Dear Readers: Last week, I had the privilege of chatting with KOGO’s Chris Reed on his “Top Story” program, in my role of Media Director for the SOCAL TAX REVOLT COALITION – SAN DIEGO TEA PARTY PATRIOTS. The topic? Tea Party thoughts on the current Republican primary choices.
This was a great opportunity to chat with my fellow SAN DIEGO LOCAL ORDER OF BLOGGERS (SLOBs). To be honest, as the Democrat in this merry band of agitators, I may have been in a better position to cover the scope of thoughts — I can’t get too attached to any specific Republican candidate during the primary season. Conferring with them, it became quite clear: The is NO “Tea Party” Presidential pick.
In fact, we are all highly skeptical of all the declared candidates at this point. Tea Party activists sense that the elite media and the establishment politicos are trying to direct the dialog and drama to classic, establishment choices. We have all adopted the wait-and-see approach, and will form more complete opinions only when all the candidates have declared and we have a better sense of how they handle themselves in the debates.
In other words, if the Republican candidate want our votes and support, he/she will have to woo us. We are just not into arranged marriages.
The link to the podcast of the show is here: SOCAL TAX REVOLT COALTION/TOP STORY 5-19
Fast forward to about half-way; I am on for about 5 minutes. I apologize before-hand: I have a voice for blogging.
A few columns that re-iterate this point: Tea Party activists, some of whom are unimpressed with the current crop of Republicans in power and those who have already thrown their hats into the ring, are gearing up to focus efforts more on House and Senate.
“We’re mindful that the status quo of the past, where races were not contested and these elections wee low-profile type things, has changed,” Nystuen said. “People are just saying, ‘I’d like to have my voice heard in this thing.’ And it’s absolutely a good thing. Does it create conflict? Yes. But it also could create collaboration that could remove complacency in the future.”
This John Boehner was not the John Boehner that Tea Party leaders in the room thought they knew.
Compared to the Boehner who talked tough on spending ahead of last November’s elections, the one who showed up at Club 55, just off Interstate 75 in Troy in southwestern Ohio, struck them as timid.
The private April 25 meeting was convened by the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives at the request of Tea Party leaders, who were seething over recent Republican compromises, most notably on the 2011 budget.
One of the 25 or so leaders, all from Boehner’s district, asked him if Republicans would raise America’s $14.3 trillion debt limit.
According to half a dozen attendees interviewed by Reuters, the most powerful Republican in Washington said “yes.”
“And we’re going to have to raise it again in the future,” he added. With the mass retirement of America’s Baby Boomers, he explained, it would take 20 years to balance the U.S. budget and 30 years after that to erase the nation’s huge fiscal deficit.
That answer incensed many of the Tea Party activists, for whom raising the debt limit is anathema.
“You could have knocked me out of my chair,” said Denise Robertson, a computer programer who belongs to the Preble County Liberty Group. “Fifty years?”
She said “my fantasy now” is someone will challenge Boehner in the 2012 Republican primaries. “If we could find someone good to run against him, I’d campaign for them every day,” Robertson said.
“I am sick of the tears,” she added, a sarcastic reference to Boehner’s famous propensity to cry. “I want results.”
Fed up with “broken promises,” some Tea Party activists have already moved beyond the fantasy stage and aim to “primary” Republicans who have let them down — that is, challenge them in primaries. Some talk of long-shot attempts to unseat leaders like House Majority Whip Eric Cantor.
Led by Boehner, Republicans in Congress are at odds with Democrats and the White House over how to raise the limit on how much debt the United States can afford. President Barack Obama’s administration warns of global financial chaos if lawmakers do not increase the current cap of $14.3 trillion.
Boehner, in a May 9 speech in New York, did insist that any increase to the debt limit include “cuts in trillions.” But conservatives expect the Republicans will not uphold his demand.
If the Republicans lose the debt limit battle, more Tea Party groups say they will aggressively seek candidates to challenge establishment figures in the 2012 primaries.
“At this point, all of them are potential targets,” said Dawn Wildman, president of the SoCal Tax Revolt Coalition, who lives in San Diego. “All the way up to Boehner.”
I am off right now for some profit-center activities; I hope to be back today to flesh-out some of our group’s thoughts on the Presidential Race! Check back later for updates.