Buck Goes Moderate, A Pyramid Scheme, a Montana Step Down and A Georgia Split – A Tea Party Roundup
There’ so much action in the Tea Party these days, it’s almost impossible to know where to begin.
First, Colorado Republican senate candidate Ken Buck is trying his hardest to do what all politicians do after a heated primary — head to the center. And with a trail of very conservative stances to try and backtrack over, Buck has hit his website for a moment of “reinvention” according to his opponent.
From the Denver Post:
Edits to GOP Senate candidate Ken Buck’s campaign website show him changing stances on stem-cell research and Afghanistan — something his campaign attributes to a cleaner message but his opponent says shows he is “moderating” earlier positions.
Buck campaign spokesman Owen Loftus said the website — which was updated before Buck won the GOP primary against Jane Norton — doesn’t reflect a change in positions but is a simple improvement on message and clarity.
“It’s ridiculous to say we’re changing our positions,” Loftus said. “If you’re using that argument, we would have made our positions stronger because at that time we were in the heat of the primary.”
Loftus said Buck stands by all his positions.
Someone who may find it difficult to take a more moderate stance if she wins is Delaware’s Tea Party candidate, Christine O’Donnell. This senate candidate is so extreme that she appears to be causing an actual schism within the Tea Party itself, with the Tea Party Express, the fundraising activist arm, declaring it will put all of its force behind her, just as Freedom Works, a Tea Party sponsor, has said it is inclined to back off in its support.
Via USA Today:
More evidence that the “Tea Party” movement is not monolithic:
FreedomWorks, a D.C.-based think tank that has been providing organizational support for local Tea Party groups, has decided not to jump into Delaware’s suddenly interesting GOP Senate primary.
Rob Jordan, who tracks federal and state campaigns for FreedomWorks, just told us that the group won’t be putting resources into the campaign of GOP insurgent Christine O’Donnell. That’s intriguing news because:
- FreedomWorks activists, in Jordan’s words, “are not fans” of the candidate O’Donnell is challenging for the Republican Senate nomination, veteran GOP officeholder Mike Castle, and
- As USA TODAY’s John Fritze has already reported, the Tea Party Express is going all in for O’Donnell. Leaders of the California-based group are hoping to repeat the upset they helped pull off last month in Alaska, where attorney Joe Miller came out of nowhere to knock off Sen. Lisa Murkowski in the GOP primary.
The great Tea Party breakup may make some start to question what exactly the movement is about. Well, for one Georgia man, the Tea Party could be an excellent way to try and make a little money – via pyramid scheme.
Talking Points Memo reports:
Is there anything more patriotic than a get-rich-quick scheme? The folks over at TeaPartyBizOpp, a pyramid scheme targeted at the tea party set, don’t seem to think so.
Billed as the “first ever patriotic home based business opportunity” and the place “where you get paid to help defend our freedom and stop Liberal Tyranny!!”, TeaPartyBizOpp offers like minded liberty-lovers the chance to “make up to $50,000 or more a year helping raise funds to defend our freedom.”
The pitch begins like this: You pay a minimum of $12 a year and get a “Platinum” membership (for $24 a year you can get the “Platinum Silver” plan, and “Platinum Gold” would cost you $50). And then, according to the site, “50% of your annual membership fee goes to finance conservative causes, and a large portion of the rest of that membership fee goes into our dynamic compensation plan, that pays each Independent Rep for their efforts to enrol [sic] other members….”
Once you’re all signed up, you’re supposed to start recruiting new members, and most importantly, get them to pay the membership fee. For your trouble, TeaPartyBizOpp will “pay you for your efforts of telling others about this opportunity – and we believe in paying you well, to give you alot [sic] of incentive to go out and sign up other members!”
So: buy in, get paid for recruiting more people to follow in your footsteps, and repeat ad infinitum so everyone keeps getting paid. Sounds almost too good to be true, right? Right.
There’s no mention if they give you tips to keep the fed’s dirty hands off your hard earned money.
Finally, as our own Steve Williams reports, the head of the Montana Tea Party was ousted for making jokes about killing gays. And it only took a little over a month.
After posting anti-gay remarks on his Facebook page, a former Montana Tea Party president was ousted by the group’s board and expelled from the party on Sunday, but this move has angered some and has caused the group’s secretary to resign in protest.
The Helena Independent Record reports that Kristi Allen-Gailushas, the now former secretary of the Big Sky Tea Party Association who is also a Republican nominee for Montana House District 82 but has not received assistance from the party, has resigned her position over Ravndal’s expulsion.
She is quoted as saying: “They didn’t even listen to Tim and what he had to say. They were just worried about the [Montana] Human Rights Network and the ACLU and what they were going to say.”
Indeed, the Montana Human Rights Network had called for Ravndal’s dismissal. On Tuesday the group praised the board’s swift action and added that they hope the party will continue an unequivocal opposition to such rhetoric.
Undeniably though, this is an issue that seems to dog the Tea Party as it seeks to define itself outside of the fringe reputation it has become associated with.