NDTPC has had some of its membership provide arguements for the founding positions the caucus has taken upon its creation. As the caucus grows and matures some of these positions may change but they provide an understanding of the conclusions best reached in the formation of the caucus to provide the best chance for growth and success.
The arguments are: (click on the respective question to jump to the article)
The question of whether the tea party in our state should organize has been debated since the first tea party rally in April of 2009. Each rally since has provided those in attendance with the confirmation they were not alone in identifying the problems we face as a country and state. The exact solutions to these problems, however, were as plentiful as the number of citizens taking part. Thankfully, there was one unanimous sentiment after each rally, what next?
Great efforts were necessary to stage a rally and also attend one. A sense of camaraderie and motivation was shared by all. These feelings can be fleeting if not directed towards something tangible and measurable. The motivation to do something direct will not last forever nor be sustainable just by attending rally after rally. Focus is necessary to capture the essence of these gatherings to obtain practical and influential results.
The current state of the tea party in North Dakota takes two different paths. One path consists of functioning groups spread across the state of various membership sizes. These respective groups have defined missions and are serious about influencing the political process. Each group acknowledges publicly the results defined by their mission statement will only be achievable through the involvement of concerned citizens statewide. They realize the limitations of their respective group if the mission is left only to them.
The second path is of the tea party individual who is as committed as the group to being part of the solution to the problems facing our country and state. This person may not feel comfortable in a group but stands on his/her own, open to uniting with others. He/she knows that their impact would be much greater if others joined him/her in the battle.
The issue then before us is recognized by all involved. The tea party must unite across the state for it to have the required impact in our political process. Individuals and groups must rally together with a shared mission of forming a union that stands stronger together than each of its respective parts does apart. This union is created with the formation of a caucus.
A caucus is defined as meeting in order to deliberate together regarding a measure of party policy. Is this not exactly what is required for the tea party to increase its depth and scope? As mentioned earlier, all identify the shortcomings of standing apart so logic dictates we either move forward as a caucus or form our own party (the argument against this will be made in a separate article). A caucus allows tea party people and groups many options in the future as growth and political decisions take place that at this time cannot be predicted. How these new “realities” are responded to can also not be predicted but those responses will carry much more weight when initiated through a statewide network of input.
For the caucus to be effective it will take the involvement of all tea party people and groups statewide. They either want the tea party movement and what it stands for to be effective or they don’t. It is not rational to be half in and half out. An unwillingness to join the caucus can only be for two reasons. The first is a belief that a single group or individual can “carry the day”. This argument has been refuted above but in no way can a caucus demand involvement. The caucus can only be effective by the involvement of its members. Without members it does not exist and without the caucus’s existence the tea party movement will not reach its full potential in our state. It should be stated here that groups do not join the caucus but should ask their individual members to join the caucus and the group should include in its stated goals the main goal of the caucus. This would only be reasonable.
The only other possible motive to withhold membership in the caucus is because its views do not represent the group or individual. There will be an argument for the caucus charter in another article but for this argument let it be said that such a rigid view will also lead to the individual or group taking a “my way or nothing” attitude resulting in limited influence because of a narrow appeal, again leading to a lack of effectiveness all agree is preferred.
The logic and reason laid out in this article will hopefully persuade you the path of the North Dakota Tea Party Caucus is one you can agree with. It is our mission to unite tea party people across our state and with your involvement we will do so.
The coalition that Ronald Reagan was so successful in galvanizing involved three basic elements of conservatism… social conservatism, fiscal conservatism, and foreign policy conservatism.
While many conservatives embrace all three elements, some do not. So, until we are all “perfect in our conservatism”, we must stick together. In fact, the very association with other conservatives is what helps us mature our views as we begin to take on more of a world view of our lives, the lives of those around us, and the lives of people we don’t even know…but can still learn to respect as fellow human beings.
Even though we may generally agree on 75% or 80% of political issues, each of us has a tendency to think of 75% or 80% as unacceptable. But the truth is, even though we do not agree on 20% to 25% of the issues, we must still embrace each other. The opposition feeds on our internal strife, so we should attempt to minimize it by respecting the diversity of opinion within conservative ranks.
Because even areas within North Dakota exhibit different political “textures”, it is important to let localities retain their individual identity concerning issues. We must remember that we are all members of the “Leave Us Alone” coalition and most of us understand that the “Takings” coalition is close to bankrupting our country both fiscally and morally, which eventually erodes our national security as well. It is for this reason the charter was written in constitutional terms rather than issue driven. Chapters or groups should be allowed to express their own “texture” on specific issues. It is local membership that makes up these chapters and it would be unrealistic to believe every chapter will feel exactly the same issue by issue. What is important to one part of the state may not be as important to another.
We must add numbers to the fold so we can all grow as individuals together. If we were to require “litmus tests” on specific issues and expel those less than 100% pure, we would be a small group indeed and would not grow intellectually from the diversity of opinions shared and lessons learned.
When the time comes for voting in district meetings, conventions and the polling booth, our commonalities will reveal themselves. Until then, it is wise for us to learn as much as we can from each other and minimize internal disputes. We must focus like a laser on defeating the “Takings” coalition in every contest. We must rally around those principles we have in common to make their defeat all the more certain.
As our frustrations as Tea Party participants mount, there has been growing interest in “dumping” the Republican Party and forming a third party. This certainly looks like a healthy direction upon first blush. Throw out the unfit and fill the ranks of the new party with the good guys, those who value what made America great in the first place, the adherents to the American Constitution.
There is a better, easier and far more effective way to achieve what we need. An example: Many years ago in a North Dakota community, the local Republican Party organization was holding its district convention. As the “regular”, long-time party members took their seats they began to be outnumbered by a crowd of people who had never participated in party events before. These people came in, voted on and passed on platform items, selected delegates and candidate, everything.
This was a battle plan originated and carried out by a local chapter of a “professional association”. What they had been unable to do from the Democrat Party by defeating Republicans at the polls, they handily managed by simply walking into that room. Get it? The residue of this disaster has remained in office in our state’s legislature ever since. One of the “Republican” contingent from this town boasts the third from the worst voting record of both parties in our state legislature. Elections have consequences. But this cloud has a silver lining. What the professional association/union did we can do.
Now the reason these people stay in office, even in these times, is because they are running as “Republicans”. Do you see where this is going? They must run against Democrats. There is no chance that the Democrat/Left agenda will not be served by this. It is what I call the “body-snatcher” school of political science. The place normally held by a Republican/Conservative/Libertarian contender is taken by a Democrat or “liberal”, a “progressive Republican”. It is a manoeuver which leaves “us”, the Conservatives, Libertarians and Constitutionalists, no place to turn. The common convention is that we must “hold our nose and pull the lever” because the “Republican” has to be better than the Democrat.
So how does this all translate into a plan? The tea party organizations are full of energetic, patriotic, thinking citizens who are highly motivated to make a difference and save our country. We love America and that is a powerful inspiration. It would be a fairly simple matter to take back our own party. It won’t be done by a rally or by simply writing a letter or making phone calls, although all of these will help. The real change will take place at district and local and county party conventions. Here we need to apply ourselves. The North Dakota Tea Party Caucus and its affiliate organizations are here to help in this effort. We can’t turn around the result of decades of sloth on our part and aggressive socialism on theirs in a day, a week or even a month, but do it we must. We need to work on this every day, not on our days off.
We need the numbers, the tea party people, physically at these conventions. We need to make common cause with one another. No one will ever say that tea party patriots are easily “led”. By nature we are freedom loving individualists, so it will take discipline to hear each other out and present a united front.
Know everything about the people you elect at these events, don’t just listen to what they say at the meeting, but what they’ve been saying for years, how they’ve behaved. It is surprising how easily it comes to some to get the feel of a room and play to it. But once you’ve assayed the integrity of your people support them! We can take back the Republican Party one local district at a time. It sounds slow, but if we all do this at once it will happen very fast indeed, far faster than trying to establish a new party! In fact, this is the only way to do it.
America has always been well served by a two-party system. Whether it was Whigs vs. Democrats, Federalists vs. Republicans or Republicans vs. Democrats. This reliance on two major parties has given us greater stability and growth because it has ensured that a majority supported the winning candidates. This must be conceded even when “our” party loses. Nations which have many political parties are constantly on shifting ground, with rule by minority/plurality parties, coalitions of parties in temporary alliances on specific issues. America has been stronger for a two-party convention. A one-party system gives us the Soviet Union. Three or more give us Italy.
We don’t have time in America today for exercises, games or experiments. We need real, tangible solutions now. Our history instructs us that third parties fail in their stated objectives. The Bull Moose Party of Teddy Roosevelt gave us one of our worst presidents, Woodrow Wilson. The Reform Party of Ross Perot gave us Bill Clinton. None has ever succeeded in electing its candidate in modern history. We don’t need this.
We have a lot of “equipment” invested in with the Republican Party. It is so ingrained as to be a permanent part of the system. While we don’t advocate donating to political parties but rather specific candidates and supporting organizations, the parties still generate massive fundraising. Our representatives in Washington caucus with one another and approach the business of governing America from the perspective of two-party politics. The terms, “party politics” and “partisanship” have been maligned. They are perfectly good concepts. It simply means that some of us look at government and politics one way and some of us see it in a different way. Partisanship is a good thing in a free country, not a bad thing to disparage.
If we use the party there already, the Republican Party, and replace those who do not represent the ideas we feel it should express, we have no need of third parties. Those who believe in the kind of Republican Party we want will stay with it and the others, like Charlie Christ, Jim Jeffords or Arlen Specter, will leave. Let them. Let them find a home to their liking in the Democrat Party or simply let them be the third party. This third party talk among tea party conservatives is like standing on our own front porch and wondering where to go. We should go inside and throw the squatters out and reclaim our own home.
The next election will then be won by Conservative Republicans, with no need at all of a third party.
During the election of 2010 citizens of various states had the opportunity to endorse Tea Party candidates on their respective ballots. Candidates such as Lee, Rubio, Bachmann, and Paul won their respective races while others like O’Donnell and Angle did not. The endorsement of these candidates involved a process that all must agree we have not yet developed in our state.
It does not take a leap of faith to realize the endorsement of the candidates mentioned above developed from intense debate and a statewide organization in their respective states. The particular candidate could not have been the only person interested in running for office nor could their success in winning the nomination been possible without the network on the ground to do the heavy lifting. It should also be obvious to anyone with an open mind that the Tea Party in North Dakota has not yet reached that level of sophistication.
It is understandable that various motivated groups around the state would want to take a lead in the selection of qualified candidates but this is putting the cart ahead of the horse. What benefit can there be in naming a candidate for a particular office if the endorsement does not carry sufficient “weight”. An endorsement done by twenty people here or thirty people there is really nothing more than an endorsement by a single individual. Such endorsements are certainly legitimate to the individual or the group of twenty or thirty but it must be asked would it not be more effective if the endorsement came from hundreds or thousands? Did Lee win the endorsement of a dozen Utah Tea Party members or a majority of thousands?
The main goal of NDTPC is to create a network where an endorsement can come from such numbers. To do so we must take a step back and create the foundation for which direct involvement and intense debate can lead to an endorsement that can carry the day regardless of office. The caucus with a bottom up structure cannot prevent any local chapter or group from deciding to endorse a particular candidate nor can it guarantee once a candidate is endorsed that all members vote for the endorsee.
The argument here is to hopefully refocus the direction individuals, chapters, and groups take as the Tea Party establishes deep roots in our state in the coming years. Together we will get to where everyone wants to go. In the future there will be candidates endorsed by the Tea Party in our state and if we do it together with statewide involvement those candidates chances of success will be greatly improved.
Elected officials in our state who do not understand the Tea Party wonder about it’s motives. Due to their misconceptions, brought on by not directly engaging the Tea Party, they assume all incumbants are enemies of the movement. This theory is continually posed and subjectively answered by so many outside of the Tea Party movement. Well, what’s the answer?
The real question is: Should all politicians worry about fulfilling their pledges to adhere to and protect the constitution of the United States of America? If they do, and their actions represent that concern, then no, they absolutely need not fear or worry about the NDTPC in the sense that they will be ousted in the heat of a Tea Party uprising. If they are the type of politician whose agenda and voting record are incongruent with the tenets of the constitution, then perhaps they ought to seek a network of support outside of the NDTPC as tea partiers will typically take issue with a non-constitutional approach to governance.
Does this approach to support or opposition of elected officials require a record of 100% compliance with the NDTPC or tea party activists? Certainly not. The NDTPC is a dynamic group of individuals with varied areas of concern and equally varied perspectives regarding issues of constitutionality in governance, but should any politician continually abuse his office by initiating or supporting legislation which clearly runs crosswise with our founding documents, he must expect to hear from a cohesive contingent of said caucus with a clear message to be taken very seriously. That message being, “We are watching your activity as our representative, and we will be active in the next district meeting, endorsing convention, and election”.
To summarize, politicians are elected to serve their constituents and upon taking office, are sworn to uphold our constitution. All they have to do to curry favor with the NDTPC is do exactly what they pledged. By following this simple formula, no elected official should fear anyone, as their political actions are backed by our founding documents, that is, the law of this great land, the United States of America!
What a great nation we live in! Freedom and liberty, – strength of spirit and soul rooted deeply in the history of those who labored so hard to establish the Republic in which we live. A Republic made for the people and of the people, fit together by a groundwork of principles we call the Founding Documents, The Constitution, The Declaration of Independence and The Bill of Rights , which give limited power to a central government, strongly limited by the rights of the individual states and its’ self-governing citizens.
The exceptionalism of this land that we so dearly treasure has been a cornerstone in America’s progress forward. The faith in the fact that “God shed His light on thee America” has been a comforting lighthouse through our relatively short history. America has gone through times of deep challenges through wars and soul searching repentance of evils like slavery, but has always come through on the right side of the Providence so highly regarded and attested to by the likes of Washington, Lincoln and Reagan. But as of late, the hearts and souls of Americans have been stirred, the grass roots, if you will, have awakened due to an alarm that has rung deep within us. We are concerned, worried and yes, even sometimes angry at what we sense to be an attack on our freedoms, on our right to liberty and self-government. Most of us do not even have the right words to explain why we are concerned, but concerned we are indeed, to the point of assembling together, peacefully protesting what we see as a wrong direction for America. We are stirred to speak out, to gather and to act. That in essence is a “caucus”. The natural gathering of people of like mindedness for a purpose greater that your own personal gain.
When a few gathered about our collective concerns, that is exactly what came to fruition, – a Caucus, the North Dakota Tea Party Caucus. It is the right of assembly, the right of representation, the freedom of speech, the desire and right of self-government that arises in us all when we see a decline in our society. It is not a gathering to start something new, nor to establish a party, but rather to dig deep into our rich history and foundation to re-discover the great gift the Founding Fathers (and mothers) of America gave us.
We collectively see a political ideology in government today that with sinister arrogance expresses that the deeply held values and moralities of our founding, tested by history and found blameless, are of no consequence and should be no longer applied. This paradigm shift has consequences in the totality of our society, fundamentally changing the direction of the economy, education, family and even the security of our nation we so take for granted. So the right to assemble, the right to caucus, with likeminded men and women becomes a necessity in order to loosely organize opposition to such invasive and unconstitutional government, and to assure rightful representation of the people in all matters. That is the essence of what America has seen in the past two years with the Tea Party growth across the nation. Granted, we must understand that within the ranks of the Tea Party movement, we have differing opinions on particular issues, and ongoing honest discussion on issues will always be an important part. However, the underlying and fundamental concerns for Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness bring us together, – caucusing, in order to effect the restoration of America.
History over and over tells us that intrusive government does not long sustain freedom or liberty, nor does it ever cause prosperity. And with the loss of individual liberty, we always see a great fall of time tested values of morality occur. All are interconnected and frightfully dangerous if allowed to stand unchallenged.
So, as Americans, as North Dakotans, we have the right, the will and the duty to caucus, and thankfully the freedom to do so, – thereby continuing a great tradition born in the hearts of the first Americans, to effect the governing of our land.
So, would you join our effort, – bring your gifts, talents and concerns to the NDTPC, – we need you! Only by speaking out and getting involved in the process will government actually come to you. Government comes to those who show up, – those who are willing to enter the arena and who spends himself for a worthy cause. Let’s walk that extra mile together to defend America and her exceptional greatness. It will surely cost you your time and energies, but is it ever important at such a time as this!
There are several reasons why we as members of the NDTPC choose to work within the Republican Party at this time. Most of the members espouse the core principles articulated in the 2008 National Republican Party Platform. From the Chairman’s Preamble comes this statement:
“This is a platform of enduring principle, not passing convenience…as the party of ideas, rather than a mere coalition of interests, we consider vigorous debate a strength, not a weakness. Indeed, we are a party – as we are a nation of mavericks.”
At the national level, the Republican Party Platform http://www.gop.com/2008Platform outlines a conservative philosophy in regards to the role of government and the policies which are enlisted to carry out that role.
At the state level, the Resolutions compiled by the North Dakota Republican Party during the 2010 state endorsing convention solidly incorporate these principles and lay the groundwork for a government which “provides for the people only those critical functions that cannot be performed by the individuals or private organizations.” (from Resolution #18)
Taken from the section in the National Republican Party Platform entitled “Reforming the government to serve the People” the following statement frames the discussion as to the purpose of the Republican Party:
“The Republican Party will uphold and defend our party’s core principles, constrain the government to its legitimate Constitutional functions, unleash the power of enterprise, innovation, civic energy and the American Spirit and never pretend that government is a substitute for family or community.”
Our Founding Fathers recorded in the Declaration of Independence that “no government long established can be changed for light and transient causes.” It is in this spirit that we commit to work within the established party as long as those who execute the party functions are committed to the above stated purpose and willing to exercise vigilance in the legislative process which fleshes out these beliefs in policies and programs.
Now read and compare the above statement with the purpose statement from the DNC platform:
A great nation now demands that its leaders abandon the politics of partisan division and find creative solutions to promote the common good. A people that prizes candor, accountability, and fairness insists that a government of the people must level with them and champion the interests of all American families. A land of historic resourcefulness has lost its patience with elected officials who have failed to lead.
Note the difference in the actors–in the Republican Party it is the people who will uphold the principles laid out by the party – relying on their own inherent power and rights as well as their creativity and grass roots connections to family and community to accomplish their goals. The DNC platform immediately collectivizes the subject- no longer individual members of a voluntarily organized party of like minded people, the actor is now a “nation” calling on the GOVERNMENT to abandon their voluntary associations and work for the “common good.” It is not the people who have the power to decide- it is the vague entity of the land (which has an uncanny resemblance to “the state”) which must now take over where the people have failed.
This brings up the second reason why work within the Republican party- not only is the purpose in the hands of the people, the purpose is under girded by a philosophy which supports the preeminence of the people over the government and champions the God – given rights of every individual to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The founders were reluctant to add to that basic tenet because they really believed that if I work to protect my rights, my neighbors rights are protected as well. www.tenthamendmentcenter.com
Because the building blocks of a free society, i.e. the home, the church and the classroom – were firmly established on self-evident TRUTHS–further safeguards were not necessary.
The Golden Rule was taught in the home, the church and the classroom and was considered enough without help from the government.
The third reason is clearly articulated in the position paper on why not a third party- simply a two party system is the most conducive to conducting a representative democracy as demonstrated in the last 238 years in promoting a cohesive and well functioning republic which is able to prosper and stand against enemy forces which threaten to undermine national sovereignty and liberty.
As for the core principles of the party, follow the link to the Republican Party platform and compare it with the principles listed in the NDTPC charter. www.NDTPC.com
- Limited government
- Individual rights – life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness
- Free enterprise
- Simplified tax code
- Traditional family values
The NDTPC caucus was created to strengthen the influence of conservatives who believe the party establishment has veered off course. At both state and national levels, it appears that some Republicans have given quarter to the idea of an “active government” and at times the boundaries between the Republican and Democrat parties are blurred in order for politicians to avoid an “unpopular position.”
We believe the boundary lines – based upon principles and not political expediency- should be drawn where they are recognized by all so that the choice is clear. We will work to hold elected officials to the planks of this platform or they will experience term limits on election day.
This republic was designed for self-government; to be a citizen-politician is a sacred trust with the purpose of service and not self-promotion.
Our aim is to inform, educate and increase the awareness of the electorate as we begin to “Take back the soul of the Republican Party.” As we work to energize the grass roots and bring focus to the priorities of the Founders, we believe America can be poised to have a “new birth of freedom” and we can accomplish the ultimate goal as a free people:
“That the government of the people, by the people and for the people shall not perish from the earth.”
As we make the intentions of the authors of the constitution known to the average voter, we believe the political landscape will change to reflect the will of the American people once again and not the “land” the “nation” or the “village”
The world is only a stage–as is any political party or organization –WE THE PEOPLE – are the actors created by God with the heart, soul and minds to govern and make it a great place.
We’ll do that as Republicans as long as we can.