Interesting that Tea Party groups are called hate groups but many of the thoughts expressed on this thread are at best full of animosity and at worst bordering on hate themselves. Here's a challenge to all of you who believe so many awful things about the Tea Party. Instead of venting online, I challenge you to meet the Chattanooga Tea Party face to face - to openly discuss these issues and concerns with those you are maligning. As the leader of the Chattanooga Tea Party I'd be glad to do so in a peaceful, respectful manner. And I'd invite Drew Johnson from the Times Free Press to moderate it. It seems this would be much more productive and revealing as to what we really believe than simply regurgitating comments that may have no validity. And of course, if all that you contend is valid, what better opportunity to expose the Chattanooga Tea Party in a public forum for the "hatemongers" that you all believe us to be. What say you? Are you up to the challenge? I think I know the answer but hope you will accept. Online venting is cheap. Face to face dialogue takes courage. Which is it?
No doubt some will read what I've said and suggest that perhaps I'm the radical. That's a regular accusation from those who have never spent any time with a self-professed tea partier. They simply regurgitate the talking points of the media or other radicals (just as the writer of this opinion piece has.) So let me share a few of my "radical" beliefs:
I believe the federal government should live within its means.
I believe spending $1 trillion more per year than a government takes in is tantamount to a crime.
I believe that Republicans and Democrats are both to blame for much of the problem we have today.
I believe that limited government is better than growing, expansive government. (Note I did not say no government.)
I believe our US Constitution is the supreme law of the land and our courts and elected officials should honor and follow this document rather than assailing it at every turn.
I believe in the free enterprise system. While not perfect, it is the best system ever known to man for creating individual prosperity and freedom.
I believe that life is sacred from conception to natural death. And what God has created man should not destroy.
I believe that marriage is between one man and one woman - a definition that has served not only our nation but our world well since the beginning of time.
I believe our nation was founded upon traditional Judeo-Christian values. As we distance ourselves from those values, we invite the moral, spiritual and fiscal decay of our nation that we are seeing today.
Now if these ideas and values are radical or extreme, then I plead guilty!
Now, care to share some "sweet" tea with me? It's my favorite!
PS. And a note about my friend and fellow tea partier Gregg Juster. Given Gregg is a former pro golfer, his endorsement of Corker playing golf with Obama is suspect! Ha! :)
Given I am the one that is quoted several times in this article (Mark West), I felt I should respond and fill in some of the missing blanks. More than likely, most of the critics on this page have never been interviewed by a reporter. So they probably don't realize that an excerpt here and a partial thought there does not frequently reflect the entire message that was being communicated during a 10 minute conversation. So let me set the record straight.
Yes, I was critical of Corker and Obama meeting.
But am I bitter? No.
Am I teed off? No.
Are we throwing tantrums? Ha! That's funny to even read the charge.
Here's what concerns me and was communicated in the entire context of my discussion with Chris Carroll. I shared with Mr. Carroll that Barack Obama is, in my view, the most radical President our nation has ever known. I could spend the next week recounting the ways in which he is a radical. But I'll likely not convince many of you of that fact so suffice to say that this is merely my opinion... as well as that of millions of other Americans.
This perspective was shared with the reporter. And based on that perspective, it is my firm view that the beliefs, values and policies of a radical are seldom if ever changed.
If Corker believes that playing golf with Obama will result in some momentous break through with the likes of this President I would suggest he is sorely mistaken. There is nothing -- "nada" -- in Obama's track record that would indicate he is willing to compromise on any issue of any significance. He never has, and he never will. He is an ideologue at best, and a dangerous man at worst.
Let me pose a question. Why didn't Obama ask Senator Cruz or Senator Paul to play golf with him? These two men represent the greatest threat and challenge to Obama's agenda in the Senate. I would contend it is because Obama recognizes he has zero chance of either of them endorsing his radical agenda.
Whether it's schmoozing Corker at a White House dinner or enticing him to a round of golf, Obama sees Corker as an easy target. And Obama's wining, dining (and golfing) appears to be paying off.
Corker fancies himself a conservative, or at least he alleges this to the voters, yet his record reveals a different picture. (Just as Lamar Alexander does, but that's also a different story....)
As far as the allegation that tea partiers believe it's patriotic to be a roadblock, actually, I take that as a compliment. When someone seeks to steal and destroy, any efforts to halt or stifle his efforts is typically viewed as positive. So when it comes to Obama specifically, and Congress in general, spending $1 Trillion annually more than they have, that can only be called stealing -- from our future generations. Pure and simple. So keeping this man and his cronies (and Republicans who enable his agenda) from spending dollars we don't have is patriotic in my view.
Continuation from above...
So, while very short and to the point, if Ms. Ali supports and/or promotes Sharia in our state, this should cause serious concern to not only GOP groups across Tennessee, but to all citizens of all backgrounds, regardless of their race, religion or sexual orientation. By the way, if one’s sexual orientation is homosexual, they in particular should be concerned over any promotion of Sharia law, given its response to that life choice.
Finally, understand that Sharia is not simply a system that deals strictly with finances anymore than the Constitution deals simply with Free Speech or the Bible deals solely with eternity. No, Sharia is a comprehensive system of laws that touch every aspect of one’s life and, if implemented in our nation, would fundamentally transform it - in a way that you and I would totally reject.
Hmm, as I recall, it seems like I remember some other person in 2008 using that same phrase, “fundamentally transform...” How has that worked out for us?
Drew, I have to say that your article, while certainly provocative, is unfortunately laced with troublesome distortions and omissions and worst of all resorts to the underhanded tactics of the left.
Rather than simply acknowledge that one could have a disagreement on a policy, you have stooped to calling folks names that I thought would only come from the likes of Pelosi, Reid and Obama.
"Racists, homophobes, and bigots..." Really? Come on Drew. Let's debate on the issues themselves versus resorting to this kind of denigrating name calling which is not only unbecoming but is in fact, false.
First, many if not most conservatives, Republicans and Tea Party members consider themselves social conservatives. It would appear you don't include yourself in that significant majority. That's ok if you aren't but it's not ok for you to disparage a majority segment of our state and nation’s population that agrees with the Republican platform’s stance on traditional values.
You cite the GOP's platform as being one of "fiscal conservatism, free market economic principles, low taxes, transparency and limited, responsible government." Conveniently though you omitted the entire section of the same platform that continues to prominently support the Sanctity of Human Life and Traditional Marriage.
Recall that it was Ronald Reagan who consistently held that his Party would only succeed as it acknowledged the importance of all three legs of the Republican stool: Fiscal Conservatism, Strong National Defense and Social Conservatism. I believe you have forgotten that your stool won’t sit too well with just one or two legs.
Finally, as to the decision by Haslam to pick a person who, while she may be brilliant and talented, there are certainly valid reasons to express concern over her potential approval and promotion of Sharia law. There’s not enough time here to address the myriad of dangers represented by advocates of Sharia law, but suffice it to say that any honest analysis of Sharia law will conclude that a nation, society or culture that accepts Sharia will ultimately be called to reject any other system of law, which in our case is our Constitution. This is already beginning to happen in nation’s across the globe who disregarded similar warnings by their concerned citizens.
MountainJoe, the Mayor could have saved the city and its citizens the turmoil and expense of the Recall if he had been willing to consider the plight of his citizens in 2010 and resort to the same budgetary approach that all of them had to take -- belt tightening. But rather than approach a budgetary shortfall with the idea of "let's see what we can cut" Littlefield took the easy way out and raised everyone's taxes. It's always easier to spend than it is to cut. But good leaders don't shirk the hard stuff. This is where Littlefield has failed and his legacy will confirm this, in my view.
Mr. Brook's tax policy (and that of COA's) was amply reflected on the sign he carried when protesting at the 2010 Tax Day Tea Party Rally at Coolidge Park. It stated: "Tax the Rich!"
What a misleading article as well as the faulty conclusions from some of the comments here. Counting the tally of one of one socialist democrat against the tally of one of ten republicans is such a misleading headline. But I guess we should be used to it from certain reporters. Further, for some readers to then conclude that $23k in donations to our socialist President versus $37k in donations to the collective republican field qualifies for Chattanooga becoming more blue is a puzzling conclusion.
Payingattention - great rebuttal to Mr. Brooks' outrageous and hypocritical positions. Amazing that a guy who is overly eager to condemn corporations has himself established one in such a manner so as to minimize or avoid taxes. While it's completely legal, it should expose him for what he is -- someone who is more than ready to use the system to his advantage while condemning others for doing the same. Hmm, isn't that just what he has condemned Chuck of doing -- advancing his own self interests?
There is so much misinformation and downright falsehoods in this article and in many of the comments to this article. To be clear, I did NOT vote for Chuck. But one has to be willing to ignore the facts or not give a rip about average Americans to attack a bill that would cut taxes for 52% of Americans. Yes, that's right, 52% of Americans pay capital gains tax. Reduce the tax rate on capital gains and the historically proven result is greater taxes to the treasury because people will invest more of their capital - thus increasing the total tax collected. As far as Paul Smith's comments that we should merely focus on public sector jobs repairing infrastructure that's very short sighted. So our nation is going to put millions back to work permanently by investing in short term projects? Sorry, the way to permanent jobs is to see small and mid-sized business open and grow. And the way they do that is with capital.
Finally, Mr. Brooks, when have you paid any taxes? Get real with your facts. I would speculate that Mr. Fleischmann has paid more in taxes over the last 10 years than you have made in your life. Obama and the rest of the Main Stream Media (including Mr. Carroll) love to under-report and/or misrepresent the facts about who is really paying the taxes in our nation today. Surely you know that the wealthiest 1% pay 37% of the tax in our nation (while earning 19% of the income). The top 10% pay 68% of the tab while the bottom 50% pay 3% of the tab. So who is really shouldering the lion share of the tax burden in our nation?
So critique Chuck all you want. We should hold our elected officials accountable. But ultimately a cut in the capital gains tax rate is a cut for a majority of Americans and is just the program our nation needs to free up capital and get the wheels of pure capitalism turning again in our nation.
Good call Chuck!