Tea party groups attempt to transform passions into practicality with PACs

Following the weekend’s National Tea Party Convention in Nashville, the conservative grassroots activists made clear they don’t want any more NY-23’s in 2010.

Tea party activists see the New York 2009 congressional race — when Tea Party darling Doug Hoffman forced out the more liberal Republican candidate but failed to win the general election — as one where their candidate lost, despite raging passions and monetary support, because of an ineffective campaign apparatus.

So when organizers of the Ensuring Liberty PAC announced their plans at the Nashville convention to raise $10 million dollars for targeted congressional races, they made sure to stress that their candidates know how to run a decent campaign.

“We want to make sure that if people are donating their hard-earned dollars in this economy it’s going to a sharp operation,” Missouri State Sen. John Loudon of the St. Louis Tea Party told The Daily Caller.

Loudon said the group will give out a campaign tool kit to targeted candidates with advice on effective campaign techniques. Because each of the candidates will likely have very similar campaign platforms, Loudon said they’ve made up a template of universal good campaign practices.

On Tuesday, the PAC opened their bank account and are “already in heavy fundraising mode.” Loudon said on Wednesday that one person had already committed $25,000 to the effort.

Loudon said no fundraising events have been planned yet, and dollars will mainly come through the PAC’s Web site and through personal contact with major donors. Loudon declined to list who some of those backers would be.

Though the corporation will be based in Memphis, Tenn., Loudon said that “in the spirit of the Tea Party” there will be “little to no permanent staff” in order to make sure the “maximum dollars go toward the effort.”

Asked about whether Tea Party groups across the country have been receptive to the PAC, he said he’s “very confident when people see the fruit of what we’re doing they’re gong to get excited about it.”

The PAC came about through phone-tree groups, Loudon said, when activists expressed their take on frustration with the mistakes of the NY-23 campaign, where there was money behind Hoffman but there was “a sense that the campaign operation just couldn’t efficiently employ those resources.”

In addition to Loudon, the committee is made up of Mark Skoda of the Memphis Tea Party (and a leader of the National Tea Party Convention), Steve McQueen of the Quincy Tea Party, Brad Ehmen of the Quincy Tea Party, Bill Hennessy of the St Louis Tea Party and Rose Corona, who is involved in California tea party groups.

On the St Louis Tea Party group’s Web site, Hennessy said that Ensuring Liberty PAC will target 15 to 20 key congressional races in 2010 and “will perform services for candidates similar to those previously performed by NRCC and the like.”

“For candidates like Doug Hoffman, we will provide the 3rd element he lacked: a serious, well-coordinated ground game. In these races, I believe we will be the difference.  In this election, I believe we will be part of the margin of victory for freedom,” he said.

The PAC plans to “identify candidates who arose from the Tea Party movement and who espouse our values on fiscal responsibility, limited government, national security and low taxes.”

“If a candidate strays from our values during the election, we will exit that race and let everyone know why,” the St. Louis Web site reads.

“Candidates whom we help win can and should feel an obligation to remain true to our values throughout their term in Congress,” the site goes on. “If they do not, we will target their careers for political destruction as surely as we target certain incumbents now. For the first time in my memory, we will have members of Congress beholden to … the people they represent.”

The group also says that while they initially favored the creation of a third party, they were ultimately convinced to try to work inside the existing party structure because “the urgency for direct action” and because a third party “could only help those who want socialism.”

“Sorry, people, but that’s not standing on principle: it’s standing on our brain.”

Jenny Beth Martin of Tea Party Patriots — who did not participate in last weekend’s convention — said her group has also established a PAC, though it hasn’t begun raising money or organizing the structure yet. Party affiliation doesn’t matter to them, she said.

“What we will do is make sure the focus of any type of action would be related to our issues and our core values more so than any political party or politician,” she said.

Tea Party Patriots co-founder Mark Meckler said the Tea Party Patriots PAC will be “grassroots driven” and what separates them from other groups is that they see their job as “reflecting the grassroots rather than directing the grassroots.”

  • richardhead

    I recognize that the Tea Partiers’ anger is genuine and deserved. How do we know that they are not being used by the very people that they should be most angry with?
    “The irony is that this “populist” movement was a creation of the wealthy and privileged from the start. The “tea party” phrase arose, supposedly spontaneously, from the lips of CNBC reporter Rick Santelli. Santelli, a former futures trader himself, led a televised mock “uprising” of other traders — the very people responsible for the problem — against any effort to help homeowners seduced or duped by banks offering irresponsible mortgages. (A more odious display of sanctimonious self-righteousness is almost unimaginable.) Yet a variety of domain names related to the phrase “Tea Party” had already been registered before Santelli used the term, by organizations tied to ultraconservative and Republican interests.”

    • sunnyr

      Wrong! The Tea Party Movement was already picking up steam and had rallies scheduled BEFORE Rick Santelli had his TV moment. Don’t worry about “rich people” taking over…..the party (and there are many chapters across the nation) is by the people, for the people.

    • sanjay

      Tea party started with ROn-Paul money bomb in December 2007. It was a genuine populist movement until hizaked by neocons.

      tea Party is rallying around what is wrong, but they do not rally around a program.

      The commie’s rallied around the communist manifesto a century ago and they took power all over the world.

      The tea-party needs to rally around a highly focused ideology and program.

      And to my knowledge only Ron-Paul has a well thought out program based on constitutional conservatism. Although I dont agree with him on everything, this is the best program we have now.

      Balanced Budget amendment, no bailouts, get rid of our overseas empire, audit the federal reserve, states rights, strong national defense and ban imigration from Jihadi and communist countries like Africa, Middle-east and china.

      • richardhead

        Yup, Ron Paul’s support was spontaneous and populist and much more so than the Tea Parties. I agree with most of what you are saying. My point is the Tea Parties my have populist supporters however they are not a spontaneous uprising as they believe. But rather they are a premeditated top down tool of some familiar right wing think tanks. I am not sure neocon is the best term to describe the people behind the scenes but neither is conservative. No disrespect to the Tea Parties I am just trying to understand what’s really going on.

  • thebigodoopedu2

    The tea party is kicking butt on these lame limp minded liberals. It’s a riot to watch them squealing like little pigs.

    • badmotherfarker

      The concept behind the teaparty movement is actually a good one. The problem is in the execution. When you have people like Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin and Dick Army leading your movement, you lose all credibility. Again, this is unfortunate since the concept behind it is something many American would get behind.

    • sanjay

      Neocons are infiltrating the tea-party. Tea Party should be about balanced-budget amendment, getting rid of empire, closing the border to jihadi and chinese communists and bringing back free markets and investigating the federal reserve and the banking cabal.

  • tomdoff

    This whole Tea Party thing is a great idea! It’s about time a US Political Party, in this great Capitalistic Society, became a For-Profit Enterprise! The Tea Party founders are not only going to charge their members for their parties and conventions, but there’s going to be an annual party membership fee. And the tea party founders and stockholders are working out deals with Amex, Visa, Master Card and PayPal, so they get kick-backs on all political contributions, which the Tea Party requires be made by credit or debit cards. (Those under-the-table cash deals are not considered ‘contributions’). And they are negotiating with Goldman, Morgan and Chase about issuing an IPO, so finally, everyday Americans will have a chance to actually own, and be a proud part of, an American Political Party. (‘Course, the founders will get the Preferred Stock, which is the only stock with voting rights). And so long as the party keeps that cute shiksa as spokeswoman, the Israelis will be heavy investors. (Also, they like covering their bets on all political parties, no matter how big a longshot they are, to keep control of the US).

  • badmotherfarker

    Palin lip-syncs perfectly to the GOP’s greatest hits: “How about cutting…payroll taxes? Giving people control over more of the money they’ve earned; now that’s real stimulus. Get federal spending under control, and then step aside and watch this economy roar back to life.” That’s all well and good, but nothing in Palin’s record suggests she is capable of delivering on such notions or crafting the policies that would make it possible to do so. Meanwhile, Palin makes sure to hit all the major social-conservative notes as well: She invokes God almost as much as she invokes Reagan, she is anti-abortion, and she is against gay marriage (a position, she is quick and correct to note, that she shares with Barack Obama). On foreign policy, she offers only stay-the-course generalities. “I understand that many Americans are war-weary,” she writes, “but we do have a responsibility to complete our missions in these countries so that we can keep our homeland safe.” Palin’s inability to chart anything like a truly new political course means that despite her immense popularity she is unlikely to be the standard-bearer of 21st-century Republicans. In short, she is no Barry Goldwater.

    • aviationlvr

      But yet you think Obama has the experience to get the job done. See, that’s why I think you’re just full of $h*t.

  • doncicciofitipaldi

    The TP people are old white people that deep down (maybe without even being conscious of it) are angry that a black man is in the WH, a latina is on the Supreme Court and they feel like ‘their country’ is slipping through their fingers. That is why they “want their country back”. Back from what? Or from WHOM? I will let you answer that one for yourselves.
    Their convention was quite an eye opener in term of the policies they stand for: “literacy tests for voting”, “deny a woman’s right to chose”, “Texas to secede from the Union, a foregin policy described as “We win, they lose”, etc, etc, etc. And of course the usual platitudes – small government, freedom (from what, or whom), low taxes, guns, state backed extremist religion, etc.

    They are an extremely dangerous group, especially short term. I say short term because of their democraphics: old and white. In other words, America is moving past them, as they will, well,,, move on to a better place due to age.

    Everyone needs to learn about what the TP stands for and oppose them at every move.

    • badmotherfarker

      Concentrated stupidity is always dangerous. But a lot of people are making a lot of money off the teabaggers. People like Palin and Dick Army are making a killing of these people’s ignorance. Reminds me of mega-churches.

      • sunnyr

        Your ignorance is stunning and you obviously know NOTHING about what you are spewing. pfft! Typical brain-dead Liberal.

    • sandra3dee

      Did you attend the convention or just get you information from MSNBC? I must have missed the above lectures. The people I saw and heard were advocating for less federal government, state rights, lower taxes, and balanced budgets. Social issues were rarely discussed. You are spreading the liberal lies.

      • badmotherfarker

        Yea, I listened to Palin’s speech – and here’s the problem. It’s empty rhetoric. Saying things like “lowering taxes, balancing budgets, etc” means nothing without stating HOW you’re going to do it. Palin has no solution to any of this. It’s like the situation in CA. You can say all you want that you are going to balance the budget, but there are a lot of issues in doing that. At least Ron Paul is able to spell out exactly the steps he would take. Palin just spews simple-minded catch phrases that are easily digested by simple-minded people. She makes ignorant people feel informed, and they enjoy that. This goes back to her “drill baby drill” BS. If you took the time to read the studies about available offshore oil and the time it would take to bring it to market, you would realize that this was in no way even remotely a solution to the gas price issues that were occurring at the time she was chanting this.

        • thebigodoopedu2

          well dumbmotherfarker you sound like an expert on rhetoric…tell me does the world smell rosy when you pull your head out of you bama’s butt?

          • badmotherfarker

            Spoken like a true republican. It’s sad how far the right has reduced rational discourse in this country. You guys can’t think beyond 10 second sound bites and attack anyone that can as “elitist/snob/liberal/ivy tower/etc.”.

        • richardhead
          • sunnyr

            I am waiting to see Colbert or Stewart show the VIDEO of Dianne Feinstein with crib notes written on her palm during one of her early campaigns. I don’t think they have the ‘nads to do it!! Crudballs!

          • richardhead

            They staple Democrats testicles to the bar stool as well.

        • sunnyr

          Again, every post you write speaks of your IGNORANCE! “Drill Baby Drill” was NOT Sarah Palin’s invention…..it was Newt Gingrich’s. Go do your homework!

    • hurtzallot

      You suck at profiling. I’m a disabled veteran, middle aged, African-American who happened to organize a Tea Party held in Pittsburgh Kansas. You go ahead and try to oppose us at every move – we have just began our journey.

      • badmotherfarker

        Then I’m sure you appreciate your fellow teabaggers dragging out signs like this:


        • hurtzallot

          One persons actions does not represent the the feelings or actions of the majority of TEA Party members. I could pull up SEIU beatings of a TEA Party member BUT I’m sure the majority of union members are not ruthless thugs, well….

          Taxed Enough Already – less government intrusion in our private lives, fiscal responsibility, caring about our children’s future, stop spending money we don’t have. The idea of fiscal responsibility is really pretty simple. Continue to laugh while we continue to grow.

          • badmotherfarker

            One of Palin’s biggest applause lines on the stump was that she had said “thanks, but no thanks” to federal money for the notorious “bridge to nowhere” at Gravina Island. In fact, Palin supported the project until it became controversial and, after it was killed, refused to return the federal funds, using them to construct what Conroy and Walshe call a “road to nowhere” leading to where the bridge would have been.
            As a former governor of a state that receives about $14,000 in federal money per resident (only the District of Columbia gets more) and whose total spending increased 16 percent between 2007 and 2009, Palin is not very credible as a fiscal conservative.

          • hurtzallot

            badmotherfarker I’ve read and reread my post I mentioned Sarah Palin? Where? It’s not the messenger, it’s the message.

    • thephranc

      The cry of racism. You do know that ship sailed and the smear tactic didn’t work, right?