Letter to the Editor: Tea Party Defense


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.


Rob Tureman
Board of Directors
Jefferson Area Tea Party


  1. “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.” This statement is typical for people who do not think much beyond the tip of their nose, and claims like this are being repeated ad nauseum through rightwing propaganda channels like Roger Ailes’ Fake Fox News Channel. However, it is a pertinent false assessment of what really happened roughly between 1999 (repeal of Glass-Steagal) and 2007-2008, the hight of the collapse of Wall Street’s Gambling Kings. The government’s fault was ionly the repeal of the Glass-Steagall act that put a firewall between the high risk investment banks (Lehman Brothers, Goldman Sachs) and the commercial banks that fall under the FDIC.
    The bubble was a direct result of extensive DE-regulation rather than “bad government interference to make sure we play by the rules”. The financial collapse is a direct result of fraudulent actions by Wall Street pushing for the sale of as many subprime mortgages as possible so they could repackage slice and sell these as “prime” investment vehicles all over the world, aided by the rating agencies who looked the other way when giving these junk packages a AAA rating. This was a house of cards and meant to burst as several economists already warned in 2005. There are plenty books and films made, several from actual WS insiders, that glaringly reveal the defrauding that WS committed for which they still are not punished. They did get filthy rich while leaving many of us biting in the dust. I guess that according to this Tea Party person personal enrichment by fraud is the proper way to do business and the real America.

  2. From M. Mirkin who is a professor of psychology at Lasell College in MA.
    Romney’s record in Mass.

    Wanted to share with you the column:

    Here I am, a resident of Massachusetts listening to my former Governor speak convincingly and with seeming conviction at the Denver debate. I was startled by my Déjà vu experience and by the assumptions held by my out-of-town friends about Mr. Romney’s governorship. So, as an editor and author of articles and texts about social and political contexts, I wanted to reach out to my distant neighbors in Colorado and share my understanding of Mr. Romney’s governorship and the implications for the Presidency. Massachusetts is known as a liberal state, but we often vote for Republican governors, and the three governors who immediately preceded Mr. Romney were Republicans. Mr. Romney was a one term governor who left office with a 31% approval rating, the 3rd lowest in the entire country. What does our experience in Massachusetts say to the country?

    Mr. Romney claims to have experience reaching across the aisle. Maybe he did do some reaching, but not much of it went toward the Democrats. In his first two years of office, he vetoed legislation at more than twice the rate of Republican predecessor Governor Weld. Governor Romney had a record 800 vetoes (most of which were overturned, sometimes unanimously). One example is when the legislature provided a budget amendment to stop contracting with companies that outsource state work to other countries. Governor Romney vetoed the provision. This meant that he supported outsourcing jobs at the expense of U.S. workers. He also started a huge campaign to unseat Democratic legislators, but failed and ended up with even fewer Republican seats than before he took office.

    Governor Romney correctly claims that Massachusetts rose to #1 in education—but it was based on former Governor Weld’s education reform plan. Governor Romney moved in the opposite direction–he vetoed bills that would have strengthened preschool education.

    However, the issue is not so much how he voted, but that Mr. Romney won the governorship by presenting himself in one way, as a social and fiscal moderate (some saw him as a social progressive), and by the end of his single term, he had acted in an entirely different way. He said during his campaign that he favored stem cell research and then vetoed a bill to fund it. He argued for a lower minimum wage than the state legislature ended up passing (over his veto). He vetoed a bill funding hate crimes prevention, and took back money approved by a former Republican governor for a bullying prevention program. He denied all requests for commutations and pardons, including one from a soldier serving in Iraq whose was convicted at age 13 for a BB gun incident. He vetoed emergency contraception. He raised many fees in my state—even quadrupling the gasoline delivery fees.

    Governor Romney certainly approved some pieces of legislation that I did support but that does not change a major problem: Mr. Romney re-created himself and changed his positions during the first Presidential debate in your city because he must sound more moderate in order to win the independent vote. After that, all bets are off. We in Massachusetts know all about that. We elected a governor expecting him to be one thing and then he did something totally different and got on the national stage. He entered the governorship with a 61% approval rating and left with an abysmal 31% and with many of us scratching our heads and wondering whom we elected. The difference between then and now is that you have Mr. Romney’s speeches and positions from this past year and the contradictions during the debate. You can get nonpartisan information from factcheck.org. And, you now know what he was like in Massachusetts. So, I hope the country doesn’t have to go through what Massachusetts went through. Regardless of your political beliefs, this constant turning into something we didn’t vote for is no way to run a state, never mind a country.

    Marsha Mirkin,

    Wellesley, MA

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