The Government We Deserve
As the media ignores the delays and waivers President Obama and his magic pen have imposed upon the country for this settled law called Obamacare, there are more troubles brewing in the fight to restore liberty. For all the enthusiasm Tea Party members bring to the political world, their biggest opponent may not be progressives on the ballot but the very groups who claim to be their champions.
You’d think with this current crop of: gun smuggling,: kiddie-porn loving,: bribe taking,: family enriching: corrupt Democratic Party clowns, the electoral pickings this November would be easy. When your opponent produced, supported, celebrated and elected to positions of leadership some of the vilest, most crooked, dishonest politicians this side of a banana republic, beating them at the polls should be a tap-in putt, right?
But if there’s one thing at which Republicans excel, it’s snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. The 2014 mid-term elections should rip the Senate from the hands of Democrats and significantly strengthen Republicans’ hold on the House. But given the current state of affairs, don’t be surprised if the voters most needed to make that happen simply stay home.
Tea Party members are ready for the fight, but “Tea Party groups” may well end up being their biggest obstacle.
What are the Tea Party groups’ plans for November? Who knows? The campaign has started, and there’s work to be done now. Voters need to be educated. That is a long process and needs to begin promptly. But aside from a few organizations, the messaging is lacking. People want an alternative to the current failure that is Washington, but no one is presenting it. We’re waiting, outside groups.
Given all the material anyone could hope for to inspire the country to reject progressivism once and for all and embrace the principles that made this country great, these groups offer an alternative of symbolic pointlessness that raises their profile, inflates their bottom line … and that’s it.
Being involved involves a lot more than just being. Liking a page and cutting a check are helpful, but they’re irrelevant in the larger context of the country. Hashtags and trends on Twitter may bring in donations, but they don’t make a difference.
Most people don’t pay attention to the news, and they never will. They’re busy, disinterested, low-information voters who agree with you on common sense solutions to government problems but are easily influenced away from logic by emotion.
It’s not enough to have ideas. You need to be able to explain them to people in ways that are interesting and compelling and invest the time, energy and money to bring it to them. Normal people don’t speak “wonk,” they speak English. And no matter how good your numbers and stats are, they are worthless against a grandmother or child in dispair. Progressives will trot out human props — worst-case scenarios — and present them as the norm, and the majority of voters will melt and support a candidate who says they’ll help them. The help won’t come, but the votes will.
To combat this heart-string politics, we have Republicans. Quick — what’s your favorite quote from a living Republican Member of Congress not named Todd Akin? That’s what I thought. With rare exception, elected Republicans couldn’t convince a dehydrated camel to drink water.
Into this void stepped self-appointed Tea Party groups, right where they are needed. But where money and principle converge, money too often has won.
These groups have a lot of money, raised from well-meaning people who think they’re helping a cause. Some are, but many aren’t.
Roll Call: ran a story Tuesday called, “Steeped in Overhead: A Look at the Expenses of Tea Party Groups.” Disturbingly, they report “The Tea Party Express PAC raised $10 million in the 2012 cycle, more than three-quarters of it from donations of less than $200. But the group made only $259,500 in campaign contributions and $686,124 in independent campaign expenditures in that election, public records show.” Disturbing.
Where did the money go?: Roll Call: found “one of its lead organizers, political consultant Sal Russo, handled the bulk of the group’s fundraising, travel, consulting, direct mail and ad production – earning his California consulting firm Russo Marsh & Associates a cool $2.3 million…” Good work if you can get it.
Worse,: Roll Call: reports, “the Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund” spent exactly zero in this election cycle on candidates, even as it raised millions from low-dollar donors. A look at its: Open Secrets page: shows the organization raised $6.4 million, spent $5.3 million and gave zero to federal candidates. The group reported $173,109 in “independent expenditures” and just over $1 million in cash on hand. Where’d the rest go? How do you spend $5.3 million with so little going to candidates and independent expenditures? That money is going somewhere.
The name “Tea Party” has been co-opted and monetized. Next time you think about writing a check to any group, ask yourself “Has this group ever done anything besides run ads asking for money? Do you know them from their acts, or do you know them from their ads?” If you can’t answer those questions positively, move along.
Democrats are being arrested across the country. Corruption and scandal are rampant, and the media is silent. Any Republican scandal is 75-point type, above the fold of every newspaper and the lead story on the nightly news. Democrats don’t need to inform the public. They have a PR firm that puts their message on the doorstep every morning and on TV every night at 5, 6 and 11. Republicans and conservatives have to rely on outside groups to circumvent the media and go directly to the public to inform them of the truth on scandal or ideas. But all too often the groups that claim to be just that are discombobulated, conflicted, or much, much worse.
The Tea Party ideals, the ideals upon which this country was founded and has thrived, remain strong and popular. But many Tea Party groups are a mess, or worse. As long as opponents of the progressive agenda remain fractured, incompetent or interested only in enriching themselves, the ideals they claim to represent will continue to lose.
If money continues to flow to groups with good-sounding names and self-aggrandizing ads running in all the right places, that’s the result we will get. November will come and go. Freedom will continue to wither, and corruption will be re-elected again and again. If individuals don’t start holding the groups that are bastardizing their names accountable, We The People never again will get the government we want, we will get only the government we deserve.
Derek Hunter is Washington, DC based writer, radio host and political strategist.: You can also stalk his thoughts 140 characters at a time on Twitter.