Co-opting the freshmen?

Honestly, I’m not a conspiratorial sort of guy but I did find this interesting.

As one of many events geared toward the incoming freshman Republican class of the House of Representatives, the TEA Party Patriots scheduled an orientation event this weekend. Among the featured speakers will be keynoter Edwin Meese and the event is sponsored in part by reformers from local TEA Party groups as well as getting assistance from Senators Jim DeMint and Tom Coburn along with retiring Rep. John Shadegg and his group, Constitutional Congress.

That seems like a worthy event and TPP organizers claim they’d already sunk over $100,000 into making the arrangements when they learned another event was being planned for the same time and day by the Claremont Institute. Now I don’t have a big issue with a group which claims to:

 “(R)estore the principles of the American Founding to their rightful, preeminent authority in our national life. These principles are expressed most eloquently in the Declaration of Independence, which proclaims that “all men are created equal and are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.” To recover the founding principles in our political life means recovering a limited and accountable government that respects private property, promotes stable family life, and maintains a strong national defense.”

I don’t think the TEA Party Patriots don’t so much object to the group, either. But their roster of “insider” speakers is most troubling to them. Among those featured at the Claremont event are Chip Saltsman, Tim Powers, and keynote speaker Bill Bennett. In particular, you may recall Saltsman ran for RNC Chair two years ago and before that ran Mike Huckabee’s presidential campaign in 2008. Meanwhile, Powers is also a former Deputy Director in the RNC and co-chairman of a lobbying firm while Bennett is the former Secretary of Education under President Reagan and morning talk show host. All of them have been in Washington for years, and I happen to agree that the idea behind electing this class of 2010 was to bring an outsider, reform perspective to Washington.

(Of course, DeMint, Meese, and Shadegg are also Washington insiders too. But given the choice between the two and the influence of the TEA Party Patriots who helped place many of these freshmen in Congress I’d tend to prefer they hold sway. The newbies will have to deal with lobbyists soon enough.)

The action plan sought by the TPP was to contact the newly-minted Congressmen (among them our very own Andy Harris) and make certain they go to the TPP event. Certainly I would think many of his supporters read this site and would feel that hanging with DeMint, Coburn, Shadegg, et. al. would be a much better use of time. I know they are among my favorite members of Congress.

TPP puts it this way:

Explain the differences between the two events. We need to make sure they understand that the Claremont event is not an “official” event but one put on by lobbyists, for which they are being asked to skip the TPP and Constitutional Congress event.  They need to know what you, their new constituents, think about their choice, and how you’ll react if they choose to ignore the grassroots and immediately get in bed with DC lobbyists and RNC insiders.

So if you have a few spare minutes tomorrow, make your feelings known to your freshman Republican (for my friends down on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, that includes Scott Rigell too) and encourage them to dance with the ones who brung them.

Let’s not permit these greenhorns to be led down the wrong path.

(Note: apparently TPP had some personal cel numbers among the information given, so I redacted the contact information per their request. Sounds like these freshmen got the point.)

Author: Michael

It's me from my laptop computer.

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