Libertarian Party: we had the Tea Party idea first

LP Monday Message: Are you coming to the Tea Party, Paul?
Your Monday Message from the Libertarian Party:

Dear friend,

Will you be attending a Tea Party this Wednesday?

Many Libertarians will, and millions of Americans will be joining them.

I’m, of course, referring to the thousands of “Tax Day Tea Parties” that will be held across the nation on April 15, to coincide with the filing deadline for individual income tax returns.

The Libertarian Party of Illinois got the idea to hold an April 15, 2009 anti-tax “Boston Tea Party” in Chicago way back in December of 2008. On February 10, 2009 they started a Facebook page and began promoting the website throughout the Illinois media.

The idea caught on like wildfire 10 days later, when CNBC personality Rick Santelli, speaking from the floor of the Chicago stock exchange, blasted the Obama administration’s tax and economic policies and urged all Americans to hold their own “tea parties.”

Of course, for the Libertarian Party every day is a Tea Party. We’ve been the only consistently pro-taxpayer party since our founding over 30 years ago.

Compare that to the Republicans. After 10 years of Republican control of Congress, inflation-adjusted spending on the combined budgets of the 101 largest programs they vowed to eliminate in 1995 has grown by 27 percent, according to the libertarian Cato Institute. Eight years of a Republican president, six with a Republican-controlled Congress, resulted in bigger government, the biggest expansion of entitlements in 40 years and a $700 billion bailout of Wall Street that continues to grow.

Or the Democrats, who are just as awful. One simply needs to look at Obama’s explosive growth of government and economy-busting deficits to see they’re simply peddling a different brand of Big Government.

But Libertarians are different. Not only do we believe in reducing the size and cost of government – it’s basically a condition of membership.

It might explain why our monthly new membership numbers, that is, the number of people each month who become Libertarian Party members for the first time, has grown each of the last three months. The number of new volunteers to the Libertarian Party is also up 151 percent.

That’s amazing, but that’s not nearly enough to win. We must continue growing by reaching out to the tens of millions of libertarian-leaning voters. It starts by making sure our members are at their local “tea party,” and participating respectfully and listening their neighbors. This is our opportunity to reach out to millions of voters by respectfully listening to them, and letting them know the Libertarian Party fights for lower taxes and less spending, not as a matter of political expediency, but, as a matter of core principle.

Americans are fed up with taxes, fed up with spending, fed up with borrowing and fed up with the Republicans and Democrats. Despite the unpopularity of Obama’s policies, the Republican Party is mired in bottom-basement poll numbers. Tens of millions of libertarian-leaning Americans are “politically homeless.”

When you get right down to it, with our bedrock principles of fiscal responsibility and social tolerance, the Libertarian Party is America’s only mainstream political party.

This Wednesday, we have an opportunity to find those voters a home. If you haven’t already, make sure to attend a local “tea party.” You can even do it on your lunch hour. You can find a list of them promoted by state LP affiliates at http://www.lp.org

.

But it doesn’t end on Thursday. You can bet the Libertarian Party will continue to reach out to tens of millions of Americans fed up with rising taxes and government sprawl.

I’m counting on you to do your part by supporting your local Libertarian Party, attending your local Tea Party and welcoming home the vast, untapped libertarian electorate.

With optimism,

Donny Ferguson
Director of Communications
Libertarian National Committee
Donny.Ferguson@lp.org

50 thoughts on “Libertarian Party: we had the Tea Party idea first

  1. d.eris

    I was wondering how long the LP and the BTP were going to continue to allow conservative Republicans to claim the tea party protests for themselves.

  2. Thomas L. Knapp

    “Tea parties” have been around for some time.

    There used to be a “Tea Party” without the “Boston” in front of it that ran candidates for local office out west, I think.

    Also, back in the late 80s or early 90s, there were some talk-radio-induced “mail a teabag to your congresscritter” dustups.

    I did find it a bit amusing to see Donny apparently promoting the BTP, though. I wonder if the LNC will charge him with “aiding and abetting” and try to remove him. Or do they just do that to uppity wimmin from California?

  3. libertariangirl

    TK__I did find it a bit amusing to see Donny apparently promoting the BTP, though. I wonder if the LNC will charge him with “aiding and abetting” and try to remove him. Or do they just do that to uppity wimmin from California?

    ME__LOL, that is ironic and a bit funny isnt it

  4. Thomas L. Knapp

    libertariangirl,

    Yup!

    It was a decent release in any case — to the extent that the “tea party” protests make a difference, L/libertarians are entitled to, and should attempt to claim, an ownership interest. The Republicans only have a problem with fiscal irresponsibility, draconian taxation and ludicrous debt levels when they’re NOT in charge.

  5. paulie Post author

    I should point out that I wrote the headline. The email subject was “LP Monday Message: Are you coming to the Tea Party, Paul?”. But I found the “we had the idea first” angle more interesting, and it did get us a quick traffic burst.

  6. Mike Theodore

    “Also, back in the late 80s or early 90s, there were some talk-radio-induced “mail a teabag to your congresscritter” dustups.”

    Illinois’s current Governor, Pat Quinn was actually one of the people behind that, although just in this state.

  7. sunshinebatman

    the 911troofers were doing meatspace tea parties, in Boston even, before the Boston Tea Party Party virtually did, well, something, I’m sure, but who cares.

  8. Steve

    FWIW, one of the lead organizers, Eric Odom, was a Bob Barr supporter and doesn’t seem to have a lot of love for the Republican Party. It still feels a bit sketchy when people like Newt Gingrich and Michelle Malkin attach their names to it. Sometimes I wish these Republicans would just go back to what they’re good at – telling us we all support terrorism if we don’t support everything the President says instead of pretending to be libertarian.

  9. sunshinebatman

    I would not be anywhere a near a terrorist like Glenn Beck or Rick Perry on the Ides… dangerous.

  10. paulie Post author

    Sometimes I wish these Republicans would just go back to what they’re good at – telling us we all support terrorism if we don’t support everything the President says

    As soon as one of theirs gets elected they will, but for now that is the job of the Democrats.

  11. a different paul

    I was active in the LP and attended several tax day tea parties over the past decade in my home area, and believe the practice had been going on long before I was with them. We used to pass out fliers and bags of tea at the main Post Office branch in our county. Sometimes the Post Office would kick us off their grounds and sometimes they wouldn’t. When they did, we just moved to a sidewalk just off the entrance. It was fun.

    Good job GOP. Keep taking ideas that worked sooooo well from the LP, and soon you’ll be seen as frivolous, inconsequential, gimmicky and even silly as the LP.

  12. LibertarianNotConservative

    The tea parties have been co-opted by the Republican establishment in my neck of the woods.

    I think Donny’s been attending Grover Norquist’s Wednesday meetings and got played by the conservative activists he’s trying to curry favor with.

  13. Erik Geib

    I believe the point of the press release was that, contrary to conservative belief, the current big push to host these events was not started by Rick Santelli or his friends.

    Also, I don’t think the fact that the LPIL called it a ‘Boston Tea Party’ means that Donny was promoting Knapp’s party, nor necessarily was the LPIL.

    Perhaps it could have been worded better, but the LP isn’t trying to say they started the whole ‘tea party’ idea – as others have said, it’s been something many have tried over the years. Instead, what the LP is asserting is that this particular (current) movement to have ‘tea parties’ in conjunction with the usual tax day protesting, supposedly started by Rick Santelli in Chicago, was in fact initiated by the LP in Chicago and that Rick Santelli jumped on board.

  14. paulie Post author

    I was active in the LP and attended several tax day tea parties over the past decade in my home area, and believe the practice had been going on long before I was with them.

    Again, not the same thing.

  15. a different paul

    “Again, not the same thing.”

    Why not? We were protesting government growth and spending on the last day tax filings had to be mailed. How is that different?

  16. Thomas L. Knapp

    Erik,

    You write:

    “Also, I don’t think the fact that the LPIL called it a ‘Boston Tea Party’ means that Donny was promoting Knapp’s party, nor necessarily was the LPIL.”

    For the record, my take on that was intended as a joke.

    I’ll be attending the St. Louis Tax Day Tea Party tomorrow as an LP activist, and may be a (specifically LP) speaker at the July 4th event.

    I’ve advocated since day one that the BTP be/become an internal LP caucus, so I certainly don’t have any heartburn about the LP using the name “tea party” as long as they’re using it for libertarian things ;-)

    Regards,
    Tom Knapp

  17. Carol Moore

    The republicans always co-opt the libertarian message til they get in power and then they do what they did since Bush took office – loot and restrict our liberty. What else is new??

  18. a different paul

    Carol, exactly.

    But with the Republicans comes some notice, just because of numbers. So the tax day protests will get at least a little mention in the news. While bad for the LP politically, maybe something good will come out of it.

  19. mdh

    The GOP has laid claim to the mantle of less taxation for as long as I can remember. The fact is, they talk the talk, but there’s no chance that getting a bunch of people together is going to change anything in terms of the fact that they do not walk the walk.

    I had tried to schedule our tea party here for the evening when people could make it. The Republican hi-jacker instead scheduled it for noon on a week day, a sure recipe for people to not be able to make it because of work, etc.

  20. a different paul

    Actually the debate nationally is now whether these tea parties were a Republican or grassroots idea. The Republicans are contending the protests have no party affiliation, while others are pointing to usual Republican suspects funding the websites, etc.

    In all of this, the fact that the idea did originate with a different political party is completely lost.

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  22. libertariangirl

    If I had to here the Tea Parties were a “conservative grassroots movement” one more time I might have have lost my mind.

    while super excited at the large crowds and intense enthusiasm I couldnt help but feel a little sracastic, ecsp when I overheard several folks saying things like ” we should have done this a long time ago”.

    I had to patiently remind them that the LP in Nevada had been at the post office or IRS buildings everyyear protesting for as long as I could remember.

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  31. Alpheus

    As a Republican, and now a Libertarian Republican (now that I know that, in Utah at least, I can easily belong to both parties) I would like to explain where I was during George W. Bush’s terms:

    First, I didn’t like the Medicare Plan D bit. I wish that had been vetoed. It wasn’t something, at the time, that anyone would have considered protesting…at least not on this level. At the time, I didn’t consider it the extreme threat to our liberties that I do so now.

    Second, I *hated* the 2006 Election: after six years of Republicans spending us in the ground, I could sense a general dissatisfaction with them. I voted for a Republican, but I did it with distaste: he *bragged* that he brought money home to his district. I couldn’t bring myself to vote for the Democrat, though, because I knew she would be worse. (That Democrat was Gilibrand).

    Third: I think the bailouts was the first signal to ALL Americans that something is really wrong. It was the turning point, and it was where the “Tea Party Spirit” really began to wake up.

    Fourth: I voted for McCain. I did it because I didn’t want Barak Obama to win Utah. Obama didn’t, but he still won–and I came to the conclusion that I will never again vote for a politician, unless that politician *earns* my vote. I will never again vote for someone because I fear his opponent; if someone can’t convince enough people to vote for him, he won’t win anyway.

    Yes, I get it: we were asleep! It’s only now that I’m becoming aware of just how libertarian I really am! And I’ve made the conscious decision that while I will still stay in the Republican party, with the vain hope that I could push that party in the right direction, I will nonetheless consider myself a Libertarian Republican from here on out.

    People get it now. Not just Republicans, but Democrats as well. So, my question is this: what are YOU doing to make sure these people continue to get it, even when (or if) Republicans regain power? I don’t necessarily expect an answer; I’m still trying to find the answer myself.

    But please don’t belittle those of us who finally get it. I’ve been to several local Tea Parties. Tea Parties are filled with people who are dismayed by both parties; both parties have betrayed us! And only now am I realizing just how extensive that betrayal has been–and it would delight me to no end to see both parties completely collapse because of it.

  32. Alpheus

    I would also add: I look forward to when the Democrats fall out of power. I *don’t* look forward to when (or if) the Republicans re-gain power. They have proven themselves over and over again to be spineless wimps unable to defend liberty when it is most needed. I’m sick of them!

  33. Online

    When you get right down to it, with our bedrock principles of fiscal responsibility and social tolerance, the Libertarian Party is America’s only mainstream political party.

  34. qqquit pickin on my peeps

    I’m so old now I teabag the toilet water when I sit on the john! :0 :0 :)

  35. libertarianmovement

    We need our “Tea Party” leaders, to publicly announce on MSM that they have no affiliation with the Republicans, that the party ideals are Libertarian. There is so much trash talk from everyone on both sides saying the Tea Party is premature, unorganized, need to get their sh*t together. The Libertarian party has been around for more than 30 years, this needs to be noted. Just putting in my 2 cents, thanks and good luck

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