NYT Smears Tea Partiers

I was initially baffled by a New York Times article on the Tea Parties, until I realized that the left, with its worship of command-and-control, literally cannot conceive of true grass-roots activism.

Do nuts and conspiracy theorists ever show up at leftist rallies? Obviously. All the time. But, because such rallies are officially organized by some recognized leftist group, the nuts can be ignored, and the leftist media need only report the official views of the organizing group.

But there is nobody organizing the Tea Parties. There are many amorphous, loosely organized groups, and in some cases some of these groups have developed more or less formal leadership. But there is no official spokesperson for a Tea Party. Somebody announces their intention to rally, and other people join in for their own reasons. In some cases some major group, such as the Independence Institute, has sponsored a rally in Colorado, but even then the individual participants came for their own reasons.

Obviously the Tea Parties have been spurred by annoyance with the way things are going in the District of Charlatans. But beyond that, there is no official doctrine of the Tea Parties. The only thing that can be said of the Tea Partiers is that they are upset about current trends, and beyond that they have their own ideas. Tea Parties are a collection of individuals, and that is something the leftist media simply cannot understand.

The approach of David Barstow of the New York Times, then, is to point out that some Tea Partiers are nutty, and smear all other Tea Partiers by implication and guilt by association.

I have attended a number of rallies loosely fitting into the Tea Party movement. I have spoken at a couple of them. I have interviewed many participants. Sure, I’ve seen some nuts. I’ve seen the anti-abortion zealots, the anti-immigrant bigots, a few with tasteless Nazi signs, and the conspiracy theorists. But they are certainly not representative of Tea Partiers.

Instead, based on my interviews with numerous participants at these rallies, I have found basically thoughtful voters who generally favor Constitutionally limited government and freer markets. Quite a number of people I’ve interviewed have expressed an integrated and sensible ideology of liberty, while others have given me confused doctrines offering a mish-mash of freedom and political controls.

Here are links to some of my coverage of these events:
Pork Roast Rally in Photos
Meet the ‘Mob:’ Longmont Protests Obamacare
Denver 9/12 Rally: Freedom Forever
Pro-Liberty Health Rally Draws Hundreds
Denver Tea Party Ralliers In Their Own Words
Coloradans Speak Out Against Obama Care
July 4 Tea Party Arvada Colorado

Barstow claims that “Tea Party members joined a coalition, Friends for Liberty, that includes representatives from Glenn Beck’s 9/12 Project, the John Birch Society, and Oath Keepers, a new player in a resurgent militia movement. … These people are part of a significant undercurrent within the Tea Party movement that has less in common with the Republican Party than with the Patriot movement, a brand of politics historically associated with libertarians, militia groups, anti-immigration advocates and those who argue for the abolition of the Federal Reserve.”

At least Barstow does not claim to be describing all participants of the Tea Parties. He merely taints the rest by associative guilt.

It is true that there are some people who would claim all the labels that Barstow vomits onto the page. It is also true that many Tea Partiers would reject all those labels. Many libertarians who want to abolish the Federal Reserve also advocate open immigration.

As for me, I reject libertarianism (though I used to be a Libertarian), I am part of no “milita group” save the one defined by Colorado’s Constitution, I think Glenn Beck is often a clown but that he sometimes gets something right, I think the Birchers are flat-out nuts, I have no idea who the “Oath Keepers” are, I favor open immigration, and, yes, I think the Federal Reserve should be abolished in favor of a free market in currency.

And I refuse to let some idiot newspaper reporter guilt me out of civic participation because a few nuts or (gasp!) people who disagree with me happen to attend the same rally. I will speak for myself. “I will not be labeled, cataloged, filed, or coded.”

I will advocate liberty and individual rights by whatever just means I can, regardless of what the New York Times thinks of it.

Tea Partiers Get Partisan

I liked the Tea Parties better when they were about issues, not partisan politics.

Yesterday I received the following e-mail:

Defend the Republic Rally

Saturday, December 12th from 1:00 to 2:00pm

Colorado State Capital Building – West Steps
Colfax & Lincoln
Denver, CO 80203

Northern Colorado Tea Party is encouraging all supporters to attend this rally. We are asking for a voice in the debate taking place regarding the 2010 elections. If we want the GOP to listen to us, we need to show them we are a political force to be reckoned with here in Colorado.

As the war between the United State of America and the Progressives in both political parties continues to wage, the Tea Party and 912 supporters have stepped up and answered the call of duty.

Let us stand together at the State Capital on Saturday, united to make one single statement:

Principle Over Party in 2010

Speakers will include:

Mike Holler – Author of The Constitution Made Easy
Lu Busse – Leadership Chair for Co 912 Project
Dan Maes – Candidate for Colorado Governor
Tea Party & 912 Activists

See the Denver Post article by Jessica Fender or the People’s Press Collective review by Michael Sandoval for more background.

So the complaint is that Republican leaders have endorsed a candidate who might actually be able to win. I’m confused as to why this is some sort of grand sin. Anybody who thinks Dan Maes has any chance of winning the Republican primary and beating Bill Ritter is simply delusional.

(For the record, I’m registered unaffiliated, so I’ll have no vote in the GOP primary. I have yet to decide whether any candidate in the governor’s race will get my vote as the lesser of evils. I voted for Ritter last time around.)

As somebody who has attended, written about, and spoken at various Tea Party and related events, I have to wonder about this overtly partisan turn of the Northern Tea Party. I thought this was about issues, not parties. I thought it was about liberty, not personality.

I challenge those organizing the December 12 rally to articulate their ideological differences with Scott McInnis, and their ideological affinity with Dan Maes. I must frankly question the motives of those unable or unwilling to do so. Please leave a comment or respond via e-mail.

Denver 9/12 Rally: Freedom Forever

In my speech at the Denver 9/12 rally, I discussed the fundamental moral and political choices our nation faces. To illustrate these themes I described how the problem of pre-existing health conditions, and the resulting difficulties of buying insurance, is primarily a product of political controls, starting with tax-driven, non-portable, employer-paid insurance.

See People’s Press Collective for the report.

Lu Busse, chair of The 9.12 Project Colorado Leadership Team, said the proper response to the cry, “health reform now,” is “freedom forever.” Of course, real health reform means reestablishing freedom in medicine, so the two goals are wholly consistent.

Chuck Moe:

Amy Oliver:

Jon Caldara:

July 4 Tea Party Arvada Colorado

I interviewed a number of participants of the July 4 Tea Party in Arvada, Colorado. Hear what they have to say:

Jon Caldara gave the keynote speech:

Matt Arnold of Clear the Bench Colorado outlined his case for voting against retention of four Colorado Supreme Court Justices:

Here are a few additional photos:





See also reports for Castle Rock and Colorado Springs. Please send in information about other July 4 Tea Parties across Colorado!


I’ve heard estimates of a thousand participants. I imagine attendance was lower than at the Tax Day Tea Party because more people were at local events and many were busy with family gatherings.

It was a fun time. I helped hand out a couple hundred Ayn Rand Samplers and a few hundred “Clear the Bench” flyers.

The most troubling aspect of the event is that various speakers really laid on the religion. It was almost as much of a church service as a political rally. I heard quite a lot of the same crazy talk that cost Republicans control of government in the first place. While we heard from Jefferson’s Declaration, we heard nothing about Jefferson’s wall of separation between church and state. But religious tyranny is hardly an improvement upon leftist tyranny. For example, those who endorse the “personhood” measure next year are as much the enemy of liberty as are those who advocate socialized medicine, for reasons stated.

Yet some of the speeches were great; see Jon Caldara’s speech above. And the people who attended went for their own reasons. One lady told me she was “pro-life” (i.e., an advocate of abortion bans), and at least two people carried signs proclaiming that America is a Christian nation. Yet most people I talked with were there for the obvious reasons: federal politicians are spending our money like drunken sailors and seizing control of broad swaths of the economy.

The right obviously still suffers from the schism that resulted in its downfall; it is torn between those who would impose their sectarian dogmas by force of law and those who advocate individual rights and a government devoted to protecting those rights. That intellectual battle continues to rage.

Yet I see many signs that more and more citizens are taking up the banner of individual rights.