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Original article URL: http://bridgemi.com/2013/09/inside-the-rise-of-michigans-tea-party/

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Inside the rise of Michigan's Tea Party:

Michigan’s Tea Party battles for GOP’s soul

Tea Party Alliance organizers Gene Clem and Sharon Lollio prepare for a recent meeting. The Tea Party’s loud grassroots organizing has changed Michigan political dynamics. For generations it was “Democrat versus Republican.” Now it is often “Tea Party versus Republican.”
It’s the second Saturday of August, as a group of political newcomers gathers in a classroom of a Baptist school near Lansing. They are plotting a political coup. Among their many goals, they want to dump Republican Lt. Gov. Brian Calley and replace him with one of their own. They’d like to repeal or at least weaken Obamacare. They don’t have much political experience. They don’t have much money. They don’t have a formal political machine structure. Yet they’ve quickly gathered stunning momentum in the state capitol. They’ve helped block Gov. Rick Snyder’s proposed gasoline tax hike for roads, stalled funding to implement Common Core  education standards, and generally pushed the Republican Party to the right.

It’s the Tea Party Alliance, a little-known and loose confederation of about two dozen Tea Party groups from around the state that gather every month to share ideas, seek common ground and plot strategy.

“A lot of people thought our movement had gone away,” said Bob Murphy, head of the Lapeer County Tea Party Patriots and a member of the alliance. “We’re not standing out on the street with signs anymore. We’ve matured. It’s not all rage and hatred. We want people to listen to us.”

Many Republicans in the state legislature are listening. Some are reluctant not to, fearing they will be blacklisted or face more-conservative candidates in a primary election if they don’t toe the Tea Party’s line.

The power struggle inside Michigan’s capitol has shifted in the past three years. For generations, it was Democrat versus Republican. Now, it’s often Tea Party versus Republican. And the soul of the GOP is at stake in the 2014 statewide elections and beyond.

The leverage of fear

Many in the Tea Party feel they are entitled to be heard. They take credit for the Republican sweep of all statewide offices in 2010, including control of the House and the Senate. With Tea Party support, the legislature and Gov. Rick Snyder made Michigan a right-to-work state.

But that’s not nearly enough to satisfy Tea Party aspirations.

The Tea Party suffered its first major policy loss in late August when the Michigan Senate approved a bill expanding Medicaid under Obamacare. The Tea Party response was bellicose and portends more ideological fights to come.

“Ladies and gentlemen,” one Tea Party blogger responded to the Senate’s Medicaid vote, “it’s time to secure your pitchforks and torches.” Much of their anger is directed at Sen. Tom Casperson, R-Escanaba, who cast the deciding vote. “May you rot in a very hot place, you traitor,” a tea partier posted on Facebook. “…You’re supposed to be one of us.”

A variety of prominent Republicans, including solid conservatives, have faced Tea Party scorn in the past two years on numerous policy issues. Tea Party pressure frustrates key planks of Gov. Snyder’s agenda: The Medicaid expansion took most of this year – and full implementation may take until mid-2014. Road funding remains stalled. A noisy Common Core  fight will continue this fall.

Lansing insiders say the Tea Party doesn’t hold legislative majorities, but has gained steam by being loud and threatening.

“There are not a lot of Tea Party true believers in the legislature,” said Ken Sikkema, the former GOP Senate Majority Leader who was term-limited in 2006 after a 20-year legislative career. “But the majority of the Republican caucuses in both the House and the Senate are paralyzed by Tea Party threats of primary challenges next year. These are largely empty threats except in some isolated districts. But having a primary is the worst thing in a legislator’s mind. Having someone challenge you from within your own party is a major sign of weakness – as if you’re not a smart or strong enough politician to avoid a primary.”

Avoiding that kind of worst-case image plays out daily in the capitol. The minute a sitting legislator is clearly vulnerable to a primary, they can begin to lose leverage and bargaining power in the daily negotiations within their committees and caucuses.

“What’s fascinating here is that this is a bluish-purple state, or at least it’s not a blood-red state,” said Charley Ballard, a MSU economist generally seen as left-leaning. “And yet we have a legislature that on many issues is deep red, so red that the business community has only been able to get a modest part of what it wants, despite having a Republican governor and legislature. The business community wants good roads, good schools and Medicaid expansion, and the Tea Party has so far succeeded in preventing these things.”

Once friends, now foes?

Perhaps a testament to the Tea Party’s influence on the GOP is the large number of Republican leaders and their supporters who declined to be interviewed on the record for this story. Snyder’s office did not respond to requests for him or a member of his administration to comment. Numerous Republican lawmakers and business leaders declined to speak on the record.

“You have a politically unruly coalition coming together and having influence,” said Saul Anuzis, a former Republican state party chairman, who was ousted as a GOP national committeeman last year, by a wide margin, by Dave Agema, the Tea Party’s preferred candidate. “They’re active, they’re loud, and they’re involved. The issue is whether it becomes an intolerant and strident organization that’s incapable of working in the system.”

Many in the Tea Party say the system is the problem, and it needs to be reformed, if not replaced.

“When they say, ‘work within the system,’ that means different things to different people,” said Wes Nakagiri, the founder of a Livingston County Tea Party group called RetakeOurGov. “If it means giving up our principles, we wouldn’t fit well into that system.”

In late August, Nakagiri announced he will seek the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor against Calley, a move intended to send a strong message to Michigan’s Republican establishment. If he wins, Nakagiri vowed to vote a conservative, anti-tax line, no matter what his presumed running mate and boss, Snyder, wants.

State Republican Party Chairman Bobby Schostak, who nearly lost his chairmanship earlier this year to a Tea Party-backed candidate, treads lightly when he talks about the Tea Party. “We will do all that we can to protect Brian Calley,” he said, yet he praised Tea Party members for their engagement in the political process, adding that “they’re more than welcome” in the Republican Party.

Replacing Calley “defies logic,” House Speaker Jase Bolger, R-Marshall, said. “The reason I say that is Lt. Gov. Calley is very conservative, and he works closely with the governor. To dump him for someone else is to give up that influence.”

Bolger is not a Tea Party favorite, particularly because he voted to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. Voting ‘no’ would have meant turning down the 100 percent federal funding for the expansion the first three years and 90 percent in subsequent years.

“There are some in the Tea Party who believe we should do nothing,” Bolger said. “For me, I had to come to the realization that to do nothing is not an answer. I understand their opposition to Medicaid expansion. I do not support Obamacare, yet, as a legislature, we have to play with the cards we’re dealt.”

Critics accuse Tea Party members of not understanding the difference between politics and governing, and they fault it for using threats and intimidation to get its way.

“They (Tea Party members) don’t know how to play with others and get things done,” complained state Rep. Joe Haveman, R-Holland. “I still believe I’m a conservative, but I try to reach across the aisle and work with the Democrats. Part of the problem with the Tea Party is they’ve never done it. They’re so pure, but there’s a difference between what they want and what they can get.”

Haveman conceded he was reluctant to speak publicly about the Tea Party. He is among dozens of Republican state legislators listed on a “wall of shame” by an Ingham County Tea Party group called Grassroots in Michigan for voting to set up health insurance exchanges or expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

Haveman called such tactics “politics at its worst. Do they really believe my door is open to them when they use those kinds of tactics? If they think this is how to work, getting down in the dirt and calling names, then shame on them. I wish the Tea Party would be as nasty and arrogant with the Democrats as they are with the Republicans.”

Looking ahead to 2014

In Michigan, the Tea Party largely ignores the Democrats as beyond hope, directing their pressure, and frequent ire, at Republicans. And Democrats, in the minority in both legislative chambers, have not often moved toward policy compromises that might in some ways marginalize the Tea Party’s far-right influence. Instead, some Democratic leaders seek to leverage Tea Party momentum to paint the larger GOP with an extremist brush in hopes of picking up traction and seats in the 2014 elections.

“I do think the Tea Party has stifled the Republicans, really paralyzed them in some important ways,” said Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer, D-East Lansing. “When right-to-work was being debated, threats were being made: ‘If you don’t vote for this, we will take you out.’ I know for a fact I have (Republican) colleagues who are scared of being primaried. Unfortunately, there are members who put their own personal interest above getting things done.”

Tea Party leaders concede the threat of a primary election challenge is among their most powerful weapons. Some Republican lawmakers fear a primary opponent more than they do any candidate the Democrats can put up against them in a general election. That’s because legislative redistricting has carved out a range of seats generally deemed safe for Republicans.

“Gerrymandering makes it easier, in my view, for us to run in a primary,” Nakagiri said. “We fight a guerrilla war if you think about it. We don’t have a standing army or the artillery of deep pockets. I would say on the issues that are important to us, we have strong views, and we’re not shy about making our views known. I don’t see that as bullying.”

Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, a self-described Reagan conservative, is among those on the Tea Party’s wall of shame for supporting a statewide health insurance exchange. He’s heard rumors he could face a primary challenger next year.

“When I hear a self-declared Tea Party member say, ‘you better do this or else,’ I say, ‘Bring it on,’” he said. “I guess there may be some members who fear that. I don’t. I don’t know that they have as much influence as the media portrays.”

One reason, he said, is the Tea Party lacks a strong, statewide organization, and is instead fragmented into scores of independent groups scattered throughout the state. Some consist of a few people gathered over coffee. Some are virtual tea parties meeting only through Facebook. Others attract hundreds to their meetings. Most don’t have formal membership rolls, so it’s impossible to say how many Tea Party members are in Michigan. Most have not formally created nonprofit corporations. Many operate without a formal hierarchy of officers.

“The people who generally do this are type A’s,” Bob Murphy, the Lapeer Tea Party head, said, motioning to two dozen men and women gathering for the Tea Party Alliance meeting in August. “They don’t want a lot of organization. It’s like herding cats. I think the alliance thing is the closest we can get.”

Real momentum? Or just noise?

Tea Party critics maintain the noisy tensions between the Tea Party and the GOP are just that – noise. Yes, critics acknowledge, the Tea Party has slowed Gov. Snyder’s business agenda. But, they add, the Tea Party is so self-marginalized at the extreme right of state politics, these idealists have no hope of actually acquiring true legislative majorities or higher offices in statewide elections.

“What has the Tea Party actually won?” asks prominent Lansing public relations executive Roger Martin, whose firm faced down the Tea Party last year on Proposal 5. Martin and company fought back that proposed constitutional amendment that would have required legislative super majorities for any form of state tax increase.

“Proposal 5 was the Tea Party’s big chance and they got completely trounced,” Martin said. “They can’t win at the statewide level because they are out of step with the mainstream.”

Ideological split from within

The Tea Party Alliance exercises no control over its member groups. Each is fiercely independent. That independent streak results in fragmentation even within the Tea Party.

Several of Michigan’s Tea Party groups have not joined the Tea Party Alliance, but align with another loose coalition that is so informal it doesn’t have a name. Representatives of those groups meet three or four times a year and include social as well as fiscal issues on their agendas, said Cindy Gamrat, founder of the Plainwell Patriots.

Last year, some Tea Party Alliance members supported Bobby Schostak for Republican Party chair, while members of the unnamed coalition generally backed challenger Todd Courser, said Gamrat, who was Courser’s vice-chair running mate. They nearly unseated Schostak at the GOP state convention.

“We nearly took over the (Republican) party,” she said, adding that “there’s a general feeling that the Alliance groups tend to be more moderate.”

That is hardly a word most Tea Party Alliance members would use to describe themselves. For their monthly meeting, they came from Ann Arbor, Manistee, Mount Pleasant, Troy, Grand Rapids, Brighton, Ionia, Plymouth, Lansing, Lapeer, Port Huron and Howell and took their seats in the classroom. Most are middle-aged or older.

“I have grandkids, and I want them to know the America I grew up with,” one woman said.

They fear America is sliding toward socialism, and they believe the survival of the nation is at stake. Their distrust of the left and Barack Obama is visceral. They are for strict fiscal discipline, free markets and smaller government, including unyielding opposition to Obamacare and Medicaid expansion.

“It’s a deal breaker,” said Bill Gavette, representing the Lapeer County Tea Party Patriots. “For a lot of us, this could be a deal breaker with the Republican Party.”

That threat could carry significant weight among Republican leaders, including some who once encouraged the rise of the Tea Party and now are wondering whether it is an ally or an enemy.

“It seems to be a contest to see who can move farther to the right,” said longtime political observer Rich Robinson, executive director of the Michigan Campaign Finance Network, a nonpartisan organization that tracks campaign spending. “I think the monster has gotten off the table and is chasing Dr. Frankenstein around the lab.”

Pat Shellenbarger is a freelance writer based in West Michigan. He previously was a reporter and editor at the Detroit News, the St. Petersburg Times and the Grand Rapids Press.

37 comments from Bridge readers.Add mine!

  1. Big D

    “The issue is whether it becomes an intolerant and strident organization that’s incapable of working in the system.” As noted, it is the system that is the problem. This whole article, written in a “non-partisan” magazine, assumes that compromising one’s principles is necessary–that the system is to provide more government for everybody’s pet thing. …and the tea party challenges to the status quo are “threatening” and “strident”, which interestingly is what our campaigner in chief excels at.

    “In Michigan, the Tea Party largely ignores the Democrats as beyond hope, directing their pressure, and frequent ire, at Republicans.” Republicans are supposed to be fiscally conservative…where they are not, they conflict with tea party principles. The tea party can influence the Republicans. The tea party cannot influence the Democrat party–except to spend campaign cash denigrating the tea party. However, many democrat voters can rethink their allegiance.

    “They are for strict fiscal discipline, free markets and smaller government, including unyielding opposition to Obamacare and Medicaid expansion.” That is the nut of it, you don’t have to go further to fairly characterize the tea party.

    “What has the Tea Party actually won?” Lots. You establishment types are worried.

    “Proposal 5 was the Tea Party’s big chance and they got completely trounced,” Martin said. “They can’t win at the statewide level because they are out of step with the mainstream.” A lot of other interest groups got trounced too–e.g. Unions. So the tea party got trounced on one out of 5 (?) issues! We’re doomed! /sarc

    1. Ronald

      Do you know anything about the history of this country? Do you think that the Founders of the country or, indeed, Abraham Lincoln, would have been concerned about “fitting in” to a party or orthodoxy? There is nothing convenient or comforting about democracy. On the other hand, if you are concerned about protecting the interests of those in power, fitting-in or rather falling-in line is important. Don’t you think that we have had enough of ” falling-in line” politics?

      1. Bryan

        Abraham Lincoln was a Whig. He didn’t fit in with them (on the issue of slavery) and broke off to join others in forming a new party — the Republican party.

        This is what the Tea Party lacks the courage to do. They are trying to take over and “reform” the Republican party. But they have nothing in common with the Republicans, no loyalty to Republican principles or respect for Republican history.

        Why don’t they create their own party — the Tea Party? Because that takes hard work and they are likely to fail. Instead, they are trying to take the easier road — by crashing an existing party and riding that party’s history instead of creating their own.

        If the Tea Party hopes to be taken seriously, they will have to find the courage and the skills to become a real political party — not fleas riding the back of a dog, but the dog itself. They cannot succeed by being RINOs.

  2. Rebecca

    If an elected official is so scared of a primary election that they will give in to an ideology that they themselves do not support, they should be ousted.

  3. Ron Libby

    For a balanced discussion of the Tea Party and its political strategy of “primarying” RINOs in Republican primaries see
    Ronald Libby’s new book, “Purging the Republican Party: Tea Party Campaigns and Elections.” The book will be published by Lexington Books and will be released on November 16, 2013.

  4. MaggieMay

    There is nothing pure about the Tea Party. They are a bunch of tantrum-throwing hicks who are all about, it’s their way or the highway. They have no intention of learning the art of compromise. This is pure ignorance and bullheadedness. IGMSY.

    1. kay

      You’re absolutely correct. I haven’t seen yet one yet who wanted to give up their Medicare and Social Security, but they sure think everyone else is a slime ball for wanting any kind of help.

      I think for the most part they are old, angry whites who have lots of time on their hands and make themselves feel important by joining the cracked tea pots. The ones I have seen at town hall meetings, etc. sit with sour expressions and ludicrous signs hanging around their necks railing against our government while they demand discounts on everything from McDonalds coffee to entry into state parks, etc.

      It is just pity that they somehow have gained any influence of any kind.

      1. Tammy

        Seriously, give up their Medicare and Social Security? They paid into that their entire lives. It’s their money! How does that compare to sitting on your rearend, only getting up long enough to get your check out of the mailbox after doing NOTHING to earn it! You need to find out what Social Security is . . . it’s like a savings account with a negative return that people who now receive it and live on it have paid into their entire lives. And this government that is so wonderful has stolen from that account for many years. So, unfortunately many who have paid into it for decades will probably not receive a dime. Oh, wait, we can borrow it from the Chinese . . . what’s another trillion among friends.

        1. H Wetters

          It is high comedy or tragedy to see so many of the Tea Party so opposed to government health care when they are not only on government health care but part of a model “single payer” system. If they are so philosophically opposed to government run health care they should put their bodies and health care in the hands of the private sector they so love. Tammy, it would be a deal for all of us to give back all the money individual tea party members have given to Social Security and Medicare just to get their old increasingly sick selves out of the system and that would relieve the shortfall in SS funding dramatically. I plead with all tea party participants to be true to their conservative principals and get the heck out of government run health care programs so they can be better funded for the rest of us who see their value and believe in them.

    2. Irene

      What you will find is we stand for the Constitution as intended by the founding fathers. Most of the people, including elected officials don’t even know what the Constitution says much less what it means. The Governor is more interested in how much federal dollars can he get instead of protecting States Rights. With every dollar we take from Big Brother the more freedoms we loose. Michigan has throw money at big business, Education and Welfare and everyone of them get worse each year. We are # 4 as a welfare state and around # 40 in education and yet we get expanded Medicaid and Common Core. We’ve lost population and small businesses and taxes keep going up. Go read the Constitution, we are fighting for Constitutional principles maybe that is why we are mostly middle age and older, we grew up with those values. Strange that we have to fight the elected officials when they take an oath to uphold the Constitution and then get mad at us when we insist they do.

    3. Ron Libby

      And you arrived at this profound insight how; by reading partisan attacks in the media?

    4. Donald Jones

      The so called Tea Party is a group of ignorant hypocrites who love to take advantage of government programs but don’t want to see others do so. These folks are far more dangerous to our country than foreign terrorists. It’s laughable that they consider themselves ” patriots “

    5. Martha

      They are out to overthrow our Government,
      They are nothing but a bunch of sheep led by people like Karl Rove and the Koch Brothers.
      What they don’t realize is that when the wealthy lead them into disaster they too will suffer the consequences

  5. MI Patriot

    The only time the GOP “needs” the Tea Party is when they have grunt work that needs to be done. Then they’re all over us. Door to door, lit drops, etc. The GOP hates the Tea Party because we almost ousted Schostack, we DID oust Anuzis, we DID help with Right to Work. Otherwise, as far as the GOP is concerned, we’re the red-headed stepchild of politics. When an elected official goes against what their constituents want, then they deserve to be primaried. Politicians are like puppies. You praise them when they poop on the paper, you rub their noses in it when they poop on the floor. Eventually they figure it out. However, there are a lot that will never figure it out.

  6. Mme Defarge

    The line that caught my eye was: ‘“I have grandkids, and I want them to know the America I grew up with,” one woman said.’ Well, perhaps they might be able to read about it, that is if Common Core prevails and her grandkids actually learn how to read (and if history downloads are provided for the schools, and– oh yes — public schools still exist). But to have the same social values, the same economy, the same newsprint-and-three-networks mass media? A delusional fantasy, not to mention utterly boring.

    Poor, frightened, confused Tea Partiers, they of the entrenched racism and homophobia, the rabid religiosity, the “keep govermint hands off my medicare!” thinking, they hail from a mythical Michigan where roads and bridges magically self-repair and the unions that won them weekends, safety standards and sick pay are somehow evil.

    1. Bill

      Right on. I too have grandchildren and I want the to know what it was like to have strong unions, good pay where I had enough to buy a home, raise my children and send them to college. This doesn’t seem to fit the Teapublican agenda of I got mine and screw you. I’m so sick of the ignorant tea party type.

  7. Robert

    Sad really, what the Tea Party has done to the Republican party. The party used to be a much bigger tent than it is now. It had room for fiscal conservatives and social moderates like Reagan and Gerald Ford. And if you read Ford’s book, that is exactly how he described himself. He’d be thrown out on his ear if he were alive today. I used to think of myself as a Republican, along the lines of Reagan and Ford, but now, I am an independant, voting more frequenty Democratic due to the influence of the Tea Party on the Republican party. Ultra right wing conservatism is just as bad as ultra left wing liberalism. Republicans might do OK in November 2014 if turnout is lower like most elections between Presidential elections. But their antics might just fire up the other side. And in 2016? Could be ugly for the Republicans if they keep bowing to Tea Party pressure.

    1. Larry Field

      Tea Party……Get off you a.. or Obama will talk and lie his way out of another mess…..Michigan was great but now….they are doing nothing…Tea Party shut down Obama calls it….call his hand….

  8. Barb

    The tea party will end and it will end badly for the GOP.

  9. Tammy

    Sad to see so many uninformed people reading this article . . . I have a 5 year degree, graduated Summa Cum Laude, have 5 grandchildren and have voted R my entire life. That ended last election. I am now voting principle over party. I am not stupid, I am not a hick (although I love hicks!), I have a History Major and know that this country is going over the cliff quickly! I am a “tea partier” and darn proud of it! Some on this page need to attend a tea party meeting and then remove the “racist hicks” comments. You are repeating what you hear from the lamestream media. Do your own investigating and form your own opinion! While doing your “homework”, spend a little time reading the Constitution and Bill of Rights. The federal government was given 4 jobs when our beloved country was formed. They were also told they needed to meet at least once a year (the Framers put this in because they were afraid that it could be years before the representatives met!) This bloated monster needs to be reigned in and all of you that believe just because there is an “R” behind someone’s name they will vote the right way need to wake up! Our country is in peril so quit being so gullible, quit giving your money and time and accolades to people who do not deserve it and become part of the solution rather than part of the problem! In short, join your local tea party!

    1. Chuck

      I’m quite conversant with the Bill of Rights and the Constitution. Your Tea Party rhetoric mimics the secessions speeches at the beginning of the Civil War. What did you learn from studying the Southern Secession in 1861? Did the people at the Philadelphia Convention indicate that they wanted their specific intentions to control the interpretation of the Constitution? I don’t see a nickels worth of difference between the Tea Party, Gloria Steinem, NOW and the Environmentalists of the 1970s who would do anything to save nature other than take a hard science course.

      1. Tammy

        If you are conversant with the Constitution/Bill of Rights why didn’t you comment about the 4 powers the federal government was given at the birth of our nation and why we’ve hired 200,000 federal workers in the last couple of years? It’s easy to sit at a computer and throw stones at people who work endless hours a week following legislation, trying to find conservatives to run for office etc – all on my own dime, I might add. The only reason I ended up on this ridiculous site is because someone forwarded me this article and I read the comments and felt even more sad for my state and country. We truly do have more “takers” than “makers” voting and commenting on sites like this. I’d be better off practicing shooting my gun and reading my Bible.

    2. MaggieMay

      Sorry, Tammy, I have investigated. I am also a college grad, with a Masters, Magna Cum Laude, and vote both parties. I do not and will never vote a straight ticket and I do not have cute little nicknames for people, like “lamestream media,” because I am capable of making a cogent point without having to resort to childish playground tactics to do so. I’ve worked in both the Federal and State governments and am quite familiar with the system and politics from the inside. The Tea Party is for amateurs and people who don’t have a grip on reality. I have a major in history too, specializing in both US and Michigan History both. The Tea Party will implode from within. This is for grown-ups.

      1. Jason

        no “cute little names” but plenty of hyperbole.

        nice try magna.

      2. Tammy

        My, my, my . . . in one paragraph you say that I can’t make a cogent argument because I call a media that refuses to cover what happened in Benghazi, sensationalized one murder in FL to stir racist activity to take the spotlight off of all of the “phoney scandals” surrounding this administration etc. “lamestream media” and you turn around and call me an “amateur” when you don’t know one thing about me other than the fact that I am tea party first, GOP second. Did you just make my point?

        This is why the GOP is losing ground and I disagree with the title of the article, it has no soul. There is no longer a difference between “R” and “D”. They’re all in it together – and I’d like to know what people are doing about it who are not active in a local tea party? That is, besides sitting around name-calling and repeating the same old lines we’ve heard since the beginning of this grassroots movement.

        Oh, and I will let my parents know, both in their 70’s who have worked hard their whole lives only to see everything, and I mean everything, being taken away so that those who refuse to get off of their butts and earn their own way can have a phone, flatscreen, laptop, etc. that they are the “amateurs” of which you speak and have no business being involved in politics. That realm needs to be left to all of you who have been on the “inside”. You’re all doing a fabulous job . . . YIKES!!!!

    3. Quinton

      Tammy, keep up the good work…you are destroying the GOP…as a middle of the road kind of guy, it gives me the hibbie jibbies to think of attending a “Tea bagger” meeting. Almost feel like I should take a gun to fit in…oh and a bible absolutely. I’m not being mean spirited…just a perception tea partiers give off to a lot of people including me!

      1. Tammy

        First of all, you need to tell me what a “tea bagger” is? I went to a Lutheran school, I try to live a life that brings honor to the gospel of Jesus Christ and I honestly don’t know what a “tea bagger” is? I only guess that it isn’t very nice because of the context it is always used in. I cannot speak for everyone at our monthly meetings but I do pack “heat” (got my CPL when this president was elected the 2nd time) and my Bible is always with me. I usually leave it in the car at our meetings, not because I am embarrassed to have it, but because I am afraid I will forget and leave it behind. It has been with me in all countries in Central America and a few countries in Europe when I went to teach English or do an eyeglass clinic for the poor who cannot afford eyeglasses. You are right, I do have my gun in one hand and my Bible in the other. It’s how I make it through the Dark Ages that this country is experiencing right now. I am actually surprised God has spared us this long. Certainly we’ve been worse than Sodom and Gomorroh since the 1970’s. Not sure we He is waiting for?

        1. Bill

          You getting your CPL because the President was elected screams tea part racism. You are just what this country needs to get rid of. The sooner the better.

          1. Tammy

            Has nothing to do with racism. I could care less what color of skin the POTUS has . . . He is “anti-gun” and is going after everyone’s guns. Since he can’t seem to get it done through the legislature he is trying to do it through a U.N. treaty. That’s why I got mine – before I would not be allowed to have one. Simple as that. Good try though . . .

  10. Denise

    When is the next meeting?

    1. Tammy

      If you tell me what town you live in or near, I can tell you what time and where the next meeting will be. I live in Midland and we meet in Auburn, Williams Twp. Hall on the 4th Tuesday of every month at 7 p.m.

  11. John

    Here, in Delhi Twp. the tea party voted against the incumbent Supervisor, a Republican who had been Supervisor for 10 years, and endorsed a local church leader. The incumbent Republican Supervisor would have been reelected in the general election, but lost his primary. End result: A Democrate Supervisor is now in office. The tea party has helped more Democrates get elected then any other party. It’s ‘their way or the highway’, and in 9 out of 10 elections it ends up being the highway.

    1. Joan

      To set the record straight of which John is quite familar with I am sure but took an opporuntity for falsehood….

      The only thing “Republican” (who was soundly beaten something like 70 to 30% wasn’t it “John” in the Primary ) supervisor was an R by his name. He was part of the long standing “good old boys” who like to control the Township with an iron fist and heavy taxes.

      This was a man who manipulated the process to have two Democrats appointed to Township Board,and was willing to take the Township into debt to the tune of $5.5 for an unneed sludge drier that even the the EPA had concluded wasn’t necessary (the Township has has Anaerobic digestion) BTW I am proud to report we defeated the sludge dryer by taking it to the community door-by door, and it was voted down even after numerous dirty tricks by said “Republican” to try and stop a vote

      Then after this “Republican” supervisor Stuart Goodrich was defeated he then teamed up with with Lansing’s Mayor Bernero to support the Democrat opponent and keep the “good old boy” overreach in Delhi. Anyone driving by his house would know that he had nothing but yard signs supporting Democrat candidates

      He now spends some of his time verbally harrasing folks who he thinks voted against him when voluteering at the Lions Club Township Brush Drop Off

      With “Republicans” like this who need Democrats? And now you know why he was overwhelming defeated!

      Taking out Goodrich and defeating the “poop” dryer were two of our finer local moments

  12. Joe Jurecki

    Not only will you see the primary of the RINOS but if Hansen wins the primary I will run 3rd party to try and keep him from office. We can make it very expensive tolose principles and go against the party platform during election time. Just look at Holly Hughes she lost by 333 votes to a Democrat yet the 3rd party canadate had 1500 votes

  13. Ann Carson

    I am happy to read all of the reviews posted. I live in Colorado and am having trouble becoming a member of our Tea Party, but I will push on. Thanks for all of the encouraging statements. Keep on plodding and preaching!

  14. Robert Copp

    Peerless article on the Tea Party in Michigan! Many thanks.

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