(CCU Student) This past Thursday, I had the opportunity to attend my first Tea Party in the State of Colorado. I woke up at 5:00 to get down there and help out with former CCU student Mark Barrington (now running for state House) set up his campaign tent, as well as chat with different organizations about their movements pertaining to the Tea Party. I encountered three scenarios that I want to share with you regarding the legitimacy of the Tea Party: The number of Jane Norton supporters, the smear campaigning that the Tea Party promotes, and the potential danger that the Tea Party poses to not only the State of Colorado, but each of the fifty states in the upcoming midterm election.
I was in literal shock on Thursday to see representation of Jane Norton supporters. I was under the impression that the Tea Party was about individuals striving for lower government and lower taxes; and when I saw Jane Norton support, I was very puzzled. This is a candidate who supported Referendum C, which raised taxes and cost Coloradans thousands of dollars, it promoted big government rather than slow expansion of government, and it was highly non-transparent as spending went into a programs covering 83% of categories involving state government. In addition, Norton has been primarily donated to by large lobbying corporations, and has strong ties to many lobbyists even within her own families. This is a candidate who will place lobbyists before Coloradans, and will vote to expand government and raise taxes, and Coloradans are showing up at a Tea Party (which stands for the contrary to her beliefs) to support her.
My next problem with the tea party is the way that it promotes smear campaigns to its supported candidates. They keep telling us about why we should not vote for the democratic candidate as opposed to why we should vote for THEIR candidate. This is not promoting and bi-partisan principle, and it surely is not helping to promote their endorsed candidate. While the Tea Party has been effective in addressing the needs of our country in the political realm, it has been ineffective in building a reputation of a group that runs a clean campaign that puts the constituents before its reputation. Rather than running smear campaigns against the democrats, why don’t we find ways to let people of Colorado know that their voice will be heard in the Capitol or in Washington? This is what will attract fundraising and voters, not a blame game the ends up running candidates in circles. I had a run in with Dan Maes, a candidate for the gubernatorial office of Colorado. I told him that I was interested in his campaign, but that I wanted to find his stance on a few of the issues before getting involved. I proceeded by asking him his stance on if he would accept stimulus money, and the healthcare bill. After a curt response to both questions, he fed me the following quote: “Look kid, I don’t have time to sit around and debate public policy. I have people to talk to, goodbye.” Never again will I support Dan Maes, and neither should you. This is a candidate that falls into the exact mold I have explained to you, which is the idea that Tea Party politics come before the constituents and their needs.
The final concern that I have about the Tea Party is the threat that they pose to the 2010-midterm elections. It has been rumored that Tea Party endorsed candidates will run as Tea Party candidates in November if they are unsuccessful in grabbing the GOP nomination. Problem is, many people out there are so fed up with republicans and democrats that they will simply vote Tea Party and steal away Republican votes. This now gives the democrats the nod, and once again, republicans will blow an opportunity to take control of increased spending and taxes. While I am a firm believer in many of the Tea Party philosophies, establishing themselves as a third party candidate will simply ruin our nation and bring us right back to expansion in government and increased taxes to millions of hurting American families.