Friday, April 17, 2009

Tea Party Members Need to Quickly Harness Their Energies

I was exhilarated by the opportunity to speak in Houston, Texas to thousands (estimated at around 8,000) who came out to defend their freedoms against a government that is spiraling out of control. I saw moms, dads, babies, and grandparents. They were all Americans who are worried about this nation's future and they were among hundreds of thousands who gathered at locations around the country to be heard.

When you address thousands, you don't see individual faces. In my case it was a sea of bodies and signs. I told that group that I was excited to see the "dozens" and maybe even "hundreds" that the media would report showed up to that event. The crowd roared at the humor, but I was not joking, and the Houston Chronicle reported that "hundreds showed up." The article included a video clearly showing thousands and you have to wonder how stupid the media is or how stupid they believe we are.

Although I was inspired, I was also concerned. The vast majority of the people involved in this movement tend to be quite new to the political process who have expectations and agendas that simply will not stand the test of reality. I have been involved in politics since the late 1970s and have never walked far from it in decades. There are others in the Tea Party movement with some experience, but they are few and far between. The vast majority not only lack an understanding of our political process or the most effective means of action, they are proud of their lack of experience and look at people with experience with suspicion (it also doesn't help to have the CNN label behind my name).

After I spoke I was greeted by a young man wearing camouflage and a name tag simply described as "Domestic Terrorist," making fun of Barack Obama's expanded use of the phrase to include anyone who questions the direction this country is going. The young man was fairly bright, full of energy, and has the desire that is needed to help his cause. But how will he tap into it?

I asked him what he was doing in 2010, since that will be an important year if the Party is going to have an impact (because of the need to focus on the Congress). This twenty-four year old agreed and told me he was going to run for Congress. It didn't seem like a great use of time, since there are so many other opportunities going on, but I went along with him. "Where?" I asked. "I live in Stafford, Texas, who ever the Congressman is there." That would be the very newly elected Pete Olson, who shares this young man's beliefs on most issues and is not an "old timer" who simply needs to be kicked out. This wasn't all, this young man wanted all members of Congress, regardless of affiliation or beliefs, to be collectively thrown out. That means that good members would be replaced by bad. I guess the logic is that since there are more "bad" than "good members," I guess they believed you would have the opposite if you simply "cleaned it out." It sounds simplistic, but things like these alone are not the only thing necessary to achieve change.

Many of the thousands of people at these events are like this young men -- well intended, but in a difficult position to help facilitate change. Many, simply don't know the best routes to facilitate a move towards restoring America's values. The most important time in US history may turn out to be 2010. The center of the political universe will be the US Congress and the US House of Representatives in particular. If the Tea Party wants to make a difference, it will have to be focusing on the Congress and it will have to be done in a concerted and organized way.
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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