Explanations, not endorsements
In law and in principle, the Greater Boston Tea Party does not endorse candidates for public office. Many of us joined the Tea Party movement because of our dissatisfaction with the way that both political parties have conducted themselves on Beacon Hill and in Washington. Some of us joined because we were tired of a top-down system that marginalizes our concerns, attempts to dictate to us how we should think, and believes that our elected elite know better than we do how to run our own lives. Still others joined because the current political system does not adequately address our needs and concerns as constituents.
As a matter of principle, the Greater Boston Tea Party – a diverse, grassroots coalition – does not endorse candidates. We did not need nor want from self-anointed Tea Partiers what we did not want from the self-appointed elite on Beacon Hill and in Washington.
Furthermore, as a legal matter, the Greater Boston Tea Party is a non-profit group, aiming to apply for 501(c)(3) status after a year of operation. We are prohibited, by that and campaign finance laws, from endorsing candidates for state or federal government. In fact, we can’t even suggest that someone should be elected for town dog catcher, let alone endorse a candidate for the United States Senate.
Nevertheless, it is important that Tea Party Patriots – engaged citizens who, a bit over a year ago, would never have dreamed of becoming political activists – are knowledgeable about the candidates and the candidates’ relations to the Tea Party movement.
Tea Party Action and Affiliation
Two of the candidates, Scott Brown and Joe Kennedy, are on our mailing list. Both have attended events (for this, we take both gentlemen at their words). To our best knowledge, Martha Coakley is neither on our mailing list nor has attended any of our events.
None of the three candidates has been active in the organization, promotion, nor development of any of the three Tea Parties that have been held in Boston (i.e. Tax Day, Independence Day, and the October Health Care Rally).
In December, the Brown campaign reached out to the Tea Party movement to schedule a meeting with the group. Approximately 150 members attended a breakfast, held in Westborough at the beginning of January, to listen to Sen. Brown’s explanation of why he believes that he would best represent the Tea Party principles. Amazingly, in conjunction with this event, Tea Party members from across Massachusetts contributed an astounding $12,000 to the Brown campaign.
After the invitation from the Brown campaign was distributed, we received two inquiries from the Kennedy campaign, including one purportedly from the candidate himself, asking for a similar meeting with our members. We attempted to confirm such an event by asking for details – date, time, place and any fees – and were never contacted again.
In the interest of fairness, in late December I emailed the Coakley campaign to ask if they would like to meet with Tea Party members to address our concerns and begin a dialogue with the people she is campaigning to represent in Washington. In the email, I suggested a similar format to the Scott Brown event. As of today (12 January), I have not heard back from her campaign.
I welcome additions, clarification, and explanations by each candidate.