Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Whoops! Loesch's New "Grassroots" Group Lies About Cutting and Pasting Astroturf Mission Statement

So if you were going to announce that you'd just launched a new "grassroots" organization, wouldn't you at least bother to write your own mission statement? Not if you're Dana Loesch, who lost track of all meaning of "grassroots" and "astroturf" long ago.

Loesch's new group, which calls itself the Gateway Grassroots Initiative, has a "mission statement" entirely composed of nationally-coordinated snippets from Tea Party Patriots language used by outlets around the country.

You can see a copy of their mission statement here:

It reads, in part:

Mission Statement

Our mission is to attract, educate, organize, and mobilize fellow Gateway area citizens to secure a culture consistent with our three core values of fiscal responsibility, constitutionally limited government, and free markets.

Core Values

• Fiscal Responsibility
• Constitutionally Limited Government
• Free Markets

Fiscal Responsibility: A fiscally responsible government honors and respects the freedom of the individual to spend the money that is the fruit of his or her own labor. A constitutionally limited government, designed to protect the blessings of liberty, must be fiscally responsible or it must subject its citizenry to high levels of taxation that unjustly restrict the liberty our Constitution was designed to protect. The runaway deficit spending as we now see in Washington...
...and so on. A quick google search reveals that this exact same language (except for the "gateway" part) is used by numerous tea party groups across the country. If you pick pretty much any phrase in the group's mission statement, you'll see that it was used by many groups across the country. Interestingly, they don't all use the exact same language: they pick and choose what they want to cut and paste.

It's pretty clear that there's national coordination on the messaging of these mission statements. Because so many groups use it, it's not easy to see who's in charge, but several of the groups specifically refer to the Tea Party Patriots, a national astoturf group that has a mission statement basically identical to that of Loesch's new group:

Tea Party Patriots has been explicitly linked to former GOP congressman Dick Army's astroturf group FreedomWorks and was caught distributing a memo telling tea partiers how to disrupt town halls. So this mission statement appears to be straight from national astroturf organizations.

Maybe it wouldn't be a big deal if the group just admitted that they didn't write their own mission statement. However, ridiculously, they are claiming that they wrote it themselves. My interaction with Jen Ennenbach, one of the founders of the new group:

It's pretty embarrassing for them to claim that they just spontaneously came up with the exact same language as hundreds of other tea party groups around the country including a national astroturf organization. But I expect there will be many more embarrassing moments to come for this group.

Update: The group is even more astroturf than I realized.

The GGI group argued on Twitter that the statement wasn't astroturf because the guy who wrote the mission statements for the national group is actually the same guy who copied and pasted GGI's statement. In fact, Scott Boston on Twitter claims he wrote the original Tea Party Patriots statement, and I believe him. But this makes it even more astroturf, not less, because it turns out that Boston used to be an employee of the astroturf organization Tea Party Patriots! From his Linked In profile:
National Education Coordinator
Tea Party Patriots

• Identified and evaluated training materials for local organizers and coordinated distribution of materials from such organizations as Leadership Institute, American Majority, Heritage Foundation, National Center for Constitutional Studies and Encounter Books.
• Lead Coordinator 9/12 St. Louis, one of three large regional rallies that drew 15,000 - 20,000 people to the Gateway Arch, July-September 2010. Identified and secured speakers and entertainers. Wrote press releases, did radio and TV interviews, created content for the event website.
• Volunteer Liaison to Glenn Beck’s Staff, Restoring Honor Rally, July-August 2010.
• Traveled to Tennessee and Arizona to meet with regional coordinators, May 2010.
So yeah, so one of the "grassroots" group's founders was an employee of a Dick Army affiliated national astroturf group. Another, of course, is a CNN pundit and radio host. I look forward to their future lectures about the true meaning of grassroots.


  1. And, Jen, you're just gonna sit here and plagiarize all day. I'm glad we got that out of the way.

  2. coming from jen ennenbach, hired apologist for dana's latest fanclub.

  3. This is interesting. It was just over a week ago that Dana claimed she was not interested in grassroots organizing- ever again, on her radio show. I wonder how long it will take for her to engage in grassroots organizing for a candidate? I'll give it two weeks.

  4. Jen is always kinda hard to follow, but it sounds like she's saying one of the four "unfounders" of ggi wrote the original mission statement for tpp? Does she really believe that?

  5. I've had this exact same conversation multiple times with high school students who get caught plagiarizing and claim, even when you show them the exact source from which they plagiarized, that they wrote their submission themselves. So, yeah, about the right level of discourse here.

  6. So what's the point of the GGI if it is so similar to the Tea Party that it can use their mission statement? Better platform for Loesch et al.?

  7. the point of the GGI is to be dL's private "grassroots" org that she can use to help her career and her causes, and no one involved will be able to question her.

    Add the media and political friends and contacts and on paper it should be quite formidable, if the giant ego's don't wreck the whole thing.. or something bigger and better comes along :-)

  8. My Take on the “New” Tea Party
    There is a new Tea Party in town, The Gateway Grassroots Initiative. They claim they are a “harder, better, faster and stronger conservative grassroots movement.” What does that mean? Sounds like an ego problem.
    The Tea Party represents Patriotic Americans who are concerned about their country. Tea Party people want their leaders to follow the Constitution; they want limited Government; less taxes and for Government to be fiscally responsible. Therefore, anyone or any Candidate who possess those attributes can call themselves a Tea Party Patriot.
    “Gateway Grassroots Initiative is built around action items (T.I.P.s) with the purpose of promoting conservatism. Their mission is to attract, educate, organize, and mobilize fellow Gateway area citizens to secure a culture consistent with our three core values of fiscal responsibility, constitutionally limited government, and free markets.” Wasn’t that what the Tea Party stands for?
    “Gateway Grassroots Initiative is formed around the ideal that every American citizen has the personal privilege and responsibility of becoming a “minuteman” for their country in various ways. Many are well on their way to doing this, through their blogs, to running for office, becoming a precinct captain, running for their local school board, organizing petitions, fighting for voter integrity. However, Gateway Grassroots Initiative is uninterested in endorsing or singularly promoting candidates, instead choosing to focus on ideas.” GGI calls for “minutemen” to run for public office, yet the GGI will not promote or help them get elected. So, how is that helping the Conservative movement?
    “Gateway Grassroots Initiative wants to court the liberal arts, entertainment, and Hollywood crowd. We intend to use pop culture as an ally in this fight.” How does courting the liberal arts, entertainment, and Hollywood crowd going to help the Conservative movement? If anything, the education needs to start with the children before they enter public schools, aka. indoctrination centers. There is no need to court anyone. It is better to stand on principles and have the people come to you.
    The GGI's first two initiatives are 1, starting a book club and 2, a blanket drive to keep people warm. OK? How does starting a book club or conducting a blanket drive help Constitutional, limited government, fiscally responsible candidates get elected to office or the Conservative movement? Wouldn’t it be better to have the right people in office so people have jobs and enough money to buy their own blankets?
    The goal of the Tea Party should be to support and help elect Conservative candidates who want limited government and who will follow the Constitution. Otherwise, what’s the point? In order to change the direction this country is headed we need to elect Conservative candidate

  9. The link is Ann Wagner. Dana is a big fan of a Republican insider the kind of politicians that aren't very Tea Party friendly.