Sunday, May 23, 2010

Tea Party Folks Feeling Their Oats, Risking Backlash

Apparently emboldened by successes elsewhere in the country they had nothing to do with and by some favorable press coverage, the Bayshore Tea Party Group is attempting to throw weight around that they haven't earned yet.

The members of this group that I have met are passionate, energetic and committed. There is no question that they are a force to be respected and admired. The candidates they are backing are thus far fortunate.

However, there is also an underlying angry intolerance for differences of opinion, or failure to tow their "party line", that reeks of the bossism that they profess to disdain in the Democratic and Republican parties.

There is a great deal to be angry about in American today. Much of the Tea Party efforts are driven by that anger. But, if they come on too strong, they risk a backlash from people who are inclined to vote their way.

Last week when I saw one of their members get in the face of a businessman who had something nice to say about Diane Gooch, I thought it was odd. The last couple of days reading and responding to the comments in the David Corsi Interview post, I appreciated the passion and support of their guy. When I met some of those same people face to face today, I thought it was refreshing that they would confront and debate me, when they finally let me get a word in. That's better than the dirty looks and snarky comments that I sometimes get at GOP events.

But when I heard from an local elected official who has been supportive of the group that they are threatening to withdraw promised reciprocal support unless he succumbs to their demands for an endorsement of one of their candidates, the earlier events appeared in a different light.

Populist bossism is still bossism. Making threats to the friendlies is an odd strategy. I hope these folks can harness their anger and make an ongoing lasting difference. A lasting difference is needed.

If it is all anger and threats, they will either burnout or self destruct.


Mark said...

Like all movements, the Tea Parties have a mixture of personalities. We have managed to meld them together into cohesive units. In this area of New Jersey three groups cooperate, exchange ideas and work toward common goals with both the leadership and grassroots rank and file. Some of us are more passionate than others, others show restraint while others are directing a Machiavellian chessgame. All of them are needed in this struggle to preserve our American Republic so please do not paint the entire Bayshore Tea Party (one of the 3 cooperating groups) with one brush of one color. You have not delved deeply enough into the groups to understand our dynamics. We hope you do.

Anonymous said...

One more thing - when you say we had nothing to do with other victories in other states, I beg to differ. Tea Party groups across the nation donated through "money bombs" and passing websites of Tea Party Candidates. We all help each other nationally. Some of our group went to Mass. to help with Scott Browns campaign. Anyway, we can handle a little criticism amongst friends.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, my first post didn't show up. I probably didn't hit the submit.
What it said was that it was nice meeting you in person today and I can't wait until you write that really great article about us after the Tea Party candidates win. They will win, but even if they didn't we would not feel defeated. We will have stuck to our principles which is something our current politicians should practice more of. Okay, so you called us "bossy" and thats cool. I guess we got tired of being walked all over by our government officials. It it comes across as bossy, thats okay. Hope to chat with you again soon. Maybe at our victory party?? : )

Anonymous said...

Scott Brown was promising ... now a promising disaster.

Anonymous said...

The tea party is overblown as a political operation, getting far too much credit for electoral successes and defeats. It is a group principally made of traditional Republican voters, with few exceptions, that has just engaged under a lose conglomeration, but it is not a separate party organization, and will fail to deliver on election day. Scott Brown didn't win because of the tea party and whats his name in NY23 didn't lose because of the tea party, just as Rand Paul didn't win because of the tea party and the GOP didn't lose the special in PA due to the tea party. Anyone that followed these races knows the individual candidates and overall political environment is to account for these wins/loses. These self-proclaimed leaders, while making a lot of noise, have no organized following and do not understand the political processes, especially the arcane ones in New Jersey, and will not overcome the GOP party lines and endorsements in the absence of any remarkable candidates like Bret Schundler in early 2001 or resources to tow their line. See: Mike Halfacre who has come back to the reservation after a brief flirtation and likely realization that these tea parties are burning bright but fast. Those Republicans who continue to affiliate with this/these groups who can't even get on the same page themselves, will end-up even further outside of the Republican party apparatus that will endure over time along with our two party system. The tea party has no quality candidates--only those who were rejected by the GOP or other sacrificial lambs going to slaughter. I hope they enjoy their 15 more minutes of fame while it lasts the next two weeks.

Tom said...

The Tea Party groups are a loose confederation of like minded individuals who are seriously concerned about the future of our country, based upon the current direction of the Obama administration. Quite frankly, as one who has been in the trenches for many years, Republican politicians must share in the blame. Too many became "RINO"s, and abandoned their core principles when sent to Washington.

Yes, it sometimes is necessary to "compromise", but never, ever on your core principles.

The US Constitution must be the framework within which we work; congressional actions which stretch the very limits of our time tested Constitution must be reversed.

Let us never forget two axioms - "That government which governs least, governs best." and "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing!".

That being said, yes, the Tea Party groups, through their political actions, are sometimes misdirected at friends rather than at enemies.

What they need to do is to sit down with candidates (from both major parties) before they endorse or run candidates in primaries against them. They make a mistake by running candidates against those who are probably even more conservative than they are. Theirs is a relatively young movement in a learning mode.

Unfortunately, New Jersey is unlike New York State, where a third party (like the NY Conservative Party, which was formed to fight Rockefeller liberal Republicans)could endorse a conservative Republican or democrat candidate. That, over a period of time, tended to move the Republicans slightly to the right.

My hope for the Tea Party groups is that they learn fast to fight the real enemy of this country - liberal despotism. Runaway spending, soaring taxes, restricted freedom are only the natural symptoms of this disease. Fighting each other is not only a waste of time and resources, but will allow the real enemies of our Constitution to succeed.


Anonymous said...

excellent points, Tom! me, ANYone helping to get rid of arrogant, self-agendized, lib elitists, ( am being kind, it's only Monday)works for me!

Anonymous said...

Agree with Tom. As I see it, the worst thing the Tea Party can do is to look for reasons to exile people who are of like mind. Remember, there is strength in numbers and the idea is to grow those numbers, not shrink them.

TR said...

The Tea partys have engaged people in politics who felt they where not being heard.They are injecting new blood and energizing the process. They are pushing the Republican Party to the right and they are having an influence on many political races. They are a strong counter to those who advocate for more government and they arose because Republicans had ceased acting as that counter. They lean towards the Republicans because they realize many disaffected republicans are also unhappy with the failures of their party over the last 10 to 12 years and are therefore their allies. (smart strategy)
While their impact on the political Paries will last a decade or more the movement itself will die out soon after the 2012 elections.
This article points to one of the reasons why. There are too many internal contradictions within the movement. After you get past the small government issue their are too many ideological differences and the party will not be able to reconcile them because it is full of peopel who will not bend. I am not passing judgment just stating a fact. The second reason will be the fringe factor. Their are a minority of tea party people who are nuts. There is also a minority who are in the movement for their own aggrandizement and will eventually betray the movement.
(much like what happened when many conservative republicans betrayed their fellow conservative by falling prey to the usual collection of Human weaknesses).
However I think that before that happens they will have moved this country back to right of center and will have hopefully shrunk the size of government. At least that is my fervent hope.

Anonymous said...

Art, do you see how bizarre this is getting? You are a major supporter of one tea party candidate, but the minute you tell the less than flattering truth about another one of their candidates, they are ready to throw you off a cliff. Does anyone think that's a practical way to attract and keep people that they need to keep growing? Very immature and self-defeating. If anything, that stuff will only make people who share their ideas question their judgment - and their endorsements.