"A wise and frugal government which shall restrain men
from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government."
(Thomas Jefferson)

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Tea Party must choose between purity of principle and maturity of method

Chose this article today from Ken Marrero who wrote this oped for the Washington Examiner but can be found everyday blogging at BlueCollarMuse.com because he is saying what a lot of us have been saying for sometime.

This article fits in perfectly after the comments from the Tea Party Nation head Judson Phillips who threatened Speaker John Boehner with a primary opponent after an agreement was reached to avoid a shutdown of the government. This is the same group that is pushing no votes unless you own property.

Judson Phillips, the founder of Tea Party Nation, tweeted Friday that Boehner is “selling us out” and he threatened to put up a primary candidate against Boehner.
Last I checked the Constitution did not require owning property to vote so what is with people like Phillips that are supposed to be supporting the Constitution but seems only when it suits their agenda. That is pure arrogance and why the Tea Party movement is losing clout due to leaders like this. Rank and file activists are sick and tired of being shouted down and the threats being made against our elected representatives because some Tea Party people wanted a shutdown of government. That was a bad choice in this economy. More and more of the leaders of the Tea Party are making the wrong choices as their arrogance grows.

Some of us have worked years at the grassroots level for and against candidates, but to be told we don't know what we are doing by a group of people who don't understand how government works, is frustrating to be kind.

This idea that leaders of the Tea Party groups are demanding a member of Congress vote the way they want or they will primary them is getting on a lot of people's nerves. The people that run some of the national groups are turning out to be extremely arrogant and part of the 'no way or my way' crowd which is no way to run government.

Most of us were mad at the way the Democrats rammed their agenda through the Congress the last two years in particular with Obama as President. What makes these Tea Party people think Republicans who only control the House need to do the same thing. I prefer to think that Republican leadership in Congress is better than that and will look to find the solution that is best for ALL Americans just not the Tea Party people.

It is just like what happened at Freshman orientation with the Tea Party Patriot Group getting mad because the Freshman Congressman were expected at the official orientation at the Claremore Institute arranged by the Republican leadership to learn how Congress operates. The lady running the unofficial orientation for the Tea Party Nation was so mad her arrogance took over as she released the private email and cell phone numbers of the Freshman for Tea Party people to call and yell at them for attending an official event sponsored by the Republican Leadership.

We are witnessing some of the most immature actions I have ever seen by leaders of the Tea Party including some in the House. Wouldn't want to have a liberal Democrat represent me but by the same token I wouldn't want a 'my way or no way' person from the far right represent me in Congress either. If the some of Tea Party movement leaders continue to act like spoiled brats that when they don't get their way by threatening the elected officials, they are going to find more and more Republicans ignoring what they have to say.

The movement started with the grassroots and that is where it should have stayed. Too many arrogant people have assumed control nationally of the Tea Party movement which has led to a lot of the original activists dropping out as they were fighting bureaucracy of the Government which is now infiltrating the national Tea Party groups.

People need to be involved but there is also something called decorum and manners. No member of Congress should have to put up with being shouted at and threatened at Town Halls. If you cannot ask a question without shouting down the member of Congress then you are not mature enough to be at the event. I have seen young kids with better manners when asking a question then I have witnessed by so-called adults.

These people who shout down a member of Congress at Town Halls are setting a poor example for the youth of America. It also brings back bad memories from the anti-war movement of the Vietnam War where they shouted down speakers along with trashing members of our military wearing the uniform. Senator John Kerry along with Jane Fonda were part of that movement that didn't believe that any one's agenda should be heard except theirs. Unfortunately that same behavior of the 60's and early 70's is alive and well today, but this time it is coming from the far right in the form of the Tea Party.

Would like to know the breakout of the leadership of these groups between Libertarians, former Democrats, and Republicans. Have never seen Republicans act like this before that did not have a Libertarian bent or were former Democrats. Would bet some of them were part of the anti-war movement during the Vietnam War with their age and the way they act at Town Halls.

This article sums up what we have been saying about the National Tea Party and where it is headed if they don't get better leadership -- this one paragraph says it all:

Threats and personal attacks are not options. Why bully a politician over a bad vote? The legislator I threaten to primary today is the same one whose vote I need next week. Collaboration, goodwill and access are not built with coercion as the default option.
Threats don't work in America -- it is time the adults took over the movement from the spoiled brats that are running some of the groups today. It was a local movement that should have stayed local not gone national. Local groups had much more clout than the leadership throwing out threats all the time.

Tea Party must choose between purity of principle and maturity of method
By: Ken Marrero 04/09/11 8:05 PM
Op-Ed Contributor

Recently some Tea Party leaders, unhappy with legislators' silence on a bill, decided to find out their positions. If the legislator was leaning toward the "wrong" position they would threaten to primary him.
Disagreements, even among allies, are inevitable. Choosing how to handle them defines the future of the relationship. After successfully influencing 2010's elections, some Tea Party activists are now choosing poorly.

It's said you don't truly know a man until you disagree with him and that character is revealed by conflict more than developed by it. Will the Tea Parties choose purity of principle; insisting their way is the only way and burning bridges connecting them to allies? Or will they choose maturity of method; permitting allies their varied convictions while still building bridges to lasting collaboration?

It's true that elected officials often choose re-election concerns over good governance. Their votes become disconnected from the constituents for whom they are cast. All that matters is being there next year to cast more votes.

On the other hand, activists often choose today's results over tomorrow's reality. The courage of conviction becomes the inflexibility of arrogance. Tomorrow's bag of candy is sacrificed for today's morsel.

Bad votes and legislation identify bad legislators. Yet at some point all legislators and activists will end up on the wrong side of an issue. How do we handle this?

Lives are videos, not snapshots. In the event of disagreements, allies deserve the benefit of the doubt. On most things we should be privately aware of their mistakes and publicly silent. If we must comment publicly, keep strictly to the merits and flaws of the issue.

Threats and personal attacks are not options. Why bully a politician over a bad vote? The legislator I threaten to primary today is the same one whose vote I need next week. Collaboration, goodwill and access are not built with coercion as the default option.

So what's a "tea'd off" activist to do? Reason and facts are powerful things. They are the best currency with which to "buy" legislators. It's easier for them to face cameras, constituents and colleagues well armed with sound arguments than merely clothed with the knowledge their votes were coerced. We would despise them for caving to lobbyist threats. We'll eventually despise them for caving to ours.

Sound policy is generally easily explained. Explain it. Find others to contact legislators with the same argument. Bring position papers, polls and data supporting our view. Then "Reagan" them; trust them to vote right and verify they did. This gives us a snapshot. Express private disappointment or public gratitude accordingly.

Since we haven't alienated our legislator with bad behavior, we can engage him on later issues, always using the same tactics. This gives us a video. If it shows a legislator who, not over one issue, but over time, consistently supports bad policy, we don't threaten to primary him, we actually do it! We'll have all the evidence needed to justify the decision. Until then, we have not compromised our ability to work with him.

It's a harder path to walk, but the rewards are equal to the effort. It's maturity of method over purity of principle. You can take a different road. If you do, don't be surprised to find it crowded with bullies reading Rules for Radicals.

You might also start preparing for your turn wearing the target costume.

Ken Marrero is a Tennessee activist who blogs at BlueCollarMuse.com.

Source:  Washington Examiner
Local members the Tea Party may want to start following what the national leadership is doing. Your voice is too important to be drowned out by leadership of the 'my way or no way' group. There is a saying that "all politics is local" coined by longtime Speaker of the House Tip O'Neill (D-MA). It is as true today as when he said it and something everyone needs to remember from both sides of the aisle. Tea Party members at the local level has a lot they can contribute to various campaigns and have their voices heard.


SJ Reidhead said...

That's just like Ann Barnhardt and her vile rant against Lindsey. She is damning him for wanting some restraints on Koran burning during a time of war. BUT - she doesn't mind women giving up the right to vote if it will return our country to traditional values.

These people are nuts!

The Pink Flamingo

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