A little over two years ago, the newly-minted Speaker of the House John Boehner essentially said that Tea Party freshman would soon have an “adult moment,” when their principles came in to contact with Beltway politics.
Dawn Wildman is a state coordinator for the California Tea Party, President of the SoCal Tax Revolt Coalition in San Diego, and local pundit. She attended a meeting the day after Boehner’s insulting statement went public. This conference heralded how the views of the average American taxpayers would continue to be dismissed in favor of pure politics, despite the election of a Republican majority in the House of Representatives sparked by these very citizens.
Many conservatives believe the only home of conservatism is the Republican Party. However, her experiences at that meeting were clear portents of how party faithful are continually glad-handed and then ignored. It is a chilling lesson for everyone in “Panem” dynamics involving real Washington insiders, especially for those wondering about how the “Fiscal Cliff Deal”could have been struck.
“I was a National Coordinator for Tea Party Patriots at the time, and joined about 25 other tea party activists for a meeting with the staffers associated with both [Senate Minority Leader] Mitch McConnell and John Boehner,” Wildman said. “Even though McConnell was in the hallway, it seems these men were too busy to actually meet with us, despite the fact that most of the people in that room had been instrumental in getting Boehner his new spot.”
The inherent disrespect shown these citizen activists was highlighted in the assigned meeting center: The Strom Thurmond Room.
“Talk about bad optics,” noted Wildman. “For a group that had falsely accused of being racists daily by political opponents, the media, and members of Congress, to be put into a room named for a representative infamous for his archaic views on race was thoughtless.”
The purpose of meeting was to vent the frustrations over the rapid passage of budget-busting legislation (TARP, Obamacare, Cap & Trade, and the Stimulus). Despite Boehner’s insulting statement the day before, the attendees wanted to highlight the fact that they were willing to work with and assist the new Congress, as well as remind the politicians that they needed to also work with the citizen organizations.
“From the time we got there, it was clear we were to be herded and shuffled out of there promptly at the end of 45 minutes.” Recalled Wildman. “They wasted almost a half hour on getting each person to do a detailed introduction, because it was apparent these staffers did not want to answer questions or directly address our concerns. That the staffers kept looking at their watches showed clearly they wanted to be somewhere else.”
Wildman said that she was tagged as a trouble-maker, because she used her introduction to express displeasure at Boehner’s statement. In fact, citizen activists act more “adult” than Congress (i.e., working hard, paying taxes, and not driving drunk).
Wildman noted that the looks exchanged between the two staff groups showed that Team McConnell had not been informed of the “adult moment” remark. The very brief question-and-answer session was loaded with softball questions from the mainly older crowd, who tend to be very formal and respectful in such settings.
“We had their back, yet they offered no plan then and it is obvious that they still have no plan,” observed Wildman. “After that meeting, I surmised that Boehner was, at best, a lateral move from Nancy Pelosi. Time has proved me right.”
Wildman, who has been active in politics for decades, subsequently changed her registration from Republican to Independent. She notes that many long-time GOP stalwarts, who have been active in election efforts and regular donors, have also left the party in the wake of the Republican leadership’s dismissive treatment.
“I would really like to see Boehner have an ‘adult moment’ and soon,” Wildman concluded.