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Tea Parties Richard Falknor on 01 Nov 2013 08:01 pm

Maryland: No Longer The Land That The Tea Party Forgot?

Last week Capital New Service’s Lauren Loricchio reported here (via Parkville-Overlea Patch) that “Maryland’s Largest Tea Party Group Grows After Shutdown” and cited –

“Sam Hale, a Linthicum resident who founded the Maryland Society of Patriots, [and who] said, ‘I wasn’t doing any advertising for my group, we didn’t have a meeting, and I picked up 80 members on Facebook.’ The group currently has nearly 1,700 Facebook members and more than 3,000 people subscribe to its email list, Hale said. Hale attributes the increase in support to media attention the tea party received as a result of the 16-day government shutdown. Despite the increase, Hale said he doesn’t believe it will affect the political landscape in Maryland. ‘There hasn’t been a really big impact at the statewide level,’ Hale said of tea party influence on Maryland politics.” (Highlighting Forum’s)

But Ed Hunter –Tea Party organizer and grass-roots activist here (Town Hall statement on Fox News’ Greta), here (“Overpass Media”), here (working with Virginia Tea Partiers demonstrating in Eric Cantor’s district) and here (Refugee Resettlement testimony) —  took issue with what he saw as the thrust of Hale’s position–

“The thing people will notice is Hale’s defeatist tone when he suggests we can’t do much in Maryland.  Many will see in his words a lack of inspiration or leadership or vision. Will this also be seen as an insult to the people who bothered to join? As a cruel waste of their hopes?
He claims that 60 people joined his group on Facebook. Surprised by the growth, he wonders whether media attention to the shutdown might have caused it.  Instead of Sam Hale’s approach, how about something like the following:
‘The Tea Party is the true voice of the American people. There are many millions of  people who have been abandoned by the fusion of the parties especially at the Washington level.
We are sending the message to them that the Tea Party is their home and we welcome them home. In Maryland we have a unique opportunity because we are so near the Federal system that has become so corrupt. Those who wish to express their rejection of what the US Government has become and return it to the Constitution will find us as hosts  and allies.
We hope to organize a TPAC, an alternative to the tame, and Establishment CPAC which has betrayed its members’ hopes.  We are moving forward. We hope our real conservative GOP friends will join us.’” (Highlighting Forum’s)

Our take: there is a broad culturally conservative base in the Old Line State, as well as a deep reservoir of those who quite rightly believe they are vastly overtaxed and overregulated.  Understandably, many of these citizens have found the state Republican Party ineffective. How congenial is the G.O.P. to Blue Collar Maryland of all ethnicities when its chair here and the sole Republican U.S. Representative here flirt with amnesty? And why run the business risks of joining the opposition party in a one-dominant-party state if that opposition party has few fixed principles and won’t make serious trouble for the dominant party anyway?

The Maryland GOP and its politicians fell far short last year on two unusual outreach opportunities: they failed to put full energy and resources behind the referenda against gay marriage and against in-state tuition for illegals. Both these referenda did better here than governor Mitt Romney in 2012 in Maryland.

The state needs an energetic, organized conservative-grass-roots organization drawn from all parties. But the problem is like the one school reformers face: deciding whether to shut down a failing high school and start a new one with a new team, or to try to rehabilitate the failing school.

Whether to rebuild or replace the Beltway-Establishment-linked Maryland GOP is an open question.

Most important, however, Main Street and Blue Collar Maryland citizens will want to know — “who speaks for us?”

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