The organizers of the April 15 Chicago Tea Party claim that they rejected a request from RNC Chairman Michael Steele to speak at the event, but Steele claims that he never asked to speak. The real story here is that the GOP is trying to muscle in on the Tea Party Movement, but not all Tea Parties will be alike.
The Don’t Go Movement’s National Communications Director, Juliana Johnson said in a statement yesterday, “Steele hasn’t shown any interest in this movement until now, until the cameras are rolling. We denied his invitation. In addition, this is a nonpartisan event, not an RNC event.”
The Executive Director of the Don’t Go Movement, Eric Odom posted his email reply to Steele’s scheduler’s request, “As I mentioned on the phone the other day, I very much appreciate the fact that Chairman Steele is now finally starting to reach out to the true grassroots side of the free-market movement in America. Unfortunately, it appears that he has only just decided to reach out after realizing how big the movement has gotten and how much media is now involved.”
Odom then said no to Steele’s request for stage time, “With regards to stage time, we respectfully must inform Chairman Steel that RNC officials are welcome to participate in the rally itself, but we prefer to limit stage time to those who are not elected officials, both in Government as well as political parties. This is an opportunity for Americans to speak, and elected officials to listen, not the other way around.” However an RNC official says, He never asked to speak. There was never an expectation nor formal request for our participation.”
The real problem here is not all Tea Parties are alike. Some like the one in Chicago are springing out of the grass roots Ron Paul movement, while others are becoming Republican Party events. Many of these events are being bankrolled by GOP lobbyists like Freedom Works, while others are sticking to their roots. The problem is that Republican Party has gotten so desperate that they are trying to co-opt the Tea Parties and turn them into strictly anti-Obama gatherings. The GOP is going to try to claim a mass protest victory for Republicans on April 15, when many of those who show up, may not support the Republican or Democratic parties.
The GOP is pushing into an area that they don’t belong in. Tea Parties have been going on around the country since the Paul campaign, but they now decided to jump in when they are fragmented and in desperate need of publicity. It is my opinion that the grass roots organizers turned down Steele, as they should have. The GOP treated the Paul supporters like kooks that they couldn’t be bothered with, but now they want the concept of the Tea Party so they are stealing it.
I can’t wait for Republicans to see that will be unwelcome at the real grass roots Tea Parties, if they try to make this partisan. Steele is a publicity whore who loves the cameras. Of course, he wanted to speak at the Tea Party in Chicago, which is President Obama’s hometown. The whole GOP explanation is a lie, born out of trying to cover up the fact that Republicans are not very popular either within the true Tea Party movement. The GOP would be best served to stick the events that they are funding and staging, because they are in for a shock at the true grass roots events.