The TEA Party was, and sadly we must now use the past tense, a ray of light in a time of enveloping gloom. After the exasperation caused by George Bush and his profligate spending and foreign adventurism, the bailouts of the banks, and the ascendancy of Barack Obama who promised only more profligacy, people rose up and said – no more!
This was the TEA Party. TAXED – ENOUGH – ALREADY.
Most people who care tie its birth to the below rant by Rick Santelli on CNBC. I remember watching it live. It’s a video every single American should watch, Left, Right, other, whatever. It was a very important inflection point in our nation’s history.
But if the TEA Party was born on the floor of the CME it was conceived here.
Prior to the election of Barack Obama millions of Americans had had their consciousness raised by an old obstetrician and revolutionary congressman from Texas, Ron Paul. His long shot bid for the White house ignited the imaginations of millions. This is what got the ball rolling.
However, as is the case with most revolts the TEA Party was for the most part eventually put down. (Though its spirit is still quite strong and there is a sizable part of the population which has woken up and remains awake, much to chagrin of the people in Washington.) And what is particularly sad is that it was the Washington consultants, Republican consultants, which to a large degree did it in.
We have long held that it is the DC GOP who hated the TEA Party most of all. But that didn’t mean that Washington couldn’t make a buck off of it.
And it should be noted that the TEA Party was originally – before the consultants came in – about TAXES and spending. It wasn’t about social issues. But the social conservatives glommed onto the movement and did almost as much damage to the TEA Party as the Washington folks did. That should not be forgotten.
According to Federal Election Commission reports between 80 to 90 percent, and sometimes all the money these PACs get is swallowed in fees and poured into more prospecting. For example, conservative activist Larry Ward created Constitutional Rights PAC. He also runs Political Media, a communications firm. The New York Times reviewed Constitutional Rights’ filings and found: “Mr. Ward’s PAC spends every dollar it gets on consultants, mailings and fund-raising—making no donations to candidates.” Ward justified the arrangement by saying Political Media discounts solicitations on behalf of Constitutional Rights.
Let that sink in. Ward takes his PAC’s money and redistributes it to his company and other vendors for more messaging and solicitations, but suggests critics should rest easy since the PAC gets a discount on Political Media’s normal rate. Constitutional Rights PAC may be extreme but it’s hardly an outlier.