Tea Party Afterthoughts

I spent Wednesday night watching FNC’s coverage of the Tea Parties. The primary event locations were Atlanta and DC. Wednesday afternoon, Neil Cavuto did his show from Sacramento, CA. It was there that Mr. Cavuto made an important observation.

What Mr. Cavuto said was that these rallies weren’t only about taxes, that they were driven as much by people feeling that their money was being spent on low priority items or on pork. That’s something I agree with but it isn’t the only subplot to these rallies.

While it’s true that these rallies had alot of things that conservative could rally around, there were lots of things that appeal to John Q. Public, too. Anti-bailout signs were plentiful at the St. Cloud rally. Anti-stimulus bill signs were plentiful, too. In fact, I saw signs mocking Congress for voting for the stimulus bill without reading it.

Two messages came from these events, with equal amounts of passion. Both were directed at Washington. One of those messages was that We The People are upset that legislators vote on bills spending hundreds of dollars that they didn’t bother to read. People are telling legislators that they demand they do their job, including doing their due diligence.

Another message that we sent to Washington and to our political leaders was that it was time that they shut up and listen to us for a change. I’m not expecting this to change overnight. I’m not that naive. I expect people to start listening after large numbers of incumbents who voted for the bailouts and the stimulus bill get ushered into early retirement.

The first rule of getting the politicians’ attentions is defeating his allies. A politician’s first instinct is their re-election instinct. Harnessing the energy from yesterday’s event hinges on core principles.

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