Tucson

Almost pulled a muscle laughing in the ride from the Tucson airport to our hotel. It’s only 5:30 here.  Weird.  That call that “time difference” for you lefties who read my blog.  Has to do with the earth being round and all.

Been a whirlwind day so far.  Met Trent and Jennifer Humphries, remarkable Tea Party leaders here in Tucson.  Most gracious hosts you can imagine. Funny, dedicated, joyous.

After checking into hotel, I spoke to Mike Ferguson of Eagle 93.9 in Columbia, Missouri.  Mike’s a fabulous, liberty-loving host who’s all over the University of Marxism System story.

Then it was time to strategize with Gateway Pundit and Chris Loesch. 

Next is Tea Party University with best-selling author Dr. Larry Schweikart. He wrote the book that Glenn Beck called the best history text book ever, A Patriot’s History of the United States.  We have a copy at the Hennessy house, and so should you. (Speaking of Hennessy House, LU, Ace.)

When  you’re meeting Tea Partiers for the first time, you’re never really sure what to expect.  Trent Humphries is the best kind, and so is Dr. Schweikart—laugh-out-loud funny, appropriately sarcastic, brilliantly engaged with life and reality.

On the drive to the hotel, Trent shared his stories of battling America’s current brand of demons—people who actually want to destroy this country and everything it stands for.  That Trent relates stories of such final consequence with humor and cheer testifies to both his high character and his profound intellect.

Time to run to the speech.  Check back soon.

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Billy left his home for Tucson Arizona

I am so proud to be bringing the Spirit of St. Louis to the great people of Tucson, Arizona, this weekend. Dana Loesch and Jim Hoft are among the speakers at Tucson’s Tea Party on April 30

The Tea Party is on Saturday, April 30 at 9 am Pacific (11 am Central).  And there’s much, much more than just the Tea Party going on.  Check it all out here. If you have friends in the area, please ask them to come out.  Ask them to attend the Speaker Meet and Greet.

Following the horrible and sickening slaughter of five innocents and the shooting of more than a dozen others in January, the Tucson Tea Party came under politically motivated attacks by Pima County’s miscreant sheriff. 

Because of harassment and intimidation by Sheriff Dupnik’s Gestapo, Trent Humphries asked for speakers to come fill out a line-up for their next event.

Jim, Dana, and I said we’d be honored to defy the sheriff who refuses to enforce the immigration law he’s sworn to uphold. Following Congresswoman Gifford’s shooting, Dupnik blamed the Tea Party and came under heavy pressure to resign.

If you are able, the great people of Tucson could use our help with a generous donation for their event.

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Unknowing Believers

Big TentI’ll let you in on a little secret.  You ready? I’m not a “big tent” guy.  To me, “big tent” means we’ll keep adding on beliefs (or abandoning them) until no one disagrees with us.  In other words, “big tent” means pretending to enjoy the beatings we’re given.

“Big tent” is Republican for “surrender.” It’s not for me.

What is for me is broadening and building the base. Let me explain.

Broadening means getting more people involved.  Building means getting the involved to do more. Could it get any simpler?

Actually, it gets more complicated.  That’s because we’ve already tapped out our likeliest allies.  And we did that in September 2009.  By my math, that’s a year and a half since we’ve added new blood to the Tea Party team.

It’s time to start growing again.

In 2009, the first year of the movement, we did two things:  we rallied and we demonstrated.  These public events attracted the people who a) believe what we believe, and b) know it. They told me at Tea Party after Tea Party, “I’m so glad to know I’m not alone.”

So 2009 was the big coming together.  It was all one, long recruitment drive.

Then in 2010, we went into campaign mode.  We took the people had and put candidates into offices.  All tolled, we elected about 800 Tea Party candidates nationwide.  That ain’t bad. Since the election, we haven’t added to our rosters.  In fact, we might have even lost a few.

It’s time to broaden.

How do we broaden with compromising our values?

Simple.  We act like normal people for a change. We ditch the tri-cornered hats and the fife and drum corps and the 18th century English.  We dress like everyone else, we use modern English with all its ugly colloquialisms, and we smile a lot.

We get happy, because people like being around happy people.  (Just don’t be too happy. As George Carlin said, too happy sounds like a mental condition.)

See, we might have attracted everyone who believes what we believe and knows it; we’ve barely made a dent in the millions upon millions of Americans who believe what we believe but don’t know it yet.

This second group--Unknowing Believers--is the largest political group in the country.  They love liberty, they hate debt, and they like transparency.  They just don’t realize how much they have in common with people of the Tea Party movement.

What they do know is bad for us.  Unknowing Believers know that they don’t like our 18th century shenanigans.  They want to hang out with normal looking people who talk the way they talk.

As long as we keep imitating John Locke’s prose style, the Unknowing Believers will continue to run away from us.

So here’s your mission.  Before Easter, you will:

  • Stop wearing tri-cornered hats
  • Cancel the fife and drum corps you booked
  • Smile at someone who looks like he or she might not be a tea partier
  • Strike up a friendly, non-political conversation if that person smiles back

That’s it.  Don’t hand her a Constitution.  Don’t bad-mouth Obama.  Just smile and talk.  Exchange emails.  Find something in common to bond you.

Eventually, the state of the economy, the national debt, the price of gas, the creepy Big Brotherishness of the Obama administration will come up as your relationship grows.

Pounce.

Until then, just make a friend.

Closing the Wealth Gap

cooperationFace it: you don’t have that many friends. Not that you can rely on, anyway. On the bright side, you don’t really need friends, do you?  You’re a rock star in your own small way. Who made the varsity swim team?  You did.  Who made honor rolls and deans’ lists? You did.  Who landed your job and got the bonus? You did.

With friends like yourself, who needs friends?

If you make 20 times as much as the next guy in line at Target, who cares?  It was his choice to follow a career path that ends at $42,500 a year.

And you’re almost right.  You’re right until you stop to think how much help you’ve had along the way.

What did your dad and mom do for a living?  Didn’t mom go back to work to afford private coaching? Didn’t dad give up better jobs so he’d never have to miss your swim meets?  Your college roommate hounded you to get better grades when you decided to coast. And didn’t your neighbor has his brother-in-law shop your resume around at the company where you’re now a stud?

Human beings are social animals. We don’t just enjoy other people; we need them for survival of the species.  You can’t breed alone.  You can’t thrive alone no matter what you’ve been told. People who understand their need for cooperation and community are not lacking in self-esteem; they’re lacking in hubris.  There’s a difference.

In The Fourth Turning, historians William Strauss and Neill Howe explain:

Where we once thought ourselves collectively strong, we now regard ourselves as individually entitled.

Yet even while we exalt our own personal growth, we realize that millions of self-actualized persons don’t add up to an actualized society.

Our income disparity in America grew, not as a result of unchecked capitalism, but of unchecked government.

From 1970 (actually, long before 1970, but data on income disparity go back only to 1968) onward, the federal government has, through entitlements and services, built walls of separation between American people.  As the Great Society increased dependency on government, it destroyed the fabric of community.

The government, not business, subdivided the United States from a single nation composed of 50 states, into a 300 million nations composed of one lonely human being.

Where CEOs once understood the importance of their employees, they now see only dehumanized “human resources.” Listen in on a conversation in any company today, and you’ll hear the term again and again:  “Do we have enough resources?”  They don’t mean land, capital, and materials; they mean people.

Entitlements are blinders.  They protect the haves from their moral duty to the have-nots.  They protect the have-nots from personal connection to and reliance upon the haves.  And they protect us all from the human responsibility to look out for each other, to take care of ourselves, to graciously accept the kindness of a stranger.

In other words, government dehumanizes.The poor no longer hope for a rich person to lift them up; they demand that government to hand something out. We see each other as obstacles or burdens, not fellow humans trying to get through the best we can.

In 1970, the average CEO made $212,230 while the average worker made $6,540, or 30.6 percent (source: Portfolio.com).

Today, that gap has grown from 30.6 percent to 265 percent in 2009.  And that 2009 number is low because of the economy—CEO compensation includes stock options and other market-sensitive rewards.  Now the CEO makes $8.5 million compared to the worker’s $32,000.

Socialists exploit this gap. The left sees income disparity as an argument against capitalism.  And too many Republicans ignore the problem, claiming one’s legal income is no one else’s business.

On this, the socialists and the Republicans are both wrong. Socialists are wrong about the cause and the solution; Republicans are wrong about the need for change.

If you take away the government’s unconstitutional entitlement programs, you take away the emotional insulation that separates us from each other.  The CEO and the unemployed both become more reliant upon each other.  Emotional, human bonds replace faceless bureaucracy.  CEOs make less because making 265 times as much as his employees is a business risk he will no longer take.

When I talk about entitlements, I’m talking about all the entitlements—those that allow General Electric to earn $13 billion profit and pay no taxes, and those that allow GM to live beyond its means forever.

It took both corporate and individual welfare to rot the fabric of society. It will take a tea party to weave it back together.

Grab your sewing kit. It’s time to get to work.

St. Louis City: Arrogant, Anti-Freedom

Sometimes I’m ashamed and embarrassed at my roots.  See, I graduated from the same Catholic grade school as St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay.  I shouldn’t be embarrassed, I know. But how else do I react to stories like this one from George Will.

It seems that Mayor Slay’s administration is busy trampling all over the rights of a citizen, Jim Roos.

Roos painted a sign on a building he owns that days “End Eminent Domain Abuse.”  Since that message runs counter to Slay’s policy of abusing eminent domain—and the First Amendment—the city ordered Roos to paint over the sign after denying him a permit.

The City prevailed in a federal court. In his ruling, the US District Judge Henry Autrey ruled, effectively, that political speech is unprotected if it contains a phone number for more information.

Will nails the problem with Slay, many judges, and government itself:

St. Louis is not the problem; government is. Many people go into it because they enjoy bossing people around.

That’s the reason for the Tea Party in a nutshell.  People go into government solely to boss other people around.

Let’s end eminent domain abuse. Let’s also end the Democrat’s multi-generational stranglehold on liberty in St. Louis City.

People of St. Louis’s 10th Aldermanic Ward can begin this correction by electing Jesse Irwin on Tuesday,  April 5. 

Growing the Pie

If the Tea Party brings lasting change to America, it must introduce grow-the-pie thinking on the right.

Growing the pieFor years, the tug of war ground on. Democrats and Republicans, Liberals and Conservatives, Collectivists and Individualists all fighting for the same piece of land.  The strategy was simple: if you’re behind, discredit the other site until you get the lead. If you’re in the lead, reward your friends to keep them loyal.

There were two problems with this game.

First, the conservatives never quite pulled the rope as far to the right as liberals pulled it to the left. So each round left the Left a little stronger and the Right a little weaker.

Second, conservatives fought a fixed-pie battle.  While preaching dynamic pie economics, we practiced fixed-pie politics. We didn’t believe we could grow our base. 

The problems are related.  The reason that the left gains more in its peaks than it surrenders in its valleys is because it seeks constantly to grow its active base.  The right relies on the strength of its arguments to naturally attract adherents.  While this works to a degree, adherents are not activist by nature.

What the Tea Party has done is two-fold:

First, we’ve turned some adherents into activists.  We see this in the email and letters from people who say, “I always voted Republican, but I never really thought about why. Until now.” 

Second, we’ve begun, in tiny measures, growing the base, attracting new activists. We’re winning converts from the other side, and we’re inspiring fence-sitters to our team.

But we face a challenge.

The Republican vanguard seems to feel a bit threatened by the grow-the-pie mentality.  It’s easy to manage a fixed pie--you have to train them only once. When new blood constantly flows into the team, the job of organizing never ends.

 
To fight this, the vanguard puts up litmus tests to keep out converts.  Former Democrats are not welcome. Labor union members and leaders can’t be trusted. First-time candidates carry too much baggage. 

Conscious or unconscious, the Republican vanguard squeezes the pie to keep it small, like a child squeezing its growing dog to keep it a cute little puppy. The vanguard is living up to the most damning accusation hurled at the Tea Party from the left:  closed, narrow, biased, anti-intellectual.

This squeezing has an effect.  Newcomers to the liberty movement feel unwelcome.  Potential donors to causes, groups, and candidates lock their vaults or continue to fund safe, traditional races and issues. Rewarded with power from the work of the newcomers, the Republicans do precisely what they’ve always done: reward their friends with tax dollars. 

Recently, a friend of mine--a Republican--told me about a supposedly conservative Republican state rep.  The rep bragged to my friend of passing a law to save some people millions in property taxes by rezoning their land.  The “some people” tend to be Republican donors.

Those who are little involved in politics but who pay attention say, “The only difference between Republicans and Democrats is who they redistribute money to.”

In St. Louis, now, we’re seeing this dynamic play out.  Gary, a former police union president joined up with the Tea Party in August of 2010. He began just wanting to learn more about us.  What he heard struck a chord.  Soon he was banging doors and making phone calls for our candidates and causes. 
After the election, he stuck around.  The network he built as a police union leader became an important tool in advancing the cause of liberty.  In fact, he was doing so much for us that we recommended he register as a lobbyist to avoid potential ethics complaints.

He did.

And the vanguard reacted. 

First, they challenged the wisdom of “selecting” an “official” Tea Party lobbyist.  When we explained that that’s not really what happened, they shifted.
Next, they attacked our recruit as a union hack who doesn’t represent Tea Party values.  I  posted Gary’s thoughts on the matter--including a long list of Republican endorsement that Gary personally won from the union through his remarkable skills of persuasion. They shifted again.

Now, they’ve attacking Gary for publicly supporting . . . brace yourself . . . a Democrat for Governor and Attorney General when he was president of the police union. Some want Gary to publicly renounce his union’s previous endorsements of the Democrats. 

While I can sympathize with those who believe in political purity, I can also put myself into Gary’s shoes.

Gary hasn’t studied the nuances of political philosophy for decades as many of us have.  He’s been involved the retail politics of union negotiations, but not the philosophical thinking so common among conservatives. 

To illustrate my point, at a recent meet-and-greet with a candidate for Senate, the early conversation centered on whether repealing the 17th Amendment would make problems worse or better in the states.  These are conversations you don’t hear very often outside of Tea Party gatherings.  At Republican events, such “theory” drives away all but a few college students, and Tea Party types.

When he approached our Tea Party offices in August, Gary came, hat in hand, to learn.  I’m sure that our kindness and welcome helped him feel at home.  I know enough about human behavioral sciences to know that kind acceptance earns reciprocation.  As researcher and author Robert C. Cialdini points our, reciprocity is the strongest of the six tools for influence.

We had real work for Gary. We didn’t doubt his sincerity, mostly because of his honesty.  “I agree completely with what you guys stand for, but I sure don’t get the way you think sometimes.”

Gary’s introduction to practical politics meant you do things to get things. Reciprocity.  But the Tea Party does a lot of things that have no obvious return. 
We handed out US Constitutions, door to door, paying no attention to the party affiliation or voting frequency of the occupant.  We held rallies and protests in support of principles that were often in conflict with our short-term self-interest. This thinking makes no sense to a practical politician.

By putting Gary to work in the most important jobs, like calls and canvassing, we earned his trust by offering the same to him.

Over time, Gary has become more conversant in--and comfortable with--the principled approach to politics. But full understanding won’t happen overnight.  And it will never happen if the recruit, the student, feels he’s being singled out for ridicule.

And that’s exactly what’s going on now.

Opponents of Gary’s high-profile work for the St. Louis Tea Party Coalition want Gary to recite a mea culpa for having supported Democrats in the past. 

I can’t think of a better formula to drive Gary--and many other less conspicuous converts--right back into the welcoming arms of the hard left. 

For me, it’s a matter of growing the base and expanding the pie.  I believe the best way to do that is to give meaningful work to converts based on the the skills and passions they bring, under the careful tutelage of a confirmed true believer. 

I believe in growing the liberty base, not in redistributing the wealth to my friends, so I will stand by Gary as long as he welcomes my support--and as long as he remains true to our core principles. 

Don’t Look for Quick Fixes

According to a book by historians Neil Howe and William Strauss, history follows a fairly predictable pattern, rotating in cycles equal to a long human life. The book, The Fourth Turning, was written in 1997. Read it.

If Howe and Strauss are right—and so far, they’re dead on—then we recently entered a Fourth Turning in the current saeculum which they named “millennium.”

What is a Fourth Turning?

The Fourth Turning is a Crisis, a decisive era of secular upheaval, when the values regime propels the replacement of the old civic order with a new one.

We’re not talking about an election cycle; we’re talking about an entirely reformulated society.

So far, America has experienced three significant turnings.  (Four, really, but the first was long before the Revolution.)

The Revolution, when the colonies declared independence from Great Britain and formed a democratic republic under the Constitution.

The Civil War, when we established the impossibility of secession and ended slavery.

The Depression-WWII, when we effectively abolished Constitutional government and re-ordered the entire world for increased security.

With the exception of the Civil War, each of these saecula lasted the length of a long human life—80 to 100 years.  That’s also about four generations.

Fourth Turnings—Crisis turnings—begin not because of chronology, but because of generational attitudes.  Fourth Turnings begin when the Boom children from the last Crisis reach Elderhood.

Think Bill  Clinton as elder statesman.

Behind that Boom generation is a generation of Nomads—the Gen Xers in this saecula.  My generation.  Reality Bites people.  Wild risk-takers. Generals George Patton and George Washington were the Generation Xers of their days.  So was Francis Marion.

Next, ready to do battle, is a Hero generation. These were the foot soldiers and Marines and sailors of WWII.  They’re also the kids fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq today. They’re the Millennials whom we too easily dismiss. But they’ll receive our ticker-tape parades someday. They’ll be the next Greatest Generation, if Howe and Strauss are correct.

Those born after about 2002?  They’re the next generation of artists.  The last generation of Artists were the Silent Generation who came of age just after WWII. They were too young to fight, but too old for Vietnam.  This generation is great at following orders.  It is the only American generation never to produce a President.  (We skipped from the GI generation of George H.W. Bush to the Boomers with Bill Clinton, George W., and Obama.)

So the stars—and the players—seemed aligned for a Fourth Turning: 20 to 25 years of total upheaval and, possibly,  total war. Those who think the worst is over, as I’ve said repeatedly, have another thought coming.  The debt problem that caused the 2008 crisis was not solved; it was papered over and compounded. February’s deficit was 40 percent bigger than the entire deficit for 2007.  The March deficit will be larger still.

I know some people believe that we can end the crisis with a single election—2010.  That’s beyond wishful thinking.  It’s irresponsible thinking.  Our troubles go deeper than an election cycle.  Or even two.

That doesn’t mean we don’t start now, though.  In fact, the Tea Party movement was really a recognition of the Crisis, though I didn’t know it at the time.  (Maybe some of you did.)

With spiraling debt, rising international tensions, Japan melting down, and public sector unions demanding the power to take even more away from the producers, we’re just beginning a long generation of turmoil.

Read The Fourth Turning this week.  Learn your role and the risks we face.  Then, we might as well get started.

 

Happy Anniversary, Tea Party

Two years ago today, fifteen hundred Americans took time off work, school, and leisure. You braved high winds and low temps to stand under the Arch and say, “We’ve had enough.” Since then, over 1,000 state and federal offices have changed hands.  In nearly 100 percent of these switches moves power from the privileged to the people. Some more than others. Some not enough.  But an amazing reversal of trends, nonetheless.

But our party has only begun.

In Wisconsin—and in state capitals around the country—union filth is demanding even more.  More money, more power, more privilege.  As the outgoing General Counsel of the National Education Association admitted that the NEA doesn’t care about children or the future, but about power.  The power to tax teachers and to use that cash to acquire more power for the privileged.

Our fight is only beginning.

The dark forces of collectivism have redoubled their efforts to crash the American system and Western civilization.  They seek to destroy and to seize dictatorial power in the confusion that ensues.

But we have a right—a right granted by our status as humans—to fight back.  We have a right to say, “No.”  We have a right to abolish governments destructive to the ends of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and to replace them with institutions that, in our opinion, will best protest our sacred rights.

Every federal office holder takes an oath to preserve the Constitution against all enemies—foreign and domestic. But that formality is only an affirmation.  Every American has an individual right and duty to identify, pursue, and purge government of enemies to our Constitution.

That is why the Tea Party happened, and it’s why the Tea Party lives on.

You are the vanguard, not of revolution, but of restoration.

Restoring the republic.

Restoring our sacred rights.

Restoring the rule of law.

 

History:

My first post proposing a St. Louis Tea Party

Michelle Malkin’s Tea Party post that inspired me to act

The “recipe” Dana Loesch and I followed (since we really had no idea what we were doing)’

Finally, my reflections on that first event

An Extensive Interview with Missouri News Horizon

When I hear all the lies, slanders, and threats against the Tea Party movement from folks on the left, I wish I could counter with a fuller examination of my beliefs. Luckily, with the help of Missouri News Horizon, I can. The Friday before the 9/12 Tea Party, I sat down with Rebecca Townsend to talk about the Tea Party.

Rebecca and I chatted for an hour.  She led me through just about every aspect of the Tea Party’s history up to that point.  We also talked about its future.

The time of the interview’s release was tough.  It went to press on 9/11, the day before Gateway to November.  Immediately after, we opened our Victory HQ on Hampton and dove into full campaign mode.

Rebecca’s totally fair coverage—she published the transcript and video whole, without edits—deserves more exposure.

Please feel free to point out this interview to anyone who wants to know how I think or what I believe.

Here’s an excerpt:

Q: WITH THE ULTIMATE GOAL OF WHAT?

The ultimate goal is to make sure people understand the founding principles of our country. Those founding principles may be well known, there’s key phrases we all know, but the thinking behind them I think we tend to forget about because we know the phrases so well.

There’s a reason why Jefferson said the “pursuit of happiness” instead of property, which was the popular phrase of the day – life, liberty and property.

Pursuit of happiness may include the pursuit of private property, but it goes far beyond that. There’s a school of thought that says he chose that because property was so closely associated with slavery and he didn’t want to codify the idea of owning another human being. That may have been part of it, but I believe there’s more to it than that.

The pursuit of happiness: There’s a Harvard researcher named Nancy Etcoff, who begins a fantasticTED.com talk by saying, “We are wired to pursue happiness.”

The way she phrased that is very important. She didn’t say we are wired to be happy, but we’re wired to pursue happiness. She went on to say “not only achieve it, but pursue it again and again.”

We know from neuroscience and psychology that a person who is paralyzed and a person who wins the lottery one year after the event will have an equal degree of happiness. Because happiness…we’re driven to want to better ourselves and the world around us. The pursuit of happiness – and Jefferson couldn’t have known this because we didn’t have the science at the time – but he was right, he was way ahead of his time. The pursuit of happiness is as important a right to human beings as the right to defend ourselves from attack.

Going back to the idea that of the negative emotions prevent us from being eaten by tigers and positive emotions prevent us from becoming tigers, if we’re denied the pursuit of happiness, we’re denied the right not to become miserable creatures –miserable to ourselves and miserable to those around us.

In the old Soviet Union in Moscow they did make sure everybody had their basic needs were met. And everyone I’ve met who lived through that era said life was just miserable. Everyone was unhappy. They squabbled, they complained. It was like existing but not being alive.

That’s what happens when government tries to replace our pursuit of happiness with their idea of happiness. Until we establish a good understanding of how important the pursuit of happiness…the unfettered right to pursue of happiness so long as it doesn’t deny someone the right to pursue happiness… until we understand that, we’re in danger of losing that and living the way the Muscovites lived for 70-some years.

Please post your comments on the interview below.

3 Moves After the Tea Party*

It’s 2011.  The Tea Party movement is almost two years old

Two years after the Boston Tea party, the Revolutionary War was well underway. In April, 1775, British Lieutenant General Gage sent troops to Concord, Massachusetts, to seize a garrison held by revolutionaries.  It didn’t go so well for the Brits.

redcoats-at-old-north-bridge 

By 1776, the Continental Congress declared our independence from Great Britain citing human rights.  With words that echo through the centuries, we declared that human beings have certain rights, and:

That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Where does this new American Revolution go now? 

Last night, I celebrated the New Year as do most New Years: by myself, watching subdued, almost depressed events in Las Vegas and New York.  The moment gave me a chance to ruminate as midnight approached: what next?

Here’s a short list that came to mind:

1.  Let’s Have a Tea Party:  After reading the numerous news accounts about 2010 being the Year of the Tea Party, I realized that I may have underestimated the impact of the movement.  That’s easy to do, I think, where you’re in the middle of something.  It’s clear now, though, that the world sees this rebellion as something to advance, to to admire, or to fear.  That deserves a party.

2.  Let’s Paint the Future:  I say and write this a lot.  I will continue to say it and write until it gains some ascendency.   The Tea Party movement – or whatever we call its evolutionary posterity – needs to move from defense to offense.  Offense includes proposing substitutions for the present system.  For example, how do we wind down Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security to minimize or prevent disruptions to people’s lives?  How do we restructure the tax system to both pay off our national debt and to encourage economic growth? What will education look like after we eliminate the Department of Education? 

3.  Let’s Broaden Our Interests:  At some point in the recent past, philosophers stopped applying philosophy to the world and began looking at philosophy as an end in itself.  That’s when the world stopped taking philosophy seriously.  The philosophers had isolated themselves from real life.

If we narrowly study only the Constitution, US History, the Founders, etc., we will become very dull, except to the few others who study nothing but this narrow subject. The world will compartmentalize us away, as it has philosophy.

Conservatives need to use our understanding of the founding principles, not as ends in itself, but as a guideline to apply right reason to problems of the day. 

I mention this repeatedly, too,  because I sense many of us becoming insular in our studies. Erudition requires breadth of knowledge, especially in adjacent matters. Depth in some area is central, of course, but it’s not the end.  Once you’ve hit water, digging deeper won’t make the water cooler or clearer.


* I used the term After the Tea Party.  I don’t think the name “tea party” should or will go away.  But I think we need to broaden our thinking.  The tea party era must give way to the leadership era.  If we stop moving, we die. 

The Longest Year

The year that ends tonight didn’t begin a year a go tomorrow.  Nor does it have a number. 

I’m not sure when this year started or what to call it.  And, as surprising as it may sound, I don’t think I’ll miss it.

Call it the year of the tea party.  It lasted 22 months.

We accomplished only two things, really, in this massive human wave. 

1.  We reminded ourselves that we, the people, can still roar.

2.   We may have aborted the rebirth of international socialism.

Our work isn’t over, but at midnight we cross a threshold.  The Tea Party movement leaves childhood.  As an organization, we’re young adults. The world becomes less forgiving. 

Movements don’t think or decide. The folks who people them do.  If we try to continue the tactics and antics of this year, we’ll arrest our own development. 

If, however, we keep a narrow focus while maturing our methods and broadening our knowledge, we’ll continue to grow.

It’s been a long, very long, year.  But there’s ages left to go.

Why You Should Come to St. Louis If You Can’t Drive to the Beach

Yes, there are three major Tea Party events on 9-12:  Washington, Sacramento, and St. Louis. But if you can’t see the Atlantic or the Pacific from your window, why don’t you make the trip to the middle of the country, to the “Gateway to November” Tea Party under the Arch?

Map picture

 

I’m hearing from groups in Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, Texas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Iowa, and many from Illinois and Kansas who CANNOT WAIT for the 9-12 "Gateway to November" Tea Party in St. Louis. They’re ready to roll, to recycle, and to repeal.  Are you?

Thanks to the K&N Patriots who volunteered to serve as Ambassadors to the bus groups coming into town.  If you need their assistance or have any questions in putting your bus trip together please call 314-266-1775 and leave a message.  We’ll get back to you as quickly as possible.  You may also email admin@stlouisteaparty.com.  Please include 9-12 Groups in the Subject line of the email.

Now, some people want to know why we’re having a Tea Party on 9-12, and why is always the most important question. 

We’re having a 9-12 Tea Party because believing in a vision is the key to making it real.

If people do not believe that we can accomplish what we hope to accomplish, they will not help us. If they do believe we can change history, they will join the fight. 

Leftist, liberal, and Democrat organizations hire their protesters, their audiences, and their grassroots activists.  That’s because liberalism is funded by billionaires and big corporations, like GE. 

Conservatives, on the other hand, must earn our support. That requires not just being right, but also being creative, offering novelty and reward, to those who come out to events.  The bar rises when you ask volunteers to knock on doors, distribute literature on street corners, or make phone calls. 

One way we attract and energize activists is with big events, like the 9-12 Tea Party in St. Louis. 

On Sunday, September 12, 2010, St. Louis will host the Midwest’s 9-12 Tea Party. This event, billed as the “Gateway to November,” will attract new volunteers and energize veterans. That’s the purpose of all big rallies, and it’s why media attention matters. 

Large crowds of true believers serve as social proof to others who already agree with our view of government and philosophy, but doubt our dedication and our clout.  When they see hundreds of thousands in DC or ten thousand in St. Louis, they begin to believe in our vision as well as in our reading of history.

We need to attract those who believe what we believe—limited government, fiscal responsibility, low taxes, national security, and federalism.  And we must help them believe that, together, we can change things.

If everyone who believes what we believe votes in November 2010, in the primaries and general elections of 2012 and beyond, then we cannot fail to restore the republic.  But if we only talk among ourselves, if we pretend that twenty people in a public library meeting room is enough to change the world, we will forever lash out at and blame bogeymen for our own failures.

Spread the word. 

Build the energy.

Share the vision. 

Grow the movement. 

Win the election.

Repeat in 2012. 

That’s why a Tea Party. And that’s why we need you in St. Louis  on the steps of the Arch on September 12 at High Noon. 

Are You Ready to Tea Party?????????

The weekend of September 12, 2010, will be The St. Louis Tea Party Weekend. 

We have the Arch steps.

We have the Overlook Stage.

We have the streets.

We have the people.

We have the hunger.

We have the voice.

We have the people.

We have the stars.

We have the plan.

We have the people.

We have the cause.

We have the dedication.

We have the people.

We have the sound.

We have the music.

We have the people.

Details to follow. 

If you have out of town relatives who Tea Party, invite them in for the weekend. This St. Louis’s chance to shine, to inspire the nation to Win this Election for the People, for the States, for the Fallen, for our Children.

This is the FINAL TEA PARTY before November 2.  MAKE IT COUNT!

This is for you, St. Louis. For the people who fought for Healthcare Freedom, trekking to Jefferson City throughout the winter, handing out flyers on hundred degree days. 

This is for the people with mouths taped, unable to speak to the President cum overlord.

This is for the campaign workers who’ve shivered and sweated through a year of dedicated service to candidates, causes, and country.

This is for the noble warriors who stepped in to the Arena, to stand before God and man and have their lives examined for fitness for office.

This is for the candidates who side with their former opponents on August 4th to face down the deadly evil of tyranny.

This is for the family from deep southern Missouri who borrowed the church van to come to St. Louis for the April 15 2009 Tea Party, ferrying two other families with them.

This is for Moose McArthur and all the other heroes recovering from wounds sustained defending us.

This is For The Win.

This is For America.

This is For You.

I know where you’ll be on July 24

You’ll be in Grove Park in Grafton, Illinois, for:

ALTON IL. T.E.A PARTY FIRST ANNIVERSARY

“1776 FREEDOM RALLY”

Saturday, July 24th 4pm-7pm

Think about it.  You’ve Fast Eddie’s right there. You’ve got two of the most haunted towns in America  with Grafton and Alton.  Great history, including homes that were critical to the Underground Railroad.

[Map of Grafton]

In short, you get to help make history in a place where history was made.

I am so honored to return to speak for the second year in a row.  Even better, Dr. Gina Loudon, hostess of the hottest new show on radio, will be there, too.  Not to mention the great people of the Alton Tea Party and 9-12 Project, Veteran Michelle Sharp, and more.

alton

I have to tell you about the Alton Tea Party and 9-12 Project people.  These are the gold standard of get out the vote heroes. By turning on the afterburners, they made history in Madison County at the Illinois primary this year.  How so?

Madison County is typically a 2:1 Democrat vote in primaries.  Not this year.  Because of the ridiculous efforts of those two groups, Madison votes 3:1 Republican.  Not only that, their voters understood First Principles.  The demonstrated that understanding by voting over 40 percent for Adam Andrzjewski, the solid conservative who earned Lech Walesa’s endorsement.  That’s 40 percent out of field of 6 candidates.

Their efforts will make a difference again in November. Why not make the short drive to Grafton for this event. Then we’ll all stop at Fast Eddie’s for a cold one.  You might even want to book a room at Pere Marquette State Park or one of the awesome, old hotels in Grafton or Alton.

Please plan to join us at Grove Park in Alton next Saturday, July 24, at 4:00 p.m.  It’s been a long 17 months, I know.  But we’ve slackened the pace lately.  Now it’s time to gear up for Election Season.  And there’s no better organizations in the country to kick off elections than the Alton Tea Party and 9-12 Project.

How We've Made a Difference

When you give over most of your private time to a cause, you need some feedback. We got some from former Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan on Friday: The Summer of the Angry Mob Meet the Mob--Dana Loesch

Ms. Noonan reflected on the Townhall Revolt which began in St. Louis one year ago. Writes Noonan:

When Rep. Russ Carnahan held a town hall meeting at a community college in Missouri on July 20, he tried patiently to explain that ObamaCare not only would be deficit-neutral, it would save money. They didn't shout him down, they laughed. When Sen. Claire McCaskill appeared before a town hall meeting in Jefferson County, Mo., on Aug. 11, she responded to the crowd with words that sum up the moment: "I don't get it. . . . I honestly don't get it. . . . You don't trust me?" "No!" the crowd roared.

Do you remember what last summer was like?  I do. I remember being at work on July 20 and getting emails and tweets on my phone.  I remember watching that video, then watching it go viral.  It spread across the country. Suddenly, people in every city were flooding politicians' formerly sleepy townhall events:

It was a largely self-generated uprising, and it was marked, wherever it happened, in San Diego or St. Louis, by certain common elements. The visiting senator or representative, gone home to visit the voters, always seemed shocked at the size of the audience and the depth of his constituents' anger. There was usually a voter making a videotape in the back of the hall. There were almost always spirited speeches from voters. There was never, or not once that I saw, a strong and informed response from the congressman. In one way it was like the Iranian revolution: Most people got the earliest and fullest reports of what was happening on the Internet, through YouTube. Voters would take shaky videos on their cellphones and post them when they got home. Suddenly, over a matter of weeks, you could type in "town hall" and you'd get hundreds, and finally thousands, of choices.

Those grainy videos--and some not-so-grainy--came from you.  Darin Morley, Michelle Moore, Adam Sharp, Patch Adams, Dana Loesch, and others.  The video camera became the weapon of choice, and St. Louis became the viral video epicenter of the Tea Party movement.  And we never stopped. Never.

In the heat of August 2009, the action heated up. The SEIU and Russ Carnahan sent thugs to beat us down and intimidate us.  Now, the SEIU enforcers prepare for trial, their apologists accusing the victim of Uncle Tomism.  Barack Obama is considered a Socialist by 55 percent of Americans, and his approval rating is in free fall.  ACORN had been forced to change its name, and the President's party is in danger of losing the House and Senate in November's election.  Strong conservative candidates have upset RINOs in numerous states and races.  And the colors of the American flag seem a little deeper--stronger reds, more faithful blues, and blinding whites. As Ms. Noonan observes:

And yet his [Obama's] poll numbers continue to float downward. He is not more loved with victory. To an unusual and maybe unprecedented degree his victories seem like victories for him, and for his party, and for his agenda, but they haven't settled in as broad triumphs that illustrate power and competence.

Take a moment to reflect on the long, hot August of 2009. Many of us went toe-to-toe with the enemy, day after day. I was five confrontational protests in seven days at one point, and I saw many of the same faces at each of them.  We were defiant yet friendly, confrontational yet civilized.  Outspent $10,000,000 to $1, we forced the Socialist Obama to wait eight monts for his healthcare victory, and then it was watered down.  And it will cost him if we make it.

It's not quite morning in America, but the sun is on the rise.  The left is on the run.  We're ready for the sprint to November and the party afterwards.  Victory is in the air, and I love it.  God help me, I love it so.

Top Reason to Read Playboy

playboy The Tea Party phenomenon has been with us for almost a year and a half already. We finally made it to the pages of America’s most venerable . . . um,  girly magazine.

Rogues of K Street is an anonymous Washington insider’s view of the most effective and expansive political movement in at least half a century.

While the author may have overstated my contributions to the cause, the expose is important for historical purposes.  These are the observations of a Washington political pro.  This is how Washington views the movement, not how we or our enemies define us.  In that, it is perhaps the most honest portrayal of the movement to date.

Whatever your views of the magazine, this article deserves your eyes and thoughts.  Take a look.  When you make history, every quarter must notice.

7 Points on Tea Party Popularity Poll (times 2)

A Washington Post/ABC News poll shows a major shift in sentiment toward (against?) the tea party movement. I would not challenge the accuracy of the results which show the tea party’s popularity waning among Southerners and people 18 to 29. In fact, the poll shows that a full 50 percent of Americans now have a negative view of the tea party.

Sure, there may have been some chicanery with the questions to skew the results. But only a true shift in sentiment would result in change this big. After a year of wall-to-wall coverage of “tea party,” I’d expect a downshift.

I think there are several issues here:

1.  Rand Paul’s performance since the primary has been a net negative.  I pointed out on Kudlow the day after Kentucky primary that his candidacy is not a referendum on the tea party movement. Nothing is. But he and some tea partyers insisted on linking the two, and his handling of controversy has been less than spectacular.

2.  In Nevada, Michigan, and elsewhere, leftists have created fake "tea party" parties that have damaged the brand by running Democrats pretending to be tea partyers. The idea is to split the center-right vote to allow the like of Harry Reid back into Congress.

3.  In-fighting among tea partyers has left a foul taste in the mouths of many. This development shouldn’t be a surprise. The tea party movement has no structure or hierarchy to keep order, and it’s filled with people who are new to this arena. We make mistakes, people.  Get over it.

4.  Some disenchanted Republicans who were early tea partyers have returned to the GOP. That doesn’t mean they won’t continue to fight the good fight. It means they’ll do so under a banner they’re more familiar with.

5.  Zealots and purists have splintered off and driven away more pragmatic reformers. We’ve seen this in numerous places across the country.  When the zealots lose, they tend to take their balls and go home. They also tend to turn off the people who just want their country back.

6.  After a year of hearing “tea party, tea party, tea party,” many people are probably just tired of hearing about it.  I am tired of hearing about it. I want to rack up some damn wins and get about fixing the country, and really don’t care what was call the thing that does it.

7.  We're in The Dip

What makes Ensuring Liberty (and similar orgs) so interesting to me is that they allow the tea party passion to yield actual results. The tea party movement is indispensable for its passion and energy and new blood, but 10,000 angry people don't win elections:  10,000 voters do.

So what do you do?  How do you take this passion, this glorious coming together that we’ve experienced since February 27, 2009, and turn it into a wild victory celebration on November 2?  Let’s start with this list:

  1. Invest in an organization that is engineered to win important races AND to hold the new Congress accountable.  I helped launch Ensuring Liberty to do just that, and we need your support to get there.  Please join today.
  2. Take personal responsibility to register everyone in your house to vote. In Missouri, it’s easy.  Just fill out this form and send it to your election board—directions on the back.
  3. Join the St. Louis Tea Party’s Block Captain/Liberty Evangelism project. Give people the power of personal freedom by handing them a Constitution with your email address on it, saying, “Please take this as  gift. Please read it and decide for yourself whether Washington is living up to the promises in those documents.”
  4. Use the buddy system to make sure everyone you recruit votes in the primary (on August 3 in Missouri) and on November 2.  That means you will commit to ensuring one other person gets to the polls, and someone commits to ensuring you get to the polls.  Take ownership of this job.  Let nothing stop you.
  5. Put in for vacation on November 1, 2, and 3.  Do it right now. You will be needed to get out the vote.  Let nothing stop you. (You will still be partying on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m., so you might as well not even think about working that day.)
  6. Vote early and get your friends and neighbors who agree with you to vote early.
  7. Every night before you go to bed, write a positive journal entry describing the feeling, the sounds, the news on November 2 and 3.  Describe Ed Martin’s victory speech or Robin Carnahan’s concession.  What will Frank Rich Say?  Paul Krugman?  Maureen Dowd?  Keith Olbermann? Chris Matthews?  Would could be more fun that Matthews describing the “Tea bagger temper tantrum” that overturned Congress?   Write Rush Limbaugh’s opening monologue for November 3.  Who will get Dana Loesch’s cool points?

The name of the movement doesn’t matter. It never did.  Names are symbols.  The name came from the name of an event—a “tea party” held to demonstrate that we’d had enough. That phase is over.  Everyone knows we’ve had enough.  Now it’s time to act.

The Dip

Seth Godin is one of my favorite writers, thinkers, marketers, and presenters. Everything he writes is worth your time reading. Two of his books stand out for me.  One is Tribes, because Tribes describes the whole Tea Party experience perfectly. And he wrote it a year before the Tea Party things started.

The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick)

Right now, though, my other favorite Godin book serves as a question and a guide for the Tea Party movement.  The Dip is about that period between initial success and final victory.  The sub-title: a little book that tells you when to quit (and when to stick). 

And that’s what I want to write about today.

I won’t bore you with a recap of what happened in the last year.  No one cares.  Some might, but they’re not the ones who count. The ones who care about reliving past glory have already decided not to seize more.  Those people have already quit.

Instead, I’ll talk about what I see right now and the decisions we have to make. Not as a group, but as individual human beings.

Are we in this to win, or not?

November seems a long way off. It’s only the very start of summer.  Kids just finished school. Summer vacations are still in the future. The NBA and NHL haven’t even finished their seasons yet. 

And a lot of people are exhausted.  Our houses need work—all the work we didn’t do last year or over the winter or this spring.   We’re tire of the commitments, of the arguments with spouses, of missing kids’ graduations and ball games, of turning down job opportunities.

In moments of quiet reflection, we just wish it was all over. We wish November would get here.  Or maybe we wish we could just walk away.

Have you drafted that tweet or blog post or facebook note that tells the world, “it’s been real, but I’m going back to my plow?”  Have you?

I have.  I’ve written that post many times. I’ve even sent an advance warning to close friends, and they haven’t always tried to talk me out of it. 

But I haven’t quit yet.  Neither have you. 

This is the Dip.

Different people will hit the Dip at different times, but everyone who’s committed to victory will go through one. Or seven.  Every major league champion, everyone whose name is engraved on Lord Stanley’s Cup has been through the Dip. Every accomplishment worth talking about followed a Dip.

The Dip is purgatory for champions.  James O'Keefe went through the Dip in New Orleans.  He didn’t quit.  He came out on top. One day he’s announcing the end of his court ordeal, the next day he’s revealing a sting on the Census Bureau.

The Dip is resistance, according to writer Steven Pressfield.  If you quit now, no one can criticize you. You won’t be embarrassed.  Hell, after the past fifteen months, walking away from grassroots stuff will give you more time than you’ve ever imagined.  You can fix up your house, take a long vacation, read that stack of books that you’ve assembled but haven’t cracked.  You’ll be able to learn a new language and grow your own organic vegetables.  Maybe you’ll take up knitting or quilting to scrap-booking.

No one—least of all me—would blame you.  You’ve done more than most for your country and for my children.  Thank you.  As Seth writes:

Winners quit fast, quit often, and quit without guilt-until they commit to beating the right Dip for the right reasons. In fact, winners seek out the Dip. They realize that the bigger the barrier, the bigger the reward for getting past it. If you can become number one in your niche, you'll get more than your fair share of profits, glory, and long-term security.

If you think we can win this thing—if you think the American Ideal is still in our blood—then you might, one day, blame yourself if you quit now. 

The finish line isn’t close.  I’m not gonna lie to you.  The finish line is far away. Between here and there lies the roughest, most dangerous terrain we’ve crossed yet. There are mines and dangerous snakes and wild beasts.  The enemy will try to destroy us, and it will succeed in destroying a few. Others will jump out at the Dip, unable or unwilling to carry on. The barrier on this one is very, very high.

But there’s strength in numbers, and there’s power in faith. We have both.

The hard work is before us now, and the glory of  media attention and meeting famous politicians is long gone.  Now it’s for the win, for God and country, for ourselves and our posterity.  

Congratulations: you’ve made it to the Dip.  On to victory.

P.S. Another great book (which Seth Godin loves, too) is Steven Pressfield’s:  The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles

Why We Must Evangelize Liberty

declaration-of-independence Earlier I linked to Glenn Reynolds’s Examiner column about the hard work that lies ahead for Tea Partyers.  If you haven’t read that piece, do so after reading this.

At Tea Party marches and rallies, we are surrounded by others who understand and cherish liberty.  We know the horrors that occur when a government loses accountability to and, yes, fear of the people they govern.  Such regimes become murderous, intolerant, and repressive. We know that such a regime in North America is just as dangerous as in Southeast Asia or Europe. 

What we often forget is that millions of our fellow Americans don’t understand these things.  Public education, and even many private schools, have filled people’s heads with nonsense. The National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers have spent decades removing First Principles from our nation’s classrooms.  They have largely succeeded.

If we are to begin making fundamental changes in America, we must get out and introduce ourselves and our principles to those who have been enslaved by ignorance.  We need to let our neighbors know that we don’t have horns, we’re not out to destroy them, and that our principles will allow them to achieve degrees of prosperity and happiness they never dreamed possible.

When the call comes, please be prepared to assemble your teams and his the streets in your neighborhood.  Help us spread the good news of liberty to your block.  In return, you’ll get the peace of mind of know you emancipated a human being.  You’ll also get a government you desire and deserve.

Not bad for a day’s work, huh?