" Conservatism is betrayed when it becomes the private property of a narrow economic or social minority... True Conservatism... was shouldered out of the way by moneyed groups that draped narrow interests in the finery of enduring principles... showing little understanding of its stewardship or preserving function.... only a grab bag of fetishes and stereotypes... the 'right' had muffed its big chance..." James MacGregor Burns. Author, " Roosevelt, The Lion and The Fox."
I was part of an interesting conversation the other day while attending the Columbus Day parade in Southborough Mass. I had been invited by a good friend who is working on the Question 1 Ballot Initiative, Vote Yes on 1, Stop the Automatic Gasoline Tax. The President of The Worcester Tea Party, Matt O'Brien was there and we engaged in a conversation which I thought I would share.
As another election season winds down and the political casualties are counted on the field many Conservatives are beginning to wonder about the ability to take back our country through the election process. We are getting tired of losing. There seems to be insurmountable obstacles placed in our way by both Republicans and Democrats. This season more than the last three reveals a concerted effort from both parties and government itself to unravel the Liberty Movement. No longer is it a case of battling Liberalism but rather the entire apparatus of the political system and process itself; Well oiled campaigns and candidates hell bent on preserving the status quo and maligning any attempts (by the citizens) to return the reigns of power back to the citizens themselves.
In one part of the conversation Matt mentioned that many of us are caught up in fighting for (or against) causes and edicts handed down from on high, candidates and /or incumbents (for or against). While this is a good thing on the whole the Liberty Movement suffers from fatigue due to the scope and magnitude of the issues and officials. It seems almost every week some new front is opened up somewhere and what ends up happening is we scramble to meet that threat. As Matt said, ".. The scope becomes broad but not deep."
I couldn't agree more. In fact, I had suggested that perhaps this is intentional. After all we are living under the Alinsky/ Cloward-Piven model to 'overwhelm the system.'
Matt tabled the idea that we adopt a policy of 'best practices' and begin to focus on the larger picture and better organize the various Tea Parties. Combine our forces, combine the various causes under some sort of cohesion. This has proven difficult from our experience in past conference style meetings. I had attended one such meeting last year where we worked to develop what I called 'A Blueprint For Engagement'. The link to that blog posting is here:
It was a great idea! It was a perfect plan! Unfortunately very little ever came of it. Matt described to me one time where he sat for twelve hours at one 'conference' style meeting and he suggested they all meet again in 100 days to lay out a platform of some sort to be debated and adopted. No one showed up after the 100 days.
As JM Burns said, ".. the right had muffed its big chance."
While we can look at the 25% of votes gained by Mark Fisher as a 'win' in so far as nobody expected THAT big a turn out. I, for one, am not satisfied with nothing less than total victory. It is the same for the Tea Party in my book.
It is vitally important that we band the TP groups together. The opposition has us running around putting out brush fires while the forest burns down around us. The 'loose affiliation' that defined us at our birth must now be outgrown at some point. The opposition is betting on that not happening. They are betting on us remaining loosely affiliated for it will allow them to continue to fracture the organization and pit one area TP against another. While TP 'A' in one town supports a particular candidate or cause, TP 'B' the next town over supports some one else or something else. We already see this in how politicians and PAC's are forming Tea Party caucuses and special interest groups that operate above and beyond the interests of the local chapters.
Enter Reed Chambers Jr. from Nebraska;
Reed is a future guest on the M&P2012 Show and he has developed and implemented a successful way to organize TP groups across his state. The neighboring state of Oklahoma is working to do the same thing under his model. He is also beginning to coordinate on a national level. What Reed calls for is that we organize as a political movement and develop platforms that are to be adopted on a County level first, State level second and then a national level. Mr. Chambers has a long history of working in political groups. He was a Selectman for his town and has been in the tax business since he was a teenager. His family started their business over 75 years ago. Mr. Chambers has seen time and time again the one fly in the ointment of TP's when it comes to filing their tax exempt status.
Essentially, they are all filing under the wrong code.
TP's should not be filing under their current 501 status. 501's are specifically designed for 'educational' or 'social awareness' causes. This is possibly why the IRS was so hot on our trail after the 2010 elections. In 2010 TP's scored major wins from local town committees to Congressional seats. Doesn't sound like an 'educational' or 'social awareness' group to me does it? 501's also limit the ability of a TP group to lobby, raise funds, officially back candidates, or front one themselves. It limits our ability to openly advertise as a political group and to directly engage a candidate in order to defeat them. This is what the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth were able to do in helping to derail the Kerry campaign in 2004 because they filed, under what Reed called a 527 political organization. They were ABLE to do everything I just listed above. This will empower the TP to work off a central platform and directly engage in the election process.
Now, this might not sit well with some TP groups who wish to not back a candidate. I understand. What if the TP backs a candidate and that (then elected) candidate persues their own political agenda? Reed has an answer for that.
We put up our OWN candidate.
One of the lynch pins of putting together the conferences is that platforms are adopted. We then send those platforms to seated Legislators and candidate hopefuls and (quite simply) ask them if they will adopt these platforms as part of their agenda. If they do not then the TP Conference puts up their own candidate who WILL run on those platforms. Since all the TP's are now 527's they can raise money, file papers for the campaign, run advertisements, get their candidate on the ballot and directly affect the outcome in November. It makes the TP a power player without compromising the founding principles that define the organization: Limited Government, Unapologetic American Soveriegnty and Constitutional Originalism. Considering that virtually every city and town in America has some sort of TP group the possiblities are unimaginable.
Interestingly enough this might explain the constant media/ governmental drumbeat to denounce the TP. They know that if this were to happen then it would signal the end of Liberalism and Big Government in America. They have to continue to fracture the organization. For imagine the impact of the 200+ TP groups in Massachusetts alone all filed as 527's and financing their own candidate for Governor.
It is important to stand up for something and if you do not then sit down. It is important that we begin the process of turning the TP into a mass movement that is well funded, sustainable and carries clout. I wrote in another past blog about NOI The New Organizing Institute. These are some scary characters who are organized, filed as a 527 and actively backing Democratic, Socialist, Progressive causes and candidates. They are actively recruiting people. I signed up under a dummy account while researching for the blog post. I get e-mails and web alerts every week from them. Here is the link to that posting:
In 2009 the Tea Party was born and by the following year elections were being decided as a result of the awakening in America. I remember the rallies in 09 and 10, even Glenn Beck with his 9/12 project, the mall in DC was packed with hundreds of thousands of people each and every rally. By 2012 that pendulum had swung back as the movement floundered. This was also the time when the IRS began its targeting of TP groups. In 2013 when I attended the Defund Obamacare rally in October we were lucky to fill the Capitol Hill lawn with a few thousand people. The co-opting of the movment by PAC's and the stack of election losses in 2012 began to affect the movement. The members responded by pulling out.
Noted British Psychiatrist RD Laing wrote in his 1967 book, "The Politics of Experience";
" No group can be expected to be held together for long on the pure flame of such unified experience... Groups are liable to disapear through attacks from other groups... But, the simplest and perrenial threat to all groups comes from the simple defection of its members... the danger of evaporation.."
The press is watching us and so is the opposition. They see the dwindling numbers and know their tactic is working. They see their policy of divide and conquer creating results. The 'loose affiliation' that was once our strength is now our Achilles heel. Before we could not be pigeonholed on a particular issue or candidate. Now, people are asking. " Well then, what DO you stand for? Who DO you support?" Because our committment is very broad but not very deep we are being ".. shouldered out of the way.." as author JM Burns wrote. We cannot sustain on the "pure flame" of our cause or we will face the danger of complete evaporation.
....And That Is The Diatribe....