As I ended in the last post…Grass roots – not so much.
To pick up on the origins of the Tea Party…
From the Nationwide Tea Party website in a brochure released in April 2010:
“BEFORE RICK SANTELLI’S FEBRUARY2009 rant, cross·country bus caravans, nationwide rallies, and long before vendors started hawking every kind of tea party merchandise, there was a 53-year-old lady with bad hips in Fort Myers, Fla., who’d lost her job and felt thoroughly disgusted with Washington…
…a direction they didn’t feel was right.
Not sure what to do about it, Rakovich searched the Internet and learned that a grass· roots conservative organization, FreedomWorks, was hosting an activist·training session [on Feb 4, 2009] in nearby Tampa. She attended, and paid careful attention to the tips that Brendan Steinhauser was offering as FreedomWorks’ organizer.
Only a few weeks later, the media announced that President Obama would come to Fort Myers to tout passage of a $787 billion stimulus bill that conservatives said had more pork than a Texas barbecue.”
By their own admission – “long before” Freedom works was providing training to activists across the country. One such trainer is:
Brendan Steinhauser, a former student activist at the University of Texas, is the author of The Conservative Revolution: How to Win the Battle for College Campuses. The book is a guide for right-wing activists, and calls on them to “launch a conservative revolution on college campuses.”
An alum of the Young Conservatives of Texas, Steinhauser established a sister organisation to YCT, the Young Conservatives of California. These groups are known for their in-your-face style. They have put on events like affirmative action bake sales, professor watchlists, Straight Pride days, and Texas Independence Day celebrations. The groups also lobby the state legislatures of Texas and California.
One can’t help but question whether Keli Carender received her training from Brendan – maybe they just both like a “get in your face” style of pressuring people to agree with them.
A casual comment from my left-leaning, independent fiancé made me realize one of the missteps of the Republican Party, and I think we would do well to take it to heart. We were debating the merits of government sponsored, nationalized healthcare and he said, regarding the conservative claim that there are free market solutions, “Well, I just haven’t actually seen any other solutions being discussed [besides a socialistic approach].” In that moment I realized the GOP’s problem. We always talk about how the Democrats are socialists, or their plans are socialistic, and we talk about how and why those are bad things. However, we never actually get anything off the ground and in the people’s faces, providing our own, alternative solutions to problems. I do not remember our GOP leadership actually presenting viable solutions that we, the conservative base, could believe in and share with others. If they exist, they are buried somewhere, inaccessible to the masses.
Another tidbit of information from the Nationwide Tea Party brochure mentions the conference call noted in the previous post. The website IamWithRick.com takes you here: http://www.freedomworks.org/petition/iamwithrick/index.html with a nice picture and intro by Brendan Steinhauser. According to the whois search, this site was purchased on 2/20/2009 – the day after Santelli’s rant. Below Michael Patrick Leahy states he “had four or five direct messages from people on Twitter saying, ‘Hey, let’s hold another conference call. Let’s do something about this.”
Another conference call? Then obviously there was one before the one on 2/20/2009 the day after Santelli’s rant. Clearly, many activists had already been identified all across the country BEFORE Santelli’s rant allegedly kicked off the “Tea Party” rallies.
Hmmm…again, not so grass rootsy, is it?
And just who are Freedomworks funders? David Koch anyone? Almost $6 MILLION dollars. And the Claude R. Lambe Foundation (controlled by the Koch family) has contributed almost another $6 million. Another big player is the Sarah Scaife Foundation, “financed by the Mellon industrial, oil and banking fortune. At one time its largest single holding was stock in the Gulf Oil Corporation.” I smell oil – black gold – carbon emissions, gulf oil spills – you know, groups Gov. Schwarzenegger just called out:
“Does anybody really believe that these companies, out of the goodness of their black oil hearts, are spending millions and millions of dollars to protect jobs? This is like Eva Braun writing a kosher cookbook. It’s not about jobs at all, ladies and gentlemen. It is about their ability to pollute and thus protect their profits.”
Scaminaci provides more information regarding the Koch brothers from a report submitted by David Weigel who attended a summit where David Koch spoke:
“On October 3 , David Koch, the co-owner of Koch Industries, told about 2,000 of Americans for Prosperity’s libertarian activists at a Defending the American Dream Summit, that he had started planning the Tea Party movement five years ago [emphasis added] —essentially when Citizens for a Sound Economy split into Americans for Prosperity and FreedomWorks. Koch told the activists, “‘We envisioned a mass movement, a state-based one, but national in scope, of hundreds of thousands of American citizens, from all walks of life standing up and fighting for the economic freedoms that made our nation the most prosperous society in history.’” According to David Weigel who reported on the event, “Koch took credit for launching one of the key organizations of the conservative insurrection.” The purpose of the Summit, which drew three times as many activists as the Tea Party national convention would in February 2010, was to get “newly discovered conservative activists” to elect fiscally conservative Republicans in 2010.
The first indication that Americans for Prosperity may have been planning what would become the Tea Party movement came in a July 2008 article in the New York Times. Kate Philips reported that Americans for Prosperity was sponsoring training seminars with the Sam Adams Alliance “to encourage right-leaning activists and bloggers to get online and focus on local and state issues.” One of the Sam Adams Alliance (SAA) trainers indicated that SAA “was working on projects that it wasn’t ready to talk about yet.” Whatever those projects were or were not, SAA was building the virtual network, the future backbone of the eventual Tea Party movement.”
“On the day in October 2009, David Koch announced he had planned the Tea Party movement Koch gave Senator Jim DeMint the [Americans for Prosperity Foundation] Washington Award.”
I had already determined Sen. Jim DeMint’s obvious role – he has repeatedly endorsed “tea party” candidates* throughout the country and a little research at www.opensecrets.org produced the information he has received $62K in donations from Koch Industries. (In addition to some nice contributions by Club for Growth and AT&T – net neutrality anyone? And, of course, DeMint’s protégés would be more than happy to vote him in as the next Leader of the Senate – either as majority or as minority). I doubt his vanity is behind this, however. His principles, maybe –
Senator Jim DeMint: “Well, I think people are seeing this massive government growing and they’re realizing that it’s the government that’s hurting us and I think they’re turning back to God in effect is our salvation and government is not our salvation and in fact more and more people see government as the problem and so I think some have been drawn in over the years to a dependency relationship with government and as the Bible says you can’t have two masters and I think as people pull back from that they look more to God. It’s no coincidence that socialist Europe is post-Christian because the bigger the government gets the smaller God gets and vice-versa. The bigger God gets the smaller people want their government because they’re yearning for freedom.”
As he ranks as one of the poorest Senators, money does not appear to be his issue. His “C Street” association with “The Family” and the above statement indicates he’s much more dangerous – an ideologue.
And now Senator DeMint has anointed himself king/dictator/president to decide what will get passed in the Senate. A one man bandit holding up the Senate. If the Dems hold the Senate, is this what we can expect for the next two years from the Senate? If the GOTP takes over the Senate, will he continue this tactic to for the GOP to get in line behind him?
I don’t think this is how our democratic republic is supposed to work. And I think this is a warm up to protect the interests of the Koch brothers and their kind who have decided to put their interests ahead of the people in this country. It seems money (for them) can buy happiness. For the rest of us…not so much.
* Christine O’Donnell, Ovide Lamontagne, Ken Buck, Rand Paul, Pat Toomey, Marco Rubio, Joe Miller, Dino Rossi (an establishment candidate who beat the Tea Party/Palin endorsed Clint Didier,. Chuck DeVore (an establishment candidate who lost to Fiorina)