Monday, July 19, 2010
Tea Party Express Holds Press Conference In Anchorage, Alaska, Refuses To Throw Mark Williams Under The Bus
The Tea Party Express showed up in Anchorage, Alaska on July 19th, 2010, and during a press conference, chairwoman Amy Kremer refused to throw out-of-favor spokesman Mark Williams under the bus.
The Anchorage Daily News reports that Kremer explained that Williams resigned from the chairmanship of the Tea Party Express over a month ago, so he does not speak for the organization. The money quote from Kremer: “I’m not going to throw a fellow conservative under the bus. I don’t agree with what he wrote, I wish he hadn’t wrote it, but that’s not what we are here to focus on”. Separately, Tea Party Express coordinator Joe Wierzbicki claimed the National Tea Party Federation, which expelled the Tea Party Express from its ranks in the wake of a satirical anti-NAACP letter published by Williams in response to the NAACP resolution declaring the Tea Party to be "racist", had enabled and empowered the NAACP's racist attacks on the tea party movement, and they should be ashamed of themselves. "Circular firing squads of groups within the tea party movement attacking one another accomplish nothing, and on this issue the Tea Party Federation is wrong," he said in a statement. Wierzbicki further characterized the National Tea Party Federation's expulsion of the Tea Party Express as "arrogant and preposterous."
But the real purpose of the Tea Party Express' visit to Alaska, arranged long before the NAACP letter controversy broke out, was to launch a new round of activism on behalf of Republican Senate challenger Joe Miller (pictured above left), who's running against incumbent Lisa Murkowski. The Tea Party Express not only endorsed Miller, but has already contributed $100,000 towards a radio ad campaign for Miller. They plan to spend a sizable amount that could approach $1 million to support Miller, which would narrow the fund raising gap considerably. While Murkowski reportedly has $2.4 million in her campaign war chest, Miller has only $125,000.
Flush from their successful effort to take out Bob Bennett in Utah, the Tea Party Express decided that Joe Miller had enough potential to take out Lisa Murkowski in Alaska. However, there are significant differences between the two personalities and situations.
(1). Alaska has no caucuses, only primaries. It is believed that Bob Bennett might have won re-nomination had he gone to a primary rather than the caucus. Lisa Murkowski's first electoral test is in Alaska's August 24th primary.
(2). Lisa Murkowski is already re-inventing herself and co-opting a number of Miller's more conservative positions. While Bennett stubbornly defended his immigration platform and his vote for TARP, Murkowski has shown more flexibility. Despite being previously graded a "C-" on immigration by NumbersUSA, she now opposes amnesty for illegal immigrants, and she recently expressed public regret for voting in favor of the first TARP bailout.
(3). Lisa Murkowski's incumbency. She's currently number 59 on the Senate seniority list. Yes, Bennett also had seniority, but Utahns were more willing to cast that aside because he's backed up in the Senate by Senator-for-Life Orrin Hatch, considered mostly conservative. In contrast, Murkowski's Senate backup is Boy Wonder Mark Begich, so nicknamed by Alaskans not only because of his boyish-appearing face, but also because of his uncanny ability to wriggle his way out of political tight spots. Begich was elected to the Senate by a razor-thin margin in 2008; many Alaskans believe he would not been elected had Ted Stevens not been tried and "convicted" by a rogue prosecutor in the Department of Justice.
(4). Public support. Only one scientific poll of this race has been taken, back in April when Miller first entered the race. The Dittman poll showed that 75 percent of Alaskans believed that Murkowski should be re-elected. Since then, 20 Republicans in the Alaska State Legislature have endorsed Murkowski, while only 4 have endorsed Miller.
The Tea Party Express' involvement in Joe Miller will undoubtedly narrow the gap between him and Lisa Murkowski, but Murkowski simply enjoys too many advantages to be overcome in just five weeks. But props to the Express for showing themselves to be the REAL tea party organization by refusing to kowtow to the NAACP. The NAACP may be patronized by the elite, but they do not enjoy the respect of the masses.