April 21, 2009
From Tea Parties to Political PartiesBy Larrey Anderson
So nearly half a million Americans finally "took to the streets." Moms pushed baby carriages. Men and women skipped a day of work (some of their kids skipped school). Some entrepreneurs closed down their businesses. Almost half a million Americans had a multitude of tea parties and the mainstream media either ignored them or misrepresented them. So where does this leave us?
The most important thing that should emerge from this tea party movement is fresh political leadership. If a person can organize, on short notice a political protest attended by thousands of people in a small town or medium-sized city, then that person is more than qualified to run for public office.
The real world political meaning of the tea parties has nothing to do with what anthem to pick, or exactly which principles were or were not being protested. The actual political opportunity that arose on April 15th is the possibility of a whole slew of new candidates for political office.
There are some fundamental misunderstandings people have about politicians. Let me clear those up:
(1) Politicians are not smart. Most of them have average IQs -- if they are lucky.
(2) Politicians are extraordinarily egocentric. They run for office because they love to see their face on the TV and they love to hear themselves talk. (President Obama is example #1 of this principle.)
(3) At the national level, politicians are (1) + (2) and they either have a lot of personal wealth -- or they have worked their way up the system (running for local office first) by selling their souls to lobbyists on either the left or the right.
That's it. That's all you need to know about today's average American politician.
Returning to the tea parties: If Americans are serious about taking back their country, then they had better get even more serious about running for public office. I have already described the kind of citizens who need to step up to the plate and run for office:
I don't want to pat myself on the back too hard, but I will bet you that the people across the country who organized the tea parties were, for the most part, the people I described in that last paragraph. (Stay at home mothers with children also played a huge role in setting up the tea parties. These women should seriously consider running for public office. If Sarah Palin can run for mayor ... so can you.)
What the tea parties did, in real political terms, was teach a whole new set of potential candidates that organizing and becoming actively involved in on the ground politics is a lot of work ... but it is NOT rocket science.
If a person can organize an event and get thousands of people to show up, that same person can easily collect the few hundred signatures on a petition necessary to get on the ballot to run for office. (The number of signatures varies from state to state and from office to office; but it is never more than a couple of thousand signatures. Usually it is around one to five hundred, in some states even less.)
I challenge those tea party organizers and attendees all across America. Do you really want to help save the country? Then put down the teacup and pick up the petition. (Specific instructions for running for office can easily be found online. There are some businesses that will, for a fee of course, actually walk you through the filing process. But it is not that hard to do it on your own.)
Every member of Congress, Democrat and Republican, who voted for President Bush's -- and Pelosi and Reed's -- first TARP bill should have competition in the primary and the general elections. Blue dog democrats who attended the tea parties, it is time to step up.
This list of members that voted for the first bailout bill includes around half of the Republican members of Congress. How did your Congressman vote? Find out here.
A conservative prosecuting attorney recently approached me after a meeting. He has followed my work on American Thinker. This young bright lawyer lives in a western state. His supposedly conservative Republican senator, whose name I will not mentioned, voted for the first TARP bill.
"I am going to run for the Senate against Senator X in the primary election in two years," he announced.
"Do you have financing? Backing? Personal or family wealth?" I asked him.
"No. But that's not the point," he replied. "Someone has got to stand up to these politicians and to the Republican Party. Senator X votes one way in DC and then runs back to our state to apologize and give us excuses. Someone has to call him on it."
"You know you will probably lose," I warned the young lawyer.
"But I will get my name out there. I will show people I care. It's not that hard to get the signatures. I can get on the ballot. I am going to make him explain himself. He is not getting a free ride this time."
I cannot tell you how proud I was of this young man, his courage, his love of his country, love for the Constitution, and the faith he had in his fellow citizens.
He will probably lose. He will be outspent, at least, a hundred to one. And that will not be a bad thing for America. The Republicans, and the Republican Party in the state where he lives, will be forced to ask themselves, "Do we really want to keep playing politics as usual? Do we really want to believe the lies that Senator X is telling us? Hasn't Senator X been in Washington far too long?"
Most important, the Republican Party will be forced to decide if it wants to continue to financially support a make believe conservative incumbent ... or if the Republican Party needs to finally represent its grassroots members and invest some money in actually changing the Party's political future and direction.
In other words, my young lawyer friend will win even if he loses. Maybe, just maybe, he might even win.
Tea party organizers across America pick the office. Get your petitions. Do it now. America needs you to do more than organize a few political rallies. We need you to run for public office. And, just like my young lawyer friend, you may lose the election, but you might help save our republic.