Friday, May 18, 2012

Has the Tea Party gone away? Ask Sen. Lugar or FreedomWorks.

The state of the Tea Party came up in a short discussion the other night with some friends, as one of them wondered aloud about 'why the Tea Party failed', to which I had an immediate, and somewhat loud, response. This was by no means a hostile crowd, these were conservatives and libertarians, people who are very sympathetic to the Tea Party in general, and so I was more than a little startled by the statement, and it’s a view I'd like to scotch quick.

On the more obvious end, it's baseless, and not any different than asking the week after Super Bowl, where all the football fans have gone, “I don’t see crowds of 50,000 or people with their face painted up at the stadiums anymore, where’d they go?”, well, the answer is nowhere. They’re still there, but there aren’t any games to congregate at, at the moment. But that doesn’t mean that they are any less passionate about football.
A Tea Party Crew
Dana Loesch(in perpetually illness burka), Me, Patch Adams, Chris Loesch

Has the Tea Party gone away?
Ask (soon to be former) Sen. Lugar, who flaunted his establishment RINO mindset and behavior and derided the Tea Party for their 'unrealistic' ideas… as this 'powerful' 36 year incumbent lost to Richard Mourdock
“By trying to make deals with the Democrats, we’ve only lost ground. [Democrat Majority Leader] Reid has demonstrated he’s not going to make deals, he’s not going to abolish ObamaCare or repeal Dodd-Frank. The idea that somehow we have these experienced statesmen that are going to negotiate this truce with the Democrats is just not true. I want to make the arguments to the unfriendly crowds because we’re going to make some converts. I want people to know we have an option; it’s called conservatism and yeah, it works. So, bring it, bring it. I’m ready--we’re ready.”
Do Nat'l organizations, such as Tea Party Express & FreedomWorks speak for the Tea Party? Ask former senatorial candidate for Nebraska, Jon Bruning, who was endorsed by them as the 'Tea Party Candidate!'. And who lost to Grassroots favorite, and Sarah Palin endorsed, Deb Fischer.

"But wait!", some people are saying, "The Tea Party candidate lost in Nebraska!", to which I'll answer, Who did? Don't forget - the Tea Party is not an actual organization and it’s not a Nat'l organization, never has been and never will be. How do I know? Partly from direct experience, and partly from seeing the obvious - the people who are the Tea Party, have lives – and political organizations are what they are tick'd off at, and not what they want to become.

Just because some organization formed itself up and called itself the 'Tea Party' & endorsed a candidate, did not, and does not, mean that they actually speak for the residents of Nebraska who ARE the people who make up the real Tea Party there. If a Nat'l org wants to ride around in a bus and try and promote issues and candidates that its members feel are 'Tea Party' worthy, that's fine and all, I wish 'em luck, but if the people who ARE the Tea Party, are less than impressed with who the 'sound byte, photo bomber Tea Party' people WISH they supported... they're going to have egg on their faces.

A lot.

Steeping the TEA
And that gets to the more meaningful aspect of what’s wrong with the comment of ‘What happened to the Tea Party?’, and that is the assumption that the Tea Party was ever a Party, as in an organized political entity, as if it were ever a monolitic organization which had tried to accomplish political goals that fizzled and then faded away, as Ross Perot's organization did in the 1990's.

I think that is entirely wrong-headed.

For one thing I don't think that the people who came out on the streets in 2010, ever, EVER saw themselves as a Political Party, EVER saw themselves as wanting to elect a slate of ITS candidates, or EVER became a fixed organization of any type, more to the point, they simply saw themselves as being angry that they had to be out on the streets in the first place.

There are organizations that have tried to present themselves as representing the Tea Party nationally, Tea Party Express, FreedomWorks, etc, but never credibly. They may have been driven by people, some of whom came from the Tea Party, and many, most or perhaps even all, who thought that trying to form actual national organizations would enable them to be capable of fielding candidates or pushing issues... but intentions and realities are not nearly the same thing.

These organizations are NOT the Tea Party, never have been, never will be - or so I fervently hope. FreedomWorks has done some good things, helped facilitate quite a lot of people getting together and passing the word, but THEY DON'T determine what the word being passed is, and frankly, some of their choices - promoting common core curriculum & its 'charter schools' because they have the patina of ‘choice’ associated with them, shows me that the depth of their understanding and judgment of what the Tea Party is, and is motivated by, is highly questionable.

Their endorsement of establishment favorites in Missouri and in Nebraska, says that even louder.

The, for want of a better term, 'authentic', grassroots groups who have formed and provided some direction to the movement known as the Tea Party, such as several in and around the St. Louis area, and hundreds, if not thousands, of other groups nationwide, are not organizations in the sense that pundits typically think of them being. There are usually a few particularly active individuals (whose numbers fluctuate), who step up on one issue or another, and help in passing the word on various issues that they feel are important; they help coordinate demonstrations, try to keep some sort of regular get-togethers between die-hards for brainstorming, organize educational or social events, register conservative voters, and get messages moving out to the broader population when needed.

These are the people who ARE of the Tea Party, and though there are some people who have become nationally recognized as being with the Tea Party, personalities & pundits such as Dana Loesch & Gina Loudon, or news sources such as Jim Hoft of the Gateway Pundit, or even videographers such as Adam Sharp of SharpElbows & 'Patch Adams' of Po'ed Patriot, whose videos you've seen be instrumental in bringing down politicians with slips of their lips, or exposing thugrofessors in our university systems, they did, and do, have lives and careers outside of their Tea Party activities - they weren't paid for their time and efforts to begin with, and for the most part neither the individuals, or their groups they'd been part of had formed any formal organizations, except here and there as technical matters or for tax purposes.

What is known as the Tea Party, have been those amongst us who, in a phrase that I've heard more times than can be counted, 'Couldn't sit by and do nothing any longer'... have they gone anywhere?

To figure out where they've gone, it would be best to ask where they came from to begin with.

They became so extremely visible because there were issues that had 'fixed targets', so to speak, that people could converge upon, Healthcare forums, making themselves heard on Voting issues and candidates who were speaking out against them, Representatives forums, Bills & Initiatives that drew fire - those were visible issues we could come together at and be heard upon, and we did so in order to try and influence important issues that were being decided upon at the time.

After the Healthcontrol bill was pushed through, many of the fixed targets for rallying against disappeared, which meant that there weren't obvious events with high visibility that we could be seen at. Do you really think that these people, who never wanted to take time away from their lives in the first place, are less or MORE fired up now? Does anyone really think that these people must have figured that since the limelight's gone, they might as well go back and turn on the TV & relax?.

If you think so, I think you're dreaming some very big and silly dreams.

The lack of events to rally at, in no way means that the Tea Party has gone anywhere. Events which we felt could be effective in furthering our voice, may have disappeared for the moment, but WE haven't.

Dick Lugar could offer a few comments on that... if he had a campaign any more... which... he doesn't... thanks to the Tea Party that's 'gone away'.

We, who surged out into the streets in 2010 & 2011, have not cooled off, we have not gone away, we have not lost touch with each other or with what is happening in the political world.

We're here. John Nolte, of BigJournalism pegged it well, regarding the upset victory in Nebraska a few nights ago.
“Wisely, the Tea Party remains leaderless. This makes it impossible for the MSM to do what it wants to do more than anything, and that's destroy the movement by destroying its leader.

Instead, under the radar, one battle at a time, the Tea Party keeps on keeping on -- winning many more elections than it loses and forever making fools of its primary enemy, the MSM.”
Where has the Tea Party gone? Where do you think millions of people nationwide have 'gone to'? Where has the Tea Party gone? Nowhere. And everywhere. The fact that you don't see us everywhere, doesn't mean that we can't make ourselves felt just about anywhere and at any time.

The more important point is that you shouldn’t allow your ideas to be corralled by the MSM, don’t be fooled into thinking of We The People as being ‘Grassroots’ or as being ‘Tea Party’, because we are neither! We are simply people who have been roused by wrongs, and we aren’t going anywhere before those wrongs are righted, and yes, most of us realize that that may not be accomplished for a very long time.

I've been to several meetings in recent weeks, met and talked with many people who are just as fired up, if not more so than a year or two ago, but are more focused on practical actions and long term goals, than on venting with signs on street corners.

The true source of my loudness at hearing that question from my friends the other night, was pure Guffaw-Ha! Surprise… because sitting at the table with me was no less than four people, ‘ordinary’ had-enough work-a-day folks, who had just become candidates for local offices; a couple others who were very active in rousing and informing their neighbors and pestering their elected officials, and a few others who were active in educating as many people as possible about the ideas that America IS.

Tea Party minded people - those who are the Roused - are extremely active & busy in unobtrusive areas, in politics and out; those who feel they can reform the GOP by replacing the current members of the GOP, are taking it over from the ground up, swamping the Grassroots level Committee Men (MOPP ), melting the phones when legislators are considering wrong steps, teaching their fellows on constitutional issues... we are virtually everywhere (via Twitter & other social media), and actually everywhere, working your neighborhoods and running for offices that you’ve probably never heard of.

Just because we aren't visible, sometimes even to ourselves, doesn't mean we've gone anywhere, it only means we aren't easily seen.

Ask the British Red Coats dying in retreat from Lexington & Concord, how comfortable or safe it is to have unseen Patriots with their eyes on you.



julie said...

Good one, Van. I was half wondering the same thing the other day, but didn't follow up on my thoughts. You've got it pegged, though: the Tea Party isn't a party at all; it is Americans who have woken up. And until things really do get back on track, I don't think many of those Americans are going back to sleep.

Ironically, many if not most of those folks are the productive - the workers Marxists love to claim as their own. Except because they actually work, they don't have the time for big, ultimately pointless demonstrations. And because they work, they are generally in touch with reality enough to want their efforts to be effective, not showy.

Van Harvey said...

Julie said "And because they work, they are generally in touch with reality enough to want their efforts to be effective, not showy."


Anonymous said...

While speaking with someone (business meeting) the other day - the conversation suddenly veered off into a political conversation. (For a change - I wasn't the one that started it!) Within seconds, I knew that the lady that I was meeting with was a "Generational Democrat". She made negative statements (sound bites) about the Tea Party and called the Republicans obstructionist. I gently told her that it was hard to "obstruct" when the Republicans are the MINORITY party in the Senate. Then I told her that I was involved in the Tea Party. I told her that there is actually NO party, NO membership, NO leader! I described it to her as a MINDSET - a determined effort to educate yourself on politics, follow politicians votes, write letters to your representatives and work to get people into office that actually represented your views. Her next comment was that politicians were not listening to or doing what "the people" wanted. I told her that she probably had more in common with the Tea Party than she realized.

To me, THAT is the Tea Party - standing where you are, stating what you believe and speaking up about the important role of "We the People"!