Friday, February 19, 2010
HAVING TEA WITH MICHAEL STEELE (P)
I'm a very proud member the S.W. Florida 9/12 Project and recently some of our esteem members attended the conference in Washington between the "Tea Party" movement and Michael Steele the head of the RNC... The following is an email that the three attendees so graciously shared with the rest of our group and I wish to share with you...
As many of you know, Cheryl, Terri and I went to the grassroots private meeting with Michael Steele last evening. We understand there is some controversy within the various conservative groups surrounding this meeting. Some are saying we shouldn't be taking a seat before what could be considered a “part of the problem”. We felt strongly that without having a face to face with party leaders we would be effectively shutting down the most important part of the process: that of allowing our group’s voice to be heard to the powers that be.
Over the course of the next few days, we will be explaining what happened here in detail, but first we wanted to give an overview of the takeaways from this meeting and address the concerns and the news.
We believe that to be effective leaders for the group, one of our main responsibilities is to take advantage of any opportunity to be heard by the leaders of every political avenue available. We believe that to be fully aware of someone’s intentions, it is best and most direct to simply ask them. We were very direct as a group last night to ask the RNC Party Chairman if his intentions were to co-opt the various groups and if the GOP’s intention was to fold on Healthcare Reform. We were very pleased by his answers on these questions and many others.
Overall, this was a fantastic meeting. Not only because of what Michael Steele said to us, but more than that, how much he listened to what we had to say. I mean really listened. We were slated to be there for one hour, we were in that meeting for going on 3.5 hours. That was quite a telling statement to us. The RNC is getting that it is high time they sat and listened, took it on the chin and heard what the groups that were represented wanted from our various leaders. It is important to note – we were not there representing the “movement”, we were there representing our group.
Mr. Steele made three key points to us:
1) Maintain the energy in our groups, amp it up where possible. We are having an earth shattering effect on Washington in general and the DNC/Progressives and their state-run media in particular. In fact, he stated it was nothing short of the effect that the founders had in the first revolution.
2) He made the very strongly stated point that WE are the answer to this country’s problems, not those in various offices or in party leadership. The RNC is looking to us for their marching orders, not the other way around. We are shattering the standards. We are the voters. We are acting in a way that old established Washington has no idea how to handle, understands it is way bigger then they, and has a sense of fear they will lose this particular war and he is glad to see us doing just that. Old establishment doesn’t know how to poll it, play it, combat it, and they don’t know what to do with it. The old standards aren’t working anymore and we need to keep that up. We learned that Michael Steele originated from DC and is a grassroots based individual whose goal is to shake up party establishment and return to a bottom up organization.
3) Get out the vote and run them if you’ve got them.
He also taught us the roles of the parties versus the roles of the RNC and the DNC, versus the candidates, the elected, and the people. It was very interesting and will be the next topic we go over on Friday. This is something we did not understand and we don’t believe many people do understand, yet it is very important for us to understand.
We made many points to him, which we will go over in detail in the coming days. The main ones were:
We do not desire to be co-opted. He answered very clearly that is not a threat at all. What we are hearing is spin and word twisting from left based media and the democrats, not the RNC.
We do not feel he is stating his message clearly at all. He is confusing the issues by what he says versus what he stated he feels personally to us last night, namely that he is one of us and not of “old party” which makes him the odd man out in Washington. We responded directly to that statement, then rid yourself of the “politi-speak” and make your messages very clear, direct, exact, because we aren’t getting your message.
Part two of that same question was that the ground game for conservatives is not there. We don’t hear the message as conservatives and if we aren’t hearing it, many voters not yet immersed in the movement aren’t hearing it or seeing it either. He stated that this will change within the next few weeks. There is an entire bottom up program being finalized now that the RNC will run with to provide us with avenues to utilize.
We stated we are VERY concerned about the Blair House meeting and we want a definitive answer on what their response will be. They aren’t strategizing and we require a strategy. He wrote that down and stated he would talk to minority leaders to encourage them to consider their alternatives and game plans.
We don’t want “the party of no” label. We want “the party of HELL NO!” label.
We voiced quite a few concerns about local issues, and he directed us to involvement with our local government, the NC’s and our voice there. We are already doing that as a group, but we need to step up even further. Our plans should be training and raising up leaders as well as strong involvement in local government and the political avenues available to us. Additionally he was very encouraging about the precinct involvement and explained where his duties lies in the scheme of things.
In closing there were so many interesting points made, things we didn’t understand but better understand now, things that he didn’t understand but has a better understanding now. Those we will save for future editions of this open dialogue. What Mr. Steele meant by “Republican’s aren’t ready to win”, among other key questions we have had, were explained in depth and made great sense, however he did agree that he is not being clear enough. The key issue I raised was grassroots doesn’t speak politispeak, he needs to be very clear when he makes these statements and his communication lacks substance. He agreed that he was not clarifying his thoughts enough. This is going to hopefully be the beginning of an ongoing dialogue. We are very encouraged and excited by the outcomes last night. The RNC from Mr. Steele’s perspective is that they are willing to do what WE need THEM to do within the perimeters of their role in politics and the political process. They hear us, and they do fear us.
When we ended our after meeting dinner meeting the group leaders agreed that our motto is “Independent but Together”.
Next edition will cover the role of the NC’s in politics. What we can expect from them as the election moves forward and what is not within their charter to do.