Posted on | June 12, 2010 | 40 Comments
Frustrated and lacking agreement on what to do next, self-identified tea party leaders say the movement may be in danger of breaking apart before it ever really comes together.
Bill Dupray at Liberty Pundits calls this article by the Post‘s Amy Gardner an attempt to write a premature obituary on the movement. Regardless of its intended purpose, however, there was some information of interest in the article:
“We don’t want a leader,” said Barbee Kinnison of Henderson, Nev., who supported one of Angle’s Republican opponents, businessman Danny Tarkanian. Kinnison’s testy e-mail exchange with organizers of Tea Party Express was published in the blogosphere last week. “We like it being a collective group of voices. This is the first time in a generation when we feel like our voices are being heard.”
Who is Barbee Kinnison? She was quoted by the New York Times at the Tea Party Convention in Nashville in February:
At a panel discussion titled “Defeating Liberalism via the Primary Process,” the room erupted in a standing ovation when Barbee Kinnison, a delegate from Nevada, stood up and declared her intention to unite Tea Party groups behind a candidate to defeat Senator Harry Reid, the Democratic leader.
Evidently, the candidate around whom she hoped to unite Tea Party groups was Danny Tarkanian, and as soon as the Tea Party Express endorsement of Angle was announced in April, Kinnison expressed her dissatisfaction:
The Tea Party Express endorsement provoked a backlash of sorts among some conservative activists, who accused the California-based group of carpetbagging in Nevada and inserting itself into a competitive Republican primary.
“They are drastically overstepping their boundaries,” said Barbee Kinnison, a retired Las Vegas businesswoman and activist who supports Tarkanian. “Anger is brewing. This is not how it is supposed to work.”
Kinnison said she and friends e-mailed the Tea Party Express on Thursday asking for a return of money they had donated.
Why did Kinnison support Tarkanian and not Angle? Why did the Tea Party Express support Angle and not Tarkanian? We don’t know. However, I’m intigued by Kinnison saying she wants to be part of “a collective group of voices” and to “feel like our voices are being heard.”
At the end of the day, making your voice heard in politics — in any really effective way — requires winning elections. Winning elections at the level of a U.S. Senate race isn’t easy, and depends on a lot of details that have nothing to do with national trends, so that the success or failure of any one campaign cannot automatically be taken as evidence of a trend.
Neverthless, if Kinnison and others cannot accept the nomination of Angle as legitimate, that’s a real problem. And if the Tea Party movement ends up encouraging people to be soreheads when they lose a primary, that’s a real problem, too.
When You Land on the Wrong Beach
The Democrats and their labor-goon buddies are going to pull out all the stops to re-elect Harry Reid in November. In fact, they’re already doing so. If Barbee Kinnison is still committed to uniting a movement to defeat Harry Reid — the sentiment that got her a standing ovation in February — she’ll have to get over her disappointment at Tarkanian’s defeat in the primary.
Let me explain it this way: Everybody knows about D-Day on Omaha Beach. Most people, however, don’t know the story of what happened on Utah Beach.
When the first-wave assault troops of the 4th Infantry Division hit the beach on June 6, 1944, the officers consulted their maps, trying to locate the places they were supposed to attack. It took a few minutes before they figured out the problem: They were on the wrong beach.
Because of an unanticipated cross-current in the English Channel, the first wave had been put ashore more than a mile south of their planned objective. The second wave was due to land in a few minutes, to be followed by more and more troops — and all of them were heading for the wrong beach, a mile away from where the division was supposed to be landing.
The officers were in a quandry. In all the planning for D-Day, nobody had planned for this. The success of the entire operation was at stake.
Fortunately for the troops, there was one man on that beach who knew what to do: Brig. Gen. Theodore Roosevelt Jr. Roosevelt conducted a quick reconnaissance of the area, then returned to the beach and told the battalion commanders, “We’ll start the war from right here!”
And so they did, attacking inland to outflank the positions they originally had been assigned to take by frontal assault.
Barbee Kinnison says people in the Tea Party movement “don’t want a leader.” Fine — be your own leader. And if you’re going to be a leader, you’d better be an effective leader, or you’ll never acc0mplish anything.
Effective leaders don’t waste time worrying about what might have been. If conservatives in Nevada sit around moping and malcontented because their favorite candidate didn’t win the primary, the result will be the re-election of Harry Reid in November. Complaining to the Washington Post sure as hell isn’t going to make things any better.
“We’ll start the war from right here!”
That’s still good advice.