This PEACH In My TEA Doesn’t Taste Right

Today’s Courier Herald Column:

There is something to be said for being a genuine original. Authentic. All natural.

Georgia’s identity as the Peach State underscores the beauty that is a fresh peach.  Picked ripe and in season, there is no better delicacy.  But created in a lab as a synthetic flavor to market an otherwise unrelated product, artificial peach products are a disgusting fraud upon the palate. Think about a peach Jolly Rancher candy if you’re having trouble with this point.

When I was in middle school I spent two weeks in bed with both strep throat and pneumonia.  It was “unpleasant”.  I went a few days without wanting any food (which is how my parents knew I was really sick) until one day I wanted only one thing: Breyers Peach Ice Cream.

I was not quite old enough to be a brand snob (and we were very much a “generic” family), so I was questioned on why I needed Breyers brand peach ice cream.  It was simple. In the days before Haagen Dazs and Ben & Jerry’s, Breyers was the “all natural”, premium ice cream.  I did not want the first thing I was able to eat to be some orange-ish dyed fake peach menace.  Breyers would ensure the real thing.

Dad understood his mission and left.  He was gone for a long time.  Too long, actually.  I just  assumed he decided to run other errands, and even when he eventually returned it took forever before my ice cream appeared.  But it was…different, somehow.  I just assumed my taste buds were a bit off, but it was more than that.  Mom told me weeks later what had happened.

Dad went to 5 grocery stores in three separate towns.  He was that kind of guy. None of my ice cream was to be had.  He finally decided he would buy Breyers vanilla, some peaches, and mixed them together upon returning home.  He did his best.  At least there was no orange food coloring involved.

Here in modern day Georgia, we have some coloring over underway in the political landscape.  For decades in the Deep South, social conservatives ran the GOP.  They were unquestioned and held a virtual veto over any major decision – campaign or legislative – that occurred under the Republican brand.

Over time, social conservative leaders couldn’t decide exactly how to stay on the same page.  Too many substituted their own opinions for God’s will, and refused to tolerate dissent in their ranks.  Once mighty organizations balkanized into many factions and splinter groups.  Public scandals of leaders, members and politicians they had proudly pronounced “true Christians” damaged their brands.  Others sold their influence to unsavory gambling and other interests.  Fiscal conservatism was an afterthought, if thought of at all, while social conservatives rose to total power – and then many crashed mightily.

2010 brought the resurrection of the Republican party on the backs of the TEA Party.  Taxed Enough Already, Republicans united around a simple slogan that represented one core value of limited Government.  Some of the original TEA Parties remain true to the winning message.  The Cherokee County TEA Party begins every meeting with a simple reminder: “We are about lower taxes and smaller government.  Anyone else here supporting other issues are welcome, but this is the focus of this group.”

Such has not been the case with other groups who have been less successful attracting people to their cause.  Several have resorted to appropriating the TEA party label for their own uses and agendas.  The State of Georgia TEA Party was among the first to co-opt the name after the heavy lifting and electoral success was completed, and now many of the same folks who have destroyed the once proud brand represented by Georgia Right To Life have decided that they too must be a TEA Party in order to be taken seriously.

These people who are Proselytizing Evangelicals Advocating Conservative Hypocrisy have decided to co-opt the brand of those who are Taxed Enough Already to form the PEACH TEA Party.  Tuesday, they decided to target 16 state Republicans as RINOs (Republicans In Name Only) and one independent for defeat as well.  Savannah’s Ron Stephens was included on their list. The litmus test to determine opposition, however, seems to have nothing to do with taxes and everything to do with opposition to Doug McKillip’s fetal pain abortion restriction bill.

This is the same Doug McKillip, this TEA Party group’s new best friend, who during his 2010 election advocated for raising $1.5 Billion in new tax revenue by increasing income taxes on those making over $400,000 per year, adding the sales tax back to groceries, raising cigarette taxes $1 per pack, and closing all tax loopholes.  Of course, that was when he was a Democrat.  Not just in name, but in stated tax policy.

Today, those who stand with Doug “we can’t cut anymore, we must generate revenue” McKillip because of his bill restricting abortions are daring to call others RINOs because they disagree with them on social issues.  Yet when they tried this under their old names against Representative Sharon Cooper of Cobb County during the last election, she won with 62% of the vote.  Cooper actually “wrote the book” about TEA Party involvement titled Taxpayer’s Tea Party: How to Become Politically Active – And Why with a foreword written by fellow RINOs Newt Gingrich and Rush Limbaugh. Her longtime opponents will now attempt to don the mantle of the TEA Party and try again against this pro-life candidate that they refer to as a “pro-abort” on their website.

They are advocating keeping a “Republican” who during the 2010 TEA Party election advocated for raising taxes on Georgians by $1.5 Billion, but against longtime fiscal conservatives that have publicly stood up to the bullying by these modern day Pharisees.

There is a funny taste left in the mouth after reviewing the tactics of this “TEA” Party In Name Only.  It’s much worse than any Peach Jolly Rancher I’ve ever eaten.  And there’s nothing authentic, natural, or genuine about it.  It’s fake to its core.


  1. Patrick T. Malone says:

    Glad to see someone finally calling out these TEA Party factions. Their power came from the original mission “We are about lower taxes and smaller government. Anyone else here supporting other issues are welcome, but this is the focus of this group” and I applaud the Cherokee County TEA Party and others who have stayed true to that mission.
    The rest appear to be on ego trips for their leaders with excursions in to trash issues, ethics, Agenda 21 and other issues than get them sound bytes and face time with the news outlets while their actual membership erodes. Thanks, Charlie for revealing just one example of the hypocrisy in our midst.

  2. drjay says:

    i think it’s also important to note the the president of this group is that chapman guy from brunswick who ran for guv back in ’10…

  3. Three Jack says:

    Great column Charlie! Especially like the P.E.A.C.H. acronym.

    For the record, GRTL and Dan Becker have never advocated fiscal conservatism. He and his ilk have always been about one thing, dictating to women how to live their lives (this goes well beyond abortion). If I were part of the Tea Party Patriots, I would immediately issue a press release disavowing any association with Beckerhead’s tea party while filing suit to prevent them from ongoing use of the Tea Party brand.

  4. Bucky Plyler says:

    Charlie, I really don’t know you, but I do like you. Your writing style moves people in good ways. However, sometimes it’s just hilarious to me about what you choose to eloquently rant about.

    *You can’t stand the Tea Party movement, but when it’s benefical to your argument you are an expert on what the movement is or should be !
    * You claim to be a fiscal conservative, yet TARP was OK until it was a bust !
    * You might acknowledge that a social & fiscal conservative can exist. However, when you write they are always opposed to each other !
    * Dan Becker is always wrong in everything that he does, but anybody (including you) who has a problem with him is always right !
    * McKillip has tainted motives because he TRULY switched sides & thinking..yet Cooper & her ilk are to be honored sticking to “stinking thinking”.

    Does any of this mean that you are fake to the core? I don’t think so, yet you are quick to say so about a group of people who are involved in doing what they should be doing..holding legislators accountable. Let the voters in their districts be the judge. Does the PTP have to fit your template to be legit?

    Here’s the truth..both GRTL & the Peach Tea Party were effective in their efforts this legislative session. Some of the reasons for their effectiveness was purely political..elections are coming up. Here’s some more truth for you..both organizations paid zero to any legislator for their vote. Their message to the legislators was also very simple. 1)”Thank you for your support.” 2)If you vote no, we will track & target you for defeat.”

    By the way, I don’t like artifical or natural peaches.

  5. shoshanna says:

    Let’s see Charlie. WOW.

    “For decades in the Deep South, social conservatives ran the GOP. They were unquestioned and held a virtual veto over any major decision – campaign or legislative – that occurred under the Republican brand.”

    I assume you are referring to your candidate MS Handel in the last election. She WAS defeated by GRTL. Or maybe your referring to the 20 week ban on abortion that both chambers just passed (even though the reports of its death were greatly exaggerated). Sounds like “sour grapes” Charlie, perhaps you need another Jolly Rancher.

    If PeachTEA Party has no power then just IGNORE them, why write about them as if they do? . . . unless of course THEY DO!

    • CobbGOPer says:

      Let’s wait until they’ve taken out one or more of these “RINOs” before we start throwing around judgements about the extent of their power. Just because they passed a feel-good piece of red meat for their base – served up by someone they would have targeted for extinction two years ago – doesn’t mean they have extensive influence. It just means it’s an election year and the GOP wanted some social legislation they could point to as progress to make up for the fact that they let Sunday Sales get by.

      But this whole McKillip thing just shows how apathetic we are now in the GAGOP. We just trot out all the Democrat re-treads who switched parties when they felt the wind shift.

      Perdue – former elected Democrat
      Deal – former elected Democrat

      With party leadership like this, who needs an opposition?

    • Dave Bearse says:

      “It said they [legislators] “displayed a willingness to depart from the conservative principles that form the bedrock of the Georgia Republican Party platform” in targeting Stephens for opposing the anti-abortion bill because it didn’t include a “medically future” based on personal experience within his own daughter, unless at least one supporter’s experience birthing animals.

      Since Stephens voted for the measure after the inclusion of the provision, and needed to be punished, “the Peach Tea Party also has chided Stephens and other GOP lawmakers for backing a bill to ban discrimination in public hiring based on sexual orientation or gender. Even though it never came up for a vote, the tea party group cited the legislators’ support for it as evidence that the House GOP leadership lacks a “moral center.”

  6. xdog says:

    Would someone please tell this independent voter how the peach tea folks differ from any other RTLers of the past 30 years? Or would you have me think this is the first time Georgia reps have been targeted by one-issue know-nothing extremists?

    • GOPundit says:

      The difference is that they are usurping the TEA Party, to expand it beyond its original intent. If GTLR wants to target some one because they aren’t pro-life enough well that’s they’re thing. But its odd that a group for lower taxes and less government is out to get small government anti-tax Republicans. I’ve been to their site and the PeahTea PAC is a multi-focal group; but they seem to place a lot of stock in one vote…

  7. ryanhawk says:

    In addition to advocating a 1.5 billion dollar tax increase Doug McKillip was (is?) also proudly pro-choice. Have a look at McKillip’s contribution disclosures and you’ll see donations from an outfit called “Vote Choice PAC” — that’s Planned Parenthood. You’ll see the first contribution from Planned Parenthood to McKillip on his September 30th, 2006 disclosure.

    I guess we are going to find out how smart/dumb primary voters in the 117th are this July…. I’m guessing they are smarter than PeachTea and Doug McKillip think they are.

    • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

      At least we would like to hope they are smarter than Peach TEA and McKillip think they are, but some of the early indications are that McKillip may have likely made a lot of new friends in the socially-conservative base of the GOP with that piece of pro-life legislation.

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