The so-called “Tea Party” in Michigan is positively terrified of becoming an official political party.
Tea Party “officials” in Michigan are running away in a tizzy from a recent effort to put “the Tea Party” on Michigan’s ballot in 2010. Announced first on OutsideLansing.com, it appears that an unknown group or individual has financed a petition drive to put the Tea Party on the November 2010 ballot.
And actual Tea Party members are freaking out.
Zarko Research has learned that a nefarious unknown group calling itself “The Tea Party”…is circulating a petition on a paid basis, at roughly $1 per signature to the circulator…
The petition claims to seek access to the ballot for an entirely new party – the “Tea Party”, although when Zarko Research interviewed known organizers of the Tea Party they all knew nothing about it.
When shown copies of the petition, Wendy Day of Howell, Michigan, organizer of Common Sense in Michigan considered one of the lead Tea Party protest organizers in the state, told us that the Tea Party as she has known it has never sought official access to the ballot and works to create an environment where both of the existing parties work for reform and limiting governmental intrusion into the lives of individual citizens. Day condemned this effort and stated it was an effort to dilute the impact of the current Tea Party – she argued this was evidence that forces opposing reform were taking the Tea Party seriously – so seriously that indeed they are trying to steal its trademark and hijack it.
Take you seriously, Ms. Day? Uh…I don’t think so. You’re the one who staged the ridiculous “Snowman Protest” last winter on the lawn of the state Capitol building.
But, if this is, indeed, a “Dem Dirty Trick” as Mr. Zarko calls it, you should ask yourself why this would work. Let me help you: your “Tea Party” group is simply a subset of the Republican Party. This “Dem Dirty Trick” will work because it will siphon off support from real Republicans and essentially hand elections in many areas over to the Dems, just like happened in NY-23 last year.
The reality is that it’s probably not even necessary. They are just helping you along.
Your “Tea Party” is simply a bunch of disaffected Republicans seeking to push their far-right agenda on the country and gain control of the GOP. Instead of taking over an existing party and driving it farther to the right, this initiative asks you to own up to your beliefs. And, in doing so, leave intact a Republican Party that could potentially be a home for more centrist Republicans who increasingly have been left to feel they have no home.
If your party is such a credible organization, why would you run from this effort to make it official? You claim to have so many supporters and such a superlative message, why are you reluctant to own that and BE a party?
Whassa matter? Afraid to run with the Big Dogs?
The day after this news broke, things got very hilarious. Conservatives around the country began blaming the Democrats.
The Detroit Free Press reported that Tea Party “leaders” from around Michigan are blaming the Democrats and other liberals:
Michigan Tea Party activists were agitated Monday, convinced that a shadowy group of left-wingers was trying to hijack their identity and run faux Tea Party candidates for office to siphon votes from authentic, limited-government conservatives.
“A shadowy group of left-wingers”! Oooo! Sounds scaaa-ary, dunnit?!
An article in the odd “Canada Free Press” went further:
“This effort is in no way tied to the Tea Party groups that I’m aware of,” says Wendy Day, President of Common Sense in Government. “This sounds like a liberal Democrat effort to split the conservative vote in Michigan.“
Democrats. They must be behind this. We don’t need no stinkin’ proof. We just need our accusations!
(By the way, the Canada Free Press is an illustrious group with an associate editor that contributes to Newsmax.com, Drudge Report, Foxnews.com, & Glenn Beck and 9th grade boy as their “Social Network Editor” so you can be sure that they are legit.)
Over at American Thinker, essayist Thomas Lifson had this to say:
They’re at it again. Democrats are caught red-handed playing dirty pool, in this case, spending substantial sums to gin up a decoy Tea Party in Michigan, in order to siphon votes from GOP candidates. Chetly Zarko, of the site Outside Lansing, uncovered the dirty trick op, with reports in two posts…
This is the year we conservatives can go on the offense and paint a narrative of the Dems as the phony manipulators they are…these people are out of touch, incompetent, devious, and need to be thrown out of office.
The red-handedness that Lifson refers to is that the group that is being paid to circulate the petitions has done work for Democrats in the past. And if that’s not solid evidence — ironclad PROOF! — well, I don’t know what is.
(It should be noted that Lifson has seen a Democratic conspiracy to disrupt the Tea Party movement before when he wrote about the Coffee Party. He’s also a guy who equates the term “neoconservative” to an anti-Semitic slur. So, again, you know he’s got cred on this issue.)
Over at the
award-winning, well-respected, frequently-linked basically unheard-of Ballot Access News, editor Richard Winger had this self-explanatory headline:
Ah, yes, the Fox News-inspired “some say…” gambit. As long as “some say” it, it MUST be true! The proof of the pudding, as they say, is in the uttering. Also, it’s in the fact that “the same petitioning company that is circulating this petition has worked in the past for the Democratic Party“. That’s all the proof I need. Howzabout YOU?
The Detroit News reported on this as well. They talked to a yet another Tea Party leader:
Gene Clem, who is active with the South West Michigan Tea Party Patriots, said: “Our suspicion is this drive is being done by Democrats who want people to think this is the real tea party and to siphon off votes this fall.”
Gene’s “suspicion” = news. He suspects it, it’s so. Q.E.D.
All of this goes back to the utter fear the Tea Party leadership has of actually, you know, leading. Rather than having to put together an effective organization with stated electoral goals and qualified candidates who can govern and legislate based upon their declared political platform, the Tea Party prefers to stay on the sidelines flinging poo at those who actually ARE legislating and governing. This isn’t some subtle decision on their part. They are proud of this. From the Detroit News article:
Eighteen groups associated with the tea party movement issued a statement today saying they are not behind a move to establish a political party in Michigan.
“The history of third party movements in this country is one of division and defeat,” the statement says. “We believe that it is instead time for all Americans to rise up and demand appropriate reform within the existing political structures. The mechanisms exist for citizens to participate in their parties, and to drive their parties in the right direction.”
In other words, they are co-opting the Republican Party (apparently with Mitch McConnell’s blessing) rather than doing the heavy lifting of forming their own organization. Here’s the funny part: the Michigan GOP is having none of it:
A Michigan Republican Party spokeswoman said the Tea Party petition drive was an act of desperation.
“They can’t even field their own slate of candidates,” said spokeswoman Jennifer Hoff, “and now they’re trying to form another party?”
Since the Democrats clearly can field a slate of their own candidates, it’s obvious that Ms. Hoff is speaking of our friends in the Tea Party.
So the Tea Partiers are freaking out. They don’t want to be an official party but they’re being called on it by this petition drive. And because they don’t like that fact, they are running around screaming “THE DEMOCRATS ARE BEHIND THIS! THE DEMOCRATS AREN’T PLAYING FAIR!!!
Two things on that particular point. First, “dirty tricks” like this are hardly something only the Dems are capable of as the Detroit Free Press hilariously points out:
If Democrats are behind the effort, it would not be entirely without precedent — for Republicans, however. In 2004, Michigan Republicans circulated petitions to place Green Party presidential candidate Ralph Nader on the ballot.
Second, and this is actually pretty big, the entire outrage is based on the fact that they claim the Democrats are behind it. Unfortunately for them, real journalists doing real journalism actually contacted the head of the Democratic Party in Michigan, Mark Brewer. They asked him point blank if the Dems are behind the petition effort to put the Tea Party on the 2010 ballot. His response?
“We have nothing to do with it.”
Wah waaaaaah. Sorry. Game over. Thanks for playing.
I’m just sayin’…