Good Tea and Bad Tea

Republican Candidate Tea PartyThe Tea Party Movement is something to cherish.  It is likely the only thing that will preserve our Republic.  The national Tea Party organizations, however, are just another special interest group that have co-opted the Tea Party moniker for power.  And it kind of pisses me off.

My first Tea Party rally was 4/15/09 on the Mall.  I had watched from a distance as these “tea parties” were springing up across the country in the Winter and early Spring of 2009.  I was participating in my own way, blogging on these pages.  When I heard about the tax day event, I knew I had to be there.

The early tea parties were organized by, well, I don’t know who organized them.  Much of the organization happened on Twitter and Facebook.  These were organic in the purest sense of the word; they just happened.

It didn’t take long for Republicans and Democrats to begin talking about co-opting the newly dubbed “Tea Party” in order to stay afloat in 2010.  It quickly became apparent that the Democrats were so far away from Tea principles, they had to demonize, not co-opt.

So, I was called a lot of names:  Bigot, racist, misogynist, religious freak, gun-nut, hater, and the list goes on.

It is important to note that the reason Democrats couldn’t co-opt the Tea Party is because the Tea Party is the conservative movement.  They are one and the same.

So this morning, I’m reading the Daily Caller, Tucker Carlson’s website.  I read all about how the various GOP front runners are, or are not, sucking up to the “Tea Party.”  The piece focused mostly on Mitt Romney.  It’s true, Mitt Romney is not a big favorite with the Tea Party…er, uh…rank and file conservatives.  This is mostly about Romney-Care.  But that aside, the article is about how Mitt Romney has not sucked up to FreedomWorks.

FreedomWorks is a political organization, which wraps itself in the Tea Party banner and implies Tea Party leadership.

Here’s a quote from the Daily Caller piece:

“To my knowledge, Mitt Romney has never requested to participate in one of our tea party events or rallies,” said Jacqueline Bodnar, a spokeswoman at FreedomWorks, the Washington, D.C.-based organization led by former House leader Dick Armey. The group helped organize events like the 9/12 March on Washington in 2009 and annual “tax day” rallies.”

They lost me at “…DC-based organization led by former House leader Dick Armey.”

I’ve got nothing against Dick Armey.  I love the fact that 9/12 was organized and I attended both 9/12 events.

My problem is that FreedomWorks is not the Tea Party.  The Tea Party is an organic uprising – a resurgence – of the conservative movement.  No candidate owes FreedomWorks anything.  Nor does FreedomWorks speak for the Tea Party.

No one group speaks for the Tea Party.

No one group should speak for the Tea Party.

The power of the Tea Party is in the ideas it represents.  Small government, low taxation, adherence to the Constitution.  We don’t need a veteran pol to claim a leadership role.  Hell, the Tea Party and veteran pols are like oil and water.

I could care less if a candidate has “requested to speak” at a FreedomWorks event.  I do care if the candidate supports smaller government, lower taxes and adherence to the Constitution.

Michelle Bachmann, Ron Paul, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio and others have been seen at Tea Party events because of their beliefs, not because they are/were pandering to a special interest; they ARE the special interest.  That’s a big difference.

FreedomWorks and other similar groups waving the Tea Party flag are useful.  Organizing an event like 9/12 take money, volunteers and connections.  I get that.

But there is no reason a candidate should be required to speak at an “official” Tea Party event. First, there is no official Tea Party and second – more importantly – if the candidate is authentic, appearances will naturally occur at the right times and at the right places.  This will happen organically, just like the Tea Party.


  1. I think it’s important to remember just how the Tea Party came into being. It truly was a grassroots uprising, based on normal people’s feelings of how the government should operate. Organizing them into national groups takes some of that effect away.

  2. Exactly right, Larry. That was exactly my point. I think the national organizations are taking something away from the movement. That said, I also think the movement is strong enough to thrive with or without the large national orgs….

  3. Good post.

    The Tea Party is not going to support Romney. He knows it, and we know his record. It isn’t just Romney-Care, but that’s a good start. The man has flip-flopped too many times.

    The desire of the lame stream media to identify certain people as leaders of the Tea Party has several interesting and dangerous facets. The current news format demands an interview and celebrities to interview. That is, to sell their story, reporters feel they must put a face on the movement. The desire of the lame stream media to destroy the movement requires that they negatively define the Tea Party. Since average person attending Tea Party rallies behave very well, nobody believes lame stream media stories that castigate the Tea Party activists as racist nut cases. There are enough people have neighbors attending the rallies that they know better. Hence, lame stream media focuses on people like Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, Sharron Angle, and Christine O’Donnell. Oddly, the so-called diversity crowd targets women. Praise the Lord for the strength of character He has given each of these women!

  4. Thanks, Tom. The Tea Party is something special. I really believe that it is a concrete foundation upon which the conservative movement will be built for generations. Maybe I’m naive. I hope not.

    Several weeks ago, I was at a local Chick-fil-A with my kids. The one near the intersection of Linton Hall and Rt 28 (northern VA folks will know this area). They were having a “Farm Day” with tractor cart rides, cow milking and some other fun games for kids. Anyway, I was wearing my Gadsden Flag shirt. You would be amazed at the number of people who looked at me and gave a subtle nod. A few said things like, “…stand firm,” or, “…keep up the fight.” I felt like a celebrity.

    The point is that people of all walks of life, spread far and wide, support the ideas propagated by the Tea Party. The more important point is that the ideas ARE the Tea Party.

    Because the Tea Party is a set of ideas, it can’t be dismantled or disabled, the left’s attempts to demonize conservative leaders, notwithstanding.

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