Friday, December 11, 2009

Tea Parties Mobilize for 2010 Elections!

From yesterday's Washington Post, "'Tea Party' Movement Preps for 2010 Vote":

The energized "tea party" movement, which upended this year's political debate with noisy anti-government protests, is preparing to shake up the 2010 elections by channeling money and supporters to conservative candidates set to challenge both Democrats and Republicans.

Buoyed by their success in capsizing a moderate Republican candidate this fall in Upstate New York, tea party activists and affiliated groups are unveiling new political action committees and tactics aimed at capitalizing on conservative opposition to health-care reform, financial bailouts and other Obama administration policies. The goal is to harness the anger that led to hundreds of protests around the country from spring to fall, including a gathering of tens of thousands of protesters on the Mall in September.

The strategy poses both an opportunity and a risk for the beleaguered Republican Party, which is seeking to take advantage of conservative discontent while still fielding candidates who appeal to independent voters. Fundraising efforts are just beginning, but tea party activists have already inspired serious challenges to establishment GOP Senate candidates Carly Fiorina in California and Charlie Crist in Florida; a similar insurgency in last month's House race in New York splintered local Republicans, leading to a Democratic victory.

"It's time to take control," conservative activist Eric Odom declares on the
Web site of his new political action committee, Liberty First PAC, which will "support fellow patriots looking [to] defend our liberty." Odom, who played a central role in organizing the first tea party protests this spring, says the PAC will not support incumbents of either party.

Smart Girl Politics, a conservative women's group active in getting people to tea party protests, is considering forming a PAC to steer its 23,000 members to help conservative candidates.

Another influential activist, Erick Erickson of, plans to encourage donations to conservative challengers such as GOP Senate candidate Pat Toomey, who hopes to win the Pennsylvania seat held by Republican-turned-Democrat Arlen Specter.

And in Washington,
FreedomWorks, an advocacy group that helped organize many major tea party protests, is set to announce plans this month to raise millions of dollars through a reorganized PAC targeting its 500,000 registered members, said Matt Kibbe, the group's president. Chaired by former House majority leader Richard K. Armey (R-Tex.), the group says its fundraising effort will be modeled on the Internet financing juggernaut created by Barack Obama in 2008.

"We're looking at the potential of raising small checks from a vast number of donors, just as Obama did," Kibbe said. "We've been studying everything about the Obama primary strategy, and I happen to think the tea party movement could make even the Obama grass-roots machine look obsolete."
The remainder of the article addresses the question of "Can the movement unite?"

That's something I've covered here. See, "
A Battle Within the Tea Party Movement?" My argument? Basically, if the tea parties devolve into a third party movement, we're done. Better for activists to try to centralize their leadership and unite behind the most conservative members of the Republican Party. I have Sarah Palin in mind. And recall the news from a couple of weeks back, that Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann will headline next February's "First National Tea Party Convention" in Nashville, Tennessee. CNN had a report, "Palin, Bachmann to Headline Tea Party Convention."

The tea parties have created the most important movement in American politics today. Both political parties are shaken in their boots at the potential for a massive grassroots earthquake to shake the political system to its foundation. The Republican Party should be especially worried. An RNC fundraiser called me the other night. Normally I screen the calls if I'm not in the mood to give, but I took this call, and I gave the fundraiser hell for suppporting RINO Dede Scozzafava in NY-23. The guy was an idiot, claiming the Chairman Michael Steele didn't really support Scozzafava after all (and then he went into his pre-packaged spiel to try to shakedown a contribution). Don't give to these people until they get their act together. See Michelle Malkin's piece for a refresher, "
The GOP elite’s $1 million object lesson — and the message of NY-23."

The left is worried as well, of course, which is why everyone from Anderson Cooper to Barack Obama, from Jane Hamsher to Rachel Maddow to the SEIU, has demonized grassroots activists with the ugly gay slur "teabaggers":

Just this morning the Huffington Post has another hit piece, "Anatomy of The Tea Party Movement." As you can see at the piece, these folks want to accentuate the splits in the movement and weaken the surge of outrage against the left's socialist takeover of America:

During the spring's Tax Day Tea Parties and the summer's ubiquitous town-hall protests, unity was on display as a disparate group of protesters took aim at the Obama administration and the federal government. But once the fervor cooled down, some of the movement's best-known affiliates began feuding. The Tea Party Patriots and several regional organizations publicly accused the Tea Party Express of Astroturfing, claiming that it was directed by Republican strategists, and even ousted and sued one of its own founders for associating with the Express.
The left fears the tea parties, which explains all the strenous efforts by Democrats to delegitimize the movement.

RELATED: The Hill, "
Tea partyers petition Dem lawmaker to move office to make protests easier." (Via Memeorandum.)

The videos above features (1) the infamous Susan Roesgen attacking tea partiers last April, and (2) a video compilation from last week's Nancy Pelosi tea party, which was created by Roger Ogden, the Meetup Organizer of the Stop Obama Now! - San Diego Tea Party.