TEA Party’s New Mission

John Roberts, what were you thinking.  If this question went through your mind at about 10:30am on June 28th, that puts you in good company.  In fact, the whole ruling on the healthcare law frankly seems odd.  First they ruled that it wasn’t a tax so that they could proceed with deciding if it was constitutional or not.  Then they ruled that it was a tax so that they could say it is constitutional.  Then, in a twist of irony after Obama’s recent decision to stop enforcing immigration laws, the Supreme Court ruled that the Federal Government couldn’t penalize states for not implementing Obamacare.  After this whirlwind, what we ended up with is the biggest regressive tax on the middle class in our nation’s history.

And that is when the sleeping giant woke up.  Suddenly we were reminded that we are Taxed Enough Already.

In 2010, Conservative Constitutionalists and TEA Party activists had a reason to live.  Democrat policies were rejected by voters in a massive conservative sweep.  But after two years of being beaten down by mainstream media and the Republican establishment, and the influx of special interest commercialism into the TEA Party, the heartbeat of the movement was faint.  You can feel free to disagree with me, but let’s be honest.  The rallies had turned into book tours and the infighting had handed victory in the primary to Mitt Romney.

Every Republican knows that Romney will do great with the economy.  Shoot, most Democrats know it, but won’t admit it.  Despite this, many conservatives have become purists and would still struggle to pull the lever for Romney.  I suggested a while back that many conservatives will be more willing to open their wallets to conservative PACs than to Romney.  Many conservatives will vote for Romney, but won’t put a Romney bumper sticker on their car.  Many are voting for the candidate named Not Obama.

And then the unthinkable happened.  The chief justice Bush appointed joined the majority and ruled Obamacare constitutional.  Even Justice Kennedy knew better.

Now 2012 has all new meaning.  It is no longer the establishment RINO versus the unpopular liberal.  It has become what it was in 2010, a referendum on Obamacare.  So far, conservatives are up 1-0 when it comes to elections on Obamacare.

Eugene Robinson, in an article suggesting that the Supreme Court decision will heal America, said that the decision was bad for Mitt Romney.  I think we can say with confidence that this sentiment is wishful thinking on the part of the Left.  The election is no longer about Romney.  It is no longer about RINOs or Republicans either.  As of 10:30am on June 28th, this election is about one thing:

 

The VP Matrix

Excitement continues to brew about who Mitt Romney might choose as his Vice President.  Today a story hit the news circulation that Marco Rubio is not being vetted, but Tim Pawlenty is being given serious consideration.  Romney found himself on the defensive this evening.  But before you get too excited about a Marco Rubio candidacy, or too upset about it, you may want to take a breather and consider who Romney is and what kind of campaign he is running.  Flash and splash are not the orders of the day.

Mitt Romney’s campaign need do no more than promise a stronger economy and let Obama continue to create a weaker economy.  In fact, Mitt Romney’s tour through small town USA promoting the private sector and values of competition is exactly where he needs to be.  Obama is spouting a controversy mixed with a gaffe every day.  Why jump in front of a train wreck?  Romney’s VP choice will be about as blockbuster as a sandwich from a WaWa vending machine.

Get out your VP scorecards and consider the following:

Mitt’s VP choice will not be a fresh face.

Mitt Romney is not looking for a candidate with little national experience.  Nor is he looking for a candidate who everyone on the far right loves.  Romney doesn’t need a shot of adrenaline or steroids.  The last thing he needs is someone who is going to distract from the national disaster of the Obama Presidency.  Romney does not need a divisive TEA party figure.  He certainly doesn’t need someone who could be perceived as inexperienced.  If Romney picks a veteran, the media will be cautious about trying to embarrass them as a rookie.  But media types smell blood in the water when there is fresh meat.  Even a studied, prepared candidate might not be able to field a trick question like “do you support the Bush doctrine”.  However, a veteran is less likely to be asked that question.

Obama’s inexperience took a back seat in the media when McCain brought in Palin

This is bad for Allen West, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Susana Martinez, Scott Walker, and Paul Ryan.  Could be good for Mitch Daniels, Tim Pawlenty, Jeb Bush, Condi Rice, or Rudy Guiliani.

Mitt’s VP choice will not be old and tired.

The death knell for a Republican candidacy, fair or not, is being old and grey.  Nothing plays into stereotypes of Republicans more than an old, grey haired, slow talking wrinkly man.  While Romney doesn’t need a shot in the arm, he also doesn’t need something contributing to the stereotypes more than he does already.  Right now Romney is Reaganesque in his looks and style.  But an older veteran running mate would turn his campaign into the old rich white people’s ticket.  Again, it may not be fair or right, but don’t expect a VP over 55 years old.

Don’t expect Newt Gingrich, Fred Thompson, or Rob Portman.  Could be good for Bobby McDonnell, Nikki Haley, Chris Christie

Jack Kemp and Bob Dole combined had nearly two centuries of experience

Mitt’s VP choice may not be female or minority.

There is this idea that the only way to defeat Barack Obama is by running a female or minority VP candidate.  Aside from that strategy failing miserably with Sarah Palin, the problem is that Republicans pay far less attention to race and gender than Democrats do, and Democrats virulently hate conservative women and minorities.  We have seen in recent years just how much visible hatred has been directed toward Sarah Palin, Christine O’Donnell, Allen West, Nikki Haley, Michelle Bachmann, Bobby Jindal, Marco Rubio, etc.  There is a clear desire on the left for female and minority Republicans to fail.  In Mitt Romney’s case, he is not looking for diversity for diversity’s sake.  That’s not to say he won’t pick a female or minority candidate, but if he does it will be someone respected by both sides and unassailable.

This makes Allen West, Bobby Jindal, Marco Rubio, Nikki Haley, and Susana Martinez less likely.  However, it doesn’t necessarily knock Condoleeza Rice out of the running, although she will carry the stigma on the left of being chosen for diversity’s sake.  Again, might not be fair, but since when were politics fair.

Mitt’s VP choice will not be controversial.

It’s bad when your VP candidate has almost as many quotable gaffes as Joe Biden

Mitt Romney is not looking to cause trouble for himself.  He doesn’t need a loudmouth or a controversial character.  Don’t expect any candidate who is going to make serious waves.  As I said before, Romney doesn’t need a distraction from the freak show of the Obama economy.  Expect a well respected candidate who is as smooth politically as Romney himself.

You can scratch the Donald, Chris Christie, Paul Ryan, Allen West, and Newt Gingrich off your list.  This is a strike against Jeb Bush and Condoleeza Rice as well.  But it favors Mitch Daniels, possibly Bob McDonell, and John Thune.

Expect a strategic pick.

Romney’s not going to choose a popular governor from a red state.  But he might choose a popular candidate from a purple or blue state.  And there are a few to choose from.  Rubio would lock of Florida.  Bob McDonnell could secure the nearly must win blue state of Virginia.  Tim Pawlenty could inspire votes from the teetering Great Lakes states.  Rick Snyder of Michigan could really bring in some blue states, but he is likely disqualified for being old and a fresh face at the same time.  Brian Sandoval might help swing Nevada to Romney while also providing the opportunity to highlight Harry Reid’s role in the destruction of our economy.

This set of criteria will hardly provide a definite pick.  In fact, some points are contradictory.  But it should provide some ideas for people who are looking at the potential VP picks.  I could hardly make a prediction even based on this criteria.  But I do believe it comprises the factors that Romney will be looking at when making his pick.

Does He Have Their Back?

In Barack Obama’s mind, black people listen to gospel music mixed with a sort of 70’s techno-rap.  At least that’s what I got out of his recent ad targeting one part of America based on their skin color.  Obama’s divide and conquer strategy relies on race politics and getting people to vote for him because they share the same color skin.  After all, that’s what worked in North Carolina in 2008 when 95% of blacks voted for him.

But recent polls are showing that Obama’s racial politics may not have the same decisive effect in 2012.  Already his support among black voters in North Carolina has dropped to the mid 70s.  Perhaps it has something to do with minorities questioning if Obama really does have their back. 

Unemployment among blacks has soared to the highest level in 27 years.  In fact, while unemployment among whites has dropped slightly, it continues to rise for blacks.  Guess when the last time the unemployment rate was below 10% for blacks.  During the Bush administration.

Obama wants blacks to have his back. Does he have theirs?

In fact, despite Kanye West’s claim that Bush didn’t care about black people, they certainly fared much better under a Bush administration than they have under Obama.  In fact, from 2002-2007, the number of businesses owned by people who identify themselves as black rose by an unprecedented and historic 60%.  That was more than triple the overall rate of business growth for that period.  Economically, blacks did much better than their white counterparts under a Republican administration.

Aside from economics, Obama has come down on the wrong side of several social issues for blacks as well.  Blacks still oppose gay marriage by a large margin.  In fact, while blacks were helping hand Obama California in 2008, they were also helping California define marriage as between one man and one woman.

Blacks and Hispanics are more likely to oppose abortion than whites, but there is still an odd disconnect where pro-life blacks are more likely to vote for Democrats.  On the other hand, Obama and Democrats have been intensely pro-abortion.  They have not paused their agenda at the doors of religious institutions, but instead are working to force religious groups to pay for some forms of abortion for their employees.

Democrats have pursued blacks aggressively with identity politics.  But in 2012 the tide may turn.  The key is a little bit of pursuit by Republicans.  In the past, Republicans have written off the black vote as a waste of campaign cash.  This time around, Republicans should take the time and money to win back a segment of America who should be the natural allies of the party of Lincoln.

Part of the issue facing Republicans is that the racist attacks on black GOP members is nearly as intense as the anti-women attacks on female Republicans.  While Democrats accuse Republicans of using racial codewords, such as “cool”, to describe blacks, Democrats have openly used racially offensive language against black GOP members in order to diminish their roles.  How does calling the President too cool compare to calling Allen West an uncle Tom?

If Republicans can deliver on what Obama promised, national unity and healing, then they have a good chance at defeating the identity politics of the left.

Fundraising Apples and Oranges

The media is shocked to see the pronounced dead TEA Party raking in cash.  They shouldn’t be.  At the same time, the media is making hay out of Obama contributions compared to Romney’s.  This is a false comparison.  Romney fundraising compared to Obama fundraising is apples and oranges.  Here’s why:

Romney has not positioned himself as an inspiring political figure.  He hasn’t made the election about himself.  He has made it about Obama’s record.  In fact, it should be no surprise at all at all that TEA Party conservatives who consistently split their vote in the primaries for the non-Romney candidates would rather give to the TEA Party than to Romney.  Have no fear, they will vote non-Obama in November.

Obama on the other hand is one of the few inspiring characters left in the Democrat party.  Don’t expect massive donations to a DNC run by Debbie Wasserman-Schultz.  Don’t expect people to be inspired to give when they see Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid’s face.  But when Obama starts flashing Forward and talking about how nobody believed in America but him and how he shot Bin Laden and brought our troops home from Iraq, that sells.  Democrats aren’t going to shell out for DNC 2012 congressional elections or DNC superpacs, but they’ll buy Obama T-shirts and bumper stickers and pay for a one in a million shot at having a dinner with the President.

When political commentators measure campaign cash, really they should compare Obama to generic conservative groups and Romney to DNC pacs and superpacs.  In the end, the people who vote for Obama in 2012 will probably vote “D” down the line, and the people who contribute to the TEA Party and other Republican groups will show up to vote against Obama.

Debunking Obama’s First Ad

With Obama’s first campaign ad of 2012, he has made one thing clear.  He cannot win by being honest about his record.  In his new ad, Obama makes four dubious claims that can easily be debunked.  The ad makes Obama sound like some sort of super President who has changed the country for the better, but it accomplishes this with misrepresentations and outright lies.

Here is the ad:

Go

The first claim that Obama makes is that “some said our best days were behind us”.  This is an easy and unverifiable claim to make.  Who said that?  “Some”.  Actually, no one has said that.  Obama’s deceitful ad shows a picture of the TEA Party, but offers no sources.  Why?  Because there are none.  Obama could have said “Some say blacks are inferior” and showed a picture of the TEA Party and it would be just as dishonest as what he has portrayed here.  This lie is an unfair, intentional smear against his perceived enemies.  The President of the United States is treating an American political group as his enemies.  Frankly, it is the sort of thing one would expect from a Central American dictator, not the President of the United States.

“Today the auto industry is back”.  If by back he means relocated to Italy, that would explain his positive portrayal of what he did with Chrysler.  If by back he means that the taxpayer investment into GM and Chrysler has somehow been paid back, then this too is pure dishonesty.  Yes, the heavily subsidized industry may be pumping out vehicles again, but what about the amount of debt it took to get them there?  This claim is political massage of the facts at best.

“Our troops are home from Iraq”.  If by home he means Afghanistan, then yes this is accurate.  While Obama drew down troops in Iraq, he turned around and surged in Afghanistan.  Obama is correct about our troops being out of Iraq, but even that wasn’t by design.  Obama had planned to keep 3,000-5,000 troops in Iraq until 2013, but could not negotiate a simple immunity agreement to keep Iraqi police from arresting our troops.  This bit of political pandering to the anti-war crowd is dishonest.  It is one more example of Obama taking credit for something beyond his control and contrary to his intention.

“Instead of losing jobs, we are creating them”.  Mix this with Obama’s chart of 4.2 million jobs created and this is the biggest whopper in the ad.  Obama has not created 4.2 million jobs.  His net job growth is negative 2.5 million.  That is a 6.7 million job gap between his claim and the truth.  Contrast Obama’s job performance with Bush, who actually netted a positive 1 million jobs.  In fact, Bush’s most significant job losses were after Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid took over congress.

Sandwiched between platitudes, Obama filled his ad with outright lies and misrepresentations.  Surely Obama knows that these ads will be fact checked and easily debunked.  Unfortunately, this ad demonstrates his opinion of the American voter.  Yes the ad is full of lies.  But in his opinion the majority of Americans will fall for the platitudes and never check the facts.

Then again, he’s already fooled us once.

Obama’s Only Prayer: Forward

Forward.  Please, don’t look back at the last three years.  Look forward to a new set of baloney, magic wand promises, not back to failed bandaid solutions, corruption, out of control spending, and a political ideology that has favored friends and taken freedoms from many Americans.  This is the perfect campaign solution for a President who failed and wants a second chance.   In fact, I found it to be refreshingly honest.

Forward is a complete contrast to Obama’s last implied campaign slogan of “look at the last 8 years”, by which he actually meant look at the last two years.  Of course, look at the last two years was a great slogan in a Presidential race in 2008.  Looking at how Pelosi/Reid had run congress since 2007 turned out to be the Democrat party’s downfall in 2010.  In fact, it is telling that Obama appears to have abandoned his earlier plans to run against a do-nothing congress.

Romney would be wise to run a campaign on contrast.  Romney could contrast Obama’s bliss over 8.1% unemployment to Bush’s unemployment rates in the 4% range. While the media continues to stoke anti-Wall Street sentiment, Romney still connects when he contrasts his years of business experience with Obama’s youthful, socialist ideologies mixed with lack of experience.  On the same note, Romney might also mention the difference between the years of peaceful, clean and respectful TEA Party protests compared to the violent, ignorant Occupy Wall Street groups who caused millions of dollars in damage on May 1st of this year.

To start, Romney could simply contrast the lack of enthusiasm in 2012 with the fainting and worshiping masses Obama inspired in 2008.  For example, in Obama’s “first” campaign speech of this year, he couldn’t even fill a stadium in the swing state of Ohio.

The key for Romney in combating Obama’s “Forward” campaign is capturing the conversation and creating pictures for the American people of what forward will look like under Obama.  Contrast that with a picture of forward under Mitt Romney, and Obama’s best shot at a winning campaign could become his liability.

Is The Tea Party Dead Or Alive?

There’s a proclamation being shouted across the land. Have you heard it? The Tea Party is dead. This declaration is being put forth by a variety of dubious sources. It comes from agenda driven liberals, the Republican establishment and uninformed bloggers. This presumption is based upon intentional misinformation by those with an agenda and it is based upon faulty analysis by those that don’t.

It has been three years since the movement first burst onto the national scene. After dominating the headlines for more than a year, the movement, according to these babbling bloggers, has wilted and died. There is no credible evidence presented, no autopsy report, no cause of death explained. No, apparently the pronouncement is based upon the shallow and amateurish observation that, after last year’s debt ceiling showdown, there is a lack of headlines.

To us, living in the age of 24/7 news cycle and having information accessible in seconds via the internet, three years seems like a long time. And therein, lies the rub. To fill this absolutely massive niche, the media, to stay relevant and survive, has been forced to change. The mission now is to have something, anything, out there to be consumed. True journalism, based upon investigation, corroboration and objectivity has devolved into opinion-ism. The journalist has been forced to make room for the spin-doctor and the interview has been replaced by shouting matches. Today it is far more important to have something to actually publish than something to actually say. No, a lack of silly, ultimately meaningless headlines thrust upon us by movement haters with an agenda, does not prove the movement is dead. Uncountable government policies have been approved or rejected without the appropriate headlines. It doesn’t mean they aren’t real. Furthermore, a lack of public presence as a result of less rallies doesn’t mean it’s dead. A lack of rallies can be interpreted another way, that marches and speeches were fine to start but it is time to get down to business (we’ll explore this shortly).

The Tea Party is not a political party. It is a movement. It is a collection of vastly different folks from across this massive country, with a handful of common ideas and concerns. From a political perspective this is a weakness because the movement lacks cohesion, can send mixed messages and has no leader to serve as a rallying point. But it is also a strength. A leaderless movement, lacking a specific target, is less vulnerable to attack. Ask yourself, just how many headlines, articles and interviews can be presented with sweeping generalizations about the movement being racist before it becomes repetitive and boring? You see, there comes a point of diminishing returns. If you are in the business of attracting an audience being repetitive and mundane is a fatal flaw.

One can present the idea, and I will, that the Republican administrations of Bush, Sr. and Bush, Jr., were embarrassing, if not insulting, to many registered Republicans. Add the Democratic administrations of Clinton and Obama and you have a situation wherein, Republican conservatives have been getting their butt kicked for some twenty years. How much political correctness and nanny-state policy do Democrat and the Republican establishment expect them to endure? Is it any wonder that Obama’s national health-care, ridiculous spending and intentional disregard for the Constitution set them off?

Enduring two decades of insult is painful. But it is also educational. Many valuable lessons can be learned from twenty years of disregard. And conservatives have learned one of the most important: you start from the ground up. Most on the left refuse to believe conservatives have any staying power because they see them as nothing more than red-necks, racists or religious zealots clinging to their guns and Bibles. But the Republican establishment knows the truth, and they are concerned. You don’t dust-off a relic like Bob Dole during the primary season unless you’re feeling threatened. And as further proof, I’ll remind you of the 2010 elections.

Take a survey from the American people about those elections and far too many won’t know anything about them. Some, a bit more informed, will respond correctly, that it was eye-opening because of the change in the House. Republicans needed 39 Democratic seats to win back the U.S. House and almost doubled it, exceeding the goal easily. Other Americans, even better informed, realize that in the Senate, Republicans fell just three seats short of taking control. This occurred, of course, under the umbrella of a liberal president supposedly “given a mandate for change” from the people. Yet, even this is a surface level understanding of what actually happened during November, 2010.

The reality being hidden from the American people by liberal-leaning media, and rarely touched upon by babbling bloggers, is the fact that the 2010 elections were an utter disaster for Democrats, going way beyond losing the House and being threatened in the Senate. Fueled by the conservative movement, Republicans gained 680 seats in state legislative races. Republicans now control 25 state legislatures compared to 15 controlled by Democrats. Five states switched to GOP control in both chambers and Republicans took control of 29 of the 50 State Governorships. Clearly, this sounds a little more significant than just “Republicans won the House”, yes? Let’s not forget, a big bonus from massive legislative wins means having the ability to redraw Congressional districts. This makes it much more difficult for targeted incumbents to get re-elected. You don’t think Barney Frank is retiring because he’s tired of power, do you? He’s jumping from a sinking ship. Eighteen Democrats have announced they are retiring. Why? Could it be that, like Barney Frank, most of them see the writing on the wall?

However, as a fledgling movement based upon principle and ideas, not on candidate names, conservatives often found themselves in a tight spot. Do you choose an established politician or an inexperienced newcomer as your candidate? So, mistakes were made. But another valuable lesson was learned. It is important not to rush, to take your time and develop your candidates. The ideas from the movement are applied to the candidate, not the other way around. And that is why the Republican establishment as much as the left, would like you to believe the Tea Party is dead. Career Republican politicians know they are in peril. If they maintain the status quo, and the conservative movement pushes forward, they are on the chopping block. It is better for them to try and discredit it and stop it now, while it is in its infancy.

In order to establish meaningful change, not just some junker policy passed to shut the public up, you must start at the bottom. You build the foundation of a house first, then install walls and a roof. In nature, plants send down roots before stems and flowers. Already, just 13 months removed from the mid-terms we are seeing changes. Do not be fooled by the lefties and their constant whining of grid-lock. In order to turn around a runaway train the first thing you need to do is stop it. But there is more. We see significant budget, union-busting, and voter-fraud movements from states and cities throughout the country. I ask you, seriously, what was expected from the Tea Party within a year or two, a president? Not likely.

At this stage, the focus must be recruiting volunteers, holding seminars and examining legislation on the local and state levels. This is not glamorous and it is certainly not headline material for NBC. But it is necessary. The conservative movement is seeking a change in the country. And with enough change at the local and state levels a conservative presidency will come. It will be inevitable.

The reality is the conservative movement, symbolized by the Tea Party, is not dead. It is being ignored by those that won’t acknowledge it in hopes that, by doing so, it will fade away. It is also being hidden from you by those that fear it and it is being done an injustice by uninformed, babbling bloggers. If the Tea Party movement is dead why is the conservative influence so palatable? We know it is because RINO Mitt Romney talks of dumping Obama-care while on the other side of the stage, thirty year, belt-way insider Newt Gingrich is talking about chopping government agencies. There is no doubt, Tea Party members would enjoy a true conservative candidate. But they also clearly understand that there exists degrees of preference. A conservative candidate is better than a moderate, a moderate better than a RINO. And as for the presidency, a Republican is preferable to a Democrat. And therefore, it is an electable Republican president that is the important goal this year. A conservative would be ideal but is not absolutely critical because the reality is, all of the current Republican candidates know to whom they must answer.

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