But, it’s not too early to have an exit strategy!
Two days ago in a post entitled, “Maryland’s Tea Party Minefield,” I raised the issue of whether Tea Party groups in some states were being co-opted by the establishment Republican Party (by the ruling class!). I mentioned Virginia.
Today the Wall Street Journal has published a lengthy story on how Tea Party groups in Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio, to name just three, have pragmatically joined in support of the GOP slate of candidates for the November election—whether the candidates are Tea Party conservatives or not. Read the Wall Street Journal article now and come back.
O.K. all well and good—give the GOP one more chance!
Then consider what NJ Governor Chris Christie said in Iowa on Monday (reported in my earlier post this a.m.):
Christie said Republicans must deliver on their conservative promises if they gain power during the November elections. If they don’t follow through, he said voters will send the GOP “to the wilderness, and they are going to send us there for a long, long time.”
“As a party, it is put up or shut up time,” he said.
How to stay independent and prepared!
This then is Part II of my ‘Maryland Tea Party Minefield’ post where I said I would throw out some ideas on how not to be co-pted by the “moderate” Republican mode of governance. Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli let the cat out of the bag with this comment to the WSJ:
“The party is trying to mollify the tea-party folks, if only as a protective measure,” says Mr. Cuccinelli, who rose to office last year with the support of thousands of tea-party activists.
Keep his comment always in mind as we proceed into 2011 and see how the newly elected Republicans govern.
Paul Revere had his plans laid well in advance
Maybe we can use the Paul Revere model to be prepared and ready when (and if) we need to be ready for the ‘revolution.’ As I mentioned the other day, I’m reading ‘Paul Revere’s Ride’ by David Hackett Fischer and can’t put it down. Contrary to popular belief it wasn’t only Paul Revere and some other guy nobody remembers who alerted the people of New England that the revolution had begun, it was an extensive communication network and trained militia groups in every town who were prepared well in advance. If the British had killed Revere, and they did capture him briefly that night, it didn’t matter because there were leaders salted away in every town and hamlet ready to take up the alarm (and leadership) when others were incapacitated or killed. These were amazing people.
Now, don’t misread this, I am not suggesting taking up arms! I’m suggesting the political equivalent.
In no particular order here are some ideas to avoid the co-option trap.
* Continually form new groups—call them Tea Parties, or whatever. It might even be better to have names that don’t include Tea Party in the title. Defenders of the Constitution, Conservative Caucus of ____(your town), etc. A group could be comprised of your neighbors. Size doesn’t matter.
* Get a website or blog for your group. As a matter of fact, everyone who has a computer should start blogging. Pick a topic and focus like a lazer on it. Many people should be ready to blog when Congress and State Legislatures go back in session in January! This modern day megaphone matters!
* Establish e-mail lists of like-minded citizens to keep each other informed and alert. (A lot easier today then the gunshots, bells and drums of New England in the spring of 1775!)
* Don’t depend on your local Republican establishment to alert you to issues of concern (they may be busy planning the next dinner or picnic). Better still join them. Become a part of your local Republican Club or Central Committee.
* Sure, join in coalitions like the one in Virginia (Federation of Virginia Tea Party Patriots) that has a formal structure, but be ready to bolt publically and vocally if they wander from conservative principles. One drawback of big formal structures is that when those leaders are attacked or brought down by the Left (or infighting!) then it can take all of you down with it. You gotta think in terms of guerilla warfare—just like the American patriots of the Revolution!
* Scream bloody murder in letters to the editor and wherever you can get your voice heard, if elected officials stray (as you know many will once elected).
* Write opinion pieces and get them published in mainstream publications.
* Get on radio talk shows (or get your own show) and don’t be afraid to blast any Republican who is selling us down the river (in addition to blasting the progressives and Democrats).
* Keep talking to your relatives, co-workers, friends and neighbors about recovering the American spirit. It’s easy to just assume people like this Jamie Radtke in Virginia are taking care of business for you, but you must stay engaged. Assuming someone else is doing the work is another danger of creating large coalitions.
* Continue holding rallies when appropriate but don’t do those to the exclusion of inserting yourself in the governmental/electoral process.
* Find candidates, start now for 2012, who are in tune with conservative values. Work on campaigns. Volunteer to be election judges and poll watchers.
There are probably more ideas I haven’t even thought of so I welcome readers input! The most important thing to remember is—don’t lose your independence! And, be prepared to lead! Have the structure in place now to alert your fellow Tea Partiers and like-minded conservatives to sound the alarm, if or when, the newly elected Republicans return to their old ways.