One minute we hear “the Tea Party is Dead”. The next minute, every other hopeful in the upcoming primaries is labeled a “Tea Party Candidate”. Which is accurate?
In Montana, it’s neither. The Montana Tea Party Coalition is an active and politically robust group made up of local Tea Party leaders from across the state. And it does not endorse candidates or parties. What’s more, neither the Montana Tea Party Coalition nor any of its affiliate members have ever heard, seen, or met these so-called “Tea Party Candidates”.
Last week Montana newspapers reported two stories with the words “Tea Party Candidate” in the headline.
The Great Falls Tribune broke the news, on a tip from an anonymous flame-throwing far-left blogger, that a number of “apparent Tea Party conservatives filed to run against bona fide Democrats in the June 3 primary.” Who determined that these people are “Tea Party” candidates? The candidates themselves did not claim to belong to any Tea Party. According to the Montana Tea Party Coalition, none of the eight candidates identified in the article are members of a coalition affiliate.
And regardless whether they are actual Tea Party members, what makes them less “bona fide” than the other candidates? The Tea Party believes in smaller governments, fiscal responsibility, and constitutional freedoms. We only want to preserve the American Dream – more good jobs, no crushing debt, and rising standards of living – for our children and grandchildren. Do “bona fide” Democrats oppose these principles?
Why didn’t the Great Falls Tribune talk to any of the easily-accessible Tea Party organizations in Montana – perhaps the very visible and active Great Falls Tea Party Patriots right in their hometown?
Then the Billings Gazette and other state and national media gloated, “GOP congressional candidate Drew Turiano has been branded a racist by the Yellowstone County Republican Party and turned away from the group’s key political event.” Most of the headlines called Turiano the “Tea Party Candidate”. Again, the Montana Tea Party Coalition maintains that nobody in their ranks has ever had contact with Turiano.
I called Drew Turiano today and asked him if he is a member of any Tea Party affiliate. “Well, no,” he said. “I just believe in most of the Tea Party principles.” Does that qualify him to be called the “Tea Party Candidate” in the race for the critically important, and only, US House seat from Montana? I looked at Turiano’s website today and found no mention of Tea Party other than the headlines of the linked news stories. Chuck Johnson, Capitol Bureau Chief for Lee Newspapers, told me that he recalled Turiano identifying with the Tea Party in an earlier interview. But again, no one in the media took the initiative to check in with the real Tea Party.
Meanwhile, the extreme left-wing blogs and the mainstream media can’t wait to find something – anything – about these candidates that they can use to vilify the Tea Party. Especially tasty are charges of racism in the Tea Party, a flat-out fabrication. Turiano was called a racist because he believes illegal immigrants are illegal and should be returned to their home countries. He made the mistake of referring to the Eisenhower-era deportation program called “Operation Wetback” – named by the US Immigration and Naturalization Service, not Turiano. And the Tea Party is guilty of racism by association. Both charges – racism and association with Turiano – are false, but that doesn’t stop the left or the media. The Montana GOP didn’t exactly hit this one out of the park either.
So, to set the record straight – there are ZERO “Tea Party Candidates” in Montana. And please guys, next time you have an issue or a question about the Tea Party, would you just call us and ask?
Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side
Hey, I just met you, and this is crazy
But here’s my number, so call me, maybe
It’s hard to look right at you baby
But here’s my number, so call me, maybe!