Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Sheepdog on the Warpath - Part 2, Tea Party or Political Party ?

As you read through this week's series, Sheepdog on the Warpath, you will encounter a recurring theme. I believe a number of groups in this country who were once doing great things have lost their way. My goal this week is to call them on it in hopes they will see the error of their ways and get back on the right track.

The current Tea Parties received their inspiration from the early American colonists' protests against the British Government. Those protests were based upon issues and policies.  Barack Obama's residency in the White House has been as good for the Tea Party groups as it has for gun and ammo manufacturers. Their numbers are rising and the Lefties are up in arms. The Lefties have referred to the Tea Partiers as "Tea Baggers," racists, and "a wing of the Republican Party." I've been to some of the events and met Republicans, Independents, and even Democrats there. Not exactly the "wing-nut" gathering the Nutty Lefties claim it to be. Or is it ?? I didn't think so until I attended the April 15, 2010 tea party event held by the Wilson Co. (TN) Tea Party (WCTP) in Mt. Juliet, TN. Some things I witnessed there that day gave credibility to the Lefties' "Republican wing" claim. The following day, I sent the following e-mail to the event organizer, Sherrie Orange, president of the WCTP, in an effort to express my concerns :

I hope you are doing well and getting some rest after all the planning and preparation for yesterday's Tea Party at Charlie Daniels Park. I never heard from anyone about helping out with parking so I assumed you had it covered. However, I did attend and would like to congratulate you on putting together another great event this year.

However, I just wanted to touch base with you about a concern I had from yesterday. The history of Tea Parties, going all the way back to the Boston Tea Party, has been one of protest against government tyranny. It has been about reminding the government about our rights, its role, and where the boundaries are. It has had a spirit of neutrality not taking the side of any party. The only side the movement has taken has been the side of liberty, freedom, and the constitution. However, I noticed a bias in the words that many of the speakers shared with us yesterday. For example :
  • Bob Pope endorsed Liet. Governor Ron Ramsey in the Governor's race.
  • A.J. McCall endorsed Mark Pody in the TN House District 46 race.
  • Steve Gill basically endorsed Mae Beavers in the TN Senate District 17 race.
I'll be honest. I generally vote Republican because I am a Conservative, but there are some Republicans that need to go just as bad as the Progressive Liberal Socialist Democrats because they have forgotten their conservative roots. Furthermore, let me say that I have nothing against Ron Ramsey, Mark Pody, or Mae Beavers and have met and know all of them. Ramsey and Beavers each have solid conservative records. However, both of them have primary opponents who also have solid conservative records. Therefore, in the spirit of fairness, I believe that yesterday the Wilson Co. Tea Party should have either remained neutral or give each candidate equal time.

Lastly, since the Tea Parties started last year, the leftist-socialists have been claiming that they are nothing but a "arm of the GOP." You and I know that is not true as the Tea Partiers include Independents, Republicans, and even some Democrats who are unhappy with the path their party is going down. However, I'm afraid that if we continue to see the blatant bias and public endorsements of candidates at the movement's events, like what I witnessed yesterday, it will only give the lefties the evidence they need to make their case that this special movement is an "arm of the GOP." We can't afford to have that happen as it will take away any credibility we have.
Johnny Black

I received a response from Ms. Orange which said that she was disappointed by the small crowd, but it did not address my concerns about "neutrality."

Over the last few months, I have noticed other evidence that the WCTP is more of a political party than a Tea Party. They, led by Ms. Orange, were less than neutral in the Republican Primary for Tennessee's 17th District Senate seat. For instance, the WCTP scheduled a debate between the candidates for the Tennessee District 17 State Senate race. The moderator for the debate was talk show host Steve Gill, a close friend of Beavers. According to Beavers' campaign finance disclosure report, her campaign paid Gill's company, Gill Media, over $12,000 for "radio" during the primary campaign. No wonder they're close friends.
Beavers with Gill at one of her fundraisers.
Rep. Susan Lynn, one of Beavers' primary opponents, accepted the invitation to attend the debate with one condition - a moderator other than Gill be selected. Lynn's request was due to bias shown towards her by Gill in prior comments and his friendship with Beavers. Orange refused to change moderators so Lynn wisely chose not to participate in the debate. Based upon the evidence, who could blame her ?? If Orange had truly wanted to have a fair and honest debate in a neutral setting, she would have honored Lynn's request.

In addition, in the July 16, 2010 addition of the WCTP newsletter, there was a comparison of Sen. Beavers and Rep. Lynn's voting records on several issues. The comparison, however, is somewhat deceptive because it does not tell the complete story on some of the compared votes, but I digress. Some of the deception is addressed in my previous blog posts under the Mae Beavers label. The interesting thing about this newsletter is that of the 11 votes compared, 7 of them, including the first 4 in consecutive order, also appear on a campaign brochure distributed by Sen. Beavers (see below number coded copies). Is this another coincidence or favoritism ?? Does the fact that Ms. Orange has made campaign contributions to Sen. Beavers in the past mean anything in regards to this ?? What about the fact that Orange is the former Vice-Chairman and Chairman of the Wilson Co. Republican Party ??

See below Beavers' brochure and pages 1, 3, 4, and 9 of WCTP newsletter. Similarities are numbered. 
The purpose of the e-mail was to recruit volunteers to work on Mr. Spivak's campaign. The question is did the WCTP send out such recruiting e-mails for any of the other 5th District Congressional candidates ?? The answer is a resounding NO. In fact, when I e-mailed one of the other candidates and asked him if he had been given the same opportunity as Mr. Spivak, he said no. That doesn't seem fair. If the WCTP is actually a neutral, unbiased Tea Party organization, wouldn't you think they would offer the same service to the other candidates ?? In addition, the candidate I contacted told me that even though he was on the WCTP's e-mail list, he didn't even receive the e-mail about Spivak. Accident or an intentional omission ?? Furthermore, before anyone asks, the answer is yes, I can document the e-mail exchange between myself and the other candidate. I'll be happy to provide a copy to anyone who would like to see it.

In summary, there are a number of good Tea Party groups out there who are focused on holding politicians accountable for their votes, their stance on the issues, and for following or not following the Constitution. However, it appears that others, such as the WCTP, are indeed working as an arm of the Republican Party and / or on behalf of particular candidates. All that does is give the Lefties who criticize the Tea Party movement the evidence they need to make their case. I'm afraid it will ultimately lead to the downfall of the Tea Party movement which will be a shame. Hopefully, the groups that have gotten "political" will get back on track before that happens, because they offer a much needed service to the electorate. They need to be focused on issues and not playing politics or showing favoritism toward particular politicians and candidates. Fair is fair.
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A J McCall said...

I thought Marrero's organization endorsed Lynn. I don't see any comments about that.

Also yes I endorsed Pody against an ultra-liberal tax-and-spend democrat. I take it you prefer a lib that voted for the state income tax. I guess we can't see eye to eye on that.


A J McCall

The Second Chance Sheepdog said...

Mr. McCall,

Thank you for your comments in regards to this blog post. I am flattered that a well-known, successful businessman such as yourself would take the time to read and comment on my piddly, little blog. Please feel free to stop by and visit it anytime.

However, based upon your comments and knee-jerk reaction, it appears you have completely missed the point of the post. It's not about Lynn, Pody, or anyone else. I want to encourage you to go back and read it again slowly, especially the last paragragh. Perhaps this time you will get the point.


P.S. The really unfortunate thing about this is that Sherrie or someone else with the WCTP had the same type reaction as you. They have removed my blog link from their website. I guess the truth hurts.

A J McCall said...

Your point was that some tea party organizations can be accused of being an arm of the republican party. I am not sure I agree when they choose a candidate in a primary. The only scenario I see that would make that assertion valid is if a tea party endorsed a liberal republican against a conservative democrat. Not likely to happen.

I was simply pointing out that if the WCTP was wrong to support mae then marrero was similarly wrong to support lynn. But if both organizations believed their candidate was the most conservative then the endorsement is not inconsisent with their ostensible mission.

The inclusion of my Pody endorsement would seem to prove that the WCTP is acting wisely because there is no room for debate that Pody is vastly more conservative than Taxin Stratton Bone.

The Second Chance Sheepdog said...

Mr. McCall,

That was part of my point but not all of it. The actual point, for which I used the WCTP as an example, is that many of the tea party organizations have departed from the original purpose. The first tea party had nothing to do with politics and candidates. It was about telling a tyrannical British government that "we're not gonna take it anymore." When the tea party movement first took off after Obama's inauguration, they were doing the same thing saying stop taxing, stop spending, and follow the Constitution - "we're not gonna take it anymore."

Unfortunately, many of them then got caught up in politics which was not the original intent of the tea parties. In my opinion, if the tea party groups get involved in politics, it should be in a very limited role. For example, they could list the candidates stances based upon the issues in a way that is unbiased and not slanted in favor of any candidate. Basically, it should be something along the lines of "just the facts, man." Then, they make that information available to the voters and let the voters decide who to vote for based upon those facts without giving endorsements or promoting a particular candidate.

Any other involvement by the tea parties could lead to two things - 1) they make the Lefties point about being "a wing of the Republican Party," and 2) they will be corrupted by the same power and greed that has corrupted the Democrats and many of the our fellow Republicans.


A J McCall said...

You are exactly right. I agree. Thanks.