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Rogues of K Street: Confessions of a Tea Party Consultant
  • January 10, 2011 : 03:01
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The same day, blogger Erick Erickson wrote, "In Texas, Tea Party activists have rallied to Debra Medina, who just yesterday refused to definitely dismiss the 9/11 truther conspiracy as crackpot nonsense. If a candidate cannot do that, we cannot help that candidate. It’s that simple."

Our candidate-interview process is pretty simple. The candidate is asked two questions:

(1) Are you a birther?
(2) Are you a truther?

If the answer is anything but "no" or "hell no," the conversation ends right there. If the candidate answers correctly, the conversation continues, looking at viability and whether we can have a worthwhile impact. The reality of this litmus test is as patriotic as practical. Donors don’t contribute to lunatics.

Many of our friends think the print media, MSNBC and CNN are out to get them. A February New York Times article might as well have called the Tea Party a bunch of freaks. It linked the movement to the 1992 Ruby Ridge standoff, Indiana Senate candidate Richard Behney (who says he’s keeping his guns ready if the 2010 election doesn’t go his way) and Lyndon LaRouche groupies. Nuts inhabit every group, of course, but most reporters aren’t paid enough to actually report.

The reality is the Tea Party as we know it will cease to exist within an election cycle. Its ideas won’t go away, but most of its leaders will. That’s because most self-appointed leaders in this world simply don’t know how to win.Mark my words: Without proper experienced guidance they will fuck it up. Rallies don’t win elections—votes do. Their egos are writing checks their organizations will never cash. In this world, anything from the Beltway is tainted. With the exception of one other person, the rest of our team is no less than 700 miles away. Therein lies the rub: Most people living in the hinterlands tend to have trouble mastering the finer points of creating and funding 501(c)(4) organizations and leveraging that support into targeted independent expenditures in races in which limited soft dollars can make a difference.

Tea Party members are into less sexy things than a missing birth certificate, such as the national debt and privacy. They watch Fox News and read blogs. They’re conservatives, but don’t call them Republicans. They are intense followers of bloggers such as Jim Hoft (Gateway Pundit), Andrew Marcus (Founding Bloggers), Glenn Reynolds (Instapundit) and Mike Flynn (Big was created last fall as part of Andrew Breitbart’s growing media empire.

The exciting news for me is that the organization still needs someone who can deliver a message to the masses using traditional means. Even the most forward-looking political professionals know blogging and text messaging will get you only so far. That’s where I come in. I’m part of the team prepping to deliver the Tea Party message via traditional means.

A good piece of mail gets its message across in 10 seconds. Television gives you 30 seconds, maybe. We’re playing to the reptilian brain rather than the logic centers, so we look for key words and images to leverage the intense rage and anxiety of white working-class conservatives. In other words, I talk to the same part of your brain that causes road rage. Ross Perot’s big mistake was his failure to connect his pie charts with the primordial brain. Two years after Perot’s first White House run the GOP figured this out, and thus was born the "angry white man" and with him a 54-seat swing in the House of Representatives.

The mail you’ll see from me this fall won’t have much to say about gays or the unborn. We have new foils, such as the Troubled Asset Relief Program and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Leveraging rage about a bailout for mega-millionaires and an $800 billion "stimulus" that has barely moved unemployment below double figures is a cinch compared with explaining why Bobby and Joey’s marriage is bad for America.Designing a thank-you note from an imaginary Wall Street executive to working-class taxpayers is so much more rewarding than most other messaging campaigns. With new variable-print technology, the postcard can be personalized and won’t look as though it was printed overnight at Kinko’s.

Dear [insert name],
I received my Troubled Asset Relief Program check from you and other taxpayers and wanted to personally thank you for your money. I will now be able to keep the third car and vacation home by [insert name of nearby vacation area].

I particularly want to thank [insert name of congressman] for ensuring billionaires like me do not have to worry about petty things like mortgage payments and retirement. [insert name of congressman] has been instrumental in making sure billionaires like me are protected.

Warm regards,
[name of Wall Street billionaire]

P.S. [insert name of our candidate] opposes runaway government spending. He will vote to protect taxpayers, not billionaires like me.

Bill Hennessy leads the St. Louis Tea Party and serves on the board of Ensuring Liberty. He has more in common with Joe the Plumber than with Mitt Romney. Hennessy will tell you he likes to stand up to bullies like Obama and congressional Democrats because he refuses to accept "their brand of happiness served up on a spoon." He’s a new-media guru from flyover country.

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