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    Tea Party event gave AIP a shining opportunity
       State Parties -> America's Party of Tennessee


    Although the recent national "Tea Party" protest events may have been organized by Republican insiders, there was still a shining opportunity for America's Independent Party.

    The recently-devised protest movement arises from a comment made by CNBC-TV financial reporter Rick Santelli, who said during a recent Squawk Box financial news telecast that he was going to organize "a Chicago 'Tea Party' in July".  Purportedly, a grassroots movement sprang to action.  And, in only a few days, lunchtime protest events have been organized in major cities across the country.

    But, was the movement really grassroots?

    And, if the target is the Federal legislation that promises to stimulate the stagnant United States economy, then why did the Tennessee Republican Party organize their rally at the Legislative Plaze of the state legislature?  Last month, the new session of the Tennessee General Assembly convened with a Republican majority in both houses for the first time since the Reconstruction era.  So, was Friday’s event an anti-Obama protest, or a pro-Republican rally?

    And, if the movement was truly "conservative", then why were only Republicans invited to speak?  If the cause was truly to preserve Constitutional government, then shouldn't the GOP have reached out to other political parties and groups that share those same goals?

    The national "grassroots" movement was partially coordinated by activists linked to the Heritage Foundation, a think tank that is aligned with the Republican Party.  One of the speakers on the dais at the Nashville rally told this AIP writer that the Williamson County Republican Committee had organized and funded the Nashville event.  Nashville is located in Davidson County, but many of the metropolitan area's wealthiest residents live in neighboring Williamson County.  That county is one of the top ten wealthiest counties in the United States.

    "This was not grassroots, it was Astroturf," said America's Independent Party national chairman Tom Hoefling.  He also recently served as the 2008 presidential campaign manager for Ambassador Alan Keyes.  A year ago, Keyes left the Republican Party, claiming that they had abandoned the principles that had once made them great.  Hoefling and other political leaders formed America's Independent Party around the principles that Keyes supports.  Last August, only four months after its creation. AIP surpassed the Constitution Party as the third-largest political party in the United States, according to voter registration numbers tracked by the non-partisan Ballot Access News.

    Despite the fact that the event was organized and highlighted exclusively by Repubicans, the final moments of the Nashville Tea Party at lunchtime on Friday belonged to America's Independent Party.

    According to local activist Tom Kovach, state AIP chairman, the Nashville Tea Party at the Legislative Plaza was aimed at the wrong target.  "Why would anyone protest Federal legislation at a State facility?  The national Tea Party movement organizers said to hold protests at the offices of Congressmen."

    As the event closed, Kovach approached the bullhorn and asked for permission to speak.  He identified himself as a former candidate for Congress, and also as the man that had filed a lawsuit against TN Governor Phil Bredesen to prevent the wasteful spending on an underground party hall at the Governor's Mansion.  That project has come to be known as the "Bredesen Bunker".

    Speaking for only 90 seconds, Kovach then led an impromptu march of about 55 people (from an original crowd of about 500) down the street to the offices of Congressman Jim Cooper.  Kovach explained his reasoning for the march, "Congressman Cooper made public announcements when he voted against the first version of the 'stimulus' bill, but then quietly voted for the even-larger version the following week.  He’s trying to fool the public, but we’re not buying his snake oil."

    Kovach also explained that the Repubicans had "aimed at the wrong target" by protesting Federal legislation at a State facility.  The goal of the impromptu march was to "hit the right target".  A side benefit was that the march proved that at least ten percent of people organized by Republicans are willing to consider another political alternative.  The march had no prior advertising.  Kovach simply "worked the crowd" with his simple message that Federal legislation should be protested at a Federal office of the Congressman that supported the bill.

    The march stopped at a small urban park across the street from Congressman Cooper's office (which, oddly, is located at the Main Public Library in downtown Nashville).  There, people shouted toward the office.  Kovach then asked if anyone wanted to accompany him into the office to voice their concerns directly, as there was no guarantee that anyone inside could even hear the shouts through the thick library walls.

    About 40 of the 55 people then followed Kovach into the offices of Congressman Cooper (whom Kovach had challenged on the 2006 ballot).  Two staffers invited the protesters into a conference room, and listened to the protesters' comments.  But, according to Kovach, who was standing right next to staffer Brenda Wynn during the entire meeting, she did not write down any of those concerns.  At some point about halfway through the meeting, two Nashville police officers came inside Congressman Cooper's office and stood behind the peacefully assembled citizens.

    When asked, Ms. Wynn claimed that no one on Cooper's staff had summoned the police.  Undercover police had been observed shadowing the protest march and talking on a cell phone.  In May of 2006, when a national protest movement caused hundreds of illegal aliens to block the streets of downtown Nashville and other cities, the mayor of Nashville had announced that the police would not confront those protesters.  In September of 2006, when peaceful American citizens rallied in favor of better border security, four to five times as many police officers were assigned to observe the law-abiding Americans standing at Legislative Plaza as had been assigned to observed the illegal aliens that actually disrupted the city.  Apparently, the officials of Nashville think that Americans obeying the Constitution by peacefully seeking a redress of grievances bear more watching than do violent illegal aliens blocking downtown streets.

    Although local print reporters and TV news crews were at the event -- and most of them know Kovach, and have interviewed him in the past -- none of those news outlets mentioned America's Independent Party by name.  Only one of the four local TV stations mentioned the march to Cooper's office, and that station said that the marchers were "part of the same group that organized the rally".  The entire point of the march had been that the organizers of the rally were at the wrong place, thus a breakaway group was needed to deliver the right message to the right elected official.  But, unless a person was in the downtown march, or got information from one of those marchers, the news media didn't tell the public the AIP story.  One reporter did follow Kovach and the other marchers to Cooper's office.  The reporter took many photographs, but did not ask Kovach any questions.  When Kovach asked the reporter whom he represented, the reporter replied, "The New York Times."  So far, however, the NYT has not published any coverage of the march.

    Regardless of the obstacles placed by the political Establishment -- whether from the Big Two political parties, a jaded news media, or from officials at City Hall -- the fact remains that America's Independent Party is rapidly becoming a force on the political landscape.  American citizens are seeking a group that actually takes a stand on America's Principles.  They are finding AIP, because they are seeking grassroots and not Astroturf.

    To learn more about America's Independent Party, click:


    Posted 2009-02-28 5:07 PM (#8357) By: Tennessee

    Great job Tom Kovach!  Great AIPNews reporting.
    Posted 2009-02-28 5:20 PM (#8360 - in reply to #8357) By: Philomena

    I was at the event, and Tom did an excellent job. The only possible explanation as to why it was held by the state building is that one speaker mentioned that the Governor said he may not accept the funds. I could see them wanting to let him know that we do not want Tennessee to take the borrowed money from China.
    One interesting note is that every speaker, except the GOP representative, received loud applause. The GOP representative was received with a luke warm response. I spoke with several people at the event and many said that there is no difference between the Democrats and Republicans. I gave them the AIPNews website and invited them to check it out. Word of mouth is the best way to get out the message.
    I was encourged to see so many people who can tell what's going on. They all can see the Socialist/Communist writing on the wall, and will not stand for it. Several mentioned that they will do everything in their power to take back our country.
    Fran MacLeran

    Edited by TMacLeran 2009-02-28 7:53 PM
    Posted 2009-02-28 7:51 PM (#8374 - in reply to #8360) By: TMacLeran

    Excellent work everybody.
    Posted 2009-02-28 8:17 PM (#8377 - in reply to #8374) By: EternalVigilance

    This should be "Required Reading" for all AIP affiliates;

    Well done Tennessee and a special 'Hoo-rah' Tom Kovach!

    Posted 2009-03-01 11:28 AM (#8402 - in reply to #8377) By: gcsteven

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