Friday, February 12, 2010

The TEA Party Is The Most Powerful Organization In America And Getting More Powerful Every Day

The tea-party convention


The growing power of the tea-party movement will make it hard for Republican politicians to compromise with the president

Feb 11th 2010 | NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE | From The Economist print edition
MAKING a virtue of a necessity, Barack Obama has talked endlessly in recent weeks about the wonders of bipartisanship. He has to, now that the Republicans’ capture of Ted Kennedy’s old seat in the Senate last month has deprived the Democrats of the supermajority they were banking on in order to enact much of their legislative programme. Mr Obama has invited congressional leaders from both parties to a summit on health reform at the end of the month. And on February 9th he appealed for both sides to transcend “petty politics” and reach for compromise.
Will they? Democrats and Republicans pay lip service to bipartisanship all the time. But the Republicans have two good reasons not to heed the president’s plea right now. The first reason is that it suits them nicely to keep the Democrats in Congress floundering as November’s mid-term election approaches. The second reason is the tea-party movement.
A year ago this movement did not exist. Now it is by some accounts the most potent force in American politics. So when the “Tea Party Nation” began its first national convention in Nashville, Tennessee, on February 4th, Republicans paid particular attention. The event’s grand finale was a tirade against Barack Obama by the movement’s unofficial patron saint, Sarah Palin, who now says that she might run for president in 2012. But although the former governor and self-described “hockey mom” from Alaska captured the headlines, she was shrewd enough not to claim leadership of a movement that is suspicious of leaders. The bigger message to the Republicans from Nashville was this: whatever else they may or may not stand for, tea-partiers do not want to see Republicans making compromises in Washington.
Even after a long weekend of speeches and workshops in Nashville, the precise composition, aims and ideology of this movement remain hard to pin down. That is because the tea-party is precisely what its supporters say it is: not an artificial “Astroturf” creation of the Republican Party, but a genuine grassroots movement, highly decentralised and composed of many people who have not participated in politics before. They have no agreed platform and no unified national organisation: the Tea Party Nation is itself only one of many tea-party organisations that have sprung up spontaneously around America. These people are learning their trade, honing their tactics and defining their politics as they go along.
One thing that became clear in Nashville however was that the 600 or so solid conservative types, mostly middle-aged and many of them women, who shelled out $549 for a ticket to attend were not interested in minor modifications of Mr Obama’s health plan, budget or cap-and-trade legislation. As a name that harks back to the Boston Tea Party suggests, they see themselves as revolutionaries, or counter-revolutionaries. They want to “take back” an America which they say has been going wrong for generations as successive administrations have bloated the federal government and trampled on the constitution and the rights of states and individuals. Many of those attending said that Mr Obama’s election and big-spending, deficit-expanding first year had been a sort of negative epiphany. “Suddenly I’m awake,” said Kathleen Gotto from Colorado Springs, who had not previously been involved in politics.
Tom Tancredo, a former congressman and presidential candidate from Colorado, caught the mood and earned thunderous applause for thanking God that Mr Obama had defeated John McCain in 2008. Had Mr McCain won, America would have continued the long drift to the left that set in with Franklin Roosevelt. For decades, he said, Americans had been like the proverbial frog, boiling unawares by slow degrees in the cauldron of the nanny state. But when voters who could “not even spell the word ‘vote’ or say it in English” put that “socialist ideologue”, Barack Hussein (Mr Tancredo’s emphasis) Obama, into the White House, he turned the heat up so high that voters at last woke up to what was happening and started to jump out of the cauldron.
If the tea-party movement confined itself to venting steam in speeches, it might not present such a potent challenge to established politics. But it can mobilise big numbers: tens of thousands of supporters (tea-partiers claim a million or so) rallied in Washington, DC, last September. And now it is moving beyond rallies to a hard focus on elections. Much of the Nashville event was devoted to teaching the fired-up newbies practical skills, such as using Facebook and Twitter to spread the word, raise money and get out the vote so that “true conservatives” could challenge Democrats and RINOs (Republicans In Name Only) in local elections and primaries.
The organisers promised to set up a political action committee to recruit and support candidates who would champion fiscal responsibility, lower taxes, smaller government and national security. Tea-partiers have already claimed scalps. They forced a moderate Republican out of the race for New York’s 23rd congressional district last year (though the perverse result was that this allowed a Democrat to win in a normally safe Republican seat), and claim the credit for electing Scott Brown last month in Massachusetts.
Plainly, any congressional Republican tempted to betray the counter-revolution by heeding Mr Obama’s calls for compromise would be a prime target for attack. But if it is dangerous for Republicans to antagonise the tea-partiers, is it also dangerous to flirt with them?
For all the talk about practical electioneering, some of those in Nashville teetered on the edge of the extreme and wacky. Thus the newly awakened Ms Gotto said she was researching Mr Obama’s family records for evidence that he was not eligible to be president. Mr Tancredo denounced the “cult of multiculturalism” and accused immigrants of swamping America’s Judeo-Christian values. “This is our country,” he declared to wild cheers, “Take it back!” Andrew Breitbart, the founder of a news site (, railed in a speech against the hostile “mainstream media” in hock to the far left. At one point he had almost the entire audience on its feet, turned to the reporters and cameramen at the back of the room, pumping fists and yelling “USA, USA”.
Such displays may fire up angry conservatives, but they are also in danger of repelling voters in the centre. Republicans ignore tea-partiers at their peril. Embracing them may be no less dangerous.


  1. Here is one reason that the common American is getting angry:

    February 11, 2010 06:40 AM EST by John Stossel

    Forced Unionization

    Michelle Berry runs a day-care business out of her home in Flint, MI. She thought that she owned her own business, but Berry's been told she is now a government employee and union member. It's not voluntary. Suddenly, Berry and 40,000 other Michigan private day-care providers have learned that union dues are being taken out of the child-care subsidies the state sends them. The "union" is a creation of AFSCME, the government workers union, and the United Auto Workers.

    This racket means big money to AFSCME, which runs the union, writes the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, a free-market think tank.

    Today the Department of Human Services siphons about $3.7 million in annual dues to the union….

    The money should be going to home-based day-care providers — themselves not on the high end of the income scale. Ms. Berry now sees money once paid to her go to a union that does little for her…
    Patrick Wright, a lawyer for the Macknac Center, says the union was forced on the women after a certification election conducted by mail in which only 6,000 day-care providers out of 40,000 voted. Wright told me his clients, like Berry, say they were "shocked" to learn they were suddenly in a union.

    They want nothing to do with the union. One of my clients has said, “Look, this is my home, I’m both labor and management here.” They’ve wanted nothing to do with this union and don’t think that it has any purpose besides than to siphon money away from them.
    Michigan isn't the only state funding unions this way.

    Fourteen states have now enabled home-based day-care providers to be organized into public-employee unions, affecting about 233,000 people.

    Mackinac sued Michigan on behalf of the day-care owners, but the case was dismissed. They have appealed. Neither Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm, the Department of Human Services, nor the union would talk to me about this. Last month, Michigan Rep. Justin Amash proposed a law that would end "stealth" unionization of private entrepreneurs.

    Read more:

  2. Wow, I can't wait for the Tea baggers to start funding and fielding their own candidates. I honestly wish you luck with that venture.

  3. John,

    Unions are a HUGE problem. But what most do not realize is that they are most problematic in the government itself. This is where I most disagree with JFK. Why in the hell should we as taxpayers pay unions to do our bidding? I am not talking negotiation here. This and lobbying needs to cease and desist NOW!

    Private unions ok (I still have a problem there) but PUBLIC? NO! DISBAND ALL !

  4. Bruce,

    It seems as though your ilk cannot stop the tsunami that is going to clean our shores.

    Tea Party menbers are Americans unlike you.

    They stand for the themselves, their families and the country. You might want to REALLY pay attention.

    These Americans consist of all groups your ilk like to separate;
    Male ,female,black,white,dem,rep,ind.,religioue,non-regigious,gay,straight,asian,spanish,ENGLISH,military,students,politcians,,,etc..Time to get on-board.

  5. Absolutely agree with you there Christopher. Check out this article, through which I found the Stossel piece:

    Much more in depth piece.

    The only way we're going to get lobbying out of Washington is removing the politician's power over those things that the lobbyists want to affect. No power, no reason to buy their votes and influence. That's my opinion.

  6. FAILk, will you be joining us for our protest of Obummer having those secret prisons in Afghanistan? And for invasion of privacy by tracking anyone he wants through their cell phones? And for having KSM tried in front of a military commission? Let me know if you want to save money/dirty coal-generated electricity and we can ride together! BWAAAAHAHAHAHA

  7. One answer,,AMERICANS are the one and only,justiably,lawfully,Constitutionally LOBBYISTS,,,PERIOD.

  8. The unions have more power then the teabaggers. It is the unions like the UAW that have made our government what it is today. Thank you. I am a union member just like Christopher,JoeC and Bruce. So when Christopher has no union money coming in he will be the biggest bitch of them all. Christopher does nothing all day but play on everyones blog. What a good father he is. He collects money from the UAW without having to work for it and then badmouths them with his freed time. That puts you at the top of the list of a--holes. Christopher if you hate the unions so much then why do you cash their checks? Back off of the unions. If it wasn't for the unions none of you would be in the middle class. The reason you people hate the unions so much is because they pay blacks and women the same. Racist crackers!

  9. Jay-Ney Unions Have made this Country What is Is Today with The HELP Of Politicans and REST Assured Tea Baggers Will FIX It!

  10. Bruce Where the Heck YOU Been,In the BAT Cave?

    Find One of Your Progressive Politicans and ASK Them What They Think of the TEA PARTY NOW and Then Ask Them in November When They Will Have More Time to Ponder Their LOSSES.

    If the LEFT Thinks as YOU DO That Is Good, BUT Tea Party Will Keep UP With the TRUTH,and Bruce Thats Whats Going to Make November REALLY LOUSY for Ya!

  11. Al, my poor deluded friend. I hope the Tea party fields candidates all over the country. Heck, apparently the tea baggers are even denouncing Sarah Palin now.

    You only need look at NY 23 to see what will happen when you run your own candidates or make Republicans take the tea party pledge.

    Party on, dude.

  12. ROFLMAO ... NY 23. Keep ignoring Virginia, NJ, Massachusetts ... for NY 23, a race where the RINO pulled out at the last minute and then supported the Hypocrat, BWAAAAHAHAHAHA ... FAILk, you are ALWAYS good for a laugh! And the true conservative STILL almost won!

    Don't you remember Massachusetts FAILk? When the Republican took over Teddy Kennedy's old seat in the bluest of the blue states? I'm sure that's exactly what the Hypocrats wanted ... why did they even bother running a Hypocrat candidate, when they could have just supported the Republican?!!?

  13. John, that seat had been Republican for over 100 years. I agree, it would seem it wasn't worth running a Democrat. Thanks to the Tea party a Democrat did take a seat that was in Republican hands for a century.

    Way to go!!!!

    Massachusetts was a completely different matter.

    Martha Coakley should have won that seat. She took it for granted, went on vacation and did about one-third the events of Scott Brown.

    It did teach Democrats a lesson, though, so for that we are grateful.

  14. Jan-ney,

    How can you be so ignorant?

    Unions do not pay me , a PRIVATE COMPANY does.Unions TAKE MONEY.

    If you choose to participate in blogging great,but please try to attain some knowledge before doing so.

  15. Bruce I Look at the Tea Party as Patriots Doing There Duty as Citizens and You Look at the Progressives Agenda as The "Left Way "to Go! Bruce Quite Simply You Under Estimate Citizens Who in a Large Majority Favor Small and Controlled Government! YOU Have Picked the WRONG Horse in a TWO Horse Race!

    Did Miss You on the BLOGS Regarding Nobama Once Again Appearing to Mimic Bush in Many Ways!

  16. if they were that powerful my father would be president...

  17. Al,
    I think they are more like parrots who just squack back the talking points.

  18. Once Again JoeC Are You Talking About Tea Party or Demoncratic Party! You Got Overbite and MadCow and that Should Fill your Plate!

    How Are Overbite and MadCow Helping Demoncratic Politicans get ELECTED,Never Mind ANOTHER Talking POINT! Gotta LUV It!

  19. If only Puggles ran the world! BTW, Mr. Puggle loves Japan too.


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