Saturday, July 17, 2010

Did Michelle Bachmann Stab The St. Louis Tea Party in the Back?

A few months ago, the St. Louis tea party was going nuts hyping up their new Ensuring Liberty Caucus, which was purportedly designed to, "address the Federal Government's continual encroachment on our personal liberties by focusing on the ballot box." The "caucus" was even mentioned in a goofy Playboy article that featured an anonymous K street lobbyist trying to make the tea party sound cool. At the time, former Washington Post reporter Dave Weigel remarked:
Follow the progress of Ensuring Liberty PAC -- which was launched four months ago at the first National Tea Party Convention -- and you wonder whether this piece is promotion for a project that hasn't been very influential yet.
It sure seems like Weigel's point was on the mark. As of me writing this, the front page on the Ensuring Liberty website features a video from May 11. The most recent post on the facebook page is from June 16 (or June 29, if you want to count the postings from board member Bill Hennessy). Their Twitter page has 9 people following it, 4 of whom are board members, and hasn't been updated since June 16. This group that is supposed to revolutionize the conservative movement hasn't even had their act together enough to send out a tweet in the last month.

But what's really got to smart is that it appears their trophy congressperson, Michelle Bachman, is jumping ship. The Ensuring Liberty Caucus was designed to be a caucus in the U.S. Congress. Here's what the web site says:
With these principles to guide us, we have assembled a group of leaders currently serving in Congress to hear our voice and keep our First Principles. They are the Ensuring Liberty Caucus.
Michelle Bachman and Steve King of Iowa were apparently supposed to be a couple of the members, as they were the participants in the first (and only) Ensuring Liberty "Virtual Townhall."

But now Bachman released a press release saying she's starting her own tea party caucus in the House of Representatives. Her caucus is called the "Tea Party Caucus," rather than the "Ensuring Liberty Caucus," so it appears that she's avoiding the name already branded by Hennessy and others in the St. Louis and Quincy Tea Parties. If it is a different group, one has to wonder if Bachmann jumped ship after seeing the sad performance of the "Ensuring Liberty Caucus." If it's intended to be the same group, then it certainly speaks against any claim to being grassroots, since Bachmann's press release makes no mention of the Ensuring Liberty group or any actual "citizens" who played a role in the group's creation. Either way, it will be very interesting to see how much money was raised and where it's actually going.

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