Tea Party Defense
Jefferson Area Tea Party (JATP) policy is that when we encounter untruths, misconceptions, and baseless comments about us, we respond to clarify the record in the interest of truth and to educate the public about our mission. Such is the case with comments made by John Douglass, U.S. Congress Democrat hopeful, in an April 2012 Crozet Gazette (CG) interview.
Mr. Douglass accused the Tea Party of “wanting to send unqualified people to Congress” and followed that quote with an implication that Tea Party candidates are unskilled. Mr. Douglass also said that “Most Tea Party people have never had to rely on the safety net.”
The qualifications for Congress are contained in the U.S. Constitution Article 1, Sections 2 and 3 and deal with minimum age requirements, years of U.S. citizenship, and applicable state residency. The Tea Party has never attempted to circumvent the Constitution to send an unqualified person to Congress. Furthermore, the Tea Party cannot “send” anyone to Congress. Individuals decide to run for office, are nominated and then elected (or not) by a majority of voters in a district. Actual Tea Party member votes for Tea Party-associated candidates are a small minority of their support. One must conclude that victorious Tea Party-associated candidates are receiving broad support.
Perhaps Mr. Douglass’ follow-up statement is more to his point: Tea Party candidates are unskilled. Mr. Douglass did not name the unskilled candidates or electives nor did he specify the deficient “skills,” but many if not all Tea Party-associated electives have done quite well in Congress. Regardless, the voters effectively decide “skill” level acceptability.
Regarding the Tea Party and the “safety net,” if Mr. Douglass knew our Tea Party members as we do, he would know the statement is categorically untrue. Our Tea Party members come from every economic stripe, adversity included, and are not products of random fortune. Besides, Tea Party members seek protection from an increasingly overbearing government—not the immediate elimination of all government support programs. The JATP core principle of personal liberty WITH personal responsibility means self-reliance is a forethought in life decisions as is living within one’s means, managing risk and providing one’s own safety net within reason.
Given the government-led housing bubble then bust, the resulting severe recession (if not depression), and the current student loan bubble—perhaps the citizen’s need for a safety net has more to do with being rescued FROM our government rather than BY our government.
Board of Directors
Jefferson Area Tea Party