Tea Party

My name is Mark Williams, I'm the Libertarian candidate for the US House of
Representatives, 12th District. I had a problem with My Liberty San Mateo (Tea
Party), which part of a group called Independence Caucus this Thursday April 29.
I received a email inviting me a to meeting of My Liberty San Mateo, for a Q&A
for the Republican candidates for the 12th District House of Representatives
California. When they took my information down a few weeks ago I told them I was
the Libertarian candidate for the district so they should have known. Since I
was not invited to speak I went there as a citizen of the 12th District. I asked
two questions and when they found out I was a candidate they said I was chicken
Sh*t, yelled at by a member of the group saying we didn't know you were a
canidate, and told had no right to asked questions. After the meeting their
leader, Leonard Stone sat down with me and told me that third party candidates
where not welcome because they take away votes from Republicans, so much for
liberty. I had spoken to Mr. Stone two weeks earlier and introduced myself as
the Libertarian candidate and gave him my card so he knew who I was when I was
at the meeting. I feel this treat does not represent independence, liberty, or
integrity that the Tea Party says they stands for.
Mark Williams

Mark, as you are finding out, the Tea Party is a fiefdom that represents the thoughts of its leaders, not its members, just like your average affiliation.

Some leaders are conductive to free expression, and some are not.

Just as with any party, because you read "tea party" you shouldn't assume that they are pro-liberty or anti government.

Its a brand. And its marketed as such. But brands lie. It is good that you are denouncing them for doing so


I am so sorry for your unpleasant experience. Yes, it appears that the Tea Parties started out as issue driven (less government, less taxes), but have morphed into now clearly an engine of the Republican right (maybe because third party folks stayed away during the formation period and forfeited their chances of exercising influence?). It is also true that each Tea Party group may have a different attitude towards "outsiders"; however, it is my perception is that overall, they do subscribe to the idea that third party candidates are a liability to their cause. Perhaps best we can do is understand their position, remain friendly, and politely point out the differences between their brand of "liberty" and ours.


Hi Mark,

  Good to see you on this list. Will you be coming to an LPSF meeting to talk about your campaign? We have one coming up this Saturday, 3-5pm at the SF main library, with a social afterward at a nearby restaurant from 5-6pm. They are the second Saturday each month.

  Yes, the Tea Party movement is a bit of a mixed bag, but it's certainly not monolithic, and many of the people involved are libertarian on many issues. Phil Berg (LP candidate for Congress in District 8 against Nancy Pelosi) was invited to speak at a recent SF Tea Party event, and although he was out of town, I actually did go and speak. I made sure to hit points that emphasized civil liberties freedoms ("War on Drugs," freedom of movement), and while many in the crowd were hostile on the latter issue, nobody complained about me being there as a Libertarian that I'm aware of, and a number of people thanked me for speaking out.

  Since the Tea Party movement is amorphous and grassroots, there's also nothing to stop us from holding our own "Tea Party" events or organizing under that name, although given the un-libertarian associations many people have with the movement, it's debatable as to whether libertarians *want* to try to claim the title. If we do use it, we should probably attempt to distinguish ourselves from non-libertarian Tea Partiers somehow. Certainly I think we can work with Tea Party groups on areas where we agree, or take advantage of speaking or other opportunities they may offer, as with any group, but I think the Campaign for Liberty folks are much more sympatico on the whole, as far as other grassroots groups go.

Love & Liberty,
        ((( starchild )))