Tea Party Patriots Bringing the Conscience of America to Washington DC
I was at the meeting with Chairman Steele and the other Tea Party Leaders on February 16, 2010, who to nearly the last one were there to represent their group and to find answers and hopefully some common ground with the RNC/Republican Party going forward!
It turned out to be a very productive meeting for both the Tea Party leaders and Michael Steele and staff. Early on it was determined that the Tea Party leaders were not advocating another party, quite the contrary they recognized the pitfalls in such a strategy, and were after answers as to how could they remain true to their groups principles and at the same time work with the RNC to elect candidates that shared those same principles.
A meeting that was initially scheduled for an hour with Chairman Steele and then some time with staff, became so productive and fruitful that Steele remained riveted to his seat for nearly 4 hours!!
Most of the participants were there because they felt they needed to hammer out a strategy to take their groups ideas and energy and mold it into a productive tool to realize their goals of electing more conservatively principled and responsive leaders. They had felt that hungry rally cry in their gut, they had lost sleep over their angst, they had risen up and through a common sentiment, a thread that ran border to border, sea to shining sea, they had rallied with others and grown their groups, they had made an impact and they had been heard. The great silent majority had risen up, and once again, the conscience of America was not dead, just napping. But now that hungry feeling was back, the rallies and signs weren’t enough, the question “What’s next” loomed in their minds. They realized that they were the butt of Democrat jokes and that they had a natural affinity with the Republican Party. They still wanted to maintain a bit of the bipartisanship that they had engendered from the beginning but had come to realize that the bipartisanship would come from those that were disgruntled with the left and were willing to join forces with them and the Republicans to effect real change, and so they came.
The meeting ended with Michael Steele and the RNC having a more profound respect for the movement, the realization that this was hundreds probably thousands of groups (before him that day were leaders that represented nearly 100,000 Americans!), that wanted to maintain their autonomy and yet were bound by that common thread of shared conservative principle and the willingness to work together within a movement that will more than likely remain leaderless at a national level so that the Tea Parties can remain the watchdogs, the conservative conscience of America at every level, a true political grassroots phenomenon rivaled only by events in this country some 230 plus years ago.
The Tea Party leaders left with a better understanding of how the Republican Party and RNC works, how they could work within the electoral process and realize their goals in a common effort. Many had come with misconceptions, they found out they had been fighting windmills, it became apparent that they and the RNC were simply on different paths to the same end, they were bound by their shared principles. They agreed to disagree where appropriate as each are bound by bylaws or expectations, but to explore those areas where they could work together with the RNC on a fast track to bring their country back to the conservative principles rooted in the Constitution.
The RNC received a wake up call from 50 plus true Tea Party Leaders and patriots whom many had made a huge investment in time and dollars to attend on their own dime, some from hundreds or thousands of miles away. One of the complaints was the co-optive Tea Bag on the RNC website. it was gone that same evening!!
I salute these "Leaders" for their commitment, and hope that any plan forward includes cooperation with the local, state and national Republican committees both in selecting qualified candidates that embrace the Constitution and in campaigns to elect them, as this is the logical avenue for them to realize their goals.