I got a call today from someone who is supporting Steve Stewart for City Commission here in Tallahassee. They asked me, as one of the founders of the Tallahassee Tea Party, to make it public that Steve Stewart is not a member of the tea party. What I learned is that one of Stewart’s opponents, Scott Maddox, held a bizarre press conference today and blasted Stewart for being a member of the tea party.
Oh, the pandemonium!
This whole episode is telling. This person, who identifies with the tea party herself, feels the tea party must have such a negative perception among Tallahassee voters that she was nervous that Stewart would be grouped in with the tea party and that there would be a backlash against him from independent voters.
I had to stop her and tell her – let’s not forget – the tea party is not a political party. Heck, it’s not even partisan! The tea party is a movement of ideas built on the constitutional principles of limited government, personal responsibility, and fiscal conservatism. The last time I looked, these are not conservative or liberal principles. These are bedrock American principles that more than 70% of Americans agree with. And those that don’t agree with them are fiercely opposed to the U.S. Constitution itself. These principles are what make this constitutional republic what it is!
The tea party movement also has another aspect: it is a group of Americans who are mostly new to being directly involved in the political process. Opposition to government bailouts and reckless spending is what first motivated those in this movement. But also, unfair representation by elected officials is another factor that drew more than 2,000 in Tallahassee to the state capitol on April 15, 2009. When politicians were unwilling to listen to their constituents, their constituents threw a tea party to get their attention. Today, you cannot go to a city in America – large or small – without finding a tea party group. That’s how big this movement is!
So, for someone like Scott Maddox to scorn the tea party so publicly tells me something. It tells me he himself has disdain for the core American principles of limited government, personal responsibility, and fiscal conservatism. Given his record and the charges of corruption leveled against him, he is going after the one group that can seal his fate: 70% of the voting bloc of America, which is reflective right here in Tallahassee. Let’s face it, with all the allegations against him, Maddox is trying to draw our attention to a bogeyman to blame his problems on.
For the record, there are no official “members” of the tea party anywhere in America. So Steve Stewart is not a “member” of the tea party any more than he is a “member” of this great country we call America. The City Commission race is non-partisan, but it’s no secret where Maddox and Stewart are drawing their support from.
I think if more people became aware that Maddox stands so squarely opposed to the core American principles that the tea party movement is fighting for, he will have one heck of a job getting elected to the Tallahassee City Commission. He has just admitted publicly that he is no friend of the U.S. Constitution or the idea that constituents should be fairly represented and listened to by their representatives.
It’s time for Tallahassee to wake up and let Scott Maddox know we won’t tolerate another career politician like him.