One of the great things about America is the freedom of speech. When one does not like the actions the government is taking he/she may voice that opinion loudly without fear of being “shut down” by the government. The Tea Party is a great example of this. In 2010 many young conservatives with fresh faces and solid principles were swept into office, in large part due to the voices and efforts of many folk who belong to the various Tea Parties across the nation.As an adamant Romney supporter and a conservative I have never felt at odds with the ideals of the Tea Party. Small government, lower taxes, demanding responsibility from our political leaders – these are all things I hold I common with the Tea Party. At times some “leaders” of this supposedly autonomous group have felt to impose on others which candidates they should or should not support. This I object to. The various Tea Party groups are not set up so the members can vote in or out their leaders. What will keep leaders in check when they’ve perhaps exercised too much authority over their group?
A very prominent group, FreedomWorks, has decided to exercise their rights to protest. The aim of their protest? Mitt Romney accepting an invitation to speak at rally put on by the Tea Party Express, which is happening today in New Hampshire. FreedomWorks has every right to protest something they don’t believe is right… and so do I.
Not only do I believe that FreedomWorks protest is misguided, it is also extremely counter-productive. Governor Mitt Romney is an experienced business-man who also has executive experience in a volunteer capacity for the Olympics, as well as in government. Not only that, but he may well be the nominee to face President Barack Obama in the general election. I need not remind our readers that an additional four years for our current President would be disastrous. So why would FreedomWorks drop an “anyone but Obama” standpoint for a much less productive “anyone but Mitt” one?
For reference, below are some of the statements put out by FreedomWorks lately promoting their protest:
FreedomConnector Event page:
After months of distancing himself from the tea party, suddenly Mitt Romney wants to be one of us. [...] FreedomWorks and tea party groups from around the region will be there. But not to hear more platitudes from an establishment hack posing as an outsider.
After keepings his distance from the tea party movement since its inception, the ever calculating Mitt Romney has realized he needs the tea party if he is to win his bid to be president of the United States. So he is going to speak at his first tea party event soon.
Email conversation with FreedomWorks New Media Director:
We have vocally opposed Romney for months. This isn’t new.
The problem is that we are against him being given Tea Party credibility – our membership completely lost it when they learned that he was being given a forum. He seems to think we’re useful idiots – after distancing himself for ages, he has realized that he needs the movement behind him and now he’s going to try to cozy up and say he’s on the same page.
That pissed a lot of people off. All the candidates deserve a shot and we’re not taking sides yet. But by our standards, Romney is unacceptable.
Matt Kibbe, President of Freedom Works:
FreedomWorks is here to help our activists in New Hampshire set the record straight that Mitt Romney can stand behind a tea party podium, but that does not make him a tea party candidate.”
Brendan Steinhauser, a lead organizer for FreedomWorks:
We have to defend our brand against poseurs
From @FreedomWorks on Twitter:
The only friends we care about are our 1.4 million activists and they don’t like Romney
The motto “Anyone but Obama” is an invitation to RINOs like Romney to cover themselves in a Gadsden Flag and call themselves TPers
We’ve heard from our members that Romney is not acceptable, re:government-run healthcare, TARP, cloudy stance on cap and trade.
Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa! That is a whole lot of rhetoric flying there! Establishment hack? Poseur? RINO? Since when is Mitt Romney trying to call himself a Tea Partier? All of FW’s 1.4 million activists don’t like Romney, really? Cloudy stance on Cap and Trade?
Is Mitt Romney trying to claim he is Tea Party? No. The claim by FW that Romney is trying to co-opt the movement, or get his own Tea Party membership card is nothing more than a stretch of the truth. In the last week alone Romney has spoken to Republican National Hispanic Assembly, the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention, and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. Does that mean Romney is trying to claim he is hispanic? Jewish? Or a veteran? Of course not. Mitt Romney is seeking to become the President of all of us. As such he is seeking support from anyone who would like to see the federal government make a very sensible turn to the right. And it just so happens that this Tea Party event is taking place in an earlier primary state where Romney has already devoted much time campaigning.
Getting back to the statements made by FW, the one on Cap and Trade alone shows me that FreedomWorks has not sufficiently done their homework. Is lack of facts, or their dislike of Romney reasonable excuse to severely misconstrue the facts? (Check facts here). As is explained extremely well in his book, Romney is adamantly opposed to Cap and Trade in ANY form. I find FreedomWorks’ attempt to infer otherwise intellectually dishonest.
But besides getting the facts wrong I will never (ever) pay heed to voices that throw around the much abused terms such as RINO and ‘establishment hack.’ When one needs to use strong reactionary phrases to emphasize their point, it typically mean their point wasn’t that firm to begin with. Ironically, I find that such is a tactic found most commonly amongst liberals (though they of course don’t use the word ‘RINO’.)
In 2010 I worked, along with 2 of my brothers, for the Morgan Philpot congressional campaign to unseat Democrat Jim Matheson. I still recall the day that FreedomWorks endorsed his campaign and how excited we were and how well received their endorsement was. With all the good they have done is the recent elections, and with their great efforts for the recall election in Wisconsin, I am extremely disappointed in their decision to wade into a hard-fought primary and attempt to unseat one of the major players. Their efforts would much better be spent on supporting the eventual nominee (chosen by the people), and doing whatever they could helping Obama out of office.
I’m a fiscal conservative. I’m a social conservative. I support liberty and the constitution. I support the strong defense of our nation. I ascribe to the ideals of the Tea Party. My name is Nate Gunderson and I support Mitt Romney for President of the United States!
Despite FreedomWorks inference that their activists are 100% against Romney, I am pleased to see that many of their own members have also exercised their first amendment rights by criticizing the decision to protest Romney. I’ll highlight some of those responses below.
Some of the many responses to FW exercise in counter-productivity:
I do not feel this protest is in good taste. Romney may turn out to be the Republican Candidate and that will put the Tea Party in a very poor position after they do this Protest. The Tea Party should stay NEUTRAL and be friendly with all Presidential candidates, not knowing who will be the person selected after the others drop out.
I have met Mitt Romney and I think he is an excellent Presidential candidate. A good businessman and has good family values and loves America. That means a lot to me. He is fiscally conservative and knows how to balance a budget with the way he has been sucessful in running his business. These are very important qualities in running a country.
I have been a member of Freedom Works since its inception. To say I was shocked and angry when I heard that you and Freedom Works were going to protest Mitt Romney’s appearance at the NH Tea Party rally would put it mildly. I am sure you are aware Conservatives and Libertarians are very individualistic; we are not group think types as are Democrats. We are like herding cats. For years, it has been very difficult to get us to meld into a common cause mentality and move in the same direction. The Tea Party introduced a clear common cause of smaller government and less taxes. Obamacare was a driving force to unite everyone. We have been able to stay cohesive because we have not veered off into social issues and attracted the Independents and Moderates and with some pointed ads will be able to attract the Blue Dogs to our cause. We need them to win. We need to keep our eye-on-the-ball. Obama must be out in 2012. If Freedom Works does not support Mitt Romney, fine. To protest Mitt Romney is wrong on many levels. You said on O’Reilly last night that if Romney would say that Romneycare was a mistake you would not protest. That one statement disregards all the other legitimate items you listed as to why you are protesting him. Please reconsider this protest. Let him have his say. Tea Party people are not idiots, they can read the stitches on a fast ball by now, let them hear him and either vote for him or not in the primary. If Mr. Romney wins the primary, what will you say then? Obama must go and if Mr. Romney is the candidate I know that he will be much better than Obama has been. Can we at least agree on that?
Romney is not my candidate choice, but he is a principled republican, we may not agree on everything he says or has done,he is on our side and we need differing opinions
My faith in Freedomworks could now officially be shaken. This is the kind if childish division that will allow OWEbama to win in 2012. SHAME on you!!!
So now FreedomWorks is telling us which candidates to support? I’m reconcidereing my support of FreedomWorks.
Who Says Tea Partiers Don’t Support Mitt Romney?!