I have to admit that I have only considered myself a Tea Party guy since early 2010. I have always been conservative, but I was late to the Tea Party. The online commentators that have been involved from the beginning (early 2009) seem to be pretty down to earth, level headed and practical advocates for real reform. I wish I could say the same for the groups that claim to be Tea Party leaders.
I am not a Washington insider, but I can certainly read, and what I am finding about these groups (Tea Party Express, Tea Party Patriots, Tea Party Nation, FreedomWorks, Heritage Action etc…) is that every one of them comes out and criticizes establishment/ insider types, and yet, they are as establishment/ insider as it gets. They are all current, or former, Washington insiders that have excelled at the very games they are now criticizing republicans for playing. I guess the bottom line of it is that I am finding it harder and harder to take the “outrage” against the system seriously when it is spouted by people like Mike Needham of Heritage Action.
For example, Mike Needham is currently pushing a project on Heritage Action, that claims to want to hold Republicans accountable for their votes on the budget. He is posting the votes of each member and recommending to us that we keep track of these votes and punish those that do not hold firmly to his line. I have no problem with people holding their congressmen accountable for their votes, in fact, that is exactly what gave rise to the Tea Party, but I have a real problem with someone that was able to check their conservatism at the door to work on the Rudy Giuliani campaign, deciding which which votes should matter.Rudy was a good mayor and great leader after 9-11, but no one can contend that he is a conservative with the positions he took on this partial list of issues;
- As mayor, he supported the nationwide Clinton assault weapons ban. He supported nationwide federal licensing. And he actually joined a lawsuit to make gun manufacturers liable if someone used their gun to shoot somebody.
- As mayor, supported public funding for abortion. (Oct 2005)
- Pro-choice; no ban on partial-birth abortions. (Dec 1999)
- Open Strategic Petroleum Reserve to battle high oil prices. (Feb 2000)
- Oil crisis is “compelling justification” to use Reserves. (Feb 2000)
- Ardent supporter of campaign finance reform. (Aug 2006)
My point here is not to criticize the Mayor, he was fairly open about who he was. My point here is to expose the great hypocrisy of Mr. Needham. He left the Heritage Foundation to work on Rudy’s failed 2008 Presidential campaign knowing full well who Rudy was, and how he felt on the issues. Mike was apparently able to set aside his own conservative views about many issues, and support someone who was certainly not conservative, only 3 short years ago, yet today, after the rise of the Tea Party, he manages a website that aims to to undermine elected officials that are not “conservative enough” for his taste.
Mike knows that we are fed up with congress, and he, along with the others mentioned above, have figured out that tapping into that outrage can be very lucrative. These are Washington insiders doing what Washington insiders do best; making money by saying what people want to hear. The irony this time is that Mike does not want any Republican to cast a single vote without consequences when he was willing to cast aside conservative principles for a paycheck.It is unfortunate that his group is affiliated with the Heritage Foundation, because I have come to consider them the absolute best source of conservative thought. However, after years of being a dedicated reader and contributor, I am disappointed that Heritage is stooping to the level of those that we are fighting against. We all know that politicians have to make difficult votes, and it is one thing to hold them accountable at election time, but it is quite another to use the Tea Party faithful to undermine them at every turn.My question to the readers of this post is simple. Are we being led by people that are simply riding the gravy train, or is the movement aware of the history of these leaders and making their minds up accordingly? I would sincerely like your feedback on this.Less government, more Liberty!the founders