Pod And Fury…

The Tea Party and me go way back.

In 2009 and 2010, I spoke at a couple of the big Tea Party rallies, including the big Tax Day 2010 rally at the Capitol, as well as more in other, smaller locales.

That’s me. Tax Day, 2010, addressing a couple of thousand people at the Tea Party rally on the State Capitol Mall. First person to call me a Camicia Nera gets smacked.

At the time, the Tea Party was a fairly organic thing; lots of little groups of people, angry about Obamacare and taxes and immigration and gun control and the general sense that Obama was going to sap the bejeebers out of whatever liberty, economic future and choice we had left.

One of my big memories of my big speech was asking the crowd “How many of you voted Republican in 2008?”. About half the crowd cheered.  “How many voted Democrat?”  A few people cheered, gingerly.  “How many voted Ron Paul?”   Many cheered lustily.  “How many would rather jab a screwdriver into your skull than vote for Ron Paul?”  Other cheered with gusto. “How many of you didn’t care because you hated politics?”  Many, many cheered.

What made the Tea Party so fun at the time was that it was that, as I discovered in my speech, it was a little bit of everyone.   And it worked; the Tea Party, and its outpouring of energy, was disproportionally responsible for flipping both chambers of the Minnesota House in 2010.

It was the biggest political tent I’d ever seen – because nobody involved knew enough to try to keep anyone out (except, of course, for liberals carrying signs designed to make the Tea Party look bad; we kept them out pretty handily).

The Tea Party – at least a part of the big, decentralized whole, anyway – seems to have unlearned that vital lesson.

Jack Rogers and Jake Duesenberg have built up a pretty big network of Tea Party groups around the metro.  The groups involve big monthly meetings, speakers, lots of education…

…and, well, I’m not sure what.

The other day on the Tea Party podcast with Jack Rogers and Jake Duesenberg, they took a run at the Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance – one of the most accomplished, successful civil rights groups in the state.

Here’s what they had to say:

To closely paraphrase Duesenberg (it’s the first half of the clip above) – GOCRA does some big things, but they do it by playing the political game with politicians.  By doing this, they make incremental improvements, but fail to go for the BIG improvements in gun rights.

I think Duesenberg is trying to compare GOCRA’s approach – he calls it “Access-Based”, which to the non-access-based is a term that means “belonging to the country club” – with some of the more confrontation-based groups, whose model is based more around making a big noise (almost always in front of people who vigorously agree with you).  Groups like “Minnesota Gun Rights”, the Iowa-based group we’ve written about in the past, as well as some of the “liberty” groups that focus on building large groups of followers, and then…

…well, we’ll get back to that.

Of course, if you want to focus on confrontation, it helps to show you’re able to go politically medieval on your opponent.  For example:  while GOCRA certainly can work the “access” angle, they can also bring the political pain; ask the Capitol legislative assistants and receptionists how many phone calls they get when GOCRA puts out a call to their troops to melt the phone lines.  The phone lines melt; tens of thousands of calls, emails, letters and visits follow.  And behind those calls are votes; when GOCRA decided to confront the outstate DFLers in 2002 on “Shall Issue” carry reform, every single outstate DFLer that’d voted against carry permit reform lost their election.   Carry permit reform followed in the next session.

After 25 years of “access-based” lobbying mixed with “kicking opponents asses at the polls”, GOCRA has achieved something any grass-roots group should sit back and study; we’ve got a legislature where the GOP is 100% pro-gun, and where even the DFL is about evenly split, giving pro-gun forces a solid majority.  Think how much shooters in Colorado – where the push this past session was led by the “confrontation-based” National Association of Gun Rights, and was a complete fiasco – would like to have such a situation.

And between the combination of access-based influence carrots and “Bring the Pain!” political sticks, GOCRA got a hell of a lot done this session; barring gun confiscations in emergencies, repealing the capitol felony trap, expanding carry permit reciprocity, and bringing Minnesota into line with federal law on Suppressors and purchase of long arms in noncontiguous states.   Is there more to do?  Absolutely; much of it depends on getting a GOP governor into office.

So what has the Tea Party done lately?

I’m not saying that to needle Jack and Jake; I say let a thousand flowers bloom.

But when you say “GOCRA would like…” to a legislator, they sit up and pay attention – either because they like or respect GOCRA and its leadership, or because they loathe but fear them for what they can do at the polls.   And when you’re trying to get policy passed, being liked or feared are equally useful.

So here’s your question:  when it comes to influencing votes on policy, do people like and respect the Tea Party (or Jake’s guest, “Liberty Minnesota”, a libertarian group that seems to spend a lot of time riffing on Republicans and, occasionally, obliquely, DFLers) enough to extend themselves on their behalf when  it comes to voting on policy?

Or, failing that, do they legitimately fear what the Jack and Jake Brigade is going to do to them at the polls in November?

As someone who was doing the Tea Party before the cool kids were involved, I’d love to see the Tea Party legitimately do all three.

Can anyone honestly say they do?

Because until they do, they’re no better than the Libertarian Party; a bunch of people sitting around a room vigorously agreeing with each other.

Bonus Question:  To pick a constitutional liberty out of the ether for an example; how do you think “Constitutional Carry” – changing Minnesota to a “no permit” state, like Vermont, Alaska, Wyoming, Arizona or Kansas – is going to happen:

  • Via a judicious combination of carrots and sticks, both during sessions and on the campaign trail, to get the Legislature to pass it, or
  • People sitting around in rooms bellowing about how awful it is that it hasn’t been passed yet?

Any bets?

21 thoughts on “Pod And Fury…

  1. Little doubt that Paymar and wannabe rep Martens understand the effectiveness of GOCRA, and their ability to rally the troops !!!

  2. I’m afraid constitutional carry in MN may be one of those “bridge too far” issues that even GOCRA would have a very difficult time pulling off in the near term. I’d hate to see political capital spent there instead of pursuing very robust castle doctrine legislation. Freedom to carry means nothing if necessity of use makes one guilty until proven innocent to the county prosecutor.

  3. The tea party is over; gun control is like the fall of the confedracy symbols and the rise of LGBGT civil rights, at a tipping point. It is not a question of it, but of when more stringent gun control wins – especially when we have so many mass shootings, and so few defensive shootings to merit lax gun control or encouragement of more carry.

    You are losing — and hooray for the SCOTUS decisions so far this month. Even the most conservative Supreme Court in US history is retreating from the teabagger agenda. They don’t like where the extremist conservatives are going for their legacy..

    Conservatives on this and every other issue are on the wrong side of history.

    What you want is not going to happen.

  4. “Even the most conservative Supreme Court in US history”
    More conservative than the court that decided Dred Scott v Sandford. More conservative than the Hughes court that dismantled Roosevelt’s New Deal.
    Meanwhile, the most democratic levels of government — the states — are overwhelmingly controlled by the nominal conservative party, the Republicans, as well as the most democratic branch of the Federal government, the congress. Democrats control the least democratic parts of the federal government — a lame duck president and the bureaucracies. Yay for team D!

  5. Somebody put LSD in the Alpo again, I see.

    Or maybe I’ve been missing all those mass shootings at gun ranges, at the Gopher Bar, and other places where the law-abiding are permitted to defend themselves. And maybe I was smoking something good and dreamed that the Supreme Court just ruled that the President was allowed to rewrite the law because the consequences of not doing so were too dire–and hence this is one of the most liberal courts in history.

    Seriously, the actuaries are telling us that the unfunded liabilities of our government–hence the real national debt–exceed one hundred trillion dollars, impossible to fund with any realistic economic projections. So apart from Doggone’s ravings, there are very real numbers that tell us that we have a choice. We can undergo some pain now to get out from under this burden (and yes, SS and Medicare will need to be trimmed in some regards), or we can be like the Greeks and sign up for HUGE pain later.

  6. The tea party doesn’t work. The republican party sure as hell doesn’t work.

    Screw you all.

  7. [.. gun control is like the fall of the confedracy (sic) symbols..]

    DG: i don’t mean to tell you what to believe, but trends and statistics point towards less gun control. Over the past 10 years we have seen incremental liberalization of gun laws and there’s no evidence to see that trend being reversed.

  8. It’s worth noting, regarding gun control, that that was one of the first parts of Jim Crow to be enacted. Glad to see that part of Jim Crow is in the process of being repealed.

  9. Sheriff Coltrane: “I don’t care what you want, we got us what’s called a ‘may issue’ law in this state, What’s a good boy like you need a gun for anyhow? What you plan on shootin’?”

  10. DG:
    the GCA68 (Gun Control Act of 1968) was a Jim Crow law, aimed at severely reducing the availability of guns for low income blacks (dog whistle: Saturday Night Specials), passed by a Democrat controlled congress and signed by a Democrat president.
    DG and Peeve, for historical reasons are staunch supporters of all Jim Crow laws.

  11. DG-“Especially when we have so many mass shootings, and so few defensive shootings to merit lax gun control…” Miss your distemper shot again? Obviously there are way more defensive shootings than “mass shootings”, at least here on earth. That our moral and intellectual superiors in the press don’t always report on it doesn’t mean it’s not happening.

  12. If it didn’t get posted to the Democrat Underground, it didn’t happen.

  13. The situation regarding guns and crime is not that complex it is primarily a matter of the problematical nature of gun control and lack of trust. Understandably, gun control advocates first position is more restrictive gun legislation as a way to mitigate mass shootings and general crime. It likely will not work largely because criminals much to the surprise of some are generally insensitive to laws, regulations and appeals to their better natures.

    Gang crime, the black on black slaughter going on in cites like Chicago and Detroit, the psychopath who initials a mass shooting, the absent or clueless parent who is oblivious to what his kid is up to will all likely continue unabated irrespective of Congress’s and the President’s best efforts.

    The people who will be most affected are responsible gun owners who take pains to obey the laws on gun transfers, train themselves in the safe use and storage of firearms, hunters, target shooters, collectors etc. Inevitably, some outrageous criminal shooting will occur despite the existence of a new regime of gun controls and then the second position will come into play that of gun banning in order to correct the first positions inability to produce a safer society.

    Many gun owners such as myself would welcome tighter controls over firearms transfers but balk at supporting further gun control legislation. This is largely because we do not trust the motives, the intentions nor the knowledge of gun control/banning advocates. They are basically viewed not as they see themselves as good citizens but as wolves in sheep’s clothing.

    If one can figure out a way to bridge that trust gap then perhaps some progress may be made.

  14. I am getting to the point that, based on some of the things Jack and Jake say, they are really liberal plants that are trying to disrupt the Tea Party from within.

  15. PM,
    Roger Tanney CJ was a Democrat so for DG its simply not possible that the Tanney Court could be conservative.

  16. Emery, um, maybe ramble a little less? Reality, regarding your comment about tighter control of firearm transfers, how would you propose to do this outside a police state? And it’s worth noting that where control of firearm transfers is tightest tends to be where crime rates are the highest, and the DOJ has no evidence that such laws reduce crime.

    It seems that the best control of firearms in the hands of criminals is to put one in the hands of his prospective victim, really.

  17. Did Emery just correct DG’s dimwitted misuse of the English language? Heh…my head is spinning.

  18. Emery, your 9:48 is the best piece of reasoning you’ve posted here. The hope of finding more like that, is what keeps me reading your stuff.

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