Sign in or registerThursday 12 August 2010 | Blog Feed | All feedsBy Nile Gardiner World Last updated: August 12th, 2010Comment on this Comment on this article President Obama: In decline? (Photo: AFP)The last few weeks have been a nightmare for President Obama, in a summer of discontent in the United States which has deeply unsettled the ruling liberal elites, so much so that even the Left has begun to turn against the White House. While the anti-establishment Tea Party movement has gained significant ground and is now a rising and powerful political force to be...
A new Democratic group called the Agenda Project has launched an anti-Tea Party project, known as "F*ck Tea," which is aimed at, well, exactly what its name suggests.
The project's Web site includes facts about the Tea Party ("66% think global warming does not exist or will not have a serious impact") as well as products geared toward a progressive clientele.
"Products like a Glenn Beck Bowl Buddy (Beck B Scrubbin) and others are perfect holiday gifts or just a great way to say, 'I love you and our country' to your spouse, friend or family," the Agenda Project's founder Erica Payne told Politico's Ben Smith.
Here's the Agenda Project's mission statement from its Web site:
The Agenda Project's goal is to build a powerful, intelligent, well-connected political movement capable of identifying and advancing rational, effective ideas in the public debate and in so doing ensure our country's enduring success.
Contrary to popular media memes, the success of Missouri’s Proposition C -- which blocks the enforcement of Obamacare in the state -- was not the product of moneyed interests, insurance-company perfidy, or an uninformed citizenry. And it was not solely the product of Republican primary voters.
According to Missouri Ethics Commission documents filed before the election, opponents of Prop C outspent proponents by at least four-to-one. Missourians for Health Care Freedom, the organization set up to promote Prop C, raised a little over $100,000. The Missouri Hospital Association, which opposed the measure, spent upwards of $400,000. Insurance companies were nowhere to be found in the documents.
#ad#The opposition had the additional benefit of free coverage from almost every newspaper and television-news outfit in the state. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch and the Kansas City Star ironically labeled proponents of Prop C “freeloaders,” and ultimately had to print corrections to their assertions that no organized opposition to Prop C existed.
In light of the amount spent by opponents of Prop C, and of the negative media coverage, the theory that the electorate voted for the Prop C because it remained uninformed of the measure’s flaws wouldn’t pass the scrutiny of a death panel.
The truth is that simple word of mouth, aided by social media, drove voters to the polls on August 3. The use of Twitter, Facebook, e-mail listservs, and various state blogs brought information to the public, both within the state and nationally. Once the information became available, a relatively small number of tech-savvy Missourians were able to carry the message to their friends and neighbors. Armed with this knowledge, Missourians were not fooled by the coordinated message of the opposition. In fact, tens of thousands voted in favor of Prop C but did not vote in the Senate or state-auditor primaries.
Block Captains, a program instituted by the St. Louis Tea Party and utilized by the plethora of similar organizations scattered around the state, enabled the relatively low-budget Prop C campaign to magnify its message tenfold. Many pundits have commented on the lack of money collected by the many tea parties scattered across the country, but that never fazed the spartan St. Louis organization. The Block Captain program trained everyday citizens to become their own grassroots political organizations. Individuals trained under the program were not directed by the St. Louis Tea Party leadership, but were encouraged to work on whatever politician’s campaign they deemed most important. They formed groups of about ten people each, and trained new individuals to form even more groups.
These individuals, though they worked for different campaigns, all got the word out about Prop C in their literature, speaking, and civic evangelism. Without official financial support or campaign coordination, these individual Block Captain teams had an outsize impact on the more traditional Republican groups campaigning across the state. Rather than taking orders, the individuals were influencing the way in which candidates campaigned.
#page#The remarkable success of Prop C came about with little money or resources. At one point, the cash-strapped campaign ran out of yard signs. The Facebook page became a clearinghouse for low-cost solutions to the problem. Bumper stickers, homemade signs, and many other ideas were created at home by individuals, vetted by larger groups, and then distributed through personal social networks and e-mail chains.
What surprised me, whether it should have or not, was that women between the ages of 40 and 60 were the most active participants. Most of the creative solutions and drive to get the message out on Prop C came from this demographic. The media missed these committed activists -- who put their heads down and worked instead of focusing on getting attention from the press. That undercurrent of motherly and grandmotherly support ignited Prop C activism, and one would be ill-advised to ignore this segment of the population as a political force in the upcoming elections.
#ad#As to who voted, Missouri is an open-primary state with many unaligned voters. Competitive races existed at all levels, in all parties. About 40,000 more votes were cast on Prop C than on the candidates for Missouri’s open U.S. Senate seat. Even some Democrats supported Prop C: About 320,000 votes were cast for Democrats in the Senate primary, but Prop C received only 271,000 “No” votes. About 15 percent of supporters of Robin Carnahan, the Democrat nominee for Senate, voted in favor of Prop C, with that number reaching as high as 20 percent in St. Louis City, a Democratic stronghold.
Prop C passed with 71 percent of the vote, but it was no easy task. The Prop C campaign conducted no internal polls, and the closest approximation of the vote came a month earlier and was not on point: A poll showed that about 60 percent of Missourians were not happy with the national health-care bill. Anything short of that number on Prop C would have been touted as a defeat in the media, and with the $400,000 the opposition spent, such a result seemed entirely possible.
One thing is for sure: Those paying close attention in Missouri have a newfound faith in and respect for our highly informed and effective electorate.
-- Benjamin Evans is an attorney in Missouri, and worked with Missourians for Health Care Freedom during the primary election.
President bolstered for November’s mid-terms as Democrats lead in key races for Senate and state governorships Barack Obama and his Democratic allies have scored a series of victories in primary races while the Republican establishment has lost out to agitated Tea Party supporters, bolstering the president’s hand in November’s mid-term elections. The results of primaries in four states on …
“Tea party” groups are planning a large rally on Sunday in Arizona, near the Mexican border, to support both the state’s hard-line stance on illegal immigration and the political campaign of the local talk show host who is challenging Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.). Mexico â United States border – US-Mexico Border – Immigration – United States – Law
Businessman Dan Maes rode support from tea party groups to claim Colorado’s Republican gubernatorial primary, defeating former U.S. Rep. Scott McInnis.
The Campbell County Tea Party has scheduled is having an open meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 12 in the chambers of Campbell County Fiscal Court at the county administration building, 1098 Monmouth St., Newport.
The Warren Tea Party collected enough signatures in its effort to reduce the number of Warren council members and create districts so the entire city is represented, the Clerk’s Office said today.
Washington – Elements of the Tea Party, a US conservative movement, are set to join a rally Sunday in Arizona to support the state’s hardline position on illegal immigration, The Washington Post reported Wednesday.
Tea party, gay marriage and the White flag
JUNEAU The national group Tea Party Express made a stop in Juneau last week and held a lightly attended rally endorsing Rep. Joe Miller for the impending U.S. Senate Republican primary election in Alaska.
WILLIAMSBURG — The original Tea Party may have been in Boston, but some modern-day “tea party” activists are finding a powerful narrative this summer at a different historic landmark: Colonial Williamsburg.
The Chamber of Commerce plans to spend at least $75 million on elections in 2010, but returns on its early investments this season have been disappointing. Jane Norton, who lost to a Tea Party backed candidate (Ken Buck) in Colorado Tuesday night, is just one in a string of Chamber-backed candidates to go down in defeat.
Entrepreneur Dan Maes cashed in his support from Tea Party patriot groups to narrowly defeat former U.S. Rep. Scott McInnis in Colorado’s GOP gubernatorial primary, sending a message to state republicans that the movement is a force they must reckon with.
The cheerful, jaded, sneering question de jour from liberal journalists and Democratic Party commentators (I know, there's a pretty fine distinction) is, "What will the Republican Party do if it gets back the House?" The question is phrased along the line of what a car-chasing dog would do if it caught the car. As a conservative tea party Republican, I am not particularly worried about that eventuality. Despite itself, a majority GOP, driven powerfully by the unambiguous vox populi of such an election, almost certainly would go about trying to repeal Obamacare and put serious,...
Tea party activists wrapping up a four-day election boot camp here say they”ll make up in “sweat equity” what they lack in political cash to get out the vote for candidates who’ve signed their Contract From America to shrink government and lower taxes.
Tea party activists wrapping up a four-day election boot camp here say they''ll make up in "sweat equity" what they lack in political cash to get out the vote for candidates who've signed their Contract From America to shrink government and lower taxes.