Sunday, April 25, 2010

Note to Media: We Beat the Tea Party!

My birthday has passed and I can now officially say that I raised more money in two weeks for my birthday than the entire St. Louis Tea Party's "Stop the Prop" campaign that resulted in a wave of media hype and predictions that Prop A would go down in flames. In their two month campaign, the St. Louis tea party was only able to raise $870 in donations from about 25 people to oppose Prop A. In the two weeks prior to my birthday, I raised $942 from 34 people. Yet the media, in all of its extensive coverage of the Prop A opposition, never once questioned whether the tea party opposition was really a legitimate group with "grassroots" support and even used the occasion to hype up what a "political force" the tea party was. In fact, even after Prop A passed with about as big of a margin as one could imagine in St. Louis County, the media was still making excuses for the Tea Party by saying that they only had $900 against the large money in support of Prop A.

Well, that excuse is no longer available to the tea party. I, someone who is not connected to the political establishment who has no particular fundraising ability, was able to out-raise their opposition in 1/4 of the time period, simply with the help of a few of the good people I know. The prop A opposition promoted their efforts on the radio, on a huge number of local and national blogs, including Gateway Pundit's blog (which is one of the top ten most read political blogs in the country), through their email lists, and via friendly media coverage. I promoted mine only through my blog, facebook and twitter accounts (and a few friends who reposted the info). Yet my side raised more money from more people.

The excuse that the tea party didn't have enough money no longer is coherent. The fact that they didn't have money was a symptom of their lack of ability to organize on this issue, not a cause. If they were able to organize on this issue, they would have raised more money. Period. So there are two options left to explain the tea party's huge defeat. One, maybe they picked a great issue but are just completely inept at organizing. Or two, maybe the exclusive leadership of the tea party picked the issue without consulting their base and then found out the hard way that this was not really an issue that their membership cared about. The latter explanation certainly appears to be the suggestions of friend-of-the-tea-party Jay Stewart on the Hillbilly Logic radio program (2/3 of the way through). Either way, however, it is now beyond argument that the tea party failed massively on this initiative, and it would be nice if the media started reporting it as such.

So anyway, thanks to my great group of friends and fellow fighters for a better world for the donations to a noble cause. Joan, Margaret, Brenda, Barbara, Lara G., Julie, Jonathan, Mark, Craig, Anna, Bunny, Sean, Paddy, Sally, Ian, Nick, Sonia, Michelle, Jill, Joe, Maggie, Tom, Liz, Mindy, Ben, Jen, Annette, Lara C., Indio, Jessica, Amy, Jimmy, Adam H., Steve, Matt, and Luella: your donations are greatly appreciated and I know they will be used wisely in the fight for economic justice. It feels great to have such a supportive group of friends!


  1. You spend an awful lot of time attacking an organization that you claim has no clout. Hardly makes sense, does it?

  2. Wrong Dave. I claim that the tea party was overhyped on the Prop A campaign despite the fact that they demonstrated no ability to organize. This is not the same thing as saying they have "no clout." In fact, if you define "clout" as the ability to get overly positive media coverage, then it's clear that the tea party has a lot of clout.

    But my real criticism is directed at the local media. They are giving the tea party far more coverage and far more *positive* coverage than they ever gave to the anti-Iraq war movement, despite the fact that this movement was also able to put thousands of people in the street in St. Louis. And they are not bothering to do any investigative work to evaluate the true strength of the organization or the extremist rhetoric they post on their blogs. The tea party is being given an advantage by the local media, and in that sense they clearly have "clout."