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Tea Party Tactics - Pressure the Insurgents, Find Alternatives

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Tactical action suggestions for Tea Party enthusiasts (organizers or participants) are elaborated below
bulletPressure the liberal insurgents in their home states and Congressional districts
bulletFind better alternatives locally, and visibly support them now.  Don't wait for 2010 or 2012.
bulletPressure Republicans at all levels (national, state, and local) to restore limited government
bulletReach out to independent voters in your community.  Get organized for the primaries.
bulletOrganize local political career "death panels" for targeting efforts in the primaries
bulletPromote accountability by organizing groups of local independent donors or PACs
bulletMake candidate endorsements - and get volunteers to work for their campaigns now
Whether we had 600,000 - 800,000 by my count, or 1+ million by other counts, the Tax Day Tea Party turnout dwarfed what the DNC and Organizing for America got in March as “pledges” of blank check loyal support for Obama’s budget plan. Their 214,000 pledges in response to 13 million emails and sending all their campaign volunteers into the streets was dwarfed by the Tea Parties - and yet we were scorned and mocked while Congress has continued to ram this budget and their social agenda down our throats.

Even if millions turn out on July 4, or on 9/12 in DC, what difference will it make? Much of the damage will be done already. We need to reorganize in each Congressional district and state to get in the face of these arrogant politicians whenever they show up for a speech, fundraiser, or any other public appearance back home. National rallies won’t do it. Tyrants will only fear their loss of power.
Pressure the liberal insurgents in their home states and Congressional districts
Note that the word is not "incumbents", but "insurgents".  We need to focus the Tea Party energy.  The strategy and tactics need to focus on the real enemy we face today.  Republicans lost already.

There are certainly spineless, specious, and ineffective Republicans who still deserve to be recycled because they are too preoccupied with their own political careers, power, and special interest groups, rather than defending the Constitution which they swore to uphold for the benefit of all Americans.

The point is that Republican "leaders" are mostly harmless now.  They have already lost power.  They may change their behavior and listen to "we the people" again - or else they will be recycled, too.  They are not the primary threat to American liberty and pursuit of happiness.

They just aren't yet part of the solution.  They're still part of the problem - but they are not the same as the liberal insurgents who are rapidly exercising their unchecked power to harm us.  Instead, they might actually help us to defeat those insurgents now - or they may continue to be irrelevant.

Action: Forget big national protests for media attention.  Get in the face of each politician.
Creating a series of larger and larger Tea Party protests nationwide is not a solution to the problem.  Tyrants fear the loss of their own power.  They don't fear criticism.  Large rallies and complaints won't deter them.  They need to feel that they are personally at risk of defeat.  Examples: Arlen Specter, Chris Dodd.  Their actions will only change as they struggle to figure out how to avoid their own loss of power.
Politicians make many public appearance in their home states or Congressional districts.  These are generally scheduled and publicized well in advance, and held in public places, even if they involve private audiences (donors invited to fundraisers, influential interest groups, etc.)
Track their scheduled local appearances.  Organize locally to have protesters at their events.  Instead of holding big "Tea Parties" on nationally scheduled dates, organize them locally by networking people who can show up on short notice to express their concerns directly to their own public officials.

This is more effective than writing letters and e-mails for their staff to tally and ignore, or to answer in perfunctory ways just to create the illusion that the politician is listening.  Instead, show up at their event and ask to personally deliver hundreds of letters.  Ask them to address the protesters and take questions (politely!).  If they won't do this, spread the word.  Make it transparent that they don't want to listen to you, or to those who agree with you.  Let them be dismissive and arrogant, but expose it.

Make it clear to them personally that opposition to their actions is growing, and won't fade away.  Stay organized and share information about what they are doing, and what you are doing about it.  Use each appearance they make to grow organized opposition to them.

Find better alternatives locally, and visibly support them now.  Don't wait for 2010 or 2012.
It should be intuitively obvious to most Tea Party enthusiasts that we need many new elected officials whose interests are not defined by growing and perpetuating their own power as career politicians.  The reality is that competing for votes is difficult and costly, and doesn't necessarily attract the best people for the job.  Many potentially good candidates in terms of their capabilities to perform well in office may not be particularly interested in the job, or may not be very effective at the campaign process.  They may need to be encouraged to run for office, and assisted to do it successfully.
Take action - become a Republican Precinct Committeeman in your county.  Learn about taking the country back at the grassroots level by helping to select and turn out the vote for better candidates.  For more information, refer to The Precinct Project's Blog.  Network with conservative committeemen.  In Illinois, look at http://www.conservativeprecincts.blogspot.com/  All the Tea Party rallies, petitions, and online networking to share information and organize locally have been helpful to attract public attention to harmful national policies and to limit the damage, but at the end of the day it is the next election results through effectively organized party work at the local level which will determine the outcome.  Do it today.  Deadlines are approaching.  There are many local vacancies in such volunteer positions.
Look around you for better candidates.  Encourage them to run, and help them to do it.
It's easy to criticize the incumbents.  It's much harder to find better alternatives, and to help them win against a well-established incumbent.  It takes more than just money.  It takes the determination and organization to win despite all the obstacles or personal attacks along the way.

The motivated enthusiasts at the Tea Parties who volunteered to stand up for what they believe in should be a good place to start the process of finding better candidates.  Share information about potential candidates, and their pros and cons.  Look for new talent.  Get organized to decisively back somebody so that the "insurgent" incumbent already sees growing and effective opposition as soon as possible.

Before you try to unite around one candidate, start to unite around what you expect of any candidate.  There may be many differences of opinion on individual policy issues, but focus on core principles and values on which many people can agree.  Focus on integrity as a representative of "we the people", rather than as a specious politician who will do anything to get elected and stay in office.  This isn't about favoring one interest group.  It's about representing all Americans in that state or district at the national level, and proving that through public service performance at the state and local level too.

The way to win isn't to divide and conquer through pandering and promises to every group with enough voters to potentially swing the election results.  Officials are not elected to be pirates on our behalf, looting Washington or state revenues to bring more treasure back to their districts or supporters.

Consider using social networking group tools like FaceBook, MeetUp, Google Groups, LinkedIn, Plaxo Pulse, Ning, or others to organize people in your area independently of political party affiliation.  Organize around shared principles and values, or shared opposition to an incumbent, or shared support for a challenge, but get organized.  One idea is to use tools like Tea Party Nation to set up groups and organize local events by Congressional district, rather than by city or county.  In short, organize the way the votes are counted in the races which matter to you.
Pressure Republicans at all levels (national, state, and local) to restore limited government
Unfortunately, many national Republican "leaders" still don't get it.  Even after 600,000 - 800,000 voters took to the streets in April for the Tea Party protests, they are still debating how to bring themselves back to power, and are launching a "listening tour" or other initiatives with a focus primarily on the 2010 and 2012 election cycle rather than on the actions necessary right now to restore limited government.

The point should be obvious.  They lost the power to stop this liberal insurgency in Washington because we the people no longer trust them to do so.  As we pressure the liberal insurgents to stop harming the America in which we still firmly believe, we expect the Republicans to stand up with us and support us, rather than simply hoping that our frustration will eventually cause them to pick up some more votes.

This is a time for action, not for campaign rhetoric.  As indicated above, we need to convince as many of the liberal insurgents as possible, as quickly as possible, of their certain defeat in the next election if they do not change their actions.  That's a huge and difficult task, because they still have many eager supporters who believe that the role of government is to provide them with manna from heaven as though there was no cost associated with it, because they are not the ones who pay those costs.

There are unfortunately Americans who will gladly support officials whose aim is to plunder the federal or state treasuries like pirate privateers working on their behalf.

If Republicans think that the way back to relevance is to be less offensive pirates, then they misjudge our ability to distinguish between what is right and wrong from the perspective of all Americans, rather than just our own personal greed.  We are not looking for Republican pirates to compete with Democratic pirates for plunder and power on our behalf.  We are looking to finally get rid of all these pirates, and stand up for our Constitutional rights to limited government as the change in which we still believe.

We don't expect the Democrats to listen to us, because they are philosophically opposed to the idea of a limited government, as proven by their actions.  They believe that government has a responsibility to oversee and regulate almost everything according to what they think is more "fair" at the time.  We believe such pirates will not moderate their behavior.  They must be put under pressure, and defeated.  A small handful of pirates must not be allowed to reverse over two centuries of progress in America.

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"Call for Unity and Tea Party 2.0" - blog post at Liberty for USA about where the Tea Party movement is going.  It also references the blog by "Liberty Belle" in Seattle, which mentions preparations in the state of Wasghington for future protests that will be listed soon at http://teapartywa.org/  
Judson Phillips, one of the many Tea Party organizers, posted some similar thoughts in his blog on May 6 as a suggestion for "Tea Party 2.0" to start targeting specific members of Congress for replacement.  This is interesting, but the key point is that it still has to be driven at the grassroots level by local volunteers who are fed up with their own incumbents, rather than as a national top-down political targeting exercise.  
Eric Odom in Chicago posted "OK, seriously ... what's going on with the Tea Party effort" at the TaxDayTeaParty.com website on May 4.  Eric was one of the original Tea Party organizers, but clearly is not happy with the direction which some other self-proclaimed national "leaders" have taken recently.  
The Department of Homeland Security hastily withdrew their new "Domestic Extremism Lexicon" in March after well-deserved criticism.  See page 8.  I guess we're all radical right-wing extremists now if we "reject federal authority in favor of state or local authority".  Have they read the Tenth Amendment lately?  
"After the tea parties, it's time for conservatives to take over the GOP" - interesting blog post on the Champion News Network site in Illinois by John Biver on April 11.  They had further Tea Party stories after the event.  See "In search of political magic fairy dust" on May 6 and "Citizens in name only"  
The "Our Country Deserves Better" PAC has launched a new "Tea Party Express" website at http://www.teapartyexpress.org/  to promote a series of Tea Party rallies across the country from August 28 to September 12.  
See the Liberty for USA blog: "Turn up the heat on the Elite" for some initial thoughts about how to actually have a meaningful impact through local action.  
   

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Last modified: 06/07/11