Where are we Going in 2010?

Andrew Ian Dodge asks questions about where the tea party movement is headed in 2010 over at Pajamas Media.

How far has the tea party movement come since the beginning of last year? A massive event occurred in Washington, D.C., on 9/12, and even greater numbers of people demonstrated all over the country to express their frustration. But ultimately, have they achieved any results? The bills have still gone through, and Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and Obama have shucked aside criticisms.

Ignoring the (majority) public outcry, some legislators have gone so far as to ban tea party members from their offices under penalty of arrest. Most of the MSM, excluding Fox, has carried the Democrats’ water, portraying tea parties as a fringe movement at best and domestic terror breeding at worst. …

What should the tea party movement be doing to make itself more effective and to not exist merely as an exploitable outlet for the frustrated? …

What may have affected the development of the activists is the fact that many seemed to have been suffering under the delusion that they were “reinventing” politics at the grassroots. Politics is politics, and even the tea party movement has been affected by egos, personality clashes, regionalism, and fakery.

The tea party movement may be best served by operating locally. Mass rallies in D.C. and phone-calling initiatives do not seem to be effective in modern politics. Local activism could have an actual effect, and is a good part of what the left has done to gain power.

The movement needs to be thinking about 2012 and beyond. They need to train themselves to effectively work in the political sphere that exists, not the fantasy one that has been created by the enthusiasm of the movement. Obama fooled millions with a promised “new dawn in politics.”

It’s interesting because it goes along with something else I read on TechPresident over the holidays from the left perspective on why the “transformed” campaign-style of Obama was really not the mythical bottom-up campaign the press has claimed.  It was a modern twist on an old style of campaigning, it’s just that Obama was the first presidential candidate to use the new technological tools to pull it off.  As best described, they shared tasks, not power.  It was still very top-down.

The tea party movement is similar.  It’s not really that new for people to protest their government, it’s just that it hasn’t been done in a while (at least on our side) and we’re taking advantage of new tools to do it.  Granted, I’m not as pessimistic about the outcomes as Dodge seems to be because I think the movement has put up serious roadblocks that no party with a super majority could have imagined.  Yet, we have.  Remember when health care was going to be written only by progressives and passed with a signature by August?  The moderates in the Democratic Party at least had a voice in the current versions, and Pelsoi and Reid are so scared that they are conducting the closed door meetings to get the thing passed themselves instead of going the usual conference route.  That doesn’t make the end result any prettier, but this is not something that could have been predicted when Obama took office with the numbers he had in Congress.

But what next?  Dodge makes the very spot on point that the tea party movement faces an uphill battle trying to go the route of forming a third party in most states.  But what they can do is influence the primary process in both parties and the general election result for area races.

In our district, there are at least four declared challengers to Patrick Murphy (D-BigSpenderVille), and the local tea party organizers who put on a phenomenally successful event last year is hosting a candidate forum.  This is not only useful as a way to be taken more seriously by the political class, but it’s also a huge potential boost for candidates themselves.  With the primary bout between these candidates just over four months away, any supporters they pick up at the forum will be worth their weight in gold even if they give just a couple of hours of time stuffing envelopes or making phone calls in advance of the election.  Talk about making future lawmakers sit up and listen now – this is the way to do it.

That said, here’s the nationwide primary calender.  While this is officially only for Congressional races, most states have only one primary date, so it should also apply to just about all state offices as well.  The votes of your immediate family may well be enough to swing a low level primary race, so don’t bitch that your votes don’t matter.  Even making a victory more decisive can make a huge difference in fundraising and attention a candidate can receive from the party folks.

Illinois, you’re up first in February.  Next it’s Texas in March.  Early May has Indiana, North Carolina, and Ohio.  For those of you in Ohio, your state elections are of vital importance.  Your state is losing two entire Congressional districts.  Whatever party leads in the 2010 elections will decide which districts are cut.  That’s not an issue that you can change in the next election, that’s a result you live with for at least 10 years.

3 Responses to “Where are we Going in 2010?”

  1. ParatrooperJJ says:

    While the Tea Party concept is not really new, I find it remarkable due to the fact that we rarely see conservatives protesting in the streets.

    • Bitter says:

      I would agree. Now we just have to take that energy and drive it toward some kind of goal. I realize that it doesn’t mean a GOP majority for every tea partier. That’s why it’s important to focus on the local goals.

      In our local area, the candidate forum is a great idea. It’s good for the candidates, but it also shows that there are people who care about the issues. And it’s actually not partisan, so if a moderate Democrat wanted to run, I imagine they would welcome him or her. At this point, most anyone is a better bet than our current guy.

      We also have a great example from the 2008 race that didn’t have a thing to do with tea parties (obviously, since they had not started). A local community firefighter and township staffer decided to run. He did not seem to follow the typical party path, almost all of his signs and people were fellow emergency workers and people he had worked with through the community. He beat an incumbent favorite of the Democratic Party who was so bitter about his loss that he didn’t even show up to thank his supporters. That’s a shake-up. Not only did we win the seat back into better hands, but the incumbent showed his true colors and will likely never hold elected office again.

  2. I. Why big Tea Parties like 9-12 in Washington D.C. are needed.

    While Congress may be oblivious to the cries of the people. (“Nancy Pelosi could get 250 million phone calls in opposition and one in support. And she’ll still vote yes.”) But what it really does is build comradery. It lets others know that they are not alone. It builds activism.

    II. Obama (top-down) campaign.

    I think it’s interestin that in 2008 we saw the first real ground-up campaign America has seen in ages. That was the campaign of Ron Paul. Who often found himself following his own cart, which was running off ahead of him. When grass roots people organized money bombs leaving Ron Paul with more money than he knew how to spend.

    Perhaps Ron Paul was too old, and not eloquent enough for a presidential run. Ron Paul really became a figurehead for a movement. Might be interesting to see what happens in regards to Ron Paul’s son Rand Paul.

    I could see the potential for a successful bid by Rand Paul in 2016.

    III. Primaries – wow, PA gets to vote in the 2010 primary. Unlike for the 2008 primary. Maybe I won’t turn in my Republican card just yet.

    IV. Tea Party – how big is it?

    Conservatives are just that “conservative”. Protesting is quite a common liberal behavior. (And I hate that word, maybe progressive, or leftist is better.)

    Conservatives usually just got about their daily business. When one realizes there were 250,000-1,000,000+ people in D.C. on 9-12 protesting “smaller government” (a conservative issue, but also libertarian and classic liberal issue). And thousands elsewhere across the country. One needs to factor into their calculation the conservative factor. To have that large of a portion mobilized and motivated expresses that their is a significantly bigger part of the iceberg just below the surface.

    V. Goal – “I realize that it doesn’t mean a GOP majority for every tea partier. ”

    I would much prefer to see a new libertarian based Tea party replace the GOP. Bring fiscal conservatives and libertarians together. Providing a home to those liberals who believe in personal freedoms but are opposed to most other aspects of the Democrat party.