The 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.