Tea Party a victim of its own success?

Ever since CNBC report Rick Santelli’s thunderous rant on the floor of the Chicago Board of Trade in 2009, the Tea Party slogan and mantra has been on a collision course with destiny in the 2010 election cycle and beyond.

In countless respects, the constitution-loving coalition has been an overwhelming success. Candidates such as Scott Brown of Massachusetts almost single-handedly owe their success to Tea Party backing. High profile US Senate candidates for the 2010 cycle such as Sharron Angle and Rand Paul also owe a huge portion of their success in the primaries to Tea Party support and dedication. Around the country in primaries and special elections, the Tea Party has stamped an indelible imprint on the upcoming November vote. The impact has been from the local to federal level and everything in between. In some instances, the Tea Party is your greatest friend or your worst enemy depending on how much influence a particular coalition might have in a given region.

However, when you begin to grow to where all sides must take you seriously, there will inevitably be underhanded moves to knock this freight train down a couple pegs.

Take the following story from Fox News, for example:

In New Jersey, a “Tea Party” candidate surfaces but local activists haven’t heard of him. In Michigan, a Democratic operative appears closely tied to a slate of candidates running under the Tea Party banner. In Florida, conservative activists are locked in court over the right to use the Tea Party name.

The list of peculiar Tea Party happenings goes on and on.

As the midterm election nears, allegations are surfacing across the country that Democrats are exploiting conservatives’ faith in the Tea Party name by putting up bogus candidates in November — the claim is that those “Tea Party” candidates will split the GOP vote and clear the way for Democratic victories.

The theories may prove to be more than just conspiracy talk. Some of the allegations are coming directly from local Tea Party activists who are trying to flag the media and election officials as soon as they smell something fishy on the ballot. And they say they’ve got proof.

“It’s obvious it’s a Democratic play,” said Jason Gillman, a Tea Party activist from Traverse City, Mich.

Gillman, who also authors the blog “Michigan Taxes Too Much” and is running for county commissioner, caused a stir in Michigan politics in late July after he released documents he obtained from state elections officials about the so-called Michigan Tea Party. The documents, he said, showed that of the 23 candidates under the Tea Party name, at least nine of them had affidavits notarized by a local operative for the Oakland County Democratic Party. He said that was the “smoking gun” to prove Democratic involvement — on top of concerns he and other Tea Partiers had that the candidates on the ticket did not have Tea Party backgrounds.

“Nobody had any idea who these people were,” Gillman told FoxNews.com. “We could at least say, without question, it is the Democratic Party putting it on.”

Thus far, the only minimal success the Democratic Party has had against the Tea Party is to destroy its credibility and paint it as being full of whacks and right-wingers bent on solving President Obama’s birth certificate controversy. This has had little impact overall since the array of citizens involved in and approving of the Tea Party banner cuts a diverse cross-section of economic, racial and political lines. Furthermore, simply take a look at the legitimate candidates put forth with Tea Party backing and it is clear where the true interests lie. Tea Party candidates support smaller government, lower taxes, strict adherence to the Constitution, strong accountability from federal entities and an overall sense that the individual citizens know what is best for their everyday lives, not federal bureaucrats. There is nothing even remotely extreme or debatable in that platform.

Therefore, if you cannot legitimately attack the Tea Party, you must employ the tried-and-true Marxist techniques of infiltrating and destroying from within. How can you embarrass the Tea Party on a national stage? Quite simple actually, you send in the impostures waiving their whacko banners who claim to speak as Tea Party “candidates” and organizers.

Democrats know they have very little chance of winning this November facing a Republican candidate with a jazzed up base and a strong Tea Party backing. This is an insurmountable tidal wave happening in numerous races around the country.

However, take the same race, toss a third-party “Tea Party” candidate in the mix and voila! You instantly have a three-way race where the Republican vote is split and the Democrat rides to a <50% victory in November. It not likely to occur everywhere but the strange affairs in Michigan simply prove that it needs to be examined more closely around the country. The best way to counteract this, should it occur more widespread, is simply to coalesce around a strong conservative candidate and push him or her to victory. The idea of a third-party will destroy all chances of regaining a Republican Congress in November and the Democrats are well aware of that fact. We must be equally aware and awake to the possibility and must be ready and willing to reject any attempts to illegitimately hijack the "Tea Party" banner by unscrupulous candidates looking to drastically change election outcomes. If we want the wave to be unmistakable, if we want the impact to the unmovable, if we want to the November election results to swing so far in the favor of Conservative candidates, then we must unite behind the candidates we have and propel them to victory. We must steer clear of petty differences and we must steer clear of personal grips with a particular candidate. This is not the time to hold back or hold out for someone slightly better. This is the time to propel your local races into the national spotlight and send the wave of freedom-loving, limited government candidates to Washington to CHANGE this country for the better. So support the Tea Party and support candidates which will support those values. However, do not be swayed into allowing some third-party candidate to hijack a race and give President Obama one more "Yes" vote on his uber big government agenda.

  • landreaux

    Nate,

    Great post. There is a downside to every upside, Yin and Yang and the Tea Party is no exception. The beauty of a movement devoid of “central” leadership was that the movement was reliant on personal initiative and responsibility, the core of all core conservative principals. The downside is that they can be played and based on your post the effort is well underway.

    I quote Ghandi: “First they ignore you, then they riducule you, then they fight you…..then you win!