A sincere warning to big-government Republican politicians

As I've said, before we focus on winning back majority status, the first priority must be reforming the Republican Party. - Jon Henke

Shortly after I wrote this quick piece for the Alabama Republican Liberty Caucus website, I was called by someone in another state who tracked down my cell number from a press release.

I had posted the now-going-viral video below of South Carolina Congressman Gresham Barrett (R) being booed, told to go home, and having people turn their backs on him when he spoke at the Greenville, SC Tea Party.

Calling out a Republican from my state congressional delegation for a bad vote on an amendment to the budget bill was my initial intention, but it's starting to turn into more than this now.

My caller liked the idea so much, he's beginning to quietly organize his folks to show at a scheduled event for one of his local "RINOs in DC."  They plan to boo, turn their backs, and video the entire encounter.  They also plan to quietly alert the media in advance.

From the perspective of someone who helped organize a large 2003 Tea Party event to begin the process to kill Alabama Governor Riley's proposed tax increase, I know how angry fiscal conservatives can feel about folks who have betrayed them.  More recently, we even dissed a Republican Secretary of State who demanded to speak at one of the April 15th Tea Parties I helped organize.

Pondering all of this, I contacted a few Tea Party organizers I'd been in contact with see what they thought of the general idea.

"Hell, yeah!" was the immediate response from one person I've never heard use that word before. 

"We should do it even for one bad floor vote," wrote one organizer about a specific Senator in his state.  "This way, he'll get the message that we'll be watching every minor move he makes."

To wrap this all up, it's better that I don't identify any states or congressional districts already targeted.  This way, every last Republican with a bad fiscal conscience (or desire to be re-elected) who currently holds public office should be having nightmares about who might show at his or her next campaign rally or public speaking event. A healthy dose of paranoia can sometimes be a good thing.

Even little ol' me can turn out a few thousand on fairly short notice in my state.

If you haven't seen the video yet, it's worth your time to watch it.  And if you are a Republican holding public office, think about how embarrassed you will feel losing to some unknown challenger come next primary election night. Only those with guilt in their hearts have to fear being next on the list.  If you think you might be on the list, I'd start with a call to my favorite spin-meister to come up with either the first or the best mea culpa that money can buy.

H/T to the good folks at the John Locke Foundation.

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Well you gotta do what you gotta do...

but won't your politicians be afraid to do anything then? or will the only "bad" votes that will get this treatment be tax increases on the wealthy?

cut funding for they needy, fight against health reform, but when you tax the wealthy thats when we will stand up and boo.

And is an objective test, is it that EVERY SINGLE proposed tax increase is a "bad" vote? is there never a responsible time to increase taxes anywhere?

Not that I am against the idea, people need to do whatever it takes to keep politicans accountable to them.

responsible taxation

And is an objective test, is it that EVERY SINGLE proposed tax increase is a "bad" vote? is there never a responsible time to increase taxes anywhere?

As of today?  No.  The government collects enough money as it is.  If there is some government service that even we conservatives think is underfunded, the way to institute proper funding for it is not to raise taxes, but to cut spending elsewhere.

Remember, people: TEA stands for Taxed Enough Already

but where are the numbers?

were we taxed enough already before Bush's two tax cuts? and we don't have the funds for Medicare D that he passed so couldn't some argue we aren't taxed enough?


or at least the Bush tax cuts should be allowed to expire?

Increased both for inflation

Increased both for inflation and proportionally for the growth of the U.S. population, the 1990 budget applied to 2008 would have been $2,400 billion, putting the budget into surplus by $260 billion.  Instead we spent $2,900 billion.


Running a deficit does not indicate insufficient taxation; it indicates excessive spending.  If we can't pay for Medicare Part D at current tax rates, we should eliminate it.

Part D

I would argue that if we can pay for Medicare Part D than we are over taxed and we should eliminate it and cut taxes accordingly. 

I live in Alabama, which...

...still maintains fiscal values similar to those of our Founding Fathers, so let's call them American values. It seems that you are suggesting that we uphold Marxist values. 

Great Work, Steve.

I hardily agree, and would like to thank you personally from the bottom of my heart for all the effort you have brought to this movement. By every measure, I would consider you and all who are willing to stand up for their liberty today when history calls, true patriots, true Americans.

As I have been suggesting, we need to let all Congress members who voted for the TARP, the Stimulus bill, and Obama's budget know we fully intend to end their political career as soon as We, the people, can, be they Democrat, Republican, or Independent.

I would also like to suggest, if it's within our power to do so, to show up at rallies where those happy few Senate members (if there are any) and House members who courageously voted twice against the TARP to cheer them on and perhaps be willing to volunteer for their re-election campaigns. It is very important that We, the people, should do this, and to publicize this effort as well.

ex animo



Thanks, David.

It's a beautiful thing

Making this a trend may become the last, best hope for evicting the self-serving, self-perpetuating political class and restoring representative government in this country.

"We should do it even for one bad floor vote."

Sound extreme? If so then you're not paying close enough attention. Out of 435 members of congress are there 10 who don't deserve this? I follow the Michigan legislature, and if I'm very generous I can think of maybe four Repubs who don't deserve this.

I say kill 'em all (politically) and let James Madison sort them out.

The Tea Party movement is on the right track - focus not on electing politicians but defeating them.

My party has taken my vote for granted for too long

I have stuck with the Republican party for 32 years.  No more.  If they want my vote they'll have to earn it, starting with my governor, Charlie Crist.  I am appalled at the way Crist has slobbered all over Obama.  I am appalled that Crist acts like he is proud that he is taking stimulus money.  My new motto is, "RINO's need not Apply."


If you are living in Florida, you have a wonderful opportunity, I would say a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, to help a young Cuban-American leader lead this party and this nation. His name is Marco Rubio.

As I have said, We, the people, must come together to throw the bums out, but We, the people, must also come together to help put the right people into office, especially Congress, especially the Senate. I can't think of a better person to personify the Tea Party movement in the U.S. Senate than Maco Rubio.

ex animo



It's not that Barrett muffed a vote, it's that he muffed one the most crucial votes in the past few decades.  Here was an opportunity for Barrett and the other so-called conservative Republicans to vote no, then clearly and simply explain why.  He and they really did not have the courage of their convictions.  What do you suppose he was afraid of - MSM criticism, or perhaps not being re-elected?

JackinMichigan -

I submit that Barrett, the TARP and Porkulus bills, in-the-tank MSM, etc are symptoms of the real problem - a federal government grown far beyond the limits intended by the Constitution.  The 17th Amendment removed a critical check provided to the states, and past court decisions vastly extending the commerce clause enabled the federal power grab.  Until the Constitutional balance is restored don't look for any lasting change.  I believe the state sovereignty bills being promoted in my state, Texas, and several others will be a key part of such redress.


"turn out a few thousand "

Hmmm, I thought it was two ladies from Shelby County that organized the April 15th event, turned out a few thousand, and turned away the SOS.  Ah, but don't let facts get in the way.

"They also plan to quietly alert the media in advance."  Assuming of course that the media does not read this blog.  Otherwise, cat's out of the bag, as they say.

Stunts like this rarely get reported in the mainstream media because it is their guy one would be dissing.  On the other hand, a common sense approach to educating voters on the Constitution, and what it really means, and then turning them loose as grassroots activists, disrupting (without civil disobedience) in the way Saul Alinsky suggested, turning the left-wing game plan against them, is a more sound, long term prospect.

You are absolutely correct...

...that "it was two ladies from Shelby County that organized the April 15th event."

They did an AWESOME job, too!  Once it appeared that the event was going to be pretty large, a local guy stepped up to the plate to take over lighting and staging -- he deserves a lot of credit too.  Quite a few people attended organizational meetings and helped out with areas of their own expertise.   I was one of them.

With respect to your suggestion, I know quite a few folks around here distributing Constitutions.


Petition for Term Limits

How can we start a petition to end the career politicians?  We need to get something moving across the nation and get it on the next ballot.  We need term limits.  We need to get everybody out of washington and get new blood in there with limits to the amount of time they can stay.  It would also be a good idea to take away their pensions and benefits.  The only incentive to running for office should be civic duty.  But the only way we can actually do this is from the people.  We cannot expect that anybody in Washington would push this for us.  Does anybody have any ideas on how to get this moving? I would love to help get something started in Maine.  But we need to organize across the nation and make this big.

With all due respect, "rightmom"...

...I have not suggested the Tea Party movement mount a petition to end career politicians, but to end the careers of members of Congress who supported TARP, the Stimulus package and Obama's budget. It's a rather defined number, a targeted, limited number, designed to send a political message to Congress.

Injecting the political element of "term limits" at this time will unnecessarily divide the Tea Party movement. We should resist the temptation to use the still emerging Tea Party movement to support potentially divisive wedge issues.

ex animo


Worst Political Hit I've Ever Seen

 I've seen some nasty political hits in my time, but what has been done to Gresham Barrett is just about THE WORST piece of canards, half-truths, and shoddy reporting I've ever seen.

Aside from the fact that I've known Gresham for years, no one has bothered to mention that he has an American Conservative Union rating of 98%.  Evidently that is no longer good enough for the ideological purity now required by certain conservatives.


What happened to Gresham was a set up.  A politically independent blog sent out a letter to the far, far, far right Ron Paul Bot idiots who are attempting to control the Greenville County GOP.  The suggestion was that Gresham be booed. 

Too bad you don't check your facts.  I have more about the incident at The Pink Flamingo.  I am absolutely ashamed of conservatives who are behaving as badly as liberals when it comes to the mandated "pile-on" and character destruction of a very good conservative.  You might also find it interesting that Gresham wasn't even in his own district when the incident occurred.  He is running for governor and various SC political blogs are having a good time making mischief.

Next time, don't denigrate someone unless you know the full story.




...I certainly don't want to judge a person before all the facts are in. Please tell me if Gresham voted in support of TARP.

Thank you.

ex animo


Barrett voted yes...

...on the The Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 (AKA $700 billion bailout bill). That's a key and major vote and what (as I hear it from friends in Charleston) what most folks were angry about.

 As to the " far, far, far right Ron Paul Bot idiots who are attempting to control the Greenville County GOP," they are the sorts of people to show at events like this.  However, if your state is like mine, there are plenty of other folks who showed and booed, as well. Even Ron Paul couldn't deliver as many people as showed across the country.

In Alabama, we've got Ron Paul supporters heading statewide organizations like the Alabama Republican Assembly and the Republican Liberty Caucus.  They are also serving on county GOP executive committees.  Some are already on the state executive committee.

Whether you like it or not, Ron Paul supporters are a fact of life and they have as much right to be elected to county GOP committees as anyone other Republican.  If you feel they are too far to the right, nominate someone else and garner enough support for that person to win the seat in question.

Face it, Ron Paul supporters dominate grassroots activistism in the GOP at this time.  The only way to change this is for some squishier sort of Republican to motivate his or her grassroots the way Ron Paul has.


Pure Genius

Brilliant plan, everybody.  Let's take a guy who agrees with us 98% and stop supporting him because he denied a new Article of Faith.  We can have a Club For Growther run against him in the primary, beat him, then get clobbered by the Democrats because our new guy is unknown outside the movement/party and too extreme for the populace at large.

Republicans/Conservatives will lose, but we will be PURE.  Pure as the driven snow.  Which you'll see a lot of when you're left out in the cold.

Democrats win with 90% friends like Sens. Webb, Casey and Nelson.  We literally turn our back on our 98% friends.  It's not a recipe for victory, but we sure feel like we've taken a stand, and isn't self-actualization and phyrric victory what politics is about?  No?  Oh well.

Electing Republicans/Conservatives to public office...

...isn't the objective of the Tea Party movenment, IMHO. As has been stated, both parties have betrayed the Constitution. 

ex animo


Are you suggesting that you prefer Arlen Specter...

...to Pat Toomey in PA?

Yes, that's exactly what I'm saying

...because Toomey will lose (whereas Specter at least has a shot), we'll all feel great about ourselves for sticking to our guns, but nothing will be accomplished.  And don't give me that "there's no difference" BS - I guarantee you whoever beats Toomey in the general will be worse than specter. 

But it's purity first for the modern minority party, right?

Going On

If the July 4th Tea Parties are as well-attended as we here all hope they will be, the next move is to form a Constitutional Convention. No sitting politicians need apply... note that the Framers had if anything less justification. Proposed Amendments would still have to be ratified by the States, and so long as that condition remains there is no reason to suppose them invalid.

I have three to propose:

1. the Clarifying Amendment: The Sovereignty of the United States resides wholly with the People of the United States, and only with the People of the United States, and no person has, whether by virtue of employment or elective or appointive Office, or any other circumstance, any immunity, power, privilege, or responsibility of Sovereignty except those they possess as one of the People of the United States.

2. Term Limits: No person shall serve in or hold any Office of the United States, whether elective or appointive, for more than twelve years, except Judges holding office during good behavior, and the President, whose maximum term is set by another Article; and no person holding office when this Article is ratified is eligible for re-election or appointment, if such election or appointment would result in their serving in or holding that Office for more than twenty years.

3. Legislative Slowdown: Every proposed Law shall be read aloud in its entirety before a quorum of the House of Representatives, or before one-half plus one of the Members of the House, whichever is the greater number, before passage, unless it be passed by unanimous roll-call vote of the House; but a Bill having as its only purpose the repeal of one or more existing Laws may be passed without such reading.

That'll do to get on with.



off the cliff

It's good to see that one person realizes the descent into irrelavency being committed by most conservatives.

Your scorn for people who think mostly the same way, but not all the same way as you led to you being in the minority.

In order to win in the Northeast and West coast, not to mention some places in the south, purists need to realize that those areas have different views than you.

Your contempt for dissent forces Repubs in vulnerable districts to vote in lockstep and then face the repercussions when they vote against the will of their constituents, like the guy from Louisiana in an overwhelmingly democratic district.

Stop complaining about being in the minority if differing views aren't tolerated.

You want to talk about differing views not being tolerated...

Try being a pro-life or anti-gay marriage Dem.

you mean like Casey?

He got to speak at the convention, as far as I remember. Was dull while doing it, mind, but still...

personally, I like Schweitzer better than anything PA has put out, but PA does pro-life dems and pro choice Republicans.

Stop projecting

Your projecting onto Democrats. Pay attention to our Blue Dogs in the house and conservatives in the Senate.

They've voted in the past for many things that gave George Bush the votes he needed to pass his agenda. Obama's paid more attention to and given more deference to them than anyone else.

You won't find either democratic caucus voting in a unanimous block.

Oh, really

Tell that to all the people in Cali who voted for Prop 8, who were then subjected to the "tolerant" gays in the Dem party.

Yeah, I'm projecting all right.

Didn't you people protest?

You people disenfranchised a whole group of people then want sympathy when they get angry?

Conservatives are angry they got a tax cut and that they lost the election, so they staged what were really anti-Obama rallies.

The anger over Prop 8 stemmed from being denied basic rights, which conservatives always seem to be doing to some segment of the population, just pick a decade.

The people who believe in 'individual's responsibility' somehow believing that illegals are responsible for your falling wages, and that gays can affect your marriage, so you want government to insert themselves into people's private lives.

You are wrong, "skayne."

"Conservatives are angry they got a tax cut and that they lost the election, so they staged what were really anti-Obama rallies."

Using the deficit to pay for tax cuts is just as wrong as Obama using the deficit to pay for TARP, his Stimulus bill and his budget. And, yes, we fiscal conservatives did speak out. We spoke out where it counts...at the ballot box in 2006 and again in 2008.

Now it seems Pres. Obama has chosen to ignore our message as well. We will speak out again at the ballot box in 2010 in an even louder voice.


          ex animo


sure you will...

his tax cuts are revenue neutral, if you count the tax increase on the top 5%. that's how socially stratified we've gotten.

Even if that were true...

...there is still the little matter of TARP, the Stimulus pork package, and his pork budget, not including his tax cuts.

So, yes; I am sure.

ex animo


"Are the Republicans Going Galt?"

Nate Silver weights in:

"...But of the roughly four different pathways the Republicans could take in the post-Obama universe -- toward Ron Paulesque libertarianism, toward Sarah Palinesque cultural populism, toward Mike Huckabeesque big-government conservatism, or toward Olympia Snowesque moderation/ good-governmentism -- the libertarian side would seem to have had the best go of things in the First 100 Days."



This is the best assessment...

...I've seen so far regarding the current state of the GOP

"tax cut"

A "tax cut" is not necessarily a cut in taxes.  Most of the time it refers to a cut in tax rates, which usually leads to an increase in tax revenues, e.g. the "Bush tax cuts".

Oh, please

Supply-sidism? People are trying to have a serious discussion here.


So how do the people here defending Barrett feel about Arlen Specter?

Here's one relevent quote:

Interestingly, voter turnout was highest in the parts of Pennsylvania where Toomey performed best, primarily western Pennsylvania. The voter turnout in western Pennsylvania was several points higher than for the state as a whole. Conversely, turnout in Specter's geographic stronghold — the southeast and Philadelphia — was lower than the state as a whole. Had turnout there been higher, Specter's narrow advantage would have been increased.

While conventional wisdom suggests that high voter turnout would have hurt Toomey, the opposite has happened.  I assume this is because (anyone from PA here?) Toomey's supporters were riled up and showed at the polls in dispropotionately high numbers.

This impacts other races too, such as GA:

Johnny Isakson is up for re-election in Georgia next year, and I know a lot of Georgia conservatives are sick and tired of him already. When they find out Johnny's been giving money to that worthless pro-abortion Big Government crapweasel Arlen Specter . . .


Well, the have a lot to be sick and tired of as far as Isakson's concerned. Like Saxby Chambliss, Isakson has constantly voted to expand government. He voted for TARP and recently voted in favor of keeping the program in place.

I'm afraid that's just the tip of the iceberg.


Tea Party Next Step?

We have to get the word out about www.TeaPartyNextStep.com and get busy!