Posts Tagged ‘Tea Party’

Yesterday, I was invited on WHSV TV-3 to discuss the government shutdown and the tea party movement.  You can find a link to this segment here.

After watching the clip, I must say that I would have loved to discuss some of the issues presented by Dr. Roberts.  Oh well, perhaps next time, eh?


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Photo by Charles Dharapak of the Associated Press

As the 2012 Republican Presidential race continues, in a move that would certainly be a monumental surprise a year ago, former Senator Rick Santorum has positioned himself as the leading alternative to former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.   It is likely that quite of few readers of this article prefer Rick Santorum.  As Mike Huckabee did in 2008, Santorum polls highly among those describing themselves as conservative, especially Christian conservatives, and has done quite well in the both the South and the Midwest.

Is Rick Santorum a conservative?  There is no doubt that he is socially conservative.  But, does he embrace the ideals of Madison and Jefferson who called for a limited federal government bound to the principles of constitutional restraint?  Does he believe, like Barry Goldwater, that Republicans ought to fight against big government programs, such as FDR’s New Deal, that expanded the role of Washington bureaucrats far beyond what Americans had previously known?  Unfortunately for conservatives, as Rick Santorum stated in the following interview from 2008, the answer is no.

Interestingly, Rick Santorum has picked up considerable support among tea party members as well.  Keep in mind, that the core aim of the tea party, at least in this area, is a return to the Constitution, restraining the federal government to its authorized functions, and opposition to the spiraling debt and massive spending.  As the previous video indicated, Rick Santorum isn’t particularly favorable to this mindset.

So how does Rick Santorum view the tea party?  Since his speech in 2008, has he changed his views and embraced the ideals of limited government conservatism?  Well, in June 2011, he answered that question.

Now that he is officially running for president, Santorum has changed his tune, reaching out to unaware tea party voters even through his policy positions remain relatively unchanged since his time in the U.S. Senate.  Given Rick Santorum’s troubling, although fairly consistent, stance opposing the conservative ideal of a small, fiscally responsible central government, opposing the branch of the Republican Party who advocates these ideals, and opposing the tea party movement, one does have to wonder why any self-described conservative or tea party member would support his candidacy for President.  The only reasonable answer is that they do so solely based upon the idea that he has strong moral and religious principles.  Although then the question becomes, should we support someone for a political office based on his or her religious beliefs alone?

Do we believe a person who labels him or herself a Catholic, Protestant, Mormon, Jewish, Islamic, Hindu, or any multitude of faiths or someone with no faith at all is or ought to be the defining characteristic which makes a person suitable for elected office?  And, if so, like the nation of Iran, should our country be ruled by a theocracy?  Assuming that either the GOP or the government follows down this theocratic path, will we still enjoy the long standing freedom to criticize our leaders or their policies when their principles run counter to our own?  When fascism comes to this country will it, like we have been warned, be wrapped in a flag carrying a cross?

Of course, anyone is free to support any candidate for any reason, however, it is useful to know where that candidate stands.  Rick Santorum, by his own admission, is not friendly to either limited-government conservatism or the tea party movement.  Therefore, it is particularly puzzling why some of these very same people should accept him as one of their own.  Following this line of thought, one must ask if he or she wants a Republican Party, a tea party, or a nation primarily ruled by Rick Santorum or someone who embraces his ideology?  It ought to be a fairly easy question to answer.

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What are the principles of the tea party?  I suppose that question it not particularly easy to answer.  After all, each tea party has its own flavor, each focusing on a multitude of issues they believe is important. Many of the left decry the movement as a bunch of small-minded bigots, while some of the establishment types on the right are quick to marginalize or downplay the importance of these groups as well.

Sure, their principles are varied, but so too are their goals.  Therefore, it is difficult to measure the success or failure of the tea party as each strives to accomplish different tasks including: removing poor leaders, electing “tea party” candidates, advancing legislation, spreading education and awareness, and/or simply providing a forum for political discussion.

But, going back to my original query, a number of weeks ago I was asked that very question about my local tea party.  Although I was tempted to respond off the top of my head with the laundry list of possible answers, I instead pondered the idea and compiled a file of what I thought were the most important tenants.  Here’s the list that I crafted:

The Tea Party supports the ideals of a limited and constitutional government.  Therefore, we believe:

The primary purpose of government is to protect the lives, liberties, and properties of its citizens and those lawfully within their borders.

The federal government has grown well beyond its constitutional limitations as proscribed by the Constitution and reinforced by the 10th Amendment.

The rights of law-abiding citizens to own and use firearms in a responsible manner for recreation, hunting, and protection should be protected.

The current tax code is too lengthy, burdensome, and convoluted and thus ought to be revised or replaced.

The Federal Reserve ought to have no hand or say in the printing or distribution of the money supply and should be abolished.

Education is not a federal issue and ought to be left to the states and localities with primary rights and responsibilities residing with the family.

The federal government has no authority to authorize any national health care plans, meddle with existing plans, nor mandate any person to purchase any insurance or program.

The federal government is crushing current and future generations under the weight of a national debt.  Not only should the government balance its budget, it should greatly curtail spending immediately only to engage in functions proscribed in the Constitution.

We oppose any and all laws and mandates forced upon the citizens by supranational organizations such as the United Nations.

We support greater transparency and openness in all levels and branches of government.

Of course, there are a whole host of other important issues, such as ending abortion or bringing our troops home, but I don’t really see the tea party as dealing with social issues nor do I think there is a majority opinion regarding military policy (unfortunately).  However, I do believe that the above list incorporates most, if not all, of the local tea party principles.

Are you a tea party member yourself?  Or do you view the group with either curiosity or disdain?  Most importantly, what principles would you either add or remove from my list?

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Everyday, it seems that I receive another email announcing some other group or elected official who endorses George Allen’s Senate bid.  More and more people are climbing aboard the Allen bandwagon, but I cannot get on board.

As I’ve mentioned previously, I was a very strong supporter of George Allen back in 2006.  During that election cycle, there was nothing that I wanted more than to work for his re-election effort.  Although I didn’t get a job with him directly, through my employment with the Republican Party of Virginia, I did get to spend a lot of time assisting his campaign.  Like most Republicans and conservatives, I was both shocked and disappointed when he lost to Jim Webb by a narrow margin.

When I heard that George Allen was running again in late 2010/early 2011, my first reaction mirrored the same excitement that I displayed back in 2006.  Here is a conservative with almost universal name recognition who can reclaim one of Virginia’s two Senate seats currently held in Democratic hands.  But then, at the urging of a handful of anti-Allen folks (some of whom have since either joined the Allen campaign or who have endorsed him), I delved into Allen’s record when he served as our Senator from 2000-2006.  What I found would make just about every constitutional conservative cringe.

Like many conservatives, as the Bush presidency dragged on, I became increasingly disheartened with George W. Bush for not only failing to rein in the power of the federal government but massively expanding instead, as well as failing to enact conservative legislation.  But it wasn’t just the President who betrayed the conservative movement.  After all, for a huge chunk of the 107th, 108th, and 109th Congresses, Republicans controlled both the United States House of Representatives and the Senate.  For some unexplainable reason, I focused my frustrations on our President, while maintaining a rather rosy view of our legislators.  Nevertheless, as our Congressional representation endorsed and advocated these plans, they should be held just as culpable.

Let me outline what I feel are a few of George Allen’s most troubling votes while serving as our Senator.

He supported passage of the U.S. Patriot Act in October 2001.  George Allen, along with many other legislators voted to strip away some of our civil liberties in exchange for supposed security.  This act vastly increased the power of the federal government by allowing previously illegal roving wiretaps done without a court order and spying on what books folks check out in libraries.  You might be able to merely excuse his vote due to the widespread panic immediately following 9/11, but the fact that he voted to continue the program in October of 2006 meant that he had no qualms placing this country on the path to a police state.

He supported passage of Aviation and Transportation of Security Act in October 2001.  Are you happy with the TSA handling airport security?  Does the idea of aggressively patting down your grandma and your children please you?  How about revealing body scans?  Again, we can thank George Allen for this situation.

He supported No Child Left Behind in December 2001.  The federal government has no Constitutional authority to be involved in the education process.  Why should bureaucrats and legislators in D.C. have any control of an issue that is, depending on where you stand, the role of the states, localities, and most important, the parents themselves?

He supported the Iraq Conflict Resolution in October 2002.  Senator Allen voted to authorize use of force against the nation of Iraq while forces were already committed in another nation.  This invasion set a dangerous precedent for pre-emptive war.  As we all know now, we attacked a nation who posed no threat to the security of the United States.  This action led to the death of over 4,000 U.S. soldiers, over 100,000 Iraqi civilians, and a cost to the American taxpayer of $1.9 trillion dollars.

He supported Medicare Part D in November 2003.  Senator Allen advocated the expansion of federal government meddling in the health care industry by voting for passage of the Prescription Drug and Medicare Improvement Act.  From where in the Constitution does the federal government derive such authority?

He supported raising the debt ceiling.  Over the span of his six years in office, George Allen voted to raise the debt ceiling not once, not twice, but four times.  How is repeatedly driving this country further into debt the mark of a fiscal conservative?

Lastly, one of the defining marks of a limited government conservative is to actually eliminate unneeded, wasteful, or unconstitutional government.  How many federal programs did George Allen eliminate or try to eliminate while serving as our Senator?  Can you name just one of any substance?  I sorely wish that I could.

It is true that there are some good conservatives that voted the wrong way on one of these issues.  One area of disagreement typically shouldn’t scuttle a politician.  However, the fact that George Allen is on the wrong side of each of them is particularly troubling.  Although some of my Republican friends may think openly questioning George Allen’s record tantamount to treason, shouldn’t we resolve these matters now, before both the primary and the general election?

Last week, I heard that conservatives should support Allen because he has learned from his mistakes and now shares our values.  I haven’t seen sufficient evidence to back up this claim and thus I don’t really believe George Allen 2011 is much different from George Allen 2006.  Need proof?

If you will recall, from my article on May 27th of this year, I wrote each Republican candidate for Senate asking, “therefore, as a Republican candidate seeking to represent us in the United States Senate, the burning question on my mind is, if elected, what federal programs, agencies, or departments will you work to eliminate?”  Although George Allen stated that he planned to streamline a number of agencies and programs, unlike the other candidates he did not mention completely eliminating anything with the exception of Obamacare which is important, but not nearly enough.  Read my article and decide for yourself.

Now some people will point to Tuesday’s news of supposedly 100 tea party individuals who have endorsed George Allen’s campaign.  Although I’m certain a handful of partiers will do so, it is becoming apparent that this claim is a hoax.  From what I’ve read, quite a few of the people listed did not give their blessing and some of the people on the list aren’t even associated with the tea party.  The Virginia Tea Party Patriot Federation, of which I am a member, released a statement dispelling the claims of the Allen camp.

Nevertheless, I’d very much like to join with my friends and elected representatives who have endorsed George Allen.  After all, Virginia needs a strong conservative voice who will stand up for the Constitution, our principles, and the people of the Commonwealth; we need a man or woman with strong convictions who will do what is right even if that means sometimes standing against the President and his or her own party.  Given his track record from 2000-2006, like so many people in the tea party movement, I’m just not convinced the George Allen is the suitable person for the job.

Sure, George Allen has more than established his credentials with the officeholders, but that fact alone doesn’t win either the GOP nomination or the general election.  The challenge for both George Allen and his campaign is to prove to the tea parties, conservatives, Republicans, and average Virginians that he is the most principled candidate.  Despite what some outlets are reporting, so far, they have not succeeded in doing so.

I prized my A Team pin when it received back in 2006, but I guess it will continue to gather dust.  How unfortunate.

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On Saturday, I received a rather intriguing email from TheTeaParty.net entitled “37 things you should horde…” Inside, it offers several links to a page promising “click here to discover the 37 critical items you need to stay alive and healthy (you won’t be able to buy these things later!)”.  Given recent concerns with the value of the dollar, a weak economy, and the ever-present looming threat of some sort of natural disaster and/or a terrorist attack, people’s fears and concerns will likely draw them to this site.

But what do you find when you get there, you might wonder?  What are these 37 things that you and everyone else in our society need?  The short answer is, after watching the video they offer, I still have no idea.

Let me save you a bit of time.  For about a half an hour you sit through a repetitious video preying upon your fears that promises to save you from the crisis ahead.  After spending so much effort trying to convince you that you are a “good patriot”, that the speaker is your friend and only wants to help, and this information they provide will save you and your family from starvation and mob warfare, you are bombarded with a sales pitch to buy a book that contains the answer to these future panics and more.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you, but if you really care to watch it anyway, you can do so here.

A month or two ago, after receiving one of my first emails from TheTeaParty.net, I called their Washington D.C. office hoping to learn more about their organization.  No one answered my call and, even though I left a message, no one has anyone called me back since.  Surprised?

Looking through their dozen or so emails I have stuffed in my inbox, this so-called tea party seems to only send out two kinds of messages, emails asking for money and emails from their paid sponsors.  This morning’s email was more of the same.  “Do you support the movement?” they ask.  If yes, click here to take a poll.  But, once you do, there is no survey, only another donation page.  I’m sure that these kinds of self-serving messages are terribly useful to the greater tea party goals.

Masquerading as the tea party is all the rage these days.  After all, like the televangelists of old, preaching a message of doom and gloom coupled with a monetary path to salvation is a popular and proven tactic.  How many of our parents and grandparents were deceived by Jim Bakker or someone of his ilk back in the ’80s?  Take from the old!  Take from the naïve!  Their loss can be your gain!  But let me ask you this question: if you generously choose to donate some your hard-earned cash to show your support for the tea party, which would be a better choice?  Your friends and neighbors out working in the community?  Or some unknown group based in D.C.?

Now maybe TheTeaParty.net is on the level but, after a month, it is starting to become apparent to me that they may be little more than a group trying to cash in on the tea party’s name through promotion of their paid sponsors. Sure, you can ask me for a donation once in a while.  Shake me down for money four days in a row?  That tactic seems more than a little fishy.

Getting back to my original point, should you be prepared in the case of a disaster?  Absolutely.  Should we be concerned about the state of the economy?  Of course.  However, as a member of the Shenandoah Valley Tea Party, I don’t want anyone to get suckered in by an astroturf substitute promising solutions to a problem that may or not exist.

But who should listen to reason with so much fear swirling in the air?  After all, tomorrow’s headline might read, “Panic!  At the Supermarket!”  Maybe if I ever look to cash in on a book or newspaper I’ll end up writing such provocative statements.  For now though we have at least two options.  Which course of action will you choose?

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A few moments ago, I received an email from the Radtke campaign.  The bulk of it contains a letter from Jamie Radtke to Senator Harry Reid of Nevada (which was also recently posted on RedState).  Although I get a lot of political email, I decided to share the letter here too given that it is well worth the read.  As you will discover, it expresses a shared frustration regarding the seemingly endless spending coming out of D.C. coupled with a profound disappointment over the irrational understanding and demonization of the Tea Party movement by some politicians, pundits, and activists in the establishment.

Hope you enjoy.


An Open Letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid from U.S. Senate Candidate Jamie Radtke

Dear Senator Reid:

To quote Ronald Reagan, a man we are really missing this week: “There you go again.”

In the same way that an overwhelming majority of Americans did not want Obamacare, yet it was aggressively forced on them by the single-minded zealotry of the Democrats in Congress, you are again ignoring the will of the American people who, by majorities of 3-to-1, want you to cut spending. And you are so intent on getting your way and ignoring the demands of the electorate that you are forcing a government shutdown to prevent cutting a mere 1.5% of the budget.

And rather than assuming responsibility for falling down on the job, failing to pass a budget last year and doing nothing to solve the fiscal mess you have put us in, you are again (just as with Obamacare) attacking the Tea Party for resisting you.

Honestly, Washington Democrats seem to have changed their motto to: “When all of us fail, blame the Tea Party.”

Well, Senator, the Tea Party was right about Obamacare, and the Tea Party is right about cutting spending with the budget vote, and Americans know it.

After adding $3.64 trillion to the national debt in just over two years, President Barack Obama and the Washington Democrats can claim credit for a $14.2 trillion debt, which equals nearly 100% of U.S. GDP!

You must know that this level of debt-to-GDP is crushing our economy. The degree of cynicism and ideological zealotry required to ignore that threat for political purposes is breathtaking.

So, given the cynical approach you and establishment Washington took on Obamacare and are taking on this budget issue, I can only say thank God for the Tea Party!

The fact is, if there had been no Tea Party, the establishment career politicians (in both parties) would still be talking about whether we should steer a lot to the left or a little to the left as you drive our country off a cliff.

Rest assured that, just as with Obamacare, the Tea Party will not be silenced, and we will not be satisfied until Washington puts an end to the fiscal insanity in Congress, saves the America we’ve always known and restores our liberty.

Mark Twain once said, “Always do right. That will gratify some of the people, and astonish the rest.” The Tea Party seems to have astonished you with our resistance to Obamacare and Washington’s fiscal insanity. But you might as well get used to it, because Tea Party Americans will continue to stand with those doing the right thing until this mess is fixed.


Jamie Radtke

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Welcome to my first of what will be many podcasts.  Enjoy!

Today’s episode deals with prejudices and ignorance regarding the Tea Party movement.

The Tea Party of Hate?

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