Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Strategy Room Tackles the Tea Parties

While the vast majority of news programs have treated the Tea Party movement as a fad or phenomenon beyond comprehension, there has been very little serious discussion by the media about what this grassroots effort is all about, what motivates them, and what is its long term potential of being a serious force in the years to come. Until now. On FoxNews.com Strategy Room today, we dealt with that exact topic.

Eric Bolling, who hosted the hour I was on, asked some provocative questions that require individuals to think a little deeper about the direction of the Tea Party. They were the kind of questions that Conservatives in media tend not to ask because of their euphoria that such a movement exists and Liberals won't discuss because they are choosing a strategy of simply ignoring such efforts.
Bolling asked the panel:

  • Is the Tea Party made up of future or current tax defectors? At first, I found this question surprising, because I hadn't event considered it as a possibility. Then again, I have been approached by people who are beginning to speak in those exact terms. It is hard to tell whether such individuals are joking or if they are seeing the failure to pay as a viable form of protest. In my opinion, if this movement gets noted for such action, it will be dead in the water. I agree with the majority who believe that the federal government has grown out of control and that it is mismanaging our money. On the other hand, like most Americans, I don't believe in lawlessness and the base of this grassroots effort will be quickly discredited if it moves in such a direction.

  • What should the Tea Party stand for? This is a very important question and is one that provides the kind of soul searching that the movement needs to ask itself. My concern is that the movement becomes purely a tax revolt campaign when the problems facing our country include so much more than that. Excessive regulations, licensure laws, the perversion of the political process (e.g., moving the Census Bureau to the White House), and state rights are just a few of the items that should be front and center of all our political lives. Taking a multi-issue approach will help protect it from the image of merely trying to help the rich and will broaden its appeal.

  • Should Tea Party members be expected to put their money where their mouths are? Virtually everyone has received or is receiving some form of refund or rebate from the government, what is the "right thing" for Tea Party members to do with such? In this lively discussion, Bolling suggested sending the money to a select charity. In my opinion, the dollars should go to transform the Tea Party from an angry mob into a vibrant organization. Although it was suggested that if any of these participants keep the money, they will be hypocrites, I have a slightly different spin. I believe that the Obama Administration is going to tax people well beyond any check they receive from the government. Inflation alone will devour any savings they may receive. I believe a case can be made for keeping such rebates to offset other government related costs.

The debate is on whether the Tea Parties are going to be a major movement or a mere blip on the political radar screen. Ironically, asking tough questions, like those raised on Strategy Room, will play an important role in making it a meaningful and lasting effort. Only through such questions will the Tea Party find its identity.

Kevin Price is Host of the Price of Business, the longest running show on CNN 650 (M-F at 11 am), AOL Radio, and CBS Radio. Eric Bolling of Fox News and Fox Business says that Price’s Blog “is very influential and moves the blogosphere.” Steve Moore of the Wall Street Journal calls Price the “best business talk show host in the country.” Find out why and visit his blog at www.BizPlusBlog.com and his show site at www.PriceofBusiness.com.

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Anonymous http://www.linkedin.com/in/stellalohmann said...

I'd like to hear what Rick Santini thinks now after his rave gave national attention and then reality to a Tea Party movement. Many hoped (and believed) that GOP Chairman Michael Steele would be the voice to unite--to rally--to mobilize--but the momentum is coming from the grassroots folks--Republican, Democrart, Libertarian, Independent combined--organizing and blogging where they are, with whom they know and influence.

Tim Phillips of Americans for Prosperity offered a paradox--if we want the Government to leave us alone; we have to get involved.The Tea Parties are vehicles to allow Americans to put their feet to their beliefs.

A line from the movie, Facing the Giants, comes to mind. The character challenges a discouraged, dejected coach: "If two farmers are both praying for rain and one goes out and prepares his fields to receive the rain; which one is trusting God (for the rain)?"

Simply stated, Tea Parties recruit workers for those fields (government by the people under the Constitution) that desperately need reviving but require sacrificial sweat in the meantime. Many newcomers to the protest scene are first time leaders/advocates of a cause--the regular 'joes' and 'janes that live next door.

Search history and your memories--great visionaires many times have come from humble beginnings. Their willingness to lay down their life for a greater good trumped requirements of a grand title, an ivy league resume, or permission by party officials. They cared with their hearts, spoke with conviction, and then acted.

Too many have risked life and limb to come to America. Countless others have died and shed blood defending the cause of freedom here and abroad. It's Tea time...Whoever you are, an eager nation needs you and needs you now.

8:12 AM  

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