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Entries in Tea Party (16)


Carolyn McKinney - The Tea Party’s Biggest Challenge: Protecting Its Brand

The Tea Party, now a well-known but poorly understood American populist movement, has attracted so much attention because it truly rose from the grassroots passions of Americans who love their country.

To clearly understand the grassroots nature of the Tea Party, it's important to note that the movement has never been controlled by any one central authority―besides, perhaps, the rule of law and the constitution. This decidedly libertarian-conservative political movement has really grown up around a loose network of patriots united around a core set of issues. And around those issues, groups of people act with distinct autonomy based on the will of their members.

Despite this decentralization―or perhaps because of it―the movement has managed to focus the American political conversation on concerns and objectives of lasting importance to the American Republic: overspending, debt, and crony capitalism on the one hand, and government accountability, sound money and national sovereignty, on the other. But more than that, the Tea Party has sought to restore those timeless principles that were once cherished by all Americans: limited government, individual liberty, personal responsibility, free enterprise and equal protection under the law chief among them.

As a populist movement, it is only by remaining decentralized that the Tea Party will continue to unite the passions of Americans and reject the allure of power and influence. Already, it has successfully rebuffed attempts by the Washington and Republican establishments to co-opt the movement for their own purposes. National groups like FreedomWorks, the Tea Party Express, and Tea Party Nation have had limited success tapping the local Tea Party fervor because average Tea Partiers are wary of national groups that compromise principles for power.

This strength, however, is also proving to be its greatest weakness. Without a strong central authority or spokesman, it has been difficult for the Tea Party to maintain the purity of its core principles or to stay on track with its original grassroots agenda. Nowhere is this more evident than in its support of federal candidates.

In 2010, not long after the outset of the movement, the Tea Party successfully coalesced around several candidates for Congress, many of whom now serve in government as reliable limited government reformers. However, as the current session continues and the next election approaches, the Tea Party is having trouble both in articulating the same clear mission with which it began and in identifying that mission in the agendas of the current political candidates. Some candidates now claim association with the movement, but their record shows a clear disparity with the Tea Party. In this way, the decentralized nature of the movement has not been conducive to a critical defense of its brand.

But defense of the brand is critical, and Tea Party patriots must demand that politicians prove themselves worthy of the Tea Party label. That does not mean the candidate can just have a shallow commitment to Tea Party principles, but they must have the political courage to make deep and lasting reforms.

For example, the generic “cut government spending” principle is certainly a Tea Party concept, but by which standards will a candidate cut the size of government? Will he or she simply reduce the percentage of the increase in spending by trimming a few line items here or there, or will he or she reduce the size of the budget by eliminating redundant, unnecessary or unconstitutional programs and departments, and more importantly, will that budget be balanced without new debt?

Likewise, will a candidate eliminate only those deals with lobbyists and corporate entities that the incumbent has cultivated, or will he or she actually eliminate all cronyism in government and restore the free enterprise system where the market―and not government bureaucrats―picks the winners and losers? Does the candidate have a history of promoting free market capitalism or does he or she have a record of making deals for political gain?

Additionally, if a candidate is promoting a “limited government” approach, does he or she truly understand the federalist system that puts political power in the hands of the people―by putting people in control of their own lives and reserving most of the governing to the states―or will the candidate continue to look for federal one-size-fits-all solutions, or worse, global solutions to the problems facing everyday people? How will the restrictions on federal power in the Constitution weigh his or her decisions, and does his or her record support the campaign rhetoric?

There is still a strong core of Tea Party patriots who are committed to the ideas that defined the Tea Party at its inception, but these people must remain proactive to protect the Tea Party brand. They must demand that politicians not merely speak about Tea Party issues, but demonstrate a passionate dedication to the ideals of limited government within the federalist system defined by the Constitution. And they must educate new Tea Party patriots on the movement's core principles; communicate and coordinate with all the local groups identifying with the label; and clearly articulate the original Tea Party agenda to the media and the general public so candidates cannot attach themselves to the label when they clearly should not.

Without an active defense of the movement, there is a strong chance that the movement will slowly disintegrate. For without a strong brand and conviction to principle, populist movements cannot remain passionately united for the common cause―and in these times when America needs the Tea Party more than ever, this would be a tragedy.

Carolyn McKinney is a graduate of Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. In addition to being a mother of four and small business owner, she is the Chairman of the Republican Liberty Caucus of New Hampshire, an organization dedicated to conservative principles and the cause of liberty.



The Tea Partier facade that Rep. Frank Guinta cultivated during his 2010 campaign has been fractured. He voted for the Boehner compromise during the debt limit debate, better known as a boner bill. This vote revealed Mr. Guinta’s true identity -- that of a go-along/get-along [GA/GA] Member of Congress who, as one Tea Party member remarked, is already “getting too comfortable with Washington,” unwilling or unable to risk his political career for the sake of principle.

A meeting of about 25 political activists from around the 1st Congressional District was convened by Rep. Guinta in his Manchester District Office on August 10th. Most of them were Tea Party folks. One of them, Ray Shakir, had come all the way from N. Conway for the meeting. He swore that “All of the Tea Partiers were against Frank’s vote.” They left dissatisfied with his lengthy explanation of why he voted as he had. The “explanation” amounted to an unconvincing rationalization. A recognized NH Tea Party leader noted that the Boehner bill established an unconstitutional “Super Committee”. Another attendee said he felt that Frank had voted for a “bad bill.” He was “struggling to understand why.” The only reason he could imagine was “fear.” Frank denied this but didn’t explain why even though he was aware that the fear factor had been played up by the mainstream media and Pres. Obama.

Perhaps the main reasons were unspoken. That Frank is attempting to be a Rep. to all of his constituents. He is focused on reelection [Aren’t they all?]. And so he lost the courage of his convictions and/or bought into the Dem’s view that getting identified with the Tea Party is a “poison pill” that makes him unelectable -- “dead meat.” We don’t share that view, but note again Ray Shakir: “He (Frank) tried to play the candle’s middle by burning both ends.” Even his usually astute political judgment here is open to question. U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte has gotten a lot of praise for her vote vs. the “boner” bill.

Frank Guinta’s future as a Member of Congress [MoC] is intertwined with two other big issues:

* What it means to be a Rep. really committed to changing the way Washington does “We the People”’s business, not just a Rep. of the same old/same old [SO/ SO] type; and

* The power of the Tea Party in NH.

On 1.: Frank has abdicated a leadership role. He’s in danger of becoming a GA/GA, SO/SO MoC. The only plus that he has demonstrated, as an editorial in the Union Leader recently recognized, is an ability to listen. But these days, listening is not enough. Voters need a lot more information on tough issues like the debt limit if they are not to be led astray by fear-mongering and misinformation from the liberal media. Frank has failed to sufficiently inform his constituents as to what was really going on and what was at stake.

On 2.: Frank’s vote puts him on the side of the GOP establishment vs. the Tea Party {TP}. If the former prevails here in NH during a Presidential election year, then the forces of real change to “take back our government” in NH and countrywide are weakened. Jack Kimball, the TP-favored NH GOP Chairman, is now under pressure to resign. His NH GOP HQ Exec. Director is on the way out. A TP-favored candidate lost to a liberal democrat in an Aug. 9th special election. The battle for the future of both the NH TP and GOP is now joined.

At this point, we can only hope that Mr. Guinta comes to his senses, regains some “testicular fortitude,” and reasserts his determination to fight for those principles that got him elected -- the Tea Party goals of freedom, liberty, personal responsibility and limited government. If not, then we’d like to see a Tea Party conservative run against him in the 2012 Congressional primary election. There are individuals out there who are willing to run but are in the process of taking stock in the midst of a fast-changing political and economic climate. The key question is whether “We the People”, as represented by a majority of NH CD 1 voters, are still willing to support those fighting to “take back” their government from political careerists, big-money, special interests, elitists and bureaucrats.


Peter Bearse, Ph.D., and Rick Parent, both Tea Partiers and former candidates for Congress during last year’s Republican primary.



Now we know, at last. The vote to exorcise the media-Halloween specter of “economic Armeggedon” or “Global Meltdown” has been cast. All the hue and cry ended in a whimper. Except for cries of default by “Tea Party” Republicans -- default of courage.
The acid test vote on the federal debt limit indicates just how far we’ve got to go -- those of  us who spoke about and supported “real change in the way Washington does “We the People”s business.” The Republican veto-proof majority did well to approve a “Cut, Cap and Balance” [CC&B] approach to the issue. Only nine Republicans, including Michelle Bachmann, defected -- because they thought the CC&B cuts didn’t go far enough! Even with this, backed by support of CC&B by nearly 3/4 of Americans polled, the U.S. Senate voted down the initiative with a thud.# House leadership, however, didn’t have the “stones…testicular fortitude” to then draw a line in the sand and say to the Senate and its President: “Enough is enough; this is our position; DEAL WITH IT!”#
Thus, as of Friday, “We the People” were confronted with yet another bill and another House vote. The Boehner bill that finally passed was “Dead on Arrival” in the Senate, to become the subject of a backroom deal cut by the Senate President [still smarting from a Tea Party that had the temerity to challenge his senile eminence in 2010], the U.S. President [Teleprompter Reader-in-Chief] and the Speaker of the House [prime sponsor of the boner bill]. So we could look forward to another piece of major legislation cooked up through “secretive deals, gimmicks and tax increases.”#
Opportunities -- for the Tea Party to change the GOP or take it over -- all these were highlighted by the tiring debate, fear mongering and “political posturing” over the debt limit. The ultimate possibility, as advocated by several TP-associated Members of Congress (MoCs) led by Rep. Ron Paul, would have been to refuse to vote to increase the debt limit. This would have provided the kind of real barrier to increased federal spending and debt that most people voted for in 2010.
During his July 19th floor speech, Rep. Paul stated: “If the debt is the problem…how is raising the debt limit the solution”? Our current federal deficit is $1.6 trillion [T]. So, we owe the Federal Reserve $1.6T. This is not real debt subject to default. Let them eat it. Then we can get down to serious business. Default is not a matter of “failing to send out checks.” We’ll do that. Effective default is lose of people’s purchasing power and depreciation of their incomes via higher prices & interest rates (&c). This looms whether or not the current debt limit is increased. 
According to the mainstream media, compromise failed; Obama won; the GOP and TP lost. But the real losers are “We the People.” For the public was never well-informed. We got a pile of hype and fear mongering, as noted earlier. This included releases from two leading bond-raters, Moody’s and S&P -- whose misrepresentations helped cause the Great Recession! -- that “default” would spell a down-grade of the U.S. government‘s Triple-A-rated debt. What the agencies really stated was that there was a 50:50 chance that they would downgrade the debt within 90 days even if a “technical default” were avoided, if there was no credible plan to reduce the federal debt over the “long term.”
Opponents of the limit increase had repeatedly stated, and proponents had not denied, that failure to increase it by Aug. 2nd need not lead to a technical default. Why? -- Because the Federal Reserve could rearrange the government’s accounts payable enough so that interest payments on the debt would continue to be made in the short term. The President could instruct the Treasury to pay Social Security recipients on schedule [Aug.3rd]. In the meantime, up to three months, ways could be found so that the federal government would “live within its means” as established by the current, un-raised, debt limit. 
Was this scenario feasible? Yes, but here again, the public was ill-informed. On the one hand, media “economics” commentators were talking about anemic GDP and “jobs” reports, how government cutbacks and the threat of “default” were already starting to take the economy back down. On the other, they failed to specify precisely what default meant and what its implications might be, including short-term and long-term impacts on government spending and jobs. MoCs also seemed to be poorly informed except by “BeJesus” reactions to the media and ratings agencies’ fear-mongering.
Was the opponents’ scenario also credible? Yes. It is credible as the only position that really comes to grips with the basic problem of national over-spending and huge intergenerational accumulation of unsustainable debt. Over-reliance upon debt had become addictive. Like Nancy Reagan on drugs, somebody had to stand up and insist: “Just say NO!” TP Rep.’s were not altogether “somebody”. With some exceptions, they failed to fulfill a fundamental responsibility  -- to provide full, timely information to their constituents. When push came to shove, many lost the spines shown in their campaign advertising. Had they had forgotten the Biblical question: “Are we like sheep…?”
The GOP/TP overlap/on-again/off-again alliance failed again to face down Obama. Although the President bears responsibility for immediate negative impacts of the failure to raise the debt limit,  it is the GOP’s new, spine-less TP members that should pay the piper in 2012. If the TP is to regain its credibility, it should prepare to run candidates in primaries against those who voted for the “boner.” Like someone vs. Guinta in NH CD1. He was not among the 22 who had the courage to vote against the “boner.”
PETER BEARSE, Ph.D., International Consulting Economist and author of A NEW AMERICAN REVOLUTION: How “We the People” can truly “take back” our government (forthcoming).

The Tea Party's Relationship To The Republican Party 

By Nick Fortune

I think we in the Tea Party have to understand that we’re dealing with establishment Republicans who have their own agenda.  These may or may not be conservative, but certainly include those considered to be RINOS.  These establishment Republicans will work with us only to the degree that it’s in their best interest. 

It was these same establishment Republicans who initially resented, denounced, and resisted the Tea-Party movement.  If you recall, it was Michael Steele, National Chairman of the Republican party, and Karl Rove in the hierarchy of the Republican party who both criticized Sarah Palin (who at that time was the most popular Republican) for stepping down as governor of Alaska.  They both violated Ronald Reagan’s 11th commandment; “do not speak ill of another Republican.” 

I think that the Republican party is coming to realize that without the Tea-Party people, they are but an empty shell.  It’s in our interest to try to work with them as best we can making them aware that our loyalty is to conservative/libertarian issues and candidates, and we need to understand that the Republican party is just a means to an end.  We might do well to play one party against the other; (the Republicans vs. The Democrats), giving both the opportunity to obtain our support.  Whichever party brings forth the best candidate, by our standard, is the one we will back.  If neither brings forth a suitable candidate, by our standard, then we should consider bringing forth our own candidate to primary against their candidates.  I don’t think it wise to compete as a third party candidate.

The “big tent” concept is meant to include, or not exclude RINOS.

Do not be misled in thinking that the Republican party is interested in bringing forth the best quality candidate.  From my experience, their  first priorities are 1 –Can they win?  2 –How much money can they raise?  And THEN they might consider how good the candidate is regarding the public’s interest.

We should not alienate the Republican party, but neither should we conform to or be absorbed by the party; we must remain a separate entity, trying to work both within and without the party.

Nick F



Freedom First PAC - Pawlenty: "Government is too damn big" 



I’m here today to say “thank you.”  Thank you for standing up to the “ruling class.” Thank you for standing up to the liberal power brokers, guardians of the status quo, and the royal triangle of greed: big government, big unions and big bailed out businesses.

Thank you for being modern day Paul Revere’s – rallying Patriots to the cause of this great nation. The promising work of Governors Walker, Kasich, Christie, and so many others is the direct result of the dedicated Patriots in this room and across the country who had enough, stood up, fought back, and are restoring this country’s foundation. 

Our Founders put it in terms so simple even a politician should be able to understand: They started with a most important principle:  They didn’t say we’re endowed by our member of Congress or we’re endowed by our bureaucrat. 

They said we’re endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable Rights -- and that government derives its powers from the consent of the governed. And what government did our Founders institute and our Fathers ratify?  The one that begins, “We the people…”

The message of the Tea Party, as I see it, is simple.  God made us to be free, and the Founding Fathers made the Constitution to keep us free.  And just about every problem our country faces today comes from a rejection of one of those two principles. And every solution we need today will come from a return to those core principles. The Constitution was not written to limit freedom, it was written to limit government.

It appears President Obama has forgotten what this says. It says in the Constitution: “In order to form a more perfect Union….” Mr. President, that does not mean coddling out of control public employee unions. And Mr. President, Wisconsin does not need a lecture from somebody who’s never balanced a budget in his life. 

Speaking of Wisconsin, will you join me in applauding Governor Walker for standing strong against overreaching unions?

Now, I’m not one who questions the existence of the President’s birth certificate.  But, when you listen to his policies, don’t you at least wonder what planet he’s from? We don’t share President Obama’s worldview. 

We don’t want a bigger government shoving mandates down our throats.  He’s got it completely backwards. They, the bureaucrats, don’t tell us what to do. We, the people, tell the government what to do!

My friends, we need to restore American confidence and American optimism by restoring American common sense. As Washington proves time and time again, not everyone’s born or elected with common sense.

We need leaders who remember where they came from, and what made this nation the greatest country the world has ever known. For me, that real world experience started in my hometown of South St. Paul, Minnesota – a place filled with good-hearted people, strong families and the rock-solid values of the heartland.

When I grew up there, it was home to some of the world's largest stockyards and meat-packing plants. But when those plants shut down, so did a big part of the spirit and soul of my hometown. My mom died when I was 16 and later, my dad, who worked for a trucking company, lost his job for a while.

The foundations of my hometown and my family were shaken hard. At a young age, I saw up close the face of challenge, the face of hardship, the face of job loss -- and I saw in the mirror -- the face of a very uncertain future. I know many Americans are feeling that way today. I know that feeling. I lived it.

But in those moments, we learn some things. We remember what’s important. 

We simply need more common sense, and less Obama non-sense. And let’s start with this: It’s complex -- and I know there may be some liberals watching this -- so I’ll say it slowly so they can follow along: We can’t spend more than we take in.

You can't do it as an individual, a family or a business. And we can’t let our government do it anymore! Just because we followed Greece into democracy, does not mean we should follow them into bankruptcy!

Big government spenders come with excuses. They say, "Oh, Governor, how do you do that? It's too hard. The politics are difficult and the unions are too tough”.

I know something about the spenders -- and I know something about difficult. I'm from the state of United States Senator Al Franken.

But we cut government in Minnesota. If we can do it there, we can do it anywhere. It wasn’t easy. I set a record for vetoes. Had the first government shutdown in Minnesota’s history. Took one of the longest transit strikes in the country’s history to get public employee benefits under control. And, I cut spending in real terms for the first time in the history of my state. 

My friends, it’s time for the federal government to do the same. We should not raise the debt ceiling! We should pass a constitutional amendment to balance the budget! We should appoint judges who will not legislate from the bench. We must repeal Obamacare! And we must throw the ridiculous federal tax code overboard!

And let’s require, under penalty of perjury, every member of Congress to do their own tax returns without the help of a tax preparer, accountant or lawyer. Let them experience firsthand the mind-numbing, burdensome, frightening beast our tax system has become.

Do you remember the guy who ran in the NYC mayor's race who ran his entire campaign on a simple motto:  He said over and over: "The rent is too damn high". So here’s our simple motto: "The Government’s too damn big!"

Americans need jobs, not more government-forced anything. The private sector, not government, is the answer to job creation. We shouldn’t ask Washington D.C. how to create jobs. We should ask the people who actually provide the jobs!

Their answer is clear and simple and it’s this: “Reduce my costs and get government off my back” Ladies and gentlemen, America needs job growth, not government growth!

My friends, none of this is going to be easy.  If prosperity were easy, everybody around the world would be prosperous. If security were easy, everybody around the world would be secure. And if freedom were easy, everybody around the world would be free. They’re not.

It takes extraordinary effort. It takes extraordinary commitment. It takes extraordinary strength to stand up to those who oppose these principles. But we can do it.

Valley Forge wasn't easy. Settling the West wasn't easy. Winning World War II wasn’t easy. And Going to the moon wasn’t easy. This ain't about easy. This is about rolling up our sleeves, plowing forward, and getting the job done.

This is our guide. This is our Constitution. "We, the People of the United States" will rise up again. We will take back our government. This is our country.

Our Founding Fathers created it, Americans embraced it, Ronald Reagan personified it and Lincoln stood courageously to protect it. Now, as ever, "This nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom....” Our “government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth….” and America will remain the greatest country the world has ever known.

Thank you. God bless you. And God bless the United States of America!