Who would have ever thought that high noon would take place in Oswego, NY? Who would have ever thought that in a place known as the New York 23rd Congressional District – which borders Vermont, Canada and Lake Ontario, that includes such big cities as Potsdam, Watertown, and Plattsburgh – the true story of tea parties would be told, Americans would realize their undeniable power and politics as we know it in America would be knocked on its ear.
The backstory is simple. The NY-23rd is a Republican stronghold, and has been for a number of years. The previous US congressman, John McHugh, resigned in September to be come the new Secretary of the Army, and a special election is scheduled for November 3rd. Two weeks before the election, in this highly Republican district, the Democrat, Bill Owens, has 33 percent of the vote. Why is it that a Democrat is leading the way? Well, that is a question for the GOP in the NY-23rd. Their candidate, Dede Scozzafava, has 29 percent of the vote.
Enter Doug Hoffman. He’s an accountant. He’s running on the Conservative ticket. Two weeks out, he has 23 percent of the vote. And over the past week, he’s been endorsed by former Congressman Dick Armey, Steve Forbes, Congresswoman Michelle Bachman (R-MN), former Senator and presidental candidate Fred Thompson (R-TN), Governor Tim Pawlenty (R-MN) and former Governor Sarah Palin (R-AK).
Republicans not endorsing the Republican candidate? Strange? Odd? A total collapse of GOP politics in the US? No. It’s very simple:
Principle. Not Party.
The concept of “Principle. Not Party.,” has been a central tenet of the Tea Party movement. It requires us to view all candidates for elected office based on their words, their plans and their values. No longer are Americans going to be dependent on an (R) or a (D) in front of the candidates name, nor will we feel any pangs of guilt or anguish for voting “third party.” The Tea Party movement has emboldened, and enabled, every American to take serious stock of their candidates, and to vote for those who best represent their ideals.
The concept has confused as many as it has enamored. Those who live with their head in the sand, in a politics as usual world, are shell-shocked – like the GOP in the NY-23rd. They believed, through a veil of ignorance, and navel-gazing ego, that they could nominate anyone, and the vote was assured. It didn’t matter that, like in the case of Scozzafava, the candidate has ties with ACORN through a group called the Working Families Party (she sought their endorsement in 2004 as Assemblywoman,) and is rumored to have discussed switching parties for this special election.
What mattered to the GOP is that they nominated a Republican, and that everyone will fall in line to vote for her. Ignorantly, they paraded like The Queen in “Snow White”, claiming their candidate to be the fairest of them all. None of them, however, dare look into the mirror. They are victims of an ego driven past, worrying not about the voter, but rather their ill-timed sense of “getting along.” So, they nominate a terrible candidate, and then sit back, believing that their base will once again do what they are told. After all, what are you going to do – vote for the Democrat?
Principle. Not Party.
However, those who have been aware, and awake, are not surprised at all. They recognized that the GOP in the NY-23rd was playing in the realm of politics as usual, and reminded them that these are not politics as usual times. The surging that followed by the Conservative candidate Hoffman is not something of a miracle. It is something of sheer will, total common sense and an undeniable reality, inspired by the power of the Tea Party Movement. So undeniable, that it will forever shape the landscape of the GOP – and politics for all parties in the United States. The American people are done with politics as usual, and the Tea Parties are the sole catalyst for this change. A change that started in February of 2009, continued to April 15th, 2009, through the Town Hall Summer of 2009 and has continued since the march on DC on 9/12, the West Coast rally of 912West and the hundreds of Tea Parties throughout America since that first one in February.
This change is quantifiable, as opposed to simply a catchy slogan. The Tea Parties demand an observance of (what I refer to as) The Four Basics: The Constitution, Capitalism, Fiscal Responsibility and Smaller Government. When a voter within the Tea Party movement looks at a candidate, they first look to those four basic principles. If the candidate follows The Four Basics, then they are acceptable (but, by no means is a vote assured!) From there, we look at other factors, and other candidates who also follow The Four Basics. Candidates, elected officials and current “party” leaders who fail to recognize, and accept this as the new reality, will be tomorrow’s footnote.
One week out from the vote in the NY-23rd, the Conservative Hoffman is in the lead with 34% of the vote. The Democrat Owens has 29% of the vote. The Republican Scozzafava has 14% of the vote. The reality is deafening, as the American voter is screaming.
Principle. Not Party.