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Saturday, February 28, 2009

What Do the Tea Parties Want to Accomplish

In response to a Hot Air story, a reader asked this cynical question.

In reality, though. These tea parties are pointless. They have no direction. What do they want to accomplish with them?”

That is a cynical question but it is a fair one. The Tea Party movement in many ways is no different than any budding grassroots movement. It's goals are to mobilize, to demand change, and then with mobilizing power to demand politicians that live up to the ideal of these ideas.

The ideas of the movement are simple concepts that have gone out of political style. They are the ideals of fiscal conservatism, smaller government, lower taxes, and less government intervention.

It's a movement that was fueled by the now famous Rick Santelli rant. In my opinion, its apex is not the stimulus bill or even the election of President Obama. Instead, its apex is the mortgage bailout. There was a visceral reaction to the idea that responsible people should be on the hook to bailout those that are irresponsible. So, this movement has one of the most important elements of any successful grassroots movements: raw emotion.

In the beginning, the key to the movement is to grow. On Friday, the tea parties numbered several hundred in each city. Here is how Eric Odom, who was instrumental in organizing the one here, put it.

While some in the media are trying to belittle the Tea Party events that happened today, they seemed to have missed the part where we only spent a week in planning, and only 3 days ago many of us were wondering if anyone would even show up!

In other words, it's a start, but it's only a start. The movement got a fair amount of coverage on local news broadcasts where the parties were held. It received some national media and Rush just mentioned in the parties in his speech to CPAC. From here, it must grow exponentially.

That's where the wonders of media and modern technology come in. The movement is already on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media sites. In fact, the movement itself is starting its own site. So, to answer the cynics, the key to the movement in the short term is to grow. The key in the short term is to organize many more tea parties and see thousands at them rather than hundreds. The next round of nationwide coordinated rallies is set for April 15th. (for obvious reasons) If we see thousands at the next set of rallies, the nation will know it is serious.

Once the movement is mobilized it will have power and reach to demand action. The movement will back and support only those politicians that have a philosophy congruent with it: fiscal conservatism, small government, low taxes, and less intervention. Here in Illinois its natural political leader is Tony Peraica. He was the only politician to speak at the rally in Chicago. Here is how Peraica described the absence of other pols.

I mean, there were 400 grassroots activisits … TV news cameras … what could’ve kept the politicians away?

Could it have been the message of lower taxes and limited government? But wouldn’t that message have been a no-brainer for at least a Republican elected official?

Here in the Chicagoland area there is not only an apathy toward bloated and corrupt government, but also, there is an assumption that things won't change. This movement has an opportunity to change all that. As the movement grows locally, it will demand more politicians like Peraica. Of course, Peraica will be the main beneficiary of its movement locally.

In fact, don't be surprised if many of the local organizing leaders run for some sort of office themselves. As it evolves, it will take on a life of its own. It will, however, be built on mobilization, unity of principle, and will use those two in order to change the political process.


gabjoh said...

I'm saving this link for a year from now, when we've all seen nothing continue to happen with these Tea Parties.

mike volpe said...

Save it for ten years. I predicted this would happen in the summer with this piece, my most viewed piece by far,

Before President Obama was even President, I predicted that loan mods would turn into a class war and now it is happening. There were those then that ridiculed my assertion as ridiculous and they have already been proven wrong.

If you think that Americans will sit by while the country spends with no end, while bad behavior is rewarded, and while an economic crisis is used as an excuse for social engineering, you are out of your mind.

Ted said...



Anonymous said...

He might be less popular with your "tea party" friends. But...

..judging my any poll so far, Obama is FAR more popular in his handling of the economic crisis than Republicans with Americans as a whole

So your "prediction" might be nonsense. I don't think you don't know anything more than anyone else and no more qualified to speak with authority than anyone else.

As Republicans continue to obstruct and offer nothing else other than tax cuts for the rich and spending cuts on essential services such as education and health, they will continue to slide in popularity.

Obama brilliant oratory, mass-appeal, perceived empathy and political skills will continue to bury the Republicans.

When Republicans can actually get a leader with a brain and charisma and sound ideas they dont just come across and benefiting the upper class at the expense of the lower class, they might be more popular.

The lies just aren't working anymore.

Anonymous said...

"Class war" is a gross, gross exaggeration.

There are pockets of people annoyed that they being arent being bailed out.

But the majority recognize the fortunes of, the albeit irresponsible borrowers, and theirs are intertwined with the economy. Coupled with the administrations attempt, albeit very imperfect, to make distinction between responsible and irresponsible, this shall pass.

Anyone with half a brain could see this discontent coming. Humans are very predictable. Your attempt to look like Nostradamus just shows the size of your ego.

mike volpe said...

First of all, who cares what polls say? No President is unpopular a month into his Presidency. Bush was just as popular and frankly every President was as well.

In fact, that the Tea Parties are starting early shows just how controversial his policies are. Such a direct threat and challenge to the President, organized and from the grass roots, usually doesn't happen so early in any Presidency.

As for the second person, first, I wrote about about the ridiculous notion that these people need to be bailed out "for the sake of the economy" as well.

In fact, I hav long challenged the notion that this is necessary for the economy since it was proposed even by John McCain.

This has nothing to do with ego. It has everything to do with seeing raw visceral reactions to something that people simply don't agree with. Paying for someone's else's bill doesn't work, and it is isn't something that anyone who's paid their bills on time will ever stand for.

Anonymous said...

Well Mike, the tea parties have been mentioned in the New York Times!!!

Hold on a second...that isnt right???

"G.O.P. pseudopopulism ran riot last week as right-wing troops rallied around their latest Joe the Plumber: Rick Santelli, the ranting CNBC foe of Obama’s mortgage rescue program. Ann Coulter proposed a Santelli run for president, and Twitterers organized national “tea parties” to fuel his taxpayers’ revolt. Even with a boost from NBC, whose networks seized a promotional opening by incessantly recycling the Santelli “controversy,” the bonfire fizzled. It did so because — as last week’s polls also revealed — the mortgage bailout, with a 60-plus percent approval rating, is nearly as popular as Obama."

mike volpe said...

Yes, I'm stunned that Frank Rich is against the tea parties. Rich isolates one poll. Who cares?

The key is not polls, but intensity. Polls don't measure intensity. Polls on this issue, like most issues, are all over the place. Yet, you aren't going to find too many people that are passionately in support of the bailout, the stimulus,etc. The only reason that any of them have any popularity is because of the Presideant's popularity.

The fact is that the support for most of Obama's policies is lukewarm. The opposition to it has lots of passion.

JGillman said...

I was at the Lansing tea party.

There were 300 men women and children who showed, even in the face of windy, cold weather. Most of these folks have jobs they took time off from, distances they had to travel (I traveled 200 miles each way)for an hour of gathering.

This was pulled together by a GM retiree and a school board member in three days.

The commonality for all who attended was pretty clear.. We merely want government to get its hands off what we have and are working so very hard for. It has no business taking from one to give to another,to "equalize" or share results.

These folks who showed will do so again in a heartbeat.

BTW, we also had a failure of any politicians wishing to speak. Some of them may well be asked to join in the future events. If they decline it will be noted.

Anonymous said...

Mike, does it bother you when people keep bringing up the allegation that Obama isn't a natural born citizen? It just doesn't make sense. All it means to be a natural born citizen is that you were born an American. In that respect, even if Obama's Hawaii birth certificate isn't real, that doesn't change the fact that his mom was American. As long as that's the case he could be born on Mars and still be considered natural born.

mike volpe said...

I think you aren't right about citizenship. He would have to be born in America to run for President, however, those that claim he isn't really an American citizen are conspiracy theorists, and it is beneath me to even acknowledge them. I feel foolish even acknowledging them in responding to you.

Folks that claim that President Obama isn't eligible to run for President prove that being a total loon has no ideology and that there are plenty on both sides.

Anonymous said...

I only ask because McCain was born in the Canal Zone, and I'm not sure that counts as US territory.

mike volpe said...

McCain was born on an American ship because his duty was serving in the Navy when John McCain was born. That would be different than an American being in another country when Obama was born.

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