Dear Readers: I wanted to share with you a story of a rebellion within a rebellion. I hope that these words will reach the hallowed halls of national groups attempting to coordinate local Tea Party events. I want them to exercise extreme caution in whom they put forth as the face of the Tea Party movement. The national Tea Party network heads need to know – NOW – how angry grassrooters are that Newt Gingrich is being heralded as an important voice of the Tea Party movement. Frankly, all of my Tea Party compatriots see this potentially damaging to our credibility as a true non-partisan effort. We want no blessing from him, or any other old-style politician. We do not want Newt as the face associated with the Tea Party movement.
By way of background, I was a hereditary Democrat who voted for President Clinton in 1992. After Clinton’s team jacked up my taxes, I joined the Republican Party. I donated to the party in 1994, because I was a very impressed with Newt’s “Contract with America”. His ten-point plan promised to reshape the federal government by decentralizing authority, deregulating industry, reducing taxes, reforming social programs, and increasing power for states. Ideas I liked then, and ideas I am striving to promote now.
And that is part of the problem! The Republicans wrested control of the US Congress from the hands of the Democrats, who had held the till for 40 years. The GOP had it for a full 12 years. What did they do with it? Is the federal government any smaller? Are the states any more independent? Potentially devastating Democratic acts (e.g., Carter’s Community Reinvestment Act 0f 1977, which led to the excesses of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) were not repealed. There were no significant reforms to Social Security, which is a heinous Ponzi scheme. There is no significant development of our refineries, oil fields, nuclear power, and all other technologically reasonable energy sources. Then, of course, there were the Republican scandals (e.g., Rep. Cunningham bribery case, the Sen. Criag bathroom bru-ha-ha).
With all this history in mind, you will excuse me for NOT being excited when ex-Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich releases this video, in which he promotes his “partnering with the Tax Day Tea Party movement” AFTER thousands of non-politically-connected American citizens demonstrated!
I do not think Newt’s invitation will inspire one extra person to come to our events. The opposite, I fear. Newt Gingrich is a Republican with a lot of baggage, and bears some blame for our current crisis. I cannot think Independents, Democrats (even the deepest purple of the blue dogs), Libertarian, or Constitution Party members will consider the Tea Party movement authentically non-partisan if he is strongly associated with it.
Our friend Nik sums up our feelings about this video succinctly: His video insults me personally. His “partnering” with the “tax day tea party movement” to “develop a real protest” implies several things I find objectionable. The Tea Party movement isn’t solely run or organized by the people at Tax Day Tea Party. Further he implies that the efforts until now by real regular Americans (as exampled by the folks at American Freedom Network) haven’t been “real protests”. He is seeking to gain, politically, from the grassroots effort of the Tea Party Movement. He is seeking to skim the cream from the citizens’ initiative and, at this late date, have it associated with him for his own personal gain of power and influence.
Keep in mind, both Nik and I find Newt worthy of respect. The former Speaker of the House is a highly intelligent man and a very effective organizer. He managed to get much needed, and effective, Welfare Reform pushed through and signed by President Clinton during his congressional tenure. His American Solutions organization promotes some very sound policy ideas, such as Drill Here-Drill Now-Pay Less. He is a good communicator with a grasp on modern technology and a keen observer of the American political landscape and its trends. However, his flaws are such that they diminish the authenticity which makes our Team’s grassroots efforts so special.
The flaws go to character, which our friend ssgconway details: That his ambition and vanity are, together, his pole star, I think is plain. He cannot be trusted. Character does count. I accept a normal amount of frailty, error, vanity and even corruption (within limits – ‘honest graft,’ if you will, as in Cassius), but I would have a hard time, after hammering Bill Clinton, not doing likewise to someone who was impeaching a President for things that he was also doing at the very same time. Add to that his telling his first wife that he was divorcing her while she was in a cancer ward, and you have an ugly character.
Then, there are those pesky ethics charges related to Gingrich. These charges include one in which he was fined $300,000 claiming tax-exempt status for a college course run for political purposes. This was the first time in the House’s 208-year history it has disciplined a speaker for ethical wrongdoing. Then, there was a very loud public outcry related to a $4.5 million book deal from Harper Collins. These distractions led to a near revolt among the congressional Republicans in 1998, an historic loss it that year’s House elections, and thwarted completion of the “Contract with America”. This is NOT the face we need.
I am a hardworking member of the grassroots organizational staff of a local Tea Party event planning group. I have worked avidly with the other members of American Freedom Network to promote American values and sensibilities. My friends on this network are also heavily engaged in their local Tea Party efforts. We want warn the people who tout themselves as the “leaders” or “go-to-girls” of the Tea Parties that we want no part of politics as usual.
I am still a Republican. I do think that the party is best positioned to stem the Obama’ administration’s blatant power grabs and destructive economic games. However, should Newt be the direction that the GOP is headed, then a Third Party Option will be more appealing to me and many Tea Party goers. I know that my dear spouse, Horemheb, has already rescinded his long-held GOP membership and is now a registered Independent. I am finding it hard to convince him to donate to either the state or national political organizations. It behooves Republican Party to recognize that the protests against unwise tax-and-spend politics-as-usual apply to both parties: representatives should not jump to the conclusion that the thousands at the Tea Party protests automatically translate into GOP votes during the next election cycle.
Perhaps the most insidious aspect to his “partnering” is that I think he is trying to jumpstart his presidential campaign on the backs of the Tea Party protesters. Newt’s interjection into the Tea Party movement is even more aggravating, because he actually supported TARP I (Troubled Assets Relief Fund, the initial bank bailout program that was suppose to quickly heal the economy when it sailed through congress last fall)!
Newt is worthy of respect, not automatic allegiance. This is SO NOT the face we need right now. I am sure our energetic band of Tax Revolters can locate a fresh new voice with economic acumen, street savvy, a strong backbone and sound character.
If the Tea Party Movement needs a “Face”, then I vote for this one: Lloyd Marcus!
Fur more information on other California Tea Parties, especially those that will be among the over 300 across the country on April 15th-Tax Day, check the Southern California Tax Revolt Coalition website.
As a side note, Gingrich isn’t the only one getting on the Tea Party Boat!
PS! Insta-readers, welcome to the Shrine! I am delighted you stopped by. If you want to be really stylish at the next Tea Party, check out the designs from my friend, Lipstick Underground:
Also, check out our Tea Party video! It makes some good points about taxes and communism that are worth considering: