The seventh volume of American Majority’s pamphlet series is entitled, “Why America is Great: Securing the Blessings of Liberty: The Three Branches of Government.” The great challenge to the members of the Constitutional Convention was to design a national government both strong and ordered enough to maintain the welfare of a large continent, but also gentle enough that it would never encroach upon the liberties of the people.
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Ned Ryun, President of American Majority, released the following statement today in reaction to the untimely passing of his friend Andrew Breitbart. Ryun is a contributor to Breitbart’s BigGovernment.com website. Breitbart also worked collaboratively with American Majority over the last several years.
“Today, the conservative movement has lost a powerful voice in the fight to protect our freedom. Andrew Beitbart was a pioneer in using social media and digital technology to bring a courageous conservative message to America’s grassroots. He did something many in the conservative movement are afraid to do – go right at the left and not back down. Andrew served as an example to the rest of the conservative movement of how to fight for our values without apology or compromise.”
“He was never afraid to tackle the most pressing issues of our time, the most damaging special interests, and the corruption and hypocrisy that threaten the American way of life. Andrew was a soldier for this nation’s core values of limited government, and individual freedom. We will carry on this great cause of protecting freedom from government excess using his passion and energy as inspiration. While he has been taken from us too soon, his voice will undoubtedly resonate and his impact will be felt long after this sad day.”
Media Inquiries Contact: Thomas Basile at TBasile@EmpireStrategy.com or call 917-579-2216
Making its way through cyberspace is a bold, brash and largely accurate depiction of the state of American government and politics. Delivered on his last nightly broadcast, Judge Andrew Napolitano takes on the system in a five-minute rant about just how upside down the whole political process really is. His conclusion? It’s about them, not us. “Them” refers to the elite class of elected officials, senior-level bureaucrats and political machinery who first created and now maintain a system in which people matter less and government matters more, or people I refer to as the Ruling Class.
Napolitano’s pseudo-endorsement of Ron Paul may be a bit off, but the general point is one all of us need to appreciate. Ron Paul is not electable and some of his ideas, particularly on foreign policy, are outright dangerous. But broadening Napolitano’s argument to suggest that we need to change the status quo beyond merely switching parties in control of Congress or the White House is a good dose of sense.
The two-party system hasn’t failed Americans. A political culture that is too timid to challenge well-financed special interests has. As Napolitano points out, both Republicans and Democrats, from Reagan to Bush have pledged to the American people to reduce the size of government and not only did they fail to keep that promise, all of them grew the size of government considerably.
This may be the most important election year of our lifetime, and liberty-minded activists are preparing for an all-out sprint to the finish. Every step of the way, American Majority is empowering conservative activists and candidates to win elections in towns, counties, cities, and states where the voice of the people desperately needs to be heard – state and local governments dominated by a “Ruling Class” of long-time incumbents.
As AM’s work continues across the country, the hold of the Ruling Class begins to break. Every week, activists and candidates praise the effectiveness and accessibility of AM’s training programs, and in each election season, these activists and candidates are applying their newly acquired tactics and winning. And here’s the best part: the movement is only beginning to gather momentum.
We at AM firmly believe that these newly elected officials from the grassroots are tomorrow’s national leadership. They are the conservative “farm team” – a new crop of prospects that will be vetted and promoted to the major leagues, and some of them in just a few cycles. This farm team is crucial to the continuity of the cause of freedom – new “recruits” must continuously replenish the ranks of liberty-minded leaders at all levels of government.
But they cannot do it without your help.
American Majority is calling on its supporters to Join the Farm Team in 2012. To achieve victory this year, we must labor until the very end of the process, eleven months from now. Will you make a commitment today to sponsor the farm team for the next eleven months, and see their work through to the end?
Every month, over three hundred liberty-minded activists and candidates receive cutting-edge training and resources from American Majority, and all of it is made possible by generous supporters who have chosen to fund the farm team. Dedicated supporters provide all of the materials, personnel, and logistics necessary to bring these essential tools for victory to aspiring conservative leaders. In this crucial election year, would you consider becoming one of them?
Your support has a direct, tangible impact. Over the course of the next eleven months, your can provide members of the conservative farm team with invaluable resources for victory. Even as a Scout-level sponsor, for just $5 per month, AM manuals will be printed and distributed to 35 conservative activists and candidates. And the impacts only increase:
Scout: $5 per month will print and distribute AM manuals to 35 activists or candidates this year
Coach: $10 per month will print and distribute manuals to 60 local school board candidates in 2012
Manager: $25 per month will train 11 online activists in 2012 who will fight the Left on blogs, social media, Wikis, and other new media platforms
Executive: $50 per month will train 11 candidates for office in 2012 who will continue to break the hold of the Ruling Class in their state and local governments
President: $100 per month will fund an expansion of our local candidate manuals, empowering candidates to run for city council and county commission and win. These governing bodies are in desperate need of small-government representatives, as local government debt continues to build year after year.
CEO: $250 per month will fund an AM training in all 12 AM-identified battleground states in 2012.
American Majority will be working harder than ever to empower the grassroots in 2012, seeing this year through until the job is done. We ask you to do the same by joining the Farm Team, and committing to sponsor American Majority’s trainees for the next eleven months. Together, we can restore prosperity and preserve liberty for our great nation.
If you think the progressive left is going to just lay down in 2012 and accept that their ideas have failed, think again.
What We Face in 2012
The left is renewing their efforts to impact state and local elections. Moveon.org, New Organizing Institute, Democracy for America and other left-leaning groups have committed to finding 2,012 progressive candidates for state and local elections. Their efforts are going so well that they have now raised their goal to 5,000 progressive candidates for 2012. You can learn all about their efforts at www.2012for2012.org.
How We Stop Them
We launched the New Leaders Project in 2010, asking local groups to pledge to find 10 new leaders in their communities in 2012 and 2013 to run for state and local office. So far, we’ve had 538 groups sign the pledge!
The Project is aimed at getting 1,000 local tea party and 9.12 groups to identify 10 new leaders in their communities to run primarily for state and local office. Another key aspect of this project will be training campaign managers to run effective campaigns, and continuing to train activists on how to be effective grassroots workers in hardwiring precincts, doing GOTV, and conducting voter registration drives.
American Majority will train these new leaders on the nuts and bolts of running for office; since our launch in 2008, we have already identified and trained over 1,200 candidates for state and local office. These leaders will also be trained on how to articulate their message effectively and continue to raise awareness in their communities right through Election Day. As more and more leaders come into the process at the state and local level, not only will they impact those levels of government, they will also be creating a farm team for higher office. We will also be training people on how to run and manage campaigns so that these leaders will run the most effective campaigns possible.
The New Leaders Project is also about empowering the local tea party organizers: it’s important to remember that the movement would not exist, or be successful, without the local leaders. As I mentioned on Fox and Friends this morning, this movement, and its success, is about Chris Littleton and the Cincinnati Tea Party and the Ohio Liberty Council, Lesley Hollywood and the Northern Colorado Tea Party, Catherine Engelbrecht of the King Street Patriots, Ana Puig and Anastasia Przbylski of the Kitchen Table Patriots, David Crow of the Faulkner County Tea Party, Tim Dake of the Wisconsin Grandsons of Liberty, and the Jason Hoyts and Colleen Conleys and hundreds of other like them.
The Kenosha Tea Party of Wisconsin signed the pledge and has already identified more than 20 local candidates to run for office this spring. Focusing locally, their candidates are seeking election for county, school board, various city councils and village boards in Kenosha County. Dan Hunt, the leader of the group said, “American Majority got me thinking in this direction [focused on finding local candidates] in the first place. I am grateful for American Majority’s trainings in preparing us to win elections.”
Cross posted on RedState.com
2012 WILL BE A HOUSE TO HOUSE FIGHT AGAINST STATISM
If you think that the progressive left is pinning its hopes for victory on Obama this fall – think again. In fact, they’re adopting the same approach conservatives started taking in 2009. National progressives, known for their outstanding ability to organize and mobilize, are stealing a page from the Tea Party and focusing on a more bottom-up strategy to promote their values rather than let Obama’s performance drive the train. Tea Party members and conservatives need to double-down now on the same approach, which has yielded countless electoral victories in the past three years for liberty-minded Americans. Imitation might be the sincerest form of flattery, but progressives sweeping in and erasing conservative gains at the local and state level is a complement Americans can do without.
Any effective attempt to embed a set of values into government must be a multi-tiered effort. Progressives are grumbling privately – and some publically – about the Obama Presidency. They’re not going to lie down and leave the future of their flawed, anti-American ideology to their once “great savior.” To the contrary, the left is renewing its efforts to impact state and local elections in 2012.
eu·pho·ria noun \yü-ˈfȯr-ē-ə\
: a feeling of well-being or elation
Examples of EUPHORIA
The initial euphoria following their victory in the election has now subsided.
Sure, we all know the complete craziness that descends upon us this time of year. And anyone who’s been watching cable news also of course knows about the presidential primaries that promise to spoil many a New Year’s Eve in snowy states like Iowa and New Hampshire. I’m not even going to talk purely about those.
Because of what else I’m seeing, I started thinking this month about writing a little piece called “The Balkanization of American Politics”. But that phrase has been so overused as to become mind-numbingly boring and ultimately meaningless.
Yet a phenomenon I first heard of while I was training in the tiny, former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia is exactly what’s happening right now.
Now Macedonia, like many of the former Iron Curtain countries, has been finding their way and “transitioning” to functional democracy for twenty years. And part of their journey has been figuring out how to “do” direct representation, choosing and electing Members of Parliament from their many regional and ethnic voting blocs. A friend in the capital city of Skopje was the first to term it what it was, cycle to cycle, calling it “euphoria voting”.
“Euphoria voting”, in a place where unemployment is 42% every day, seemed counter-intuitive to say the least. But my friend was on to something: every four years, all the brand-new-to-democracy, first-time candidates promised the moon: full employment, investment, minority rights.
Hope—and change—rode high in the hearts and minds of regular citizens. (Sound familiar?) Newly franchised voters believed in even the most outrageous platforms and campaign claims. The freshly engaged country–students, pensioners, you name it–was in an absolute state of euphoria.
Election Day came and went. Politicians who had led exciting rallies and got thousands of ballots cast failed to deliver a new dawn for a troubled nation. And then a politically naïve electorate, upon realizing that there were no silver bullet solutions to their deeply ingrained social and economic problems, lost faith.
Four years later—at the end of terms, voters unceremoniously dumped the entire Parliament. They unelected each and every member, putting in another entire bunch that no doubt had been making campaign hay from the broken promises of their predecessors. And so the cycle continued.
Again, any of this ring a bell?
I find it funny that we, as one of the world’s longest continuously functioning democratic countries, are now fully in the grip of “euphoria voting”. Look at the congressional elections of 2006. The presidential election of 2008. The emergence of Ron Paul and the liberty movement. The Tea Party. The mid-term elections of 2010. Occupy Wall Street.
Even the typically staid, Republican presidential contest has become a complete, mad scramble of a horserace. Temporary surges, flashes in the pan, and the ever-shifting scrutiny and loyalty of a newly empowered conservative grassroots as they search for a true champion have totally upended the most carefully laid plans of establishmentarians and D.C. operatives. This ain’t your daddy’s primary.
These roiling waves of unrest across the American electorate aren’t stopping, at least anytime soon. And while a situation as described in Peter Schweizer’s new book Throw Them All Out probably isn’t ideal (like it or not, some semblance of institutional knowledge is probably good), more euphoria in each and every election cycle should be a goal we’re constantly working on.
Why should the average congressional election return 98% of incumbents to their gerrymandered, protected seats? Even the watershed elections of 1994, 2006 and 2010 only lowered that number down into the 80th percentile. Don’t you think your “representatives” (many times much more focused on committee chairmanships and national leadership tracks) should fear for their re-election every two years?
What if we as free market, fiscally conservative activists and leaders could get that number down closer to 50% every election cycle?
What kind of power do you think that would confer upon you in a candidate’s district? What if you organized your fellow “fed-up” citizens, month in and year out and focused on replacing the ruling class that makes so many decisions that directly affect your freedom? And then, if your replacements don’t hold up their end of the bargain, keeping them accountable and replacing them?
Think of the great feelings of accomplishment, of success against all odds, of stemming the tide of socialism’s and statism’s growth we shared just over a year ago. And then think of what we could really do if we sustain this momentum, taking our newfound knowledge of how the system works locally and nationally into 2012?
It’s time for an even bigger dose of euphoria in the way we choose our government.
Watching the sex scandals at Penn State and now Syracuse Universities develop, one can’t help but wonder how people with such polluted values could be protected for so long to the detriment of so many. It’s a sad commentary on the state of American society, our legal process and institutions that hold a public trust. What we see playing out in the scandals at the colleges, in the halls of Congress where insider trading is apparently legal, or with Wall Street banks who game the system, is the work of a protected class of Americans. They are above the law or mold the law to suit their needs. They believe they are untouchable. More often than not, they’re right.
The crimes of a sex offender and a Congressman profiting from insider information clearly inflict different injuries on different victims and in different ways. They both however highlight how our institutions have created a ruling class that treats the law as a tool to be used for their benefit or an instrument of convenience.
Newly elected State Representative Steve Vaughn of Ponca City (OK) has deep roots and a love for his state that goes back to the generations of his family that settled in northern Oklahoma before statehood. It was this passion, along with a desire to serve and a concern for the direction of our country, which prompted Representative Vaughn to run against a two-term incumbent for a seat within the Oklahoma State House of Representatives in the fall of 2010.
However, being that Representative Vaughn was a political novice who knew nothing about campaigning for public office, he enthusiastically attended an American Majority Candidate Training during the summer before the election and an American Majority Activist Training as well. While these trainings armed Representative Vaughn with a new-found knowledge of micro-targeting, volunteer recruitment, fundraising, and turning out the vote on Election Day, he put in the time and effort necessary to raise his profile within the community. He tirelessly spoke to as many people around Ponca City as he could, both at their doors and at community functions, and he was purposeful in how he deftly differentiated himself from his opponent.
Thankfully his hard work, determination, and dedication to implementing what he had learned at the American Majority trainings he had attended ultimately paid off as he defeated his incumbent opponent by just over 5% in the November election. Now with the legislative session being underway at the Oklahoma State Capitol, we are excited to see Representative Steve Vaughn serve the people of northern Oklahoma with the same excitement and conviction as he brought to the campaign trail.
You may never hear me say this again, but I am proud to proclaim that I am more progressive than my peers here at UVA.
When a group of twenty of us were asked whether it was worth making the effort to retain objectivity in the reporting of news, nineteen said yes: reporters and news organizations should strive for objectivity, and we should highly value reportage that we determine to be without bias.
The one dissenter was, as you may have guessed, yours truly.
And really, why should we continue the pursuit of this sham we call objectivity? By objectivity, I mean reporting news in such a way as to remove any preconceived notions or opinions from the selection or documentation of facts, conveying to the reader only the relevant information and allowing him or her to form an opinion.
I’ll say it as frankly as I can: objectivity in the media is a fruitless and unfulfillable pursuit that only the naive choose to perpetuate. The more realistic and – dare I say it – forward thinking among us have exchanged objectivity for transparency, and I submit to you that transparency is what we should begin looking for in our news. Call me a cynic if you will, but this is where the world is headed.
Why not value objectivity? The idea seems logical. We would love to have the facts packaged and delivered to us, allowing us to judge for ourselves what the best course of action would be in any given situation. For example, if any of us read a news story composed simply of the current federal budget, we would love to think for ourselves and conclude that cutting spending is the best way to go. Or, if you read a short news story telling you that millions of illegal immigrants come over our southern border every year, you would probably conclude that securing the border is the best first step toward solving the problem. Objective reporting sounds wonderful, doesn’t it?
The problem is that no news outlet reports just the facts. If they did, we would be bored out of our minds. Take the budget example. Do you really want to read “just the facts” about the federal budget? Of course not. It is much more interesting to hear the two sides of the debate and cheer for whichever side has the best ideas. There is nothing wrong with that. But make no mistake: fair and balanced reporting is not objective. If we were given the option of “just the facts” objectivity, most of us would find it very unappealing.
In addition to being boring, objective reporting is a figment of news editors’ imaginations. If you watch any of the major network news outlets or read any of the major newspapers, all of which claim to be “objective,” “unbiased,” or even “no spin,” you know that unbiased reporting is not practiced anywhere and is, in fact, impossible. We have all heard about the New York Times‘ decline and slow, painful, impending death. I’ve got news for the Times: readers have realized that their claims of objectivity are hollow, and their subscriptions have been steadily cut off as a result.
What I encourage you all to do instead is to embrace and perpetuate a trend of transparency in the media rather than objectivity. Accept bias and subjectivity as par for the course. Watch Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, or Neil Cavuto. Listen to Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, or Mark Levin. And, in addition, watch Anderson Cooper, Katie Couric, and Rachel Maddow. If you have some obscure cable package that enables you, find Keith Olbermann’s show and become one of his ten viewers. Read RedState.com, the Drudge Report, the Huffington Post, the Daily Kos, or this very blog.
All of these news sources come with bias, preconceived notions, and opinions. What’s more, they wear their subjectivity on their sleeve. They are by no means objective in the way they report, but they are transparent. If you want conservative news aimed at grassroots activists, read the American Majority blog or RedState.com. If you want a conservative take on your national news, watch FoxNews. If you want to find out what the people on the other side of the debate are thinking, turn on MSNBC and grab some antacids. Regardless of what a reporter’s perspective is, we should value his or her transparency rather than objectivity in reporting.
If we know a news source’s bias before reading, we know how much credence to give it while consuming it. For decades before our current one, Americans bought into heinous stories and philosophies because they received them from what they thought were “objective” news networks reporting the “facts.” We know better now. In this world of new media, social media, blogs, and do-it-yourself reporting, we know that objectivity is impossible and fruitless. What we need is transparency and honesty. May we pursue it, and may we become better armed as a result.
American Majority, in conjunction with local Wisconsin Tea Party leaders today held a rally on the steps of the State Capitol in Madison in support of the common sense deficit reduction plans put forth by Governor Walker. The rally marks the first major effort by tea party members to direct their power and attention toward the public employee unions whose demands are bankrupting states across the country.
“We are here today, not to be louder than the union bosses and not to shout down our opposition,” stated Ned Ryun, President of American Majority. “We are here to support common sense legislation that has been blocked by the same government greed and shortsightedness that is killing private sector jobs in this country,” he stated. Citizens concerned about the ever-increasing size of the government workforce and costs of high-end benefit programs travelled from across Wisconsin and the upper mid-west to attend the afternoon event.
Governor Walker’s proposal calls for modest contributions on the part of state workers for their pension and healthcare benefits. Presently WI state workers presently contribute nearly nothing into their public pensions. Wisconsin is facing a budget deficit of more than $3 billion. Since early last week union members have staged massive protests, forcing the shut-down of schools and other work stoppages to kill the proposal. Democrat lawmakers have fled into hiding to avoid a vote on the measure in the legislature.
“The average state and local government worker today earns nearly $40.00 an hour in wages and benefits while a private sector worker earns just $27.50. Right here, right now, America’s public pension shortfall could be as high as $34 trillion. Yet too many lawmakers refuse to take action to stop this economic crisis.”
Speakers at the event made it clear the full force of the tea party movement will act to ensure that leaders who choose to side with public employee union bosses over the public good will pay a heavy political price for their cowardice and shortsightedness.
This time he’s taking on Google, and this is sure to be a battle of epic proportions.
In this clip found on NBC Bay Area’s website (more on this less-than-professional news outlet in a moment), Beck questions the ties of the internet giant and says that he will most likely not be using Google anymore.
Now, briefly, I’d like to point out that, contrary to the article’s title, Beck does not “urge a Google boycott.” In fact, he emphatically says the opposite. He states that he personally will not be using it, but that he is not trying to lead a boycott. Second, look at the picture of Beck posted at the top of the article. I’m not sure if it’s the NBC affiliated status, the San Francisco location, or both, but something tells me these guys don’t like Glenn Beck very much.
Now, about Google.
Beck explains that, for several reasons, he is “uncomfortable” with Google because of its involvement in the recent Egyptian revolution, its coziness with the U.S. government, and its donations to some left-wing organizations. His discomfort is warranted.
Last year, Google donated $145 million to charity, some of these donations to left-wing non profit groups. However, as found here, Google has a policy of matching the charitable gifts of its employees up to $12,000, meaning that plenty of non-left-wing groups received Google money as well. As Beck mentions, Google has partnered with the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, an agency that exists to provide satellite images to government intelligence services. This could be good for national security given the sophistication of Google Earth, but it is also a bit disconcerting.
But all things considered, the bigger question is: what should we do about it? Even Beck says,
I’m not sure if I want my search engine involved in government overthrows, good or bad. What I want from a search engine is good search results.
Like Beck, I would prefer that my search engine not be involved in revolutions. But the sticky part of this situation is that Google is the undisputed king of good search results. It is the single most visited site on the internet with over three billion hits per day. Statistically, over 95 percent of you found the American Majority website for the first time through Google.
Moreover, American Majority recognizes the importance of using Google to your advantage as a conservative activist, even though Google and its executives have shown themselves to be liberal more often than not. When we speak of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), we are really talking about what we call “Google Juice,” your ability to appear high on a list of Google Search results. SEO is crucial in creating your online presence as a candidate or activist, and Google is virtually the only search engine worth focusing on.
So, being that Glenn Beck influences so many people, what do we do now? Is Google worth worrying about, or will we go on using it because it is the biggest and best? I don’t know about you, but I have to think for a few seconds to even come up with the name of an alternative search engine to Google. Can we even make a dent? Should we even try?
So, the elections are over and the legislative sessions have begun. Everyone is waiting with bated breath to see what those freshmen legislators are going to do, and tea partiers are hanging on every quote and vote to hold them accountable. If you don’t think times are changing, think again. The Pulaski County Quorum Court now has their budget available online here http://www.co.pulaski.ar.us/comptroller.shtml and Arkansas legislators from the last session are having their reimbursements scrutinized with a fine tooth comb here http://www.arkansasonline.com/news/2011/jan/30/expense-tabs-8-10-top-50000-20110130/ It’s never good news for a lawmaker when their expense reimbursements are listed in the state’s largest newspaper. And of course, the newspaper is blamed for doing “a very detrimental thing to the people of Arkansas in the way that you constantly hound elected officials and make them look bad,” Laverty said. “You all do it more than anyone else.”
Transparency….shining the light on the good, bad and ugly. It is one thing that all activists – conservatives, liberals, and just about everybody in between can agree upon.
The results of last year’s elections were undeniably an improvement over the status quo in Minnesota. No longer is the predominant mindset at the Capitol consumed with the entrenched belief that we “must” continue the unsustainable growth in government spending. Instead, today, we have a legislature that is proposing and passing meaningful spending reductions to ensure a prosperous future for our state.
We, at American Majority-Minnesota, are excited to have played a minor role in contributing to this change in attitude, with several graduates of our training program now serving in the legislature. In fact, we trained 33 Minnesota candidates, from school board to U.S. Congress, which won their races. This number is nearly triple that of which were trained in the state by Wellstone Action, the well-established progressive training organization based in St. Paul.
So where do we go from here? Well for starters, it is imperative that we don’t have a sense of satisfaction that we, in the conservative grassroots movement, have done our job and can move onto “other” things. Instead, we need to build on the progress made and that all begins by electing true conservatives at the local level.
In 2011, our state has 32 municipalities (Bloomington, Minnetonka and St. Paul to name a few) that have seats up for re-election in the fall. School board districts that will also have elections this fall include: Anoka-Hennepin, Bloomington, Eden Prairie, Edina and St. Paul.
So, does your city our school board have seats up for re-election this year? More importantly, are they spending your taxpayer dollars wisely?
If not, and the overwhelming majority aren’t, you can do something about it and it begins by taking advantage of the trainings/resources that we provide at American Majority. Whether you have interest in becoming a candidate or would like to be more effective at the grassroots level in electing conservatives into office, you will learn much by attending and will be glad you did.
So please consider coming to our next training at the Kelly Inn in St. Paul on February 19! For more information and to register please click HERE. And of course, if you have any questions don’t hesitate to contact us at 651-343-5558 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
We look forward to seeing you on February 19!
Or is he onto something?
It’s only been three weeks, and Marco Rubio, the newest Senator from Florida, may be in some hot water with his base already.
As reported Monday evening by Ricochet.com (one of my favorite blogs these days), Fox News, The Daily Caller, and others, Rubio has refused to commit to joining the Senate Tea Party Caucus. Though he was elected with undeniable and substantial Tea Party support only two months ago, Rubio recently told a Florida political blog that joining the caucus could potentially lead to the co-option and adulteration of the so-far relatively pure Tea Party movement.
Rubio enthusiastically voiced his support for and participation in the Conservative Steering Committee, a similar group of senators headed by South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint, whose conservative credentials are beyond dispute. Consequently, Rubio frankly asked, “Why do we need something in addition to the steering committee?” (Watch the video interview here).
His point: the Tea Party Caucus is redundant and unnecessary. What’s more, by allowing a group of senators to label themselves active representatives of the Tea Party while on Capitol Hill, the grassroots nature of the Tea Party would be almost certainly jeopardized. Such senators would inevitably proceed to dictate policy to the Tea Party, completely reversing the bottom-up structure that made the movement such a force to begin with.
This brings up a bigger question, though. The implication of Rubio’s reasoning here is that conservatives can make their voices heard in the Senate via previously established conservative channels. The Tea Party label does not necessarily have to be on a caucus to make it effective. Similarly, I have heard it said by a few doubting friends (whose conservative credentials, like Jim DeMint’s, are also beyond dispute) that the Tea Party itself is not truly necessary. Their line of thought goes as follows: “If people would take the energy and enthusiasm that they devote to their local Tea Party and instead show up to their local Republican Party demanding conservative candidates and principles, our problems would be solved and the Tea Party would be redundant.” A provocative statement, to be sure, but I remain unconvinced.
So here are the two big questions:
- Is Marco Rubio right in saying that the Senate Tea Party Caucus is unnecessary and redundant?
- If so, does this redundancy stretch into the grassroots, and could we make just as much of a difference through previously established channels such as primary elections and party conventions?
This may be more of an academic question (we obviously will not see the end of the Tea Party anytime soon), but I am interested to hear what you think. The Tea Party has obviously had a massive impact on elections these past few years, but some skeptics would contend that these same results could have been achieved without establishing an entirely new para-party movement.
Either way, all of us at American Majority are strong supporters of Tea Party groups and grassroots efforts of all kinds. We strongly encourage principled, everyday Americans to participate in the political process, most of all by running in primaries for local- and state-level office. Regardless of your affinity or skepticism toward the Tea Party, we encourage all caring citizens to get involved, bringing principled leadership to your local and state governments, and ultimately to Washington. At the end of the day, a politician’s choice to accept or decline an invitation to a Tea Party Caucus or some such group makes little difference; his or her principles count for everything.