Thursday’s post, “Tea Party” People: See Anything Wrong With This Email?, has attracted a LOT of traffic, but only one comment so far. In our opinion, however, that comment and our response to it merit more attention from our readers than it’s likely to get if it’s just appended to the original article. For that reason, we’ve elected to devote today’s post to the exchange.
The comment was posted by Mr. Patrick Bonnett, Executive Director of the Douglas County Republican Party. Here’s what he had to say:
Why waste any time at all criticizing a forwarded email by the LCGOP, originally from AFP? I would think we TEA Party Conservatives might appreciate any support from any source and in any form. Legally, there is no problem forwarding an invitation to a free public event.
It’s time to check our sights and make sure to aim our guns in the right (or Left’s) direction.
My 2 cents.
We have written the following in reply:
We very much appreciate you taking the time to assist us in expanding upon this subject. Your comment is brief, but we think it speaks volumes.
First of all, we are not surprised in any way by such remarks from someone who:
1) Told a group of state GOP convention attendees in a “grassroots” breakout session he led to avoid tea party groups and their leaders, which you referenced as “dictators”, and, moreover, to focus their activism on Republican Party precinct activities instead, while, both before and after the convention, conducting more than a few activities labeled and associated with the name “tea party”
2) Was involved in a decision to present an award to Rep. Lee Terry for “fiscal responsibility” which was only made possible by ignoring at least one critical vote – Rep. Terry’s vote in favor of the bailout of 2008
3) Was and is an employee of a Republican party entity in this state
We find it both amusing and curious that, while admonishing us for the waste of time, as you put it, in publishing this information and asking questions about it, you chose to take time yourself to remark upon it. Quite obviously you are aware of our group and this site. We publish quite frequently on many subjects and issues of importance to anyone interested in activism and public policy in Nebraska and the nation and have been doing so for quite a while, but you are not a frequent commenter here. This is, perhaps, the first or second time in two and a half years? If the subject is so trivial, why did it elicit any response from you when other, more “substantive” articles have not?
You used the word “criticize”. What caused you to do so? We did not criticize, we simply published publicly disseminated communications, pointed to particular features included in its contents, and asked a few questions.
Regarding “we TEA Party Conservatives”, we at GiN recommend anyone interested in the movement consider just WHO this collective “we”, as you choose to put it, actually is and should be. Should “we” include long-standing members of either political party who seek to consolidate and maintain the status quo? Just what does and should “the tea party” stand for? Who should decide? GiN defined a mission at its very beginning, with the input of many people. A group of our most interested and active members took some pains to define our philosophy and principles. To adhere to principles and work towards one’s goals and mission, judgment and discretion are absolutely required. Therefore, we do not seek “any support from any source and in any form” because it actually makes a difference from WHERE, from WHO, and HOW support comes and WHAT is expected in return for that support.
Perhaps you can enlighten us here at GiN and our site’s readers as to your assessment of the event described in the email. What sort of principles, goals, and mission was the event designed to espouse and achieve? How did the speakers identified in the email fit into that picture? Also, can you enlighten those interested in just how the Lancaster County Republican Party (LCGOP) makes its decisions regarding which notifications about “free public events” it chooses to forward and which ones it does not? Are you aware of LCGOP’s history on this topic regarding any other groups in the Lincoln area and whether or not, when aware of them, LCGOP forwards information about all such events? Further, can you define “support” and it’s “form[s]”? We wonder if your definition of support includes efforts to push other groups out of venues?
We cannot, for the life of us, imagine why you would raise the subject of legalities because we certainly did not. Are you an attorney? Is that a legal opinion? Is there something about the email that concerns you regarding legal issues? Is there something here that members of the public should scrutinize more closely? Suffice it to say, legality and morality are not always one and the same thing. A couple of quotes on the subject…
“Laws control the lesser man. Right conduct controls the greater one.” ~ A Chinese proverb
“The law, unfortunately, has always been retained on the side of power; laws have uniformly been enacted for the protection and perpetuation of power.” ~ Thomas Cooper
While your concern for how we spend our time could, perhaps, be construed by some as touching, we are fully capable of deciding that for ourselves. While the course of events in the past couple of years indicates that you have become accustomed to having quite a few groups and individuals here in the state readily accept and act upon the many pearls of wisdom you seem so eager to offer them, we prefer to continue keeping our own, independent counsel. We will continue to do so, we repeat, based upon GiN’s stated mission and principles.
Unfortunately, we cannot accept your advice about how we “aim our guns”. You will forgive us for wondering if our sights are, perhaps, so focused on the proper target as to make you uncomfortable. For no other reasons than the fact that you commented and precisely how you chose to do so, we suspect we’ve zeroed in on the bulls-eye.
You are, of course, most welcome to further enlighten us, others at GiN, and site visitors on where, in your infinite wisdom, you believe we are in error.