Legitimacy? No, you’re not the one the has the final say, ma’am.

by Skip

I had originally come across this post at the WaPo as it seemed to want to pit the Tea Party Express folks against the FreedomWorks folks over whether or not to have Mitt Romney in for a speech (full disclosure: I have met and worked with folks in both groups): 

"FreedomWorks is pulling out of a nationwide bus tour led by Tea Party Express over the inclusion of 2012 presidential candidate Mitt Romney as a speaker, saying the group cannot endorse any event where the former Massachusetts governor speaks…

…The split signifies a growing divide between two groups that represent the ‘establishment’ of the tea party movement.

FreedomWorks was founded by former House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-Texas) and Tea Party Express was launched by longtime California GOP operative Sal Russo. Neither group shied away from backing insurgent challengers against longtime Republicans in 2010.

But Tea Party Express is a more conventional political action committee. The group is co-sponsoring a debate with CNN; it held a town hall at the National Press Club earlier this year. FreedomWorks, however, has positioned itself as a member-driven organization that will not lend its clout to anyone grassroots supporters deem too moderate." 

While there is some delight, IMHO, amongst the MSM elite to watch the other side have their internal-to-the-TEA-Party discord (after all, food fights anywhere attract eyeballs, I’m thinking this is a wee tremble in a tea cup, myself.  Romney has stayed away from the TEA Party movement here in NH – and for good (and the right) reason: he’s not a TEA Party kind of guy, to put it bluntly.  It would be a mistake for him to now try to cozy up – he’d be laughed off the stage like this guy when he tried to coattail it.

Here in NH, some groups are choosing up sides:

A number of tea party groups are planning to join the Romney protest. According to New Hampshire Liberty Caucus Chairman Andrew Hemingway, the The Lakes Region Tea Party, the Raymond Tea Party, and the Granite State Patriots are all participating.

This caught my eye, however:

Other activists see both groups as outsiders to the movement. “They just hijacked the name,” said Jane Aitken of the Coalition of New Hampshire Taxpayers. “Nobody thinks FreedomWorks is one of us either.”

Actually, she would be wrong – in fact, a lot of folks would disagree with her and I would be in that group.  Jane has a disposition that is dead set against any out-of-state organization coming in state either on its own or providing assistance (either organizationally or fiscally) fearing a "hijack" or a "steamrolling".  Really – hijacking a name?  Oh please….no one gets to determine that with any seriousness – that would only come after some amount of time which would show their actual intent and actions (and hopefully without a disconnect between the two). 

I got called by a WaPo reporter about this AFTER I had seen it and was asked for my take on this kerfuffle.  I went back and found that the post had been updated as right after the above graph was this:

And some said they were happy to see Romney speak, although they would balk at any group who endorsed him. “I’ll go listen to anybody,” said Skip Murphy, a local radio host who posts videos of candidate appearances on his blog, GraniteGrok.

A couple of notes:

  • Dunno where the radio host came from, as I never mentioned it
  • Not quite sure that "candidate appearances" quite makes it – add the "radio host" and I took it to mean "appearances on the show".
  • Yes, I agree with "balking" part – anyone that reads the ‘Grok understands why.

What I did say is that I’m willing to go and see any of the candidates so as to capture the video to post on GraniteGrok so other folks can watch and make up their own minds – specifically mentioned it as the "citizen journalism" part of the ‘Grok.  

I also noticed this from the NH TEA Party Coalition site (emphasis mine):

Note: Some of you may have received a phony ‘press release’ from a phony tea party with the words ‘granite state’ in the domain name. This is not a legitimate tea party, but a sole individual from outside NH, repeating the same attacks and threats on the GOP that we decry. Please ignore it.

Again, Jane can say what she wishes but no group needs her imprimatur to be legit or not.  Nor does any group within NH have to belong to the NH TPC to be a TEA Party type group – the only requirement to be a legit "TEA Party group" is to act like one – and that does not always require lockstep with any other one.

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