I attended the Frankfort Tea party on Tax day as well as the Bluegrass Institute for Public Policy Solutions sponsored event at Applebee’s Park this past Saturday. I watched the coverage of the other events across the country and was left with a sense that this is potentially something much larger than any of us have considered. There are also some rabbit trails lurking along the periphery that we should be careful of.
First, I want to talk about the rabbit trails. Some of you may not understand what I’m saying while others, particularly those who have hunted rabbits with dogs, know exactly what I’m saying. A rabbit trail is something that will serve as a distraction to the main purpose. We must be conscious of our mission with the Tea Parties and keep our sites squarely set on the people responsible for the out of control spending. While this current President is part of that problem, the bulk of the blame rests with Congress, the Kentucky Legislature, and frankly the previous President and Congress. Had President Bush taken a principled stand against throwing money at the credit crunch in October then President Obama would’ve had a much more difficult time getting some of his spending programs implemented. President Bush, Minority Leaders Boehner and McConnell, and other leading Republicans in the US Congress with very few exceptions should feel our wrath as well as Senator Reid, Speaker Pelosi, and the rest of the far left elected officials. To print up our signs and slogans targetting President Obama ignores the folks we need to really go after.
Republicans are supposed to be about lower taxes and responsible spending folks. They all say it when they are campaigning but very few of them hold to those principles once in office. Every one of these people like Senator McConnell (in DC) and Senator David Williams (in Frankfort) should hear from everyone of us on a daily basis reminding them that they are in leadership positions ONLY because we have elected them. They should wake up every morning DREADING their email and phones. We should also rhetorically pound on the Democrats but we have to realize that they are doing exactly what they were elected to do by their constituents. It is our job to make sure that they don’t get reelected or at least they change their ways…doubtful but so was General Washington’s chances of defeating General Cornwallis.
Bottom line, we should rhetorically target ANY elected official who seems to have forgotten that they work for us. We just need to remember who’s behavior we have a better chance of altering. Is it those politicians who expect our votes or those who do not?
Now, how big can this thing get? The Americans for Tax Reform folks have what I think is a conservative estimate of the nationwide attendance for Tax Day. They say there were 360,495 folks nationwide that took time out of their day, probably a lot of these folks were like me and took time off from work, to attend these demonstrations. I would bet for every person that attended these events there are 3 or 4 others that wanted to come but were either too timid, busy, or concerned about childcare to attend. As word spreads about how peaceful these events are, how informative they are, and how much the elected politicians are concerned about them, we will see more interest and better turnout.
It is very important that we all keep the correct perspective with this movement. We don’t need a national leader. We don’t need someone to step forward and be a mouth piece because that person will become a single point of failure for us. This past week we had the far left at MSNBC and CNN attacking us the only way they know how without a national figure to target. They used their standard crude innuendo, class warfare, and race baiting in an effort to denigrate and isolate the message. The moment a national figure emerges they will attack the personality, dig into their past to find that one moment of moral failure we all have, and paint the rest of us as hypocrites. Let’s keep this thing a loose collection of individual groups of people who come together periodically. These individual groups will have organizers that build events for the groups to attend but I don’t think those organizers should be considered leaders. None of us can point to a single human personality that is responsible for our positions of fiscal conservatism and traditional American values. We have come together because we agree with EACH OTHER. Ronald Reagan was one of the greatest American Presidents in history. He was elected not because we agreed with his philosophy but because he agreed with OURS. I firmly believe that we have lost control of our elected politicians because we have confused being led with leadership. John McCain LED US straight to defeat in November. Of the people I know who supported Senator McCain no one could tell me where Senator McCain agreed with their political philosophy. We all voted for Senator McCain simply because he wasn’t Senator Obama. During the primary we started looking for people who we thought could defeat the Democrats in November rather than looking for the candidate who agreed with our philosophy. We got what we deserved. If we allow someone to become a national spokesperson for this movement we will once again find ourselves struggling to lead that person or be led by that person until that person is destroyed by the legacy media.
Groups like the 9-12 Project (the Social Network – The Official site) and Kentucky Grassroots Patriots are the future of this movement. We can organize ourselves for local events and attend regional and (hopefully) national events as a group. As local groups develop and grow into strong grassroots political activist organizations that national movement gets stronger and continues to gain momentum. Right now it is hard to determine the future impact of this thing. In 1994 there were no social networks on the web…there was barely a web! Yet we still managed to shock the establishment politicians and send a conservative class of representatives to Washington DC. Today we have far better communication tools and frankly much more at stake. The 2010 election cycle is going to be very interesting.