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Advice to Tea Parties

June 23, 2010

Things are getting tough.

In the last week the Northern Colorado Tea Party was criticized for inviting then dis-inviting Representative Steve King from Iowa to speak at their “Remember November” event. Some remarks he made  just a few days before made him too hot a property from them and for the campaign of Republican Cory Gardner. I heard him speak at the Elbert County Tea Party and I think he was great. Regardless, the NoCo Tea Party had a great event and have done a lot of good–and will continue to.

A rookie mistake? I think so, but I could be wrong. It may well have been the right thing to do. The point is that the Tea Party movement is not a unified movement and not a political party. It’s leaders are all volunteers. We’re learning as we go. I know the people who invited King to speak and those who declined. They are all good, honest people of integrity. They don’t agree on all things.

That’s because we are conservatives of every stripe as well as libertarians, disaffected Democrats, unaffiliated and even unregistered. Many if not most of us are active in the political process for the first time. What unites us is a love of country, its founding documents and the Founders themselves. At least, that’s my perception based on all the people I talk to and interact with.

Lockstep belief and action are for the leftists–we’re individualists willing to work together for common goals. Those are–minimally–fiscal conservatism, limited Constitutional government, and free markets.

We get lots of advice both from within and outside of the movement. Rep. Mike Pence recently said morality should be added to the list. Others lobby for issues like gun rights, pro-life, and legal immigration. In my view those issues become clear when measured against the three principles. There is ample room for divergent opinion.

Things are going to get tougher.

The Democrats are setting up fake tea parties and trying to paint the tea parties as extremists; establishment Republicans aren’t going down without a fight. Sen DeMint reports dirty tricks being played against Utah grassroots favorite Mike Lee. We’ve only seen the beginning. Politics, it is said, is a contact sport. In a variation on Aristotle, I say that politics is the price we pay for living with other people. Gandhi is reported to have said

First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.

I think we’ve been through the first two stages and we’re in the third. Here’s my advice to advance to the fourth stage: Keep the faith. Know who your friends are. Don’t make enemies unnecessarily. Have a servant heart.

Be as wise as serpents and as innocent as doves.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Mike B permalink
    June 23, 2010 3:54 pm

    The TEA Party should stick to what it started with: Limited government and fiscal responsibility. When you bring everything else in the movement gets splintered and loses momentum. Sure social issues are great but they aren’t going to win us any elections this year. Social issues are waaaay to divisive. Even the TEA Party can’t keep themselves from ripping each others heads off over this stuff. Remember, the bad guy is the one in blue on the other side of the isle. The one thing that scares me most about the TEA Party is that I am afraid that all of these folks wont get behind the eventual Republican nominee because they don’t agree with that candidate 100%. We can’t forget, if we end up splitting the vote by either not voting or writing in or even voting for a “third party” long shot we will elect somebody that we don’t agree with on anything. 80% is better than 0.

  2. June 23, 2010 7:49 pm

    I’m all in favor of the 80/20 rule: if we gt 80% of what we want this time, we’ll be in good shape.

  3. June 23, 2010 7:53 pm

    Al,
    Good as always.

    Mike,
    You’re right, but if the GOP candidate isn’t any better that the one “on the other side of the isle” it will not be an automatic vote just for the “R”. I’m with Senator DeMint when he says, “If you don’t stand for anything, what’s the point of winning?” McCain will win in AZ becuase JD has turned out not to be what he said he was. Thats bad for AZ and for the rest of us becuase trhe Progressive will win. The next step is to field “our” candidates.

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