferences in the St. Louis area.

Saturday began at 7:30 (yes, that’s really early). Again, a fabulous hot breakfast led off.  The eight sessions, plus Bill Federer’s lunchtime keynote address on 6,000 years of human history, earned praise for Michelle Moore’s planning and logistics.

Darin Morley at 3rd Anniversary Tea PartySo did the hard work of Donna and Kathy, two of our most dedicated workers. These ladies handled the front desk of the event perfectly.  Professional event staffs I’ve worked with would be delighted with such great hospitality, efficiency, and cheerfulness.

Mr. Raz Shafer, who left it all on the field for Ed Martin’s 2010 Congressional race, returned to St. Louis to deliver more 3 hours of training on campaigning, social media, and countering leftist tactics. Big thanks to American Majority Action and to Raz for giving up a weekend to help us.

Thanks also to Ruth Carlson of Eagle Forum for her extensive training on how to caucus in Missouri.  And to Darin Morley who educated us on Social Media in two wildly popular sessions.  Mrs. Frieda Keogh of Missouri Precinct Project (MOPP) taught us about MOPP and bringing new  conservative voters out for the 2012 election.

donnaandkathy

My personal thanks to Michelle Moore, Ben Evans, Jonathon Burns, “NRA” Ed, Donna and Kathy, Boaz, Raz, Bill Federer, Michael Patrick Leahy, and everyone who put in countless hours to pull this thing off. It was way more successful than I expected. And it lays the groundwork for victory in 2012. As Mike Leahy says, we will “drag the candidates across the finish line” in November.

Mostly, though, thanks to you who attended. You have rejected apathy and embraced responsibility for liberty—liberty for you, me, and everyone.

In the end, we completed over 500 training hours in addition to Friday’s great conversation between St. Louis Tea Party Coalition folks and Michael Patrick Leahy.

What I heard most of all, loudest, and clearest was this: “we’ve needed something like this for a long time, and we need to do more of it.”

Stand by.