By Grace Cangemi
Let me begin by saying that I have the utmost respect for the Tea Party. The dedication, patriotism, and spirit that Tea Party members bring to the table is nothing short of remarkable. Not only do members tend to be well-informed and articulate, most of the tea partiers that I’ve met bring their passion to bear by showing up and making their voices heard. They have certainly brought a new energy and a powerful voice to the conservative movement. I applaud their efforts and recognize their successes.
Here in Monmouth County, Phoney Palloney and Rush’n’Hide Holt can hardly open their mouths without some Tea Party folks showing up to give them the hell they deserve
For those of us who have had to watch to folks like Pallone and Holt dodge constituents, dance around questions, and fail us at every turn, the frustration can be explosive. Let’s face it – it’s the frustration born of being ignored and mistreated that helped spur the Tea Party on.
And here’s where the problem comes in. Lots of us who are active in politics have had occasion to meet our Congressmen, talk with our Lt. Governor, shake hands with the Governor. For a majority of citizens, though, these are just people on the news, and a chance to meet them is exciting.
The media has given the Tea Party a bad rap, and, in many cases, it’s worked. At Rush Holt’s “press conference” on Monday, the appearance of “those Tea Party people” made some of the seniors nervous – concerned about rowdy behavior they’ve been told to expect and about missing their chance to talk to a real live Congressman.
The “press conference” was hosted by a homeowner’s association and it was their right to put their members first. Of course, the rest of us are frustrated – we can’t get Rush’n’Hide to come out and talk to us, and so we’re chasing him to secret “press conferences” at senior citizen complexes. But the fact is, all of us, tea partiers and otherwise, were guests. When met with seniors who were obviously disturbed by the potential for the rowdy, angry Tea Partiers that the media warned them about, the best thing the Tea Partiers could have done to win folks over was to behave like guests. Agitating them doesn’t help the cause. Sometimes, there are better ways to vent frustration and let the truth come out. In a situation like yesterday’s, here’s my suggestion:
Really. Trust them. Because if you give them a chance to speak, they will assuredly, sooner or later, say something stupid.
Yesterday was no exception.
Holt had no good answers and the more he talked, the more ridiculous he sounded. Yes, he was dodging questions, as usual, but this would have been far more obvious if he hadn’t been shouted down at the start of every sentence. Everybody likes an underdog and when fifty people are in a room and twenty of them are yelling at the speaker, some of those other folks are going to feel sorry for him. Don’t let anybody feel bad for Rush Holt. Keep asking the hard questions and he will continue to say stupid things like “Well, of course, this legislation is compromised,” and ”I can’t promise you that this will work.”
Rush Holt brought Marilyn Askin, the former president of the AARP with him. Let her talk.
He was standing next to a woman who said, “We fought tirelessly for health care reform, even though a lot of our older members didn’t want it.”
The seniors attending the “press conference” were her older members. Let her talk about how much she loves health care reform. Rush’n’Hide doesn’t want anyone around him talking about health care – he knows it could hurt him in November. So let her talk and watch him squirm.
The bottom line is, Tea Partiers know that Holt and Pallone, on those rare occasions when they show up, are not going to be forthcoming. They are going to do whatever they can to advance their liberal agenda. They’re never going to ‘fess up, so there are some times when perhaps Tea Partiers should let them show who they really are. In a very small setting like yesterday’s, a civil tone from a bunch of Tea Partiers would have gotten much more positive attention from that group of seniors.
At rallies, at public events, at Town Halls have at it. Give ‘em hell loud and clear. The Tea Party has these folks on the run and should keep chasing them. But when they’ve got a chance to convert a small group of people over to your cause, don’t let frustration with people like Holt and Pallone overcome the chance to bring a few more people into the fold.
And sometimes, trust liberals. Sooner or later they’re going to give you one:
“This is a big F&^&n’ deal,” Vice President Joe Biden
“God bless the America we are trying to create,” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
“I’ve now been in 57 states I think…one left to go,” our Commander-in-Chief
Shout’em down when you must, but realize, a talking liberal is a liberal on the verge of saying something we can hit him with for a long time.