Reading Steve Tucker’s article last week on Bull Elephant I was as usual appreciative of the knowledge , writing skill and perspective Steve always brings to these discussions. He is a thoughtful and very deliberate observer of all things politic. He does however in this instance miss his mark.
The article deals with the ineffectiveness of the purposed strategy by some disgruntled conservatives who apparently are concluding they are just going to walk away from the republican party and not vote if a suitable candidate isn’t available. Steve points out the remedy is just the opposite, that these folks need to get more involved in the party politics in lieu of “ walking away”. On that point Steve is absolutely correct.
Steve cites that “ the best way to keep representatives honest is through constant primary challenges and criticism ? He further states “ If developing antagonistic relationships with politicians was actually effective, then why are there still politicians not listening to their conservative constituents , conservatives have been antagonistic for well over a decade”.
This is where I take issue with Steve’s observations. The Patriot groups were never antagonistic, but rather cleverly co-opted by these very politicians. Right out of the gate elected officials, candidates for elective office and their vaunted PAC’s began speaking at our meetings, making pledges to cut spending, curtail the growth of local/State government, all the while only wanting to solicit campaign contributions and volunteers for their phone bank and door to door canvassing. We ( the Patriot movement ) got nothing in return but an endless litany of broken promises. I won’t waste your time or VaRight’s precious space reciting them yet again, we all know what I am referencing.
Antagonism does indeed work if executed in the correct manner. Anyone who is familiar with the inner working of the King William TEA Party operations and 7+ year history will attest to its effectiveness. It was “ real relentless antagonism” that resulted in the voters of King William county last November throwing 3 of the 5 incumbents out of office. It was consistent antagonism that resulted in the real estate tax rate finally being addressed with the seriousness it deserved. It was and continues to be our antagonism locally that held our recent local budget passed in June flat, while other localities had increases ranging from a low of 2.3 % in Chesterfield to a high of almost 9% in some other localities that we surveyed. It was that same antagonism that resulted in the closing of 2 of the Land Use Tax Exempted classes in King William some 19 months ago. No elected official , no school official or school board member acts today in King William without recognizing we will be looking over their shoulders and have the will to bite if called for. You can not let them up, even for a second if you want to be effective.
What Steve and others fail to recognize is the implementation and the ongoing need to not relent. What is lacking is the iron will to stand up to the naysayers and the benefactors of the status quo. Leaders in the various Patriot groups ( the only real opposition remaining) have failed to set aside their concerns for being liked or getting along with elected officials, but to make them once again the “servants”, and citizens the masters, the way it is supposed to be.
I have consistently offered solid evidence of what results can be gained by playing hard ball, real hard ball. You just have to find leaders who have the stomach for it, and don’t care about their standing with the establishment types. We are indeed doing it here, and with a small army of equally dedicated and committed volunteers who have the same tough constitution themselves.
Opposition must be dedicated, must be focused and willing to be absolutely relentless. You can join the ranks of the social clubs having Pizza parties , they do have more fun than we do, they just don’t accomplish much in measurable results.
Bob Shannon Founder King William TEA Party