Category: tea party

Does Georgia Need Another TEA Party Group?

In yesterday’s Daily Jolt by the AJC Political Insiders, it mentioned that outgoing Congressman Paul Broun (R-GA-10) is looking to be hired to begin his post-congressional endeavors. He’s said that he’d be interested in a paid board position of a corporation or even a leadership position in an existing organization if it is offered to him. If not? He’d be willing to go it alone and create another TEA Party-type organization:

If an organization doesn’t offer me that opportunity then I’ve begun the process of even starting my own – Restoring Liberty in America.

He went on to say that he’d be willing to join on in a leadership position for existing TEA Party-type organizations like FreedomWorks or Americans for Prosperity.

Congressman Broun has a passion for liberty and freedom, but does Georgia need yet another TEA Party/Liberty organization? The organizations, in my mind, have the same goal, but have different faces and names.

This isn’t critical of the passion or objective of the movement, but at what point do you stop and ask yourself “how many TEA Party meetings and organizations do I need to belong to in order to prove that I liberty enough?”

Serious talk though since we will see plenty of these booths surrounding the vestibule of the halls of the state convention.

Of course, the cynics in the crowd may point to the fact that he hasn’t ruled out a run for office in the future, and that him leading a TEA Party/Liberty-type organization will keep his name out there…at least, among those of his supporters and folks who follow the inside baseball of politics, but not necessarily the voters at-large.

Libertarian Party Candidates Woo Tea Party Members

“Politics makes for strange bedfellows.” In what could be one of the more interesting headlines you will come across this election cycle,  it seems like the Georgia Libertarian Party is trying hard to woo the Tea Party its way this November. Libertarian Gubernatorial candidate Andrew Hunt and Senatorial candidate Amanda Swafford have been making the rounds, visiting Tea Party groups around Georgia.

Just to quickly recap from earlier this summer, Tea Party groups in Georgia suffered a resounding setback when almost all of its primary candidates ended up losing. Both David Perdue and Governor Nathan Deal had Tea Party backed primary opponents that they eventually ended up defeating.

The Libertarian Party (which I am told does not necessarily represent all libertarians) appears to be taking advantage of this Tea Party setback, and is even trying to capitalize (no pun intended) on it. It remains to be seen how successful it will be in this endeavor. From the original article that appeared in the AJC over this past weekend:

There was no guarantee that Georgia gubernatorial candidate Andrew Hunt was going to get an opportunity to speak, but he went ahead and made the 1 1/2-hour drive up I-75 from Atlanta to be at this tea party meeting on a Tuesday night. Once he did arrive, the Libertarian and nanotechnology innovator was given five minutes — more than enough time to get across the spirit of his pitch of more jobs, less government.

The night before, Hunt was more than 330 miles away, giving his stump speech to a crowded room of tea party empathizers in Savannah. There was a purpose behind his far-flung travel plans: finding common ground with these conservative activists is crucial for the underdog’s hope to compete with incumbent Republican Gov. Nathan Deal and Democratic challenger Jason Carter.

The article goes on to point out that:

Hunt isn’t the only Georgia Libertarian to seek tea party support. U.S. Senate candidate Amanda Swafford played cornhole with constituents before speaking at a Gwinnett County Tea Party meeting on Aug. 26. Ted Metz, a contender for insurance commissioner, has joined Hunt on his grass-roots tour, while state House District 21 write-in candidate Jeff Amason has attended tea party events in Cherokee County in the past.

While the Tea Party and the Libertarian Party do see eye-to-eye on fiscal issues, it remains to be seen how the Georgia Libertarian Party ignores addresses the existing differences between its socially liberal platforms and the Tea Party’s socially conservative ones. What do you think about this interesting scenario? Could such an alliance ultimately be successful? Discuss.

Tea Party Patriots Agonistes

One of the subthemes of the 2014 election cycle has been the impact of the Tea Party in getting conservative candidates elected in Republican primaries. Widely looked at as having lost much of their influence during the early contests, the election of David Brat over House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in Virginia allowed local Tea Parties in the Old Dominion to claim credit for the victory.

Meanwhile, in Mississippi, Tuesday’s runoff election between six-term incumbent Thad Cochran and State Rep. Chris McDaniel is looked at as being the last major battleground in the 2014 primaries between the Tea Party and the Establishment factions of the GOP.

It’s also a big test for the Georgia-based Tea Party Patriots. Today, the Washington Post profiles the group and its founder, Woodstock’s Jenny Beth Martin:

Rick Santelli, a CNBC commentator covering financial markets, gave his famous rant, asking viewers: “How many of you people want to pay for your neighbor’s mortgage that has an extra bathroom and can’t pay their bills?”

That resonated with Martin, as did Santelli’s use of the term “tea party.” “We were quite literally cleaning our neighbor’s house so they wouldn’t have to take care of us,” she says. Inspired, Martin and Amy Kremer, a former flight attendant also from a suburb of Atlanta, organized a conference call to talk about having such a tea party.

What started as about 20 people has grown into a network of thousands. The group has raised about $30 million this year if you combine their various fundraising apparatuses. But the growth of the organization didn’t come without pitfalls or drama.

We’ve had plenty of discussions about the Tea Party: Whether they are effective or not; whether they have helped the Republican Party move to the right or not; and whether they have themselves become part of the political establishment they rail against, or not.

The Post story does a good job of describing the journey of the Tea Party Patriots from its founding to today. The results of tomorrow’s runoff in Mississippi could have a lot to do with the organization’s future.

Why The TEA Party May Have Committed Hara-Kiri With Their Opposition To Speaker Ralston, And Why It’s Not A Big Deal.

Let me preface this post with this: I always hesitate to write about my colleagues in the House, especially about Speaker Ralston, because it’s easy for some to dismiss what I say by assuming either I was forced to write the post, or that I’m trying to curry favor. Neither of those things are true, and I hope folks will read this with an open mind.

As you folks know, Debbie Dooley, Ray Boyd, and other TEA Party people from around Georgia campaigned hard against House Speaker David Ralston. You also now know that their efforts fell flat as Ralston won 65% of the vote on Tuesday (for more on how the TEA Party fared Tuesday, read Jon’s post). The entire episode has left me puzzled.

The Georgia Integrity Project, the organization responsible for the attack campaign on Ralston was formed a couple of years ago to be “the conservative alternative to Organizing For America.” OFA, as readers of this blog will know, is the huge grassroots organization that helped propel President Obama to two national election victories. It seems GIP has changed it’s mission from being a grassroots organizing organization to being an attack dog organization. Since they’ve filed no campaign disclosures we have no idea who is paying for all this, nor do we know how much money they have raised and spent.

What we do know, according to a recent email from the group, is that the war against Ralston will now go statewide, no doubt as part of an effort to pressure House members to do what they failed to do this past Tuesday, namely remove Ralston from the Speaker-ship. The good news for you is the politics of personal destruction is coming to your TV screen and answering machine soon.

Last summer several TEA Party groups conservative groups, including TEA Party organizations, requested a meeting with members of the House GOP Caucus at our annual retreat. I and about a dozen of my colleagues attended. The purpose of the meeting was supposed to be how House members and the TEA Party these groups could work together and set aside the friction which had previously existed. If you haven’t noticed, TEA Party leadership rarely has much nice to say about GOP members of the House, especially Speaker Ralston. This has always been puzzling to me because we’re pretty dang conservative in the House. To characterize the House as a bunch of RINOs and the Senate and a bunch of conservatives simply isn’t accurate – not saying the Senate are RINOs, just saying we in the House aren’t either. I attended the meeting hoping to make progress on that issue and left the meeting feeling like progress had indeed been made. Read more

Dr. Bert Loftman: (Wannabe) Arbiter Of Conservatism

After Dr. Bert Loftman lost the election to succeed Nathan Deal in the US House back in 2010, he created  His premise was to grade legislators based upon how they voted on various pieces of legislation (because, you know, we don’t have enough conservative organization report cards for candidates already).  Ok, but the metrics seem to be based upon one man’s opinion and interpretation of the impact of legislation.  Perhaps Dr. Loftman consulted his Tea Party cohorts, but I’m not entirely sure.

Dr. Loftman has written a letter to the editor concerning his ratings of state legislators vs. how the American Conservative Union (ACU) rated our state legislators:

Dear Editor,

The American Conservative Union (ACU) rated these seventeen Georgia State Senators as Conservative All-Stars: Don Balfour, Charlie Bethel, Dean Burke, Buddy Carter, Ronnie Chance, Tyler Harper, Hunter Hill, Jack Hill, Bill Jackson, Fran Millar, Jeff Mullis, David Shafer, Cecil Staton, Jesse Stone, Ross Tolleson, and Renee Unterman. graded them as replaceable RINOs.

This discrepancy occurred because the two systems use very different grading systems.   Both used conservative legislations like SB 101 that prevented the government creating a database of gun owners.  However, the real test is how politicians vote on non-conservative legislations.  Only used the following non-conservative legislations.

All of the RINO Senators voted Yes to HB 318 that has taxpayer dollars investing in “seed capital.”  Governments investing or owning businesses is socialism.  It is crony capitalism when governments pick business winners and losers.

The RINOs voted Yes for HB 198 that licenses and regulates navigators for health care exchanges.  Conservatives should be working to end ObamaCare, not to facilitate it.

All of these Senators voted Yes for SB 81 that protects Ginseng plants on private property.  The result is that once farmers have planted Ginseng, they must continue planting it.  Also, a person cannot build their home if a Ginseng plant is on the site.  This legislation is now law and it destroys property rights.

All of these Senators except for Sen. Bethel also voted Yes for HB 354 that regulates pre schools.  This should be a matter for the local school boards.

The ACU has the reputation of being a conservative organization.  Rating seventeen replaceable RINOs as “Conservative All-Stars” tarnishes this reputation.

Thanks, Bert Loftman

Director of

Peach Pundit’s resident legislator, Rep. Buzz Brockway, can’t even catch a break.  Dr. Loftman rates Buzz at “Moderate”.  Of course, Dr. Loftman also rates 58% of the Republicans in the Georgia General Assembly as being “Replaceable RINOs”.  Anyway, review Dr. Loftman’s ratings and share your thoughts in the comments below.

Congressman Doug Collins Explains His Vote Against Amash Amendment

So, according to some folks, you hate liberty and are a RINO if you’re a Republican and voted against the Amash Amendment.  No doubt the TEA Party will soon be gunning for Congressman Doug Collins (R-GA-09) (and others in the Georgia Republican delegation) after his vote against the Amash Amendment.  I mean, he’s in Washington now, so that obviously means he’s a part of the evil #Establishment, hates #liberty, hates the #Constitution, BFFs with President Obama, and probably hates both kittens and puppies.

Former Gilmer County Republican Party Chairman George McClellan sent out a letter via email from Congressman Collins (it’s in a PDF format) in response the cries that the good Congressman voted the “wrong way” on the amendment and is a RINO.

It’s a good response, and it certainly shows that he’s trying to represent his constituents by thinking through the unintended consequences of the program as much as he can.  Read it, and if you disagree with his position, that’s fine.  We all don’t see eye-to-eye on everything, but at least this shows me that the congressman is taking his job seriously rather than voting as a conservative knee-jerk response.

I like George’s last line in his email:

When Common Sense is finally and totally replaced by pure political nonsense then we can criticize him for his vote. Until then Carry On Doug. Go get ’em!

Well said, George.  Keep on fighting, Congressman Collins.

Athens Tea Party: No Money, Mo’ Problems

Remember that Athens Tea Party Convention a few weeks ago that was supposed to draw thousands of people to the Classic Center (somehow topping that of the GA GOP Convention) and was to include speakers like Governor Deal, Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee and others who oh-so-coincidently withdrew their participation  at the last minute after a venue change ?

As predicted by Floyd Politics, the drama is still brewing. The Athens Banner-Herald alleges that the Athens Tea Party Patriots organization has over $65,000 in outstanding debt for speaking engagements stemming from the June Liberty Convention. 17-year old party founder Keyantwon Stephens has apparently been negotiating repayment plans with a few of the speakers, including Georgia’s own Martha Zoller. Others, like Crystal Wright who filed a police report last week, have not been so lucky.

This, coupled with significant skepticism prior to the event, has left many wondering who is at the root of the Athens-based organization. Keyantwon Stephens is the same Stephens who announced his candidacy for Democrat State Party chair in June. He supposedly ran for Congress as well.  Yes, you read that right. A DPG Chair is also the founder of the Athens Tea Party Patriots and former Congressional candidate with ties to Derrick Grayson. When all the dots didn’t quite connect, Blake Silvers of Floyd Politics attempted calling the offices of several “scheduled” speakers. With the exception of Ben Swann, no confirmation regarding attendance was ever received by any of the proposed guests. Despite all of this, the convention that did take place seemed to go off without a hitch- just with a much smaller crowd, a much smaller location and a couple of duped speakers.

Many of us would like to know how Mr. Stephens has established such an extensive base: both parties, multiple factions AND statewide. He should hop in for Governor. Heck, Senate! The whole debt thing will certainly need to be addressed before moving forward, though.
Mr. Stephens, of course, could not be reached for comment. He did tell the Athens Banner-Herald he plans to sue blogger Crystal Wright for defamation after confirming that there were outstanding debts. [::crickets::]

The “Evolving” Tea Party – What’s an Entrenched GOP to do?

In case you missed it, Jim Galloway had a wide-ranging post Saturday on the political theater of the last few weeks.

Tucked into all those observations, was this little nugget on candidate recruitment:

[Heath] Garrett, former chief of staff to U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, is focusing on younger, conservative business people untainted by political battles in Atlanta or Washington.

General election appeal is essential, given the rapidly changing demographics of Georgia. Only last week, Secretary of State Brian Kemp released statistics indicating that 122,949 fewer white voters cast a ballot in the 2012 presidential contest than in 2008. That’s an important figure in a state where race and party preference are closely tied.

Heath said the effort isn’t anti-tea party. “It’s Tea Party 2.0. It goes back to the underlying principles of lower taxes and free markets – however, it recognizes that in a representative republic, Republicans need a majority if they want to govern and accomplish their philosophical goals,” Garrett said.

After the whipping of this election, Republicans desperately need fresh faces and new blood at every level of government. The entrenched GOP has proven time and again it doesn’t play well with others. They need to overcome their fear of anything “new” or “young” or “other” or this country will slowly descend into irrelevancy.

That being said, the fact that The Dark Lord is firing up his Death Star for the next election cycle is especially sublime. I’m pretty sure that “electability” is not an synonym for “perseverance.” By pretending to be conservative and marking his chosen ones with his pretend conservative label, Mr. Rove has given those of us who are a secret decoder ring.

643,193 Voters on TSplost Day, July 31. Who Were They?

There were 643,193 voters who voted in the July 31 primaries in the 10 Metro Atlanta Counties — aka the “Atlanta T-Splost Region.”  Here’s a quick review of the demographic and political composition of the voters that day.


50.6% of voters voted in the Republican Primary

43.9% of voters voted in the Democratic Primary

5.6% voters voted a Non-Partisan ballot


63.2% of voters were white

29.3% of voters were black

Among White Voters

73.6% of white voters voted in the Republican Primary

20% of white voters voted in the Democratic Primary

Among Black Voters

3% of black votes voted in the Republican Primary

94.2% voted in the Democratic Primary


Final Results of T-SPLOST, Personhood Amendment, Ethics Text Poll

The Atlanta TEA Party and Peach Pundit teamed up with PolitiKlout to have a three question text poll regarding items on the July 31st GOP primary ballot, as well as T-SPLOST. The final cumulative results are:

Do you support the $.01 TSPLOST tax increase?

1) Yes 41% 2) No 57% 3) Undecided 2%

Do you support the $100 cap on lobbyist gifts to legislators?

1) Yes 75% 2) No 19% 3) Undecided 6%

Would you support a Personhood Amendment to the State Constitution?

1) Yes 45% 2) No 39% 3) Undecided 16%

Previously the Atlanta TEA Party and Peach Pundit asked about the Gift Cap and TSPLOST. The results were:

TSPLOST (results reported 5/14/12)
Yes – 46.36%
No – 51.40%
Und – 2.24%

Gift Cap (results reported 6/21/12)
Yes – 78.79%
No – 15.15%
Und – 6.06%

Please don’t ask me for the total votes cast because I don’t know.

Context and constitutionality: why “separation of powers” doesn’t really mean “separate”

If you want to open a can of worms at Peach Pundit, simply start a thread that gives readers an excuse to talk aboutseparation of powers” and the role of the Lieutenant Governor. Eventually someone will start throwing around the term “separation of powers” and even suggest that a lawsuit is inevitable if Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle is given back some of the traditional administrative duties of the office he holds.

But such a viewpoint fails to consider the context of the notion of separation of powers in the twenty-first century and oversimplifies a complex subject to the level of an episode of Schoolhouse Rock. Eventually it bends the concept so far by suggesting that the judiciary may intervene to sort out a disagreement about Senate rules, that it breaks the principle of separation of powers more effectively than any change in Senate rules could manage.

Read more

#TPP, #OccupyAtlanta To Square Off In Epic Debate

UPDATE: Not so fast.

Earlier this evening I received a message from George Chidi who, as you now know, is providing some assistance to the Occupy Atlanta folks. Chidi wants to debate Debbie Dooley of the Tea Party Patriots and below is the message he sent her to gauge her willingness to debate.

Hey, Debbie! I think you and I may have met once or twice, while I was reporting for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in Gwinnett. I covered Dacula for a time before leaving for Georgia Tech in 2008.

I’ve been working with Occupy Atlanta downtown for the last couple of days as an ad-hoc spokesman.

I’m writing because I think Occupy Atlanta is deeply misunderstood, particularly by the Tea Party in Georgia, and that there’s plenty of common ground between the two groups — even if there’s also some serious differences of opinion here.

I keep hearing from people who think there’s no message, and that they don’t know what they stand for. I think the goals are pretty clear — among them, to make sure that a TARP public money bailout of too-big-to-fail financial entities never happens again, and that Washington politicians remain responsive to the people who vote them into office.

Ma’am, I’d like to debate you, or perhaps another representative of the Tea Party in Georgia, on the merits of the Occupy movement. I say — with absolutely no hostility, in the spirit of robust public discussion of grave political issues — I challenge you.

I think a spirited, plain and polite exchange of ideas here would be good for the Tea Party, Occupy … and anyone willing to listen to a Lincoln-Douglas match of wits.

Up for it?

George Chidi

I emailed Debbie to get a response and she replied that yes, Tea Party Patriots is up for a debate.

Hence, assuming George and all his Occupy Atlanta comrades aren’t rotting in one of Mayor Reed’s dungeons, we’ll have a debate at a time a place to be named.