We Can't All Be Washingtons, But We Can All Be Patriots!
We anticipate making a motion in the near future regarding whether to endorse candidates, a mechanism for determining endorsements, and examining the potential benefits of our endorsement. Here were some of the things discussed:
- There are members who believe the viability of the Patriots is dependent on endorsing candidates
- There are members who believe the Patriots should be educating the electorate and endorsing ideas (as represented by our Core Values) not endorsing specific candidates
- We could endorse candidates through a simply majority vote for any office in which the patriots have a representative interest
- We could limit endorsements to a compelling majority (2/3, 3/4, etc.)
- We could establish a "Patriot Approved Candidate" process. Under such a process, we could review candidates (might include a questionnaire) and, assuming they are in align with our core values, they could receive designation as a Patriot Approved Candidate. We would need some value added for the candidate in order for this to be meaningful (maybe a link to their web page; publicity for door knocking, fund raising, etc; or a small blurb advertising the candidate).
I know there is a lot of passion on this issue. Please keep your comments positive and focused.
Lester and Nicholas,
I am very much in favor of your ideas.
I like the way the Family Foundation does their Virginia General Assembly Report Card. They essentially have a list of some key votes (20 total) in the VA house and senate. They then grade the incumbents on how they voted. We should do something similar and allow the non-incumbent challengers to add how they "would have voted" if given the chance. To do this, we would need to define some specific criterion such as lower taxes, smaller government, etc. and be specific about what that means. Then we can hold all the potential candidates up against a standardized measurement so voters can be comparing apples to apples. In this way we are not limiting ourselves to specific endorsements since many of us realize that there can be multiple candidates who are qualified for a given office. The VA US senate primary is a primary example of this. At the same time, one has to realize that approving multiple candidates in a primary can split the vote causing an undesirable candidate to win. Decisions decisions...
I agree that having more than one candidate who meets our criteria can be a problem in a race where an undesirable candidate is also running can be a problem. Still it is better than having no good candidate. I do not believe we are in a good position to try to be "king-makers". That is a tactic used by the establishment, and it usually comes to no good end.
I have heard that some of the other tea party groups are endorsing candidates. I would like to know how many are and how many are not. For those that do, what criterion do they use? Let's vote on an existing successful practice adapted from another group and not reinvent the wheel.
I don't mean to put the cart in front of the horse, but I think that while we are discussing the endorsement of candidates, we need to consider what type of support we are willing to provide any candidate that we would endorse. In my opinion, if we think enough of a candidate to endorse them, we should be willing to work to get them elected. As we just saw last week, these elections tend to be very close and I believe we need to do whatever we can to get an endorsed candidate into office. Again, I realize that we have not made a decision on endorsements, I just think we also need to consider the overall impact if that is the path we take.
Tim, Your concerns are very much a part of the endorsement discussion. The criteria, the process, and the practical effects of an endorsement are all things that we need to iron out in order to come to a decision that will stand the test of time. I hope to gain some insights this weekend into what other groups are doing and how well different approaches are working.
I appreciate all the thoughtful feedback so far. I agree there is much to be thought through regarding the process for approving/endorsing should we choose that path. However, I am hopefuly we can take this one step at a time. We want to see Patriots engaged in our process and part of that is reaching agreement on bigger ideas and then allowing our committees to brainstorm a proposed way forward to implement those decisions. That gets more members engaged in areas where they have an interest and a passion. That isn't to say others cannot provide them comments and feedback. However, the idea of committees is, understanding progress doesn't allow every decision to be made by 400 people, we place areas of responsibility with smaller groups of folks. While we are not tied to their recommendations, I would expect them to be ready for a vote (perhaps with minor changes/amendments).
Let us consider those ~350 people that infrequently attend periodic meetings. This point is worthy of another discussion/thread that the leaderships can shepherd into the future. For we know that one of the hallmarks of the Tea Party movement is that many of these people who support the ideals of the movement have jobs, lives, and families. They cannot attend all these meetings but still want to be involved in what little ways they are able. The organization needs to consider supplying the mechanisms for involvement whether that be sub-comittees, on-line meetings, or some other means that others might want to brainstorm. The reality is: we can't all attend meetings and be "leaders". Some just want to support, encourage, and help from their homes and everyday lives. Let us be creative and give those seemingly uninvolved members a few niche opportunities. How are other Tea Party groups involving those on the periphery successfully?
Well said. We have folks who, through their membership, have expressed an interest in maikng a difference. We have an obligation to find creative ways to help them do just that. I think Scott's effort to break us down by district is a move in that direction. We need others.
It seems to me that we should determine our mission for next year first and then address this issue.