tea party movement
Just a few moments ago, I got a chance to chat with Matt Kibbe, President of FreedomWorks, about the Republican National Convention, efforts by pro-establishment GOPers to curtail grassroots activists, libertarian involvement in the Tea Party movement, and what to expect from a Romney-Ryan administration.
With concern rising over rule changes dealing with selection of state delegates to future conventions and talk of a floor fight growing, Team Romney has struck a deal with Ron Paul to avoid any embarrassment today:
Republican Party officials struck a last-minute deal Monday night in an attempt to avert a messy convention floor battle with supporters of Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas).
Supporters of the libertarian lawmaker were spoiling for a fight over an attempted change to the GOP delegate rules aimed at limiting their ability to gain delegate slots at future conventions. But the bigger concern for presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s campaign was assuaging concerns from a number of powerful longtime party stalwarts that the new rule infringed on states’ rights to determine their own delegates.
In an email to Republican National Committee (RNC) members, James Bopp, an Indiana delegate and GOP power player, said he and other conservative power brokers had reached an agreement with Romney’s emissaries to end the dispute, which threatened to be a distraction on the first full day of convention events.
Under the agreement, a bound delegate must vote for the presidential candidate that they are required to vote for under state law or state party rules, leaving the actual selection of delegates up to the states.
Previously, a proposal would have given presidential candidates the power to veto delegates sent by the states — a change that had Paul supporters crying foul, seeing it as an establishment attempt to stifle the upstart contingent.
Julianne Thompson, one of the founders of Georgia Tea Party Patriots and a convention delegate, has written an open letter to Republican National Committee on rule changes made that would allow the party’s presidential nominee to revoke delegates. You can read the letter in its entirety below:
Chairman Reince Preibus, members of the Rules Committee, and the entire voting delegation of the 2012 Republican National Convention:
As a National Delegate to the 2012 RNC, I am extremely disappointed that a rule would be passed throug committee that essentially strips the grassroots of all of it’s representative power by ridding State Parties of their ability to choose whom they will send as delegates and alternates to represent their State to the Republican National Convention. The rules change would allow the Presidential nominee sweeping new power to override that process and choose their own National Delegates. The rule also allows the RNC (with only a 3/4 vote) the power to amend the party’s rules without a vote by the full Republican National Convention.
The GOP is the political Party of the grassroots. Our national delegates are the boots-on-the-ground that get Republicans elected. We are there for County meetings, State Conventions, National Conventions, and most importantly we spend our time and money canvassing our neighborhoods, going door to door, making phone calls, writing personal endorsement letters, and getting-out-the-vote for Republicans. We are the worker bees, and we are the heart and soul of the Republican Party.
Ahead of delegates gathering in Tampa next week for the Republican National Convention, some GOP delegates are busy this week putting together the party’s platform. To many this process can be uninteresting, but many Tea Party activists saw it as an opportunity to make the Republican Party more friendly to its ideas. And, according to Kristina Ribali of FreedomWorks notes, it looks like they were successful.
FreedomWorks put together 12 economic/limited government issues to be considered for the GOP platform, ranging from repealing ObamaCare and preventing tax hikes to energy independence, opposition to cap-and-trade, and auditing the Federal Reserve. Dean Clancy, Vice President of Health Policy at FreedomWorks, explained (via Ribali) that the only the plank calling for the elimination of the Department of Education was rejected:
We did not secure approval for ‘Eliminate the Department of Education’ – which, to be honest, was always the plank we regarded as most difficult to achieve. But the document’s education section does contain good language on the need for local control and a very strong endorsement of school choice, including vouchers. So we rate this section as a partial victory.
Ribali also notes that the plank calling for a “flat tax” wasn’t fully achieved, though the Republican platform will call for a “flatter tax.” That’s an opportunity missed, unfortunately, since the need for tax reform is so great.
Tuesday’s runoff in Texas, where Ted Cruz defeated David Dewhurst, is certainly one of the most active discussions in the political world right now. Not only have the results of the race further diminished the political popularity of Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who backed Dewhurst, but for Senate Democrats, who have made that chamber completely worthless, are using it to say that the Tea Party movement is taking over the Republican Party.
But Matt Kibbe, president of FreedomWorks, would tell you that taking over the GOP is precisely the goal of the Tea Party movement. Kibbe, author of Hostile Takeover: Resisting Centralized Government’s Stranglehold on America, explained yesterday at Politico that Cruz’s win represented more than a notch under the belt of the Tea Party movement. Rather it was one for the “people”:
The political playing field has changed. It turns out the tea party movement’s sophisticated grass-roots ground game was what finally tipped the balance.
While Ted Cruz may have won national headlines on Tuesday after beating David Dewhurst, voters in Metro Atlanta, as well as eight other regions, shot down a 1-cent tax hike — what would have been the largest in state history — for a poorly conceived transportation plan.
The tax hike was put to voters in 12 different regions around the state, each of which had its own project list formed by elected officials in a “roundtable.” Supporters of the tax hike, which included the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and several elected officials, including Gov. Nathan Deal (R) and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, managed to raise a substantial amount of money — some $8+ million — to push the plan.
Opponents waged a largely grassroots and underfunded effort to put the brakes on the tax hike. And, as noted above, the tax hike failed in nine of the 12 regions. On Tuesday evening and into yesterday, Tea Party groups, which largely led the opposition, were claiming victory for the tax hike’s defeat:
The proposal to adopt a one-cent state sales tax increase via a Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (T-SPLOST) was voted down in a closely watched election by an almost 2-to-1 margin, losing 63 to 37 percent.
Atlanta Tea Party coordinator Debbie Dooley said in a statement provided to The Hill that the vote was a victory for opponents of large government.
In the wake of the shooting last week in Aurora, Colorado, Tea Party groups are understandably upset that Brian Ross, an investigative reporter at ABC News, injected movement into news as Americans were still trying to figure out what exactly had happened. This only lends justification to the view of many on the right that the media is stacked against them and is, at least in this case, literally looking for any excuse to make them look bad; even if it’s just conjecture.
And keep in mind that it wasn’t just in this particular instance where the Tea Party has been blamed for murder. As the Washington Examiner notes, there are more recent incidences of the media jumping to conclusions before the dust had cleared.
But the Tea Party movement did find an unlikely defender. On Monday, Jon Stewart, host of Comedy Central’s The Daily Show, ripped ABC News a new one, equating what Ross did to “I’m feeling ‘lazy’ button” and calling for his suspension:
While most Americans already are looking to November in anticipation of getting this presidential campaign over with, there are still a couple of races that have yet to be determined outcomes.
In Arizona, for example, Rep. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) is a locked in a surprisingly tough primary challenge against Wil Cardon. The Club for Growth has come to Flake’s aid, dropping $500,000 in ads in the state. But Flake’s campaign hasn’t had it easy, being knocked back by some missteps along the way. He may, however, have just received a boost as Sarah Palin has given Flake her coveted endorsement:
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) has endorsed Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) in his Senate primary, a boost for Flake as he fends off a tough challenge from wealthy businessman Wil Cardon (R).
“Jeff is a proven conservative crusader, and today I am proud to announce my support for his campaign to become the next U.S. Senator from the great state of Arizona,” Palin said in a statement provided by Flake’s campaign. “Credited by many as the leading anti-earmark crusader in the House, Jeff has fought hard against pork barrel spending — often times casting one of the few GOP ‘no’ votes on bloated spending measures. He’s not afraid to ‘go rogue’ against his own party and its leadership; and even though he has sometimes suffered the consequences from GOP leaders for failing to toe the party line, yet he continues to fight for what is right.”
The freshman class elected to the House during the 2010 mid-term elections came Washington with a lot of hype. After all, this group of 87 members were dubbed the “Tea Party Class” thanks to coming to power during the height of the Tea Party movement. But not all of the members of this class have voted in the best interest of taxpayers, despite some still claiming the mantle of the Tea Party.
Yesterday, the Club for Growth released a study examining the votes of the class, showing that many have indeed been disappointments:
In the 2010 election, 87 freshmen House Republicans came to Washington pledging fealty to the Tea Party movement and the ideals of limited government and economic freedom. The mainstream media likes to say that the freshman class is the most uncompromising group of fiscal conservatives in history…but just how Tea Party are they? Did all 87 freshmen always vote to cut spending and limit the size of government, or did some of them vote like the big-spending R.I.N.Os of the past?
This study was compiled from the Club for Growth’s Congressional Scorecard, which evaluates lawmakers based upon their commitment to limited government and pro-growth policies. What we found was that while some freshmen have lived up to the promises they made to the tea party movement, dozens of them are big-spenders and are no different from many of the veteran Republicans they serve with.
We covered the Club’s Congressional Scorecard back in March, the results of which were based on dozens of voters related to fiscal issues, including the repeal of ObamaCare, cutting market distorting energy subsidies, and a wide range of spending cuts.