Across the country, Tea Party activists face hostile press from the mainstream media. In Green Valley, Arizona, two local Tea Party leaders were given the chance to explain their views to the surprisingly fair and open-minded editor of a local newspaper. The interview was done in advance of a massive, one-day conference called “Defending the Constitution,” cosponsored by the Southern Arizona Tea Party Coalition and the Southern Arizona Conservative PAC.
The two activists, Don and Patti Woolley, are leaders of the Sahuarita Tea Party Patriots, which is about a year old. The Woolleys explained what they believe – the article states that “Don takes a simple approach to budgeting: Don’t spend it if you don’t have it.”
The Woolleys also defended the Tea Party and their own efforts against accusations of being uncompromising “and that [we’ve] ruined Congress.” As the editor noted, “whether that’s good or bad depends on your politics.” Exactly. When a person is accused of ruining Congress because they want to hold politicians accountable, the person making the accusation generally opposes sound principles of constitutional republics.
The editor, who again was pretty fair throughout the interview, was pleasantly supportive of the Woolleys in one area (emphasis added):
There is no compassion in the Tea Party movement: Don and Patti dismiss this by asserting, “There is nobody more giving than Republicans and conservatives.”
Not exactly convincing evidence, but again, neither is there evidence that it’s not true. It’s a silly allegation, frankly.
The one area the editor was a bit one-sided against the Woolleys was in talking about whether the Tea Party is grassroots or astro-turf:
“You’ve got mom and pop who’ve never been political in their lives,” Patti says. “You’ve got people fighting for their country.”
Toss in the Koch brothers and their billionaire friends, the Cato Institute and the Heritage Foundation and you’ve got a mishmash of accusations, some of which hold water, others that don’t. In the end, though, the Kochs and their millions couldn’t put a Republican in the White House last year, so at some level the voters still have a bit of control. For now, at least.
While groups like Americans for Prosperity certainly have been supportive of the Tea Party, there is a massive difference between their facilitation of events and the like, and the astro-turf activists on the left. Consider the Wisconsin union protesters in 2011 who were paid operatives pretending to be volunteers. This is opposed to the thousands of volunteer Tea Party activists across the nation, who sacrifice health and treasure for their nation.
The above bias notwithstanding, this interview is a huge success for Don, Patti, and the Sahuarita Tea Party Patriots. An emphatic congratulation goes to Don and Patti in getting great press in advance of a huge Tea Party conference – keep up the great work!