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Posts Tagged ‘Virginia Tea Party Patriots Federation’

VC Note:  Most likely along with a multitude of other tea party members, I received the following message from Middle Resolution PAC.  As the title states, I find the line “if he loses then we lose” particularly intriguing.  Given the numerous complaints against Corey Stewart currently circulating on the internet, I’d hate to peg my fortunes on his performance tomorrow.  So will the tea party rally behind Mr. Stewart?  Will this support scatter?  Or will it concentrate on another of the seven LG candidates?  I guess we’ll see.

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The last 2 weeks have been difficult on us all as we have been in the throes of a political mudslinging match aimed at our candidate, Corey Stewart, the perceived front runner in this race.  I want to make a plea to everyone not to get distracted by the smoke and mirrors of a political primary but to focus on the candidate whom we’ve selected to represent grassroots conservatives in VA.  If he loses then we lose and we must do everything we can to help him win the nomination on Saturday.

The attacks on Corey’s campaign ethics are based on hearsay and innuendo with no proof that he is in any way involved with unethical behavior.  While Corey is the focus of these attacks the whole delegate list has been receiving e-mails from John Gray, a former democratic opponent of Corey’s, attacking Corey’s record.  How did John Gray get the delegate list?  Recently 2 pieces of direct mail were sent from  “Checks and Balances for Economic Growth” attacking Corey Stewart calling him “King Corey!” So clearly they also have the delegate mailing list and clearly there are a number of dirty hands in all of this yet the bloggers and Breitbart are focusing on Corey.  Why is Breitbart so concerned about a 7 way LG primary race?  The Breitbart articles by Michael Patrick Leahy, seem to be very concerned about possible ethics violations by Stewart, but ignore many of the same actions by other candidates. Is he interested in the shadow group doing direct mail pieces against Stewart? Nope, just Stewart!

A couple of days ago Grover Norquist railed against Corey’s tax record on the John Fredericks show.  Here is the tax pledge that Corey signed:

Notice that Grover Norquist endorsed the pledge that Corey signed.  Why is he criticizing Corey for signing and adhering to the pledge that his group constructed?

Throughout this process Corey has been forthcoming with us and has met or talked to every tea party with concerns about the attacks on his record (in one instance to his detriment).

The whole purpose of the vetting process was to unite conservatives behind a candidate and help that candidate win against a well funded, data rich, progressive democrat candidate. Corey prevailed in a thorough vetting process that looked at campaign strength, ability to fund raise, and knowledge of free market principles.  We were not the only ones who vetted these LG candidates, John Tate head of Campaign for Liberty and Morton Blackwell of the Leadership Institute did their own vetting and came to the same conclusion that we did; Corey Stewart is the candidate best suited to defeat the democrat in November.

Corey’s record cutting regulations, cutting spending, and fighting illegal immigration is consistent with tea party principles. He is no stranger to the tea party, he attended one of the first CoLA meetings to help create a state immigration policy that would mirror what he has done in PWC.  He also sought tea party support for a bill to eliminate the corporate income tax and he continues to keep an open line of communication with tea party activists.

Corey’s accomplishments in Prince William County are a model for our state government.  While spending in VA has grown by 66% Corey has cut $143 million in spending from the county budget and per capita spending is below what it was in 1992.   While little has been done to address the challenges of illegal immigration at the state level Corey has implemented policies to enforce immigration law and has reduced crime.  While we just received the biggest tax increase in VA history to supposedly fund transportation, Prince William County funded a $300 million dollar transportation project without raising taxes.  If we want to solve the transportation issue we should call on other counties to maintain their own roads and decentralize road building and maintenance from VDOT to the localities.  Lastly, while Medicaid spending has increased by 1500% in the last 30 years, Corey’s most recent budget proposed 9.6 million in cuts to social services.  This is the type of leadership that we need in VA and I hope you will all rally behind Corey on Saturday and push him across the finish line.
Best Regards,
Angie

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On Friday and Saturday, a number of tea party leaders from across the state met alongside officials from the Middle Resolution PAC to examine the nine Republican candidates for lieutenant governor and attorney general.  The purpose in doing so was to evaluate each and determine which of the choices best represent the tea party values.

Now, I first heard about this process in early February and, after reading all of the materials provided on the subject, came out in opposition to the idea.  It was not an easy decision to make, especially given that the Virginia Tea Party Federation was in favor of it and that I worked for We rVirginia in 2012, a group funded by Middle Resolution.  Nevertheless, I believed that it was the right thing to do.  I crafted a couple of similarly worded emails stating my objections which I sent to the leadership of the Shenandoah Valley Tea Party and Middle Resolution.

For the record, here is the text of one such email that I wrote on February 13th of this year:

Good afternoon, everyone.

I’m been thinking a bit more about this vetting on the candidates to produce a “tea party” candidate for both lt. gov. and attorney general and must say that the more I consider this path, the more that I am opposed to it.  Now I understand fully why this plan is being implemented.  After all, we saw what happened last year.  With everyone divided, arguably the least conservative candidate (George Allen) won the GOP Senate nomination.  But is this proposal of rallying most or all of the tea parties in the state behind a candidate the best?

In an ideal situation, I’d like to see the tea parties clearly state their principles for these races as well as inform their membership of the positions of each candidate.  Based upon this information, we would let each person decide who best adheres to his or her principles.  Instead, it seems that we are charting…a very top down/authoritarian course of action where the leadership and a handful of people in Richmond decide for the members who they think is best.

Now being involved in politics for more than half my life, I know how these sorts of things work.  Unfortunately, most people of all political persuasions act like sheep and will dutifully follow their leaders where ever they are taken.  But, I’d like to think that the tea party is something different, something better than just “the leaders have spoken and the faithful membership will follow us without question”.  I have a lot of respect for…[the people involved in the vetting process]… and the leaders of the various tea parties, but that respect alone does not mean that I can allow them to do all of my thinking for me.

I suppose the question becomes, what do we do if we do not agree with the outcome of the vetting process?  Are we beholden to honor it?  I don’t mean to sound like a stick in the mud, but regardless of the outcome, I still plan to support whichever of the candidates that I deem is the best and will encourage everyone I know to learn about his or her choices and decide which person best fits his or her ideology.

Another factor to consider is the members who have already pledged themselves to a candidate.  Once a decision is reached will they reject their previous volunteer efforts and accept an outcome handed down from on high?  Or is it more likely that they will resent what is done and go their own way, thus ultimately weakening the tea party?

Perhaps I’m misunderstanding what plans are moving forth statewide, but, until I am convinced otherwise, I would recommend that the Shenandoah Valley Tea Party have no hand in this vetting process.  There are too many parties, too many interests, and too many candidates involved.  I believe that this plan strips away our political freewill, and without the freedom of choice, are we any better than either the Republicans or Democrats, whose flawed principles and processes led to the formation of the tea party in the first place?

I know that unfortunately this letter goes against the plans of my former employers, but is my reasoning wrong?  Do the ends of ideally nominating a better candidate justify the means of potentially subverting the desires of the individual tea parties and their members?  Am I crazy to think that this plan is dangerous?  Is the idea of molding politically self-aware tea party members that can arrive at their own decisions without mandates from above nothing more than foolish idealism?

What are your thoughts?

Thanks!

Joshua Huffman

Besides the concerns listed above, I worried that this vetting would be seen as an endorsement and that it was quite possible that the process would nominate a candidate who didn’t actually adhere to the core values of the tea party.  Nevertheless, I was assured that this process would not be called an official endorsement.

At the end of the day, based partially upon the recommendation of a former tea party leader, I chose not to participate in this process myself.  After all, if I did so and did not agree with the outcome, then would I still have any room to object?  And, after hearing the results, I must say that I do strongly object.  For the record, Corey Stewart won for lieutenant governor and Mark Obenshain for attorney general.

First, some groups like the Lynchburg Tea Party have declared this outcome to be an outright endorsement, which is what I feared would happen.

Second, from everything that I’ve learned about him, much like Black Velvet Bruce Li, I am not convinced that Corey Stewart is a proper banner carrier for the tea party principles of constitutionally limited government, fiscal responsibility, and a few other important issues that may come up in a future piece.

Third, if the tea parties do feel compelled to stand behind a candidate, let them do so regionally, not statewide.  Let Mechanicsville decide what is best for Mechanicsville, Montross determine what is best for Montross, and the Shenandoah Valley declare what is best for the Shenandoah Valley.

Fourth, my worries that the vetting actually damaged the public perception of the tea party have increased after reading a number of recent blog posts on other sites.

I am well aware that my comments may not be popular with many tea party groups, possibly even my own in Harrisonburg.  Nevertheless, as a member of the Board of Directors for the Shenandoah Valley Tea Party, based upon everything that I’ve written thus far, I feel compelled to urge my fellow tea partiers to consider the results of this weekend’s tea party vetting process with extreme caution.

If you are planning to cast your vote at the Republican Convention on May 18th, do so intelligently.  I’ll tell you right now that I’m supporting my state senator, Mark Obenshain, for attorney general.  However, you shouldn’t merely take my word as the absolute truth or the results of this tea party vetting either.  If you think Rob Bell is more in line with your thinking, then you ought to cast your vote for him.  You can use any endorsement as a guide, but never make that one item your only determining factor.  Otherwise you surrender your vote to the whims of another.

I know it takes time, but let me stress that you need to research the candidates yourself and decide which best represents your values and your principles.

Here I stand.  I can do no other.

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TPSCThe Virginia Tea Party Patriots Federation released their first ever legislative score cards, ranking the members in the General Assembly based upon their votes in the 2013 legislative session.  As has been the case with special interest groups like the Family Foundation and the NRA, score cards are a useful tool to let voters know how their government officials vote on particular issues of importance.  This new  score card graded based upon 15 different pieces of legislation.

In the House of Delegates, Delegate Todd Gilbert (R-15) and Delegate Peter Farrell (R-56) were the only two members in that 100 person body to post a perfect score.  Here in the Shenandoah Valley, most of the other legislators also received high marks with Delegate Rob Bell (R-58) at 95%, Delegate Dickie Bell (R-20) 95%, Delegate Ben Cline (R-24) 95%, and Delegate Steve Landes (R-25) 90%.  My delegate, Tony Wilt (R-26) scored the lowest of any of those in the region with 60%, though he did vote rather curiously in 2013, supporting the implementation of Obamacare in Virginia and the creation of a state-run EPA.  Speaker of the House of Delegates Bill Howell (R-28) was awarded a rather dismal 35%.  You can download and view the entire House of Delegates score card with the link provided. Tea-Party-Patriots-house_scorecard_2013_v2

Moving over to the Virginia Senate, my state senator, Mark Obenshain (R-26), and Bill Stanley (R-20) were ranked the highest among the 40 with 70%.  Elsewhere in the Valley, Senator Emmett Hanger (R-24) got 45% and Senator Creigh Deeds (D-25) was awarded 5%.  By comparison, Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment (R-3) finished with 30%.  The Senate score card is here. Tea-Party-Patriots-senate_scorecard_2013_v2

As the political landscape in Virginia continually evolves, the Virginia Tea Party Patriots Federation has been adapting to fit this changing environment.  This tea party score card is one of several new developments that the federation has in the works.  I encourage you to check these cards to see what you think.

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