It has been a long, strange, and interesting journey.
Last night, the organizers of the San Diego area’s first “Tea Party” event gathered together for a Beer Caucus.
During the lively discussion on the current status of the presidential primary season (which spanned the grief cycle of denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance), it was noted that it was the 7th anniversary of our first event.
Looking back, it has been a long, strange, and interesting journey.
The focus of the first rally was a celebration of the free market system and a desire to roll-back government spending. I lovingly crafted my first protest sign.
Sarah Bond, another of the co-organizers, was also inspired to act in the wake of tax hikes and the “Stimulus Plan”.
A graphics artist by trade, she was a passive Republican until 2008. That year, she watched in dismay as a Republican president signed the Troubled Asset Relief Program, authorizing the Treasury Department to buy up to $700 billion in risky mortgages and other securities. Then, in 2009, came the new Obama administration’s $787 billion stimulus package.
“Capitalism is a self-correcting system,” she said. “Some banks would have collapsed. But let the successful companies take their place.”
Events have unfolded to show that our assertions about a wide array of government programs and policies were dead-on. For example, the focus of several rallies in 2009 was Obamacare. The “Affordable Care Act” has exceeded our expectations…of how bad it has been.
ObamaCare was sold as a way to bend the health “cost curve” down. As it turned out, it is bending the cost curve up — health care will be more costly than it would have been without ObamaCare. It’s so great that in its first year about 1,500 companies, states, and unions were granted waivers.
ObamaCare strangled the recovery in the crib. The private sector has been generating only 6,400 jobs per month since it was passed, compared to 67,600 before. We would never return to pre-recession unemployment levels at the current pace. ObamaCare is costing us over 60,000 jobs per month.
When we started our local group 7 years ago, we recognized that there would be no over-night cure for the problems created by politicians and bureaucrats. The vile accusations of being “astroturf” and having our groups illegally targeted by the IRS still have not deterred us in our resolve to solve problems impacting all aspects of American life.
In fact, the Albuquerque Tea Party (ATP) still continues its arduous quest the IRS for “tax-exempt” status.
The ATP filed their request in December 2009. Several months later the IRS demanded more documentation concerning the activities of the ATP since that application date. This was done. Then several months later, the IRS again asked for an update on all activity,” including board minutes, brochures, newsletters and correspondences, [past ATP President Rik] Harbaugh said. “All the information we sent them was well over 1,000 pages.”
The importance of getting tax-exempt status, he explained, is that the Albuquerque Tea Party, which has about 2,500 supporters, would then be able to transfer money to and receive money from other tax-exempt entities without paying taxes on those funds. “We have been prevented from getting (tax-free) money for six years,” Harbaugh said.
Some groups around the country are working to elect specific candidates (e.g, the Texas Patriot supporting Ted Cruz for President), while others are fighting political battles within the Republican Party. For example, in Delaware County, GOP chairman Will Statom challenged the candidacy, on May primary ballots, of several people who wanted to be precinct committeemen or state GOP convention delegates.
…Tea Party members — who also maintained they were not affiliated with any national Tea Party groups — argued that they were much more Republican than the Republican chairman.
“I have been a (Republican) precinct committeeman longer than the Republican Party chairman has thought about politics,” said Margaret Niccum, the target of one of Statom’s challenges.
And who can honestly doubt Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s backbone was stiffened enough by fear of Tea Party that he will meeting with President Barack Obama next week on the Supreme Court vacancy to expressly state that the next president should fill Justice Scalia’s spot?
That there is a Tea Party win, my friends!
Who knows what the next 7 years will bring? Two predictions I can make is that Tea Party will be declared “dead” again at some point during this election cycle, and that I will continue to work with amazing and dynamic patriots!