Monday, April 13, 2009

Great Thoughts on Tea Parties

I hope just about everyone receiving this has gone or will go to a Tea Party this week. (Some tea parties were held on Saturday, including very successful ones in Studio City, CA and Pittsburgh, PA)

The big issue, of course, is this: Will the Tea Parties be just a "one-and-done" event, or will they become the beginning of a mass movement that eventually will sweep people like Obama and Reid out of office? On, which I hope you'll join if you haven't already, Puma4Palin wrote an excellent blog piece on what the Tea Parties can mean. We need to use them as opportunities to meet like-minded people and to organize for future victories. Let's make sure the Tea Parties are a beginning -- and not an end.

Over at Fox News they’re running a blog by a guy named John Tantillo who says he is a marketing expert and the founder and president of Marketing Department of America. Hey, the guy is very good at marketing his business because he got my attention with his disparaging article about the upcoming tea parties.

According to Tantillo, the April 15 Tea Parties are nothing more than a fad and, not just any kind of fad, but a fad that flops. Actually, the more I think about it, how can a fad flop? Fads come and go, but if something gets enough attention to be called a fad, then normally that’s called a success. Right?

He offers several criticisms of the parties, but what is striking to me is that he is labeling it “Republican” and “Conservative.” Personally, I think this is a tactic that the left is using to attempt to belittle the tea parties as “just a bunch of Republican losers” and to portray the Republicans as angry outsiders. The truth of the matter is that I know many people supporting the tea parties who are Democrats and Independents and who consider themselves moderates.

Further, if it’s just a bunch of Republicans why is the Huffington Post asking for citizen reporters to go to the tea parties and, well, do what? Write a slanted article? Disrupt? Bring a pro-Obama sign? I mean, why would the left care if it was just a “fad” and a Republican one at that? (Although anything that is not pro-Obama appears to be a threat to the insecure obats).

Actually, the other point Tantillo makes that has me laughing is that his take on the reports that tea party merchandise is flying off the shelves is bad news and a sure sign that this is all fad.

For example, he takes this quote from Jason King, VP of marketing for Zazzle, an online retailer selling tea party items: “This is probably one of the bigger things –- not counting the election– that we’ve seen since the Client 9 sex scandal broke in 2008.” And interprets it thus: “Hey, if a marketer’s comparing your “serious” political movement with “Client 9 sex scandal” sales you know you’re in trouble…”

Well, excuse me, but if the election was a big merchandising success, doesn’t that make it a fad, too? And didn’t the Client 9 sex scandal end a governor’s career? Pretty powerful fad!

I do think there are legitimate concerns about what next? Just getting together in a local park with a permit is not really going to accomplish anything. Most media will not cover it. And the location of the tea party in my town is low visibility; there is no drive-by traffic so no one will even notice it is happening unless they make a point to stop by.

Frankly, I think the tea party organizers should take some tips from When they held their anti-war rallies here they lined a very busy street in front of our Congressman’s local office with not just signs, but drums, and they did it during rush hour. They also took a petition into the Congressman’s office where it was officially received.

It remains to be seen if the tea parties bring about change, but in the meantime it is encouraging to see average Americans getting heated up enough about something to make a sign and stand on a street corner. Maybe this is just practice but I don’t think I would classify it as a fad. In fact, I think that’s a challenge and I’m always up for one of those.

Steve Maloney
Ambridge, PA

Note: Steve Maloney has become a good friend of mine through the Read My Lipstick Network, Team Sarah, and other conservative cross-over efforts. He is a great guy and a dynamic thinker and doer. I hope you'll read his blogs and maybe if you're lucky you'll get to know him as a friend. - Janet

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