Tea Party At Critical Juncture

Today’s Courier Herald Column:

The Tea Party is at an interesting moment in time.  Nonexistent just 4 years ago, the movement crashed onto the scene in time to change the 2010 elections and stop the Obama administration in its tracks.  The various groups operating under the same moniker allied with Republicans to take control of the House, but also took on incumbent Senators with mixed results.

2012 was a more frustrating election year for those who identify with the movement.  Despite having a large slate of GOP presidential candidates acceptable to the brand, the party eventually nominated Mitt Romney.  Early successes in GOP Senate primaries ultimately resulted in the GOP losing Senate seats.  Tea Party backed candidates for House leadership posts to serve in the next Congress were beaten back by more “establishment” candidates favored by leadership.

Meanwhile, the “grand bargains” to solve budget, tax, and deficit issues have been delayed into a situation that is largely the same after the election of 2010.  Republicans control the House, the Democrats control the Senate, and President Obama has 4 more years at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

It’s quite natural – and quite acceptable – that Tea party activists had an overall strategy to stall and obstruct from 2010 until the 2012 elections.  After all, the “mandate” of the 2010 election was a rebuke of the previous two years.  All House Republicans and the larger minority in the Senate could do was contain the situation in a status quo mode so that big picture policy issues – and the direction of the country – could be decided by voters in the November elections.  The results of November – that of continued status quo – leave the parties in place, as is.

Republicans in leadership who have decried the “lack of certainty” because of Washington’s changing tax and regulatory environment have decided, more or less, that it is time to govern. It is time for some certainty. They have also acknowledged, quite directly, that holding only the House means that at least for the next two years Washington will not be governed exclusively on Republicans’ terms.  Activists within the Tea Party movement, not surprisingly, are not taking this exercise in reality very well.

One of the great difficulties of being in the party that doesn’t hold the White House is that there is no titular spokesperson for the party.  The closest Republicans have for that role is Speaker John Boehner, who has the unenviable role of trying to negotiate with the White House for an acceptable fiscal cliff solution while attempting to keep independent minded Tea party activists within the fold.  It’s not going well.

While the President seems to be more interested the economics of forcing Republicans to vote for higher tax rates rather than the economics of trying to maximize revenue or minimize deficits, Tea Party activists are bristling at the mere suggestion that federal revenues may be increased, much less than the fact that tax rates may be going up.  And, as is custom, there are calls to remove Boehner.  This is where Tea Party activists must decide what is their future, and whether it is with the Republican Party.

While various threats to challenge the Speaker are likely to surface, Eric Cantor who generally represents the Tea Party wing of House Republicans within leadership appears fully on board with Boehner.  Georgia’s Tom Price who challenged one of Boehner’s leadership preferences in caucus elections spent Monday putting down rumors that he is running for Speaker.  There does not appear an appetite from within the caucus to undercut the Speaker while he attempts to negotiate, and in effect, govern.

In response, Tea Party activists are now circulating an article from RedState.com suggesting that 16 conservatives need to withhold their vote for Speaker when the House re-convenes in January.  Their reasoning? “If no nominee for speaker receives 218, the House remains speakerless—as it did during parts of the Civil War.”

This approach is not constructive and would spell doom for the Republican Party and ultimately the Tea Party.  The House is the one part of government which Republicans control.  Should this tactic be advanced, it would demonstrate that Republicans can’t even manage to govern within the confines of what they can control.

The message it would send to an electorate that re-elected Barack Obama would be more striking than any caricature of the Tea Party currently promoted by the most partisan MSNBC commentator.  It would prove that Republicans aren’t interested in governing, but only obstructing.  This is not a risk worth taking.

It’s time the Tea Party takes a long look at itself and the state of their movement.  They have proven that they can be effective agents for change.  They have also proven that they can force decisions that cost Republicans seats – which makes the Democrats that they fight grow stronger.

The Tea Party needs to spend more time on developing a message of why smaller government is better, and how that would work for Americans who currently depend would be better off with less – and what that transition would look like.

That’s no small nor easy task. Obstructionism and political isolationism are much easier.  But the only majority that that will result from Tea Party activists abandoning their party already in a minority negotiating position will be that of Democrats.


  1. Bob Loblaw says:

    Very well stated. Especially this part: “This is where Tea Party activists must decide what is their future, and whether it is with the Republican Party.” and this part: “In response, Tea Party activists are now circulating an article from RedState.com suggesting that 16 conservatives need to withhold their vote for Speaker when the House re-convenes in January.”

    If the TEA Party wants to block a Republican from becoming Speaker, then its future, as addressed in the first excerpt, above, better not be with the Republican Party.

    These gimmicky types of advocacy that Redstate and others looking to get more attention than traction are why the TEA Party candidates were thrashed in the November elections in IN, ND, MO and other places. The tent is big in the GOP, but these folks want to burn the tent down. In Redstate’s case, it appears that financial gain has become very relevant in its operations and therefore, they only succeed if they continue to create chasms within the GOP.

    The time has come for Republicans to remember that there was an (R) by their name, not a (T) or an (I). These activists, as Charlie writes, were thrust into activism by Obama’s policies, not those of the GOP. If they want to fight Obama, then by all means, fight him. But if it means you’re going to split the GOP in half in the process, then leave and line up behind your (T) and quick blank-ing up our Primary elections and chances at the White House.

    • seenbetrdayz says:

      I think most activists in the Tea Party were thrust into activism by Bush’s Bailouts, actually, and if you think more (r)epublicans won’t start staying home in the future, rather than fall in line to board a slow-motion train-wreck with Boehner as the engineer, you’d be sadly mistaken. The choice is not, “love it or leave it.” Be careful what you wish for, because they might actually leave the GOP and just go bar-hopping on election night. Then where does that leave the GOP?

      Again, I think this attack against the Tea Party from within Republican ranks is completely misguided. Had it not been for the Tea Party being willing to criticize and at times challenge GOP incumbents in 2010, the GOP would still be in a nose-dive from the Bush years.

      The GOP wants a party but they don’t want to clean up after it. That’s why the Tea Party was important, to hold GOP officials accountable as well as democrats. To do the house-cleaning that no one else wants to do.

      If Boehner is drawing heat because he can’t seem to uphold the principles people elected him to uphold, Republicans should be happy. —Better to remove him now than wait until he has a chance to do real damage, just as it would have been better to remove Bush after his big-spending first term, than to let him go on to 2008 where he will always be known as the guy who left a turd-taste in voters’ mouths and gave us Obama.

      • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

        +1 zillion….Bush’s two terms of big-spending, “big government conservatism” gave us two terms of Obama and his even bigger-spending “big government socialism” approach to governing.

        If the GOP establishment insists on attacking (and ultimately alienating) the Tea Party wing of the party then the only place that leaves the GOP is wandering around in political oblivion with Presidents Obama and Clinton (as in Hillary Clinton) gleefully smashing their steel-toed boots into Republicans’ necks over the next 8-12 years with even more political force than today.

        • seenbetrdayz says:

          I think democrats aren’t as powerful as they like to believe. I’ve mentioned this several times, and I’ll say it again:

          The GOP turned out 2 million less votes for president than in 2008.

          The Democrats turned out 10 million less votes for president than in 2008. <<>> see you fail?

  2. 2 Down 1 To Go says:

    I’m not sure if I’m considered a TEA partier or not, but I did identify with the movement at it’s origin. In my opinion one of the biggest issues with the movement is whether to change from within or change from the outside. I’d suggest that a lot of those that consider themselves part of the TEA party disdain both (R) and (D) for taking the easy way out for two decades and increasing spending rather than making hard decisions.

    The article states:

    Republicans in leadership who have decried the “lack of certainty” because of Washington’s changing tax and regulatory environment have decided, more or less, that it is time to govern.

    It seems that the origins of the movement did not wish to associate themselves as (R) because they were appalled and governmental abuses on both sides. I don’t think they left the Republican party, I think it left them.

  3. TidePrideGA says:

    One of the major issues with the TEA party is that it is presented with a classic conundrum. Supporters disdain the status quo and believe (with great justification) that our political system is now composed of politicians and not citizens. Politicians are, almost by definition, more interested in politics and elections than they are in the general welfare.

    But therein lies the rub. When you have non-politicians trying to wrest some control and common sense from the system, you get more-harm-than-good approaches like going speakerless.

    So in order to effectively negotiate change in the system the new candidates have to become … politicians, the very thing they abhor (party irrelevant).

    Now there’s a Catch-22 for you.

  4. debbie0040 says:

    Charlie, we (Tea Party Patriots) are staying in the back ground as far as the fiscal cliff negoiations and have not sent out emails asking activists to call their Congressmen and ask them to vote one way or another. We do understand that the GOP only controls 1/3 of federal government. Other groups have.

    We do take issue with Speaker Boehner removing conservatives from committees and if he wants a battle, then he has one. Our efforts in 2010 helped put the Republicans back in charge of the House. The tea party is not the only group disatisfied with Boehner. There are many others and they are the ones leading the way to oust Boehner-not us. Guess that fact slipped through the fact crack.

    Eric Cantor in no way represents the tea party caucus in Congress. I really don’t believe he was ever tea party.

    Let me inform you and Bob why the tea party movement started because if think Obama’s policies were the only catalyst, then you are way off target. The tea party began under W but just was not called tea party. There were many activists that grew distant from the national Republican Party because of the big government policies of the Bush administration. That disatisfaction intensified with the passage of TARP. Here in Georgia, Chambliss was forced into a run-off in 2008 because of disatisfaction with him. TARP made many people very angry.

    Obama was was elected and the spending and bail-outs increased dramatically. Activists were not sure what to do until we heard Santelli’s rant on the Chicago Trading floor. We then had a conference call with 22 activists on the call and planned the first round of tea parties on 2-27-2009. I met Jenny Beth Martin on that call.

    Both parties had an opportunity to hear our message of fiscal responsiblity and only the GOP seemed to embrace it. They had also been part of the problem the past 8 years. There were many activists that wanted to start a third party immediately because they did not feel we could trust the GOP. We convinced them that our best option was to try to reform the GOP from within because it would take too long to be successful with a third party. We assured everyone that we would hold the GOP accountable and would not let them return to the way things were since Reagan and would not allow our movement to be used by the GOP.

    The tea party led the messaging and agenda in 2010 and the GOP was successful. One message was to repeal and fight ObamaCare.The establishment told us for over a year that Romney was the only one that could defeat Obama even though Romney could not effectively or credibly rail against ObamaCare. Tea party activists in some states effectively defeated establishment candidates and two of those Senate candidates did lose the general. There were three tea party candidates that did win their Senate races in the general election and at least one establishment candidate that was trounced in Florida for Senate. Tea party activists volunteered their time to assist Romney in their states. Some even took vacation time to ride buses to swing states to go door to door for Romney. Tea Party Patriots distributed over one million dollars in grants to local tea parties throughout the nation for voter education efforts. We worked our tails off, despite being dissed at the Republican Nation Convention by the rule changes. The Romney team also basically said screw you to the Ron Paul people as well by not announcing the delegates he won for states and also by the rule change. This may have cost the election.

    It is not our fault Rove and company and the Romney team and RNC ran a shoddy campaign and had issues with messaging. It is not our fault Romney turned from a fighter in the first debate to a scared wuss in the second debate.

    The tea party helped the GOP take control of the Washington State Senate. We flew activists in from all over the United States to the Seattle/Tacoma area on weekends and we walked targeted state senate districts. The GOP in Washington did not have faith those seats could be won but the tea party did. The GOP came up two seats short of taking the majority but in the past week, two democrat state senators flipped and the GOP now controls the State Senate in ultra liberal Washington.

    There are many people like Bob and his boss that wish tea party activists would just show up and vote for the GOP at election time then just disappear and not hold them accountable. I had a staffer for a member of House leadership tell me over a year ago that he liked the tea party as long as they just attacked Democrats but they should not be attacking Republicans. Republicans should not give us anything to attack. Do you know how disgraceful it is to have to battle a GOP speaker that likes to take European vacations over adding a limit to lobbyist gifts? Shouldn’t ethics be a GOP issue?

    There has been more and more talk about forming a third party from tea party activists and other conservative groups. That would be something the Democrats would love as that would put them in power because it would divide the conservative vote. Long-time conservative GOP activists have been calling for a third party because they are sick of the way conservatives are treated. I don’t support that at this time because the GOP belongs to the grassroots-not powerful elected officials, establishment cronies. Why should we just walk away ? I have been active since 1976 in the GOP. Anyone can say they are a Republican and have a R by their name and govern like a Democrat. Just look at the ethical lapses we have seen from Republicans in the Georgia Legislature. Look at people like Bob that hates having groups hold his boss accountable.

    • bgsmallz says:

      “It is not our fault … the Romney team and RNC ran a shoddy campaign and had issues with messaging.” LOL.

      By ‘messaging’ that isn’t ‘your fault’ do you mean people supposedly in his party undercutting him with back-handed compliments in the media?

      “”I didn’t think Romney would be bold or courageous enough to pick Paul Ryan as his running mate,” -Debbie Dooley, 8.28.12

      That’s what kills me…this MO of the tea party to do whatever it takes to avoid addressing well thought out and fair criticism by deflecting blame elsewhere. (but obviously taking credit for all things victorious.)

      • debbie0040 says:

        I agree it was a bold move to pick Ryan but the national Romney campaign team was lacking in messaging . Romney should have hammered Obama on Bengazi and foreign policy that last debate but he chose to agree with Obama. Voters did not see a clear choice.

        The GOP has yet to adequately explain why raising taxes on those making over 250,000 is a bad idea. Romney made a huge mistake by allowing him to continue to use that as a campaign issue. Most voters don’t realize that if you soak the rich with higher taxes, the middle class will be the ones to suffer. The wealthy won’t absorb the loss. They will layofff workers or not expand their business and create jobs. They will stop buying jets and cost jobs. They will also raise the price of goods/services. Romney and the GOP should have presented a case that it is not the wealthy they are looking out for in refusing to raise taxes, that they are looking out for the middle class because they would be impacted negatively.

        The Romney campaign ground game was laughable and so was their use of technology.

        The tea party did not select Romney as the nominee – the establishment did. They own it.

        • taylor says:

          Your explanation of taxes on the wealthy is a great argument that they pay nothing at all. If we eliminated taxes on the wealthy, there would be more jobs and lower costs for the rest of us.

          • debbie0040 says:

            @taylor, I think the Fair Tax or other tax reform plan with a single rate would solve that issue. The wealthy should pay their share of taxes like everyone else does but not at a much higher rate like Obama wants them to.

    • Bob Loblaw says:

      I don’t have a boss, Debbie. Get that through those curls. I don’t know how many times I have to tell you that I don’t have an earthly boss and the closest thing to a boss that I have is my wife, who for many years has generally admonished me when it was the right thing to do!

      Did you see that the Fed profited $22.7 Billion from its latest round of selling off the shares of AIG it bought up during that awful bailout you just railed against? Yeah. Terrible deal for the taxpayers. Folks got to keep their homes, families didn’t lose the value of insurance AIG wrote, the government made $22+B…just awful.

      I’m bewildered after reading your Presidential election analysis. But Bob Loblaw did not cast a vote for Romney as you imply and was quite clear that Romney wasn’t a good candidate from the outset.

      Great work at defeating and repealing Obamacare. Keep attacking the Speaker, too. You’ve got one conservative out of three negotiating positions and your plan is to hack the leg of the three-legged stool that supports your positions.

      Be careful who you call a “disgrace”. Speaker Ralston isn’t perfect but that “vacation” you wrote about has been adjudicated at the CFC. If you have a problem with how they handled it, the disgrace lies there, not with Ralston.

          • debbie0040 says:

            @Bob, I will talk issue all day long with people that are not cowards that hide behind monickers on PP. You know who I am. Why are you afraid to let people know who you really are? Afraid it might hurt your boss?

    • Napoleon says:

      Congress is 1/3 of the federal government. Since the GOP only controls the House of Representatives, it controls 1/2 of 1/3 or 1/6 of the federal government. One can also say that the GOP has a plurality in another 1/3, the SCOTUS, that at times could work to a majority, but as that is not a easily fixed percentage and not a solid defined control, it’s probably best not to count that 1/3 for either side.

      Therefore, I’d say the GOP controls 1/6, the Democrats control 1/2 and 1/3 can go either way.

  5. debbie0040 says:

    I will add another misconception. The tea party does not consider all long time GOP activists establishment. The tea party supported long time activists Sue Everhart and fought for her re-election as GA GOP Chair. We will be active next year as well .

    • John Konop says:


      I consider you a friend and would like to be honest about this issue. I do think you have done some very positive public awareness on local issues. But in my opinion the GOP is getting killed on a combination of changing demographics/policy and nasty messaging, rather than a core focus on real issues.

      1) The GOP should be pro immigration if we have a policy that promotes the best and brightest type policy and immigrants pay taxes, have healthcare…… ie Dream Act…….It should not be about losing our culture……. The party got killed by the 2 fastest growing groups Asians and Latinos. And with 50k Latinos turning 18 every month this is a demographic nightmare with current GOP policy.

      2) The policy of promoting abstinence over birth control is irrational and fiscal suicide. We know that teenage mothers end up on welfare 3 out of 4 times and are 7 out of 10 times low wage workers. Welfare…….for life.

      3) The policemen of the world foreign policy we cannot afford and it does not work. This was cornerstone of the old conservative GOP of staying out of entanglements ie Powel Document which was give birth from the Reagan administration.

      4) The disrespectful campaign against women ie rape, Muslims, “Birther”, anti science, anti gays….. ie Rush style angers is turning more people off the on.

      The above 4 issues drowns out any real reforms we need in Medicare, SS and healthcare. And the lack of solutions and focus makes the GOP and the Tea Party at times look like an angry old white people group. I think now is the time to look inside and decide what you want out of this group as a leader. I do think you have grown as a leader, you just need to transform the group toward solutions not angry…………..

      • KD_fiscal conservative says:

        Very well put, John. That pretty much sums up why the R’s got hammered this year(especially #1). But the trouble is if the GOP moderates it position on social or immigration issues, they risk lose the base.

      • debbie0040 says:

        @John, Tea Party Patriots, nor Atlanta Tea Party addresses the social issues you mentioned. We avoid them..

        • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

          Ms. Dooley, your particular faction of the Tea Party movement may avoid social issues.

          And those of us in the know may be aware that the overall Tea Party movement has its origins over concerns about fiscal policy and the expansion and growing overreach of government.

          But there are some factions of the Tea Party movement that have wrapped that Tea Party banner around social issues as a way of calling attention to themselves.

          Those factions of the movement that carry out their infatuation with emotially-charged social issues under the Tea Party banner have done much more harm than good to public perception of the overall Tea Party movement (see Todd Akin and Richard Murdock as prime examples).

          • griftdrift says:

            That was Debbie Dooley speaking for herself, not Debbie Dooley speaking Atlanta Tea Party Patriots ( conveniently located in Dacula ). I know. It gets confusing.

  6. seekingtounderstand says:

    Would like to see the tea party, Ron Paul People and libertarians unite and start their own party. Would like to see the Bush republicans/largest theft of tax dollars in our history destroyed forever.
    We are totally dependent on money printing to make ends meet and Bush did it. We are unable to pay our debt off or make debt payments if interest rates rise.
    One day something soon will give to the ability to keep printing money and this new party would be ready and people will listen to the message. A message of freedom and opportunity. Appeals to immigrants. Reagon got the young vote with it also.
    One message that was left off the story is that the tea party shows courage and holds folks accountable. How refreshing is that…………….no more Republican Party kiss a$s approvals of bad decisions or policies.
    If “voting is the best revenge” than tea party, Ron Paul People and Libertarians use the same strategy. People of Georgia have had it with the republican one party state rule which serves the insiders and ignores citizens. Georgia would make a great test site for taking the movement national. Republicans are going to continue to lose so why not try.

    • seenbetrdayz says:

      It would be an uneasy alliance, but possible. One gripe I have with the Tea Party is that on the national level they can’t seem to shake their stubborn adherence to a Middle East foreign policy of nation-building that has not worked for several administrations. I hear them decry big-government programs and yet they seem to give the issue of endless war a ‘free pass.’ In terms of lost lives and liberty, WAR is the biggest of the ‘big-government programs.’

      But, at least within the party, no one discounts that the GOP leadership is managing to piss off various groups that, if they manage to unite, could force the GOP into once again becoming the party where the voice of the grassroots is heard (rather than a party of rule-changes to stifle dissent). Frankly, I think Reince Priebus needs to be replaced more than Boehner, just for the way the conventoin coronation was handled.

      Debbie was right that the way the national convention went down had a lot to do with Romney’s defeat. It wasn’t just the Ron Paul folks who got stomped on. Anyone who still believed that the GOP is the ‘bottom up’ party walked away from the RNC feeling like they just got spit on by leadership.

      • debbie0040 says:

        My recent posts on my FaceBook page. “Why are we continuing to send money and military resources/men to Afghanistan? where is the outrage from the U.N. and U.S. about the way women are treated in Afghanistan and other Muslim countries?

        Why are we helping Islamic groups take power? They hate the U.S We are sending them money and weapons so they can gain more power and money and use it to destroy us… We did that in Egypt and look how that turned out.”

        • seenbetrdayz says:

          Well, that’s refreshing then. That’s basically what it boils down to. Why do we continue to send aid to countries that . . . hate us? Makes no sense. Thinking back to the State Convention, I had gone in thinking that the candidate mattered and I really wanted to see Ron Paul represented. But when I saw the way the committee basically smacked-down the grassroots when the body of delegates wanted to vote, it was clear to me that there are some serious structural problems in the GOP. This is a party that is not ready to discuss issues or pick candidates; the more pressing problem is that they lead from the top-down.

          I don’t think it’s going to work for the GOP any more. “Follow the leader” mentality is something that we expect from the Democratic party, not from the GOP (allegedly the party of constitutionally limited government—I say allegedly). A lot of rank-and-file republicans such as Bob want very badly to go back to the Bush years where we just don’t question folks in power, but that’s not gonna happen. What’s more likely is that people will just start leaving the GOP because it doesn’t follow a ‘republic’ structure of government. It’s now run more like mob-rule democracy, and America already has a party which stands for that.

      • debbie0040 says:

        “Debbie was right that the way the national convention went down had a lot to do with Romney’s defeat. It wasn’t just the Ron Paul folks who got stomped on. Anyone who still believed that the GOP is the ‘bottom up’ party walked away from the RNC feeling like they just got spit on by leadership.”

        Very true. In regard to the ruel change, we were alerted to the ramifications by some Republican National Committeemen and Committeewomen. They were fighting it with us, including Linda Herren of Georgia. They risked scorn of the establishment to fight it. We were able to get one rule change struck but not the one that stated the RNC can change rules between conventions with 2/3 vote. This rule change was rushed through by Speaker Boehner because they did not want dissent and drive Anne Romney’s speech out of prime time. There was clearly a close vote and Boehner should have called for a standing vote but he said in the opinion of the chair the ayes have it. That was met with boos. To me that said it all about the attitued of the establishment and Boehner toward the grassroots .

        Many are sick of the way we (tea party, conservative groups) are being attacked and treated by the GOP establishment on the national level. After the holidays, there will be a meeting of the tea party and other groups to discuss what our next steps are.

        Here in Georgia, we face attacks from a very few GOP establishment like Bob and others that don’t like we are not just voting voting but are holding those we vote for accountable, but for the most part we have been welcomed. On a national level and in many states, that is not the case.

  7. SallyForth says:

    I’m glad that it sounds as though the tea partiers are not allowing themselves to be used by the big money people on the “fiscal cliff” issue. Today comes the news that the insiders of large corporations are taking their dividends early in order to get 15% tax rate instead of the roughly 39% after the roll-back of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy to their previous levels. For example, Larry Ellison will get $77 million more by doing this (total of $265+ million in unearned income), Sheldon Adelson gets $43 million more (total of $147+ million), etc. of the insider 27% stockholders who are not among we, the unwashed common stockholders who will not receive these “special” distributions of dividends.

    The silver tongued lobbyists and p/r firms made ordinary folks think it was great for them to receive a relatively few dollars here and there in tax breaks, so that they would bust their butts supporting the Bush tax cuts that were predominantly for the prople who wouldn’t wipe their shoe on the masses – hiding from the public the magnititude of the give-away of our collective tax dollars to the extremely wealthy who receive hundreds of millions of dollars every year on investments.

    Our ancestors, the true tea partiers at Boston Harbor, were protesting just this very sort of abuse in taxation by the wealthy people of their day. Like the Bible says, to whom much is given, much is expected.

    • John Konop says:

      Obviously we must straighten out the loopholes that favor the few……..but with that we also must make tough cuts as well as invest into infrastructure.

      • SallyForth says:

        Absolutely, John, on both points. I didn’t even get into the critical need for investment into infrastructure. Our crumbling water and sewer systems, decrepit electrical grids that go out at any time (e.g. the whole Northeastern U.S. a while back), roads and highways ruined under the load of railroad traincars dragged by big rigs, and on and on. Our nation is almost to the point of needing a public works program like Roosevelt’s.

        • saltycracker says:


          The decision has long been made by both parties to spend more than all the money available on other priorities. Even if we hadn’t already blown potential money for projects or could come up with some from vast spending reductions elsewhere, how would we overcome the regs & unions & special interests to even compare it to a Roosevelt project ?

          • SallyForth says:

            Salty, maybe Congress would write into the enabling act that only flesh-&-blood people (not corporations) be hired to do the work and that they would be paid directly from the US Treasury – no middle men or women, no special interests. Since federal employees are by law not allowed to unionize, there would be no problem there. Also require federal agency bureaucrats to work together (novel concept, I know) in streamlining the regulatory process, give them fixed deadlines to reach project activation or lose their own jobs.

            I know I’m a cockeyed optimist, but surely there are enough sane people in DC to get this done. Re financing, put all the federal agencies on zero-based budgeting (no continuation budgeting, every proposed expenditure must be justified), cut any unjustified spending and, voila, frees up funding for infrastructure projects!

            • seekingtounderstand says:

              You speak the truth. One of the best lines of the week was “there is not much congress and the President can do, the beaucrates are out of control and protecting their own wealth graft.”
              How many people do you know in government jobs who are making hugh money with great life time benefits. Many are double dippers with “winning lottery” style retirements. I know three school managers who will receive hundreds of thousands per year in retirement for failing schools.

            • mpierce says:

              maybe Congress would write into the enabling act that only flesh-&-blood people (not corporations) be hired to do the work

              Instead of hiring a construction company to complete an infrastructure project, they should find, hire, negotiate contracts with, coordinate and manage hundreds of employees at an individual level???? Are you kidding?

              Since federal employees are by law not allowed to unionize

              Federal Employee Unions and Associations Directory

  8. Scott65 says:

    I’m a little late to this conversation (Xmas is very busy time trying to fulfill orders which are way up btw…shipping, etc.).
    I have to say, Debbie, you are about the only leader in this movement who has any credibility in my eyes (and the likes of Amy Kremer dont help you at all). I know you believe in the things you are saying. The problem I have with the movement in general was that it was NOT an organic movement. It was a movement funded by the uber rich to promote their agenda. I am totally in favor of a smarter, streamlined government, but all spending is not bad. If everyone pays down debt at the same time…the economy tanks. A dollar spent is someone else’s dollar earned. We could argue about how stimulus money was spent, but it absolutely needed to be done…any economist will tell you that (unless they are on the payroll of someone with an agenda). Also, it seems like a plan to reduce spending is not credible unless it inflicts pain on the lower and middle class who have suffered the most since 2008. Case in point…money given to states from the settlement with banks to help homeowners…what did GA do…help homeowners? No, it went to “economic development”…basically stolen to help fund some legislators pork project in the state. Where’s the outrage about that??? Thats real money meant to help people that went elsewhere.
    One more thing…the upper 2% “job creator” label is utter nonsense…they are not, although they would like you to believe they are. People who invest will continue to invest whether they pay 15% or 30%. To think they will pack their marbles and go home is just plain wrong. They invest to make money…and will continue to do so where the best investments are…in the US. It would be nice if the US would invest in infrastructure…which is a sound investment with sizable returns…but the “no spending” zeal has made all reasonable investment by our government impossible…and its a shame since we will not be able to borrow this cheaply later on. I think the TP would do better in the name of freedom to take on REAL freedom threats like warrantless wire taps, spying on peoples email, and the dept of “Homeland Security” taking down domains because the RIAA says so without any court supervision, or the example I gave above. Those are real threats to freedom…not government spending on infrastructure

    • seenbetrdayz says:

      Those are certainly real threats that you mention. And, really, those should be no-brainers as far as being able to tackle them. We could argue over how to spend the money, but we could find much agreement on things like domestic surveillance. (funny how the areas that the American people find the most agreement on tend to fall through the cracks of Congress’s ‘to do’ list).

      I tend to think the problem is that at some point, social freedom and economic freedom were split up between two parties. The background on the libertarian party’s facebook page reads, “Georgia Libertarian party, keeping Republicans out of your bedroom and Democrats out of your wallet.” That’s pretty much what we’re up against now.

      • seenbetrdayz says:

        Forgot to mention the kicker:

        Now we have some democrats in our bedrooms and some republicans in our wallets.

      • Scott65 says:

        They would be (easily solved) if Hollywood didn’t spend outrageous amounts of money lobbying congress, and placing staffers who work for the likes of Sen Feinstein (D-CA) and Rep Lamar S. Smith (R-TX) thinking no one will notice when they slip wording in unrelated bills.

        • seenbetrdayz says:

          “riders” on unrelated bills. They’ve been around for a while though and I don’t know if we’d ever get rid of them.

          Say you have a bill to ‘protect the whales’ and yet that same bill’s small print calls for an invasion of Overyonderstan. You vote against it because you don’t want to invade another country and suddenly the dialogue is, “What do you have against whales!?”

          The behavior is almost an insult to voter intelligence. but yet it seems to work so I don’t know if it speaks more about the people who insert last-minute amendments or the voters who elect them.

    • Joshua Morris says:

      ” We could argue about how stimulus money was spent, but it absolutely needed to be done…any economist will tell you that (unless they are on the payroll of someone with an agenda).”

      Friedman wouldn’t. Neither would Hayek, or Hazlitt. Whose payrolls were those guys on? Sounds like broken window theory to me.

    • seekingtounderstand says:

      it takes a learning curve for most uninformed citizens to figure out what you just said.
      How about more education efforts by grassroots, no one else will do it.

  9. Joshua Morris says:

    What is the Tea Party? What are its guiding principles? Can you find some local association ‘leaders’ who can do better than making buffoons of themselves at state GOP conventions? Some call it a leaderless movement, which constitutes a mob.

    There are some real, inherent formational problems that inhibit the original Tea Party movement from accomplishing any real policy change.

    • Scott65 says:

      …because they are funded by billionaires that have no reason to achieve real policy change unless it benefits them. The fiscal motivation of the TP has no basis in fact…no economic foundation…just a bunch of shrill people screaming about spending that haven’t a clue about macro economics…sorry, but thats the truth…and unfortunately too many people were listening to the wheel squeaking the loudest instead of the one about to fall off the cart. Watch this…you might just learn that anyone screaming we’re going broke doesn’t have any clue what they are talking about.

      • seenbetrdayz says:


        Some of these accusations of the Tea Party being funded by, for example, Koch Brothers all the time gets about as old as Glenn Beck screaming George Soros all the time.

          • seenbetrdayz says:

            No, I was mentioning an example.

            But wealth has been used as sort of an economic version of Godwin’s Law in political discourse. It seems to be that associating anyone’s viewpoints with $money$ is supposed to somehow negate the validity of their viewpoints. (at least, that’s the implication)

            Truth be told, if being backed by billionaires was a disqualifier for having a political opinion, neither democrats nor republicans would be able to say anything at all.

        • Scott65 says:

          If you have time…take a look at the link…and watch it. I want an honest opinion of what you think of it

      • debbie0040 says:

        @Scott65, the movement was absolutely not funded by billionaires. Koch bros. funds Americans for Prosperity. It is a true grassroots movement that sprung up from the bottom. FreedomWorks and AFP provided advice and speakers but not money.

        I wish we had billionaires funding us when we were begging for money when we first started. Clearly, someone forgot to tell them they were supposed to be funding us. The local tea parties are the heart and soul of the tea party movement and we did not have billionaire sponsors. We all sacrificed so much to get the movement started because we did not have money. We had to beg for money to hold events. For the first Atlanta Tea Party on 2-27-2009, we spent zero. We had no money. We had to send out email after email to raise funds for the April 15, 2009 tea party.

        @Josh, still hurting I see over the defeat in the GOP Chairman’s race and the Congressional race Tom Graves won…

        As for policy change we have shifted policy toward to how much we can cut not how much can we spend. Look at how successful we have been in Georgia.

        • Joshua Morris says:

          Wow, Debbie. I’ve long passed thinking about either of those races you mention, but what do they have to do with your behavior/PR skills? I took my position in both of those races purely on solid conservative principle–something you cannot honestly say.

          • John Konop says:


            ……….I took my position in both of those races purely on solid conservative principle–something you cannot honestly say…..

            That is out of line, you may disagree with Debbie, but the self-righteous tone makes you look bad not Debbie. Over the years Debbie and I have agreed and disagreed on various issues. Agree or not with Debbie she does think for herself and is willing to go against the establishment position if she disagrees. And she had always had the guts to let people know her views.

            • Joshua Morris says:

              John, I have an educated opinion on the matter, and you’re not the person to decide who is out of line here. I accept that your opinion is different than mine.

              • John Konop says:


                That was a personal hit on Debbie with no facts. It is a free country, and you can post what you want, but at the end it does not lend credibility. And I think you are smarter than that……..

  10. Three Jack says:

    Been out of town, so getting to the conversation a little late.

    One of the biggest problems for the TP is the loose organizational structure that leadership decided to allow. I’m not saying they were/are wrong for this decision, but it has created some interesting spinoffs where certifiable wackjobs assume local leadership roles – see Canton, GA for a nearby example.

    The TP needs to stay out of individual political races, stop endorsing candidates. Develop a sound message based on the simple premise of smaller, less costly government, then train these local folks to stay on message. TP should not affiliate with any political party unless they decide to start their own. The GOP uses TP folks just like it uses the anti-choice crowd…how’s that whole repeal Roe v. Wade thing working for you after 30+ years? Stop relying on the GOP, make them rely on TP.

    I hope JBM and TPP continues to have a voice because our political process needs more activists, not less. Now would be a good time to step back, evaluate what has worked and what hasn’t, then lay out a practical plan for the next 2-4 years. Big spending bureaucrats will not go away without a fight, TPP needs to be there as a viable challenger.
    No endorsements
    Christi, Angle, Bachman

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