published Monday, December 19th, 2011

Local tea party likes its candidates ‘bold’

by Chris Carroll
U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, R-Tenn.
U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, R-Tenn.
Photo by Alex Washburn /Chattanooga Times Free Press.
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Has the tea party been good for America?

U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann votes with House Republican leadership 95 percent of the time. He has introduced a bill that would eliminate capital gains taxes for two years. And at public speeches, he often pulls out a pocket-sized Constitution and pledges undying love for what it says.

But that’s not enough to get a re-election endorsement from the Chattanooga Tea Party, an organization devoted to cutting government, lowering taxes and adhering strictly to the Constitution, according to its mission statement.

“I don’t think we will endorse Chuck Fleischmann,” Chattanooga Tea Party President Mark West said Friday. “We applaud that he’s done some things right — I don’t want to minimize that — but we need a congressman who’s bold.”

West cited presidential candidate and U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., as an example of “adversarial” congressional boldness. He said Fleischmann hasn’t pushed Congress toward true austerity like Bachmann, perhaps the staunchest opponent of raising the debt ceiling last summer.

In a written statement, Fleischmann said less government, lower taxes and fewer regulations “are the values I stood for when I ran for office ... and that is how I will continue to vote.”

“The only person in politics I have found I agree with 100 percent of the time is me — even my wife sometimes asks me why I voted a certain way,” he wrote. “I am trying to get everyone’s endorsement, but I realize I can’t make everybody happy all of the time.”

The tea party’s deficit-cutting, entitlement-slashing movement handed Republicans the House last year. But with partisan gridlock and Congress’ approval rating at 9 percent, it’s unclear whether the tea party has enough clout for next year’s election.

Marc Hetherington, a political science professor at Vanderbilt University, said movements based on fear and anger “tend to have a relatively short half-life.”

“It’s seen as maybe an overly extreme organization by relatively conservative Republicans,” he said. “That diminishes its influence.”

But in a congressional district like Tennessee’s 3rd, where Republicans have won since 1994, tea party support probably still means something.

“If it’s just the GOP primary that matters, a tea party endorsement can make a difference for you,” Hetherington said.

Waiting to endorse

West said the Chattanooga Tea Party wasn’t happy when House Speaker John Boehner attended a fundraiser for Fleischmann. He suggested that the freshman congressman landed Boehner’s endorsement because he’s “a party man” who usually goes along with the speaker’s message.

“It would tend to suggest a cozy relationship there,” West said. “You can’t get any more powerful a man coming to your corner.”

The tea party friction isn’t new, and the existing alliances aren’t particularly friendly to Fleischmann. Last year the Chattanooga Tea Party did not endorse anyone in the crowded Republican primary race to replace longtime Congressman Zach Wamp, but West himself contributed $2,400 to Fleischmann’s top rival, Robin Smith.

Fleischmann eked out the nomination, beating Smith by 2 percentage points.

“What we ended up with was probably the candidate we preferred the least,” West said.

West then donated $2,400 to an independent, Savas Kyriakidis, and the Chattanooga Tea Party eventually endorsed Kyriakidis in the general election.

One Democrat and three Republicans have announced challenges against Fleischmann, but the Chattanooga Tea Party doesn’t plan to endorse anyone yet, according to West.

“We need leaders who will resist the temptation to just fall right in line with the party and whatever they say,” he said.

At a Christmas event Thursday evening, the Chattanooga Tea Party settled on Bachmann and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich as top nominees for president.

West said the party hasn’t discussed whether to endorse U.S. Sen. Bob Corker in his quest for re-election.

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onetinsoldier said...

I too, wish all repugnants were like Michelle Bachman. A man can dream.

Obviously the Chattanooga Tea Party is large on enthusiasm and short on intelligence.

How do y'all say it? BLESS THEIR HEARTS! (I think thats redneck for they're mentally challenged)

Your education system is down here is terrible. Somehow, you managed to leave most of them behind. It's like living amongst mushrooms.

December 19, 2011 at 1:14 a.m.
AndrewLohr said...

Tin man needs loving heart? Contempt ain't nice, dude.

The tea party at least sees that something is wrong and aims to fix it. That's more perceptive than RINOs and Democrats.

December 19, 2011 at 5:54 a.m.
Emersization said...

MARK WEST does not speak for ME!

DON'T BUY ANY RHETORIC WHAT SO-CALLED TEA PARTIES ARE TRYING TO SELL. The TRUE CITIZENS will not endorse Newt Gingrich, for he is still about BIG GOVERNMENT, BAIL-OUTS, and CORRUPT VIEWS similar to President Obama.

There were only about 25 votes to Newt Gingrich in that Tea Party meeting. That really does not speak for the majority of voters that does not attend meetings. There was some confusion about Herman Cain endorsing Gingrich, NO, and Cain has not endorsed anyone as of yet. Hiring campaign workers of Herman Cain have changed camps and have kept the contact information to try to proselytize Cain Loyalists.

Many, many are now back to the original Citizens Movement where Herman Cain supporters started at ... the grassroots level. The Citizens Movement has released a statement on it's website that Michele Bachmann is endorsed as the TRUE CONSERVATIVE.


After two weeks of reaching out to GOP candidates, and numerous discussions amongst those former Herman Cain supporters who did not join the Newt Gingrich ground game, it came down to the three most conservative candidates currently vying for the presidency of the United States. Rep. Michele Bachmann, Gov. Rick Perry, and former Sen. Rick Santorum took time out of their busy campaign schedules to hold tele-conferences with CitizensMovement and allowed themselves to be interviewed on CM’s blog talk radio show, Underground Hard Drive.

While media and establishment pundits reported that Herman Cain was not running his campaign properly in that he did not concentrate on only the early states, his “unconventional campaign strategy” built up a wide selection of voters all across the country. Now, as we head into the Iowa caucus, just 16 days from now, the majority vote from the straw poll held by CM shows that Rep. Bachmann just gained a major force in the grassroots movement.

Organization is already underway within to bring the voice of America to Washington, D.C. Coupled with our endorsement of Rep. Michele Bachmann for president, CM is also establishing its grassroots efforts in working with conservative congressional candidates all across the country on both the federal and state levels.

CitizensMovement has great respect and admiration for each of the three conservative candidates that showed their willingness to listen to the undecided voices of America. Each of them has shown that the people still matter, that the people still have a voice, and that neither the establishment nor the media will elect our next president.

As we move toward a new year and edge ever closer to the general elections of November 2012, our voices will be louder as we tell all those that have tried to destroy our constitution, ‘your time is up, and our time is now’. Congratulations to Rep. Michele Bachmann.

December 19, 2011 at 7:19 a.m.
Lr103 said...

Did one of the Tea Partys' most admired and beloved darlings of the Tea Party movement admit the movement is racist?

In a startling admission from a major Tea Party champion, former Fox News host Glenn Beck said Friday that race may be a motivating factor in the Tea Party’s opposition to President Obama. In an interview with Fox Business host Andrew Napolitano, Beck said Obama and GOP front-runner Newt Gingrich are both “big government progressive[s],” so he doesn’t understand why Tea Party members are supporting Gingrich. “If you’re against [Obama] but you’re for [Gingrich], it must be about race,” Beck said:

BECK: And I issued a challenge to Tea Party members. … [Gingrich] is a progressive. … If you have a big government progressive, or a big government progressive in Obama, one in Newt Gingrich, one in Obama, ask yourself this, Tea Party: is it about Obama’s race? Because that’s what it appears to be to me. If you’re against him but you’re for this guy, it must be about race.

December 19, 2011 at 8:42 a.m.
inquiringmind said...

Likes them bold? Sounds like they like them loudly bloviating - a word that can be ascribed to the action of cows passing gas in the meadow. Come to think about it,"teaparty bold" is more like the sound of human bloviating in the church pew ...

December 19, 2011 at 8:57 a.m.
Humphrey said...

So instead of voting for someone that can work well with other leaders to do what is best for the country, they want to vote for someone who is "adversarial" - and then the rest of us wonder why government can't get anything done.

December 19, 2011 at 9:24 a.m.
Lr103 said...

And the tea party followers keep on following, even when the cliff they're about to fall over is in plain view. tsk! tsk!

The only reason the tea party has so many followers is they realized long ago that tapping into the most inner desires of their followers and convincing them "yeah! that's what we stand for too!" The individual would be duped into going along. But the core belief systrem of the tea party, the originatores, the real inner circles of the movement actually controlling it are about racism, intolerance, bigotry and is a very divisive and destructive movement for America.

December 19, 2011 at 9:39 a.m.

Chuck is weak, no doubt. The local TEA Party wants a strong advocate for less government, which is what the overwhelming majority of conservatives want, as well. But it's not Robin Smith or Newt Gingrich, either.

So keep looking Mark. In the meantime, we'll gladly vote for Mitt Romney and Chuck Fleischmann.

December 19, 2011 at 10:38 a.m.
Oz said...

Lr103 most of the support for Herman Cain was from the Tea Party.

December 19, 2011 at 11:11 a.m.
maddawg said...

I am seriously amazed that Chuck can walk and talk at the same time. What a dunce.

December 19, 2011 at 12:11 p.m.
tipper said...

"Tea party likes them bold?" John Wayne and Charlton Heston are dead. But apparently, Attila the Hun still resonates. I think the tea party is confusing "bold" with barbaric. Look guys, you want to "take back the country," but don't take it that far back. This is the 21st Century after all. Then again, the bolder you want them, the more you scare independents and the undecided away. Without them, you are lost. And that's okay, too.

December 19, 2011 at 2:29 p.m.
chestnutt said...

Go ahead and laugh, demean, name-call, minimize,etc. The Tea Party is real, it's growing, and it's here to stay.

December 19, 2011 at 2:48 p.m.
Lr103 said...

Oz said... Lr103 most of the support for Herman Cain was from the Tea Party

And your point is?

Let's put it the way Rush Limbaugh would: "He(Cain) is someone we (the tea party) can use." Doesn't mean they like him or even respect him. Heck! they'd chew on satan's whacker if they thought it'd get'em where they want to be. Look how quickly the GOP did Cain in and how. Just like in those old cowboy and war movies when blacks first got to play in them. Ever notice? The black guy always got killed off first. ;)

Doesn't mean the tea party isn't racist. They'd chew on satan's whacker if they believed it would get them what adn where they want to be.

December 19, 2011 at 5:58 p.m.
macropetala8 said...


If it's true what they say, it's all in a name. The last four letters of your explains it all. nutt.

December 19, 2011 at 7:18 p.m.
macropetala8 said...

Oz said... Lr103 most of the support for Herman Cain was from the Tea Party

And there were Jews in Hitler's Army. But Jews were still targeted and sent to concentration camps in Nazi ruled Germany. What's your point exactly? That Cain is black? We already know that.

December 19, 2011 at 8:25 p.m.
fechancellor said...

Bold? Charismatic seems the more accurate descriptive.

December 19, 2011 at 8:36 p.m.

There is a wisdom transcending all parties: If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14 In this spirit one of our Congressional Candidates, Ron Bhalla, has said, "The people are sending me to Washington to honestly represent them.That is why I am alerting them that they must exercise power of control over their own lives. Washington politics does not currently operate for the benefit of the people. Each individual must press in to assure that their interests are being represented.They must exert pressure on their elected officials, and, maintain that pressure."

December 19, 2011 at 10:19 p.m.

I would like to congratulate Mark West for his own 'Boldness'. Because of this, I am reminded of the fundamental/original reasons our great Republic was founded.

December 19, 2011 at 10:29 p.m.
Lr103 said...

The way some of these GOP right wingNUTS conservatives exploit and pimp the Bible, "GOD" and religion should scare them. Either "God" is laughing himself(herself) silly or preparing to strike them all with an extreme heavy bolt of lightening. Hopefully, "God" has a sense of humor.

December 20, 2011 at 2:28 a.m.

Mark West demonstrated to me the benchmark confirmation of a true leader. I am an assistant to one of our Congressional Candidates. I had the privilege of sitting in on a personal meeting with Mark. My spirit was refreshed as Mark invited Ron Bhalla and myself to pray with him for our country. He let us know that above all else, we must be directed by Jesus Christ...then Mark bowed and prayed for us all.

December 20, 2011 at 8 a.m.
JustOneWoman said...

Orrmeanslight, I think you might be trying to mislead people. Our forefathers did not agree with you at all. In fact, they went out of their way to say exactly the opposite of what you are saying about our great country. Now, my question to you is, are you deliberatley being misleading, or do you just not know any better?

During a lecture regarding the Federalists Papers, John J. Patrick quoted, "James Madison’s statements about how and why to maintain ordered liberty through constitutionalism,........... In the absence of strong civic unity, our democratic republic will be at risk; because our American nation, unlike most other nations of the past and present, has been formed from common commitments of the people to fundamental principles. We are a people united by the core ideas of our Constitution. It is by these common cords of constitutionalism, and not by common ethnicity, race, religion, or other bonds of ancestral kinship, that our political and social order has been tied together and maintained. Therefore, a common civic education, designed to forge and maintain a common civic culture amid extraordinary cultural diversity, is essential to the continuity of our constitutional heritage,the formidable foundation of our American nation and its democratic republic."

Please do some research before you start telling us what a leader looks like. A leader would want to strengthen our constitution, not tear it apart by injecting religion into it. That would mean it only represented some, not all. And that is not, and never has been, what America is about.

United we stand, but divided we fall. You are trying to divide.

December 20, 2011 at 11:50 a.m.
Lr103 said...

ORRMEANSLIGHT said... Mark West demonstrated to me the benchmark confirmation of a true leader.

Mark West is just another airheaded sh%t starter who will be at a safe distance from all the sh%t he starters start. He'll be at a safe distance sipping on mint juleps while the rest of you are ripping out one anothers hair and toenails. Rush Limbaugh will hightail it out of the country on his private plane and be living up the good life on some private tropical island awaiting for the dust to settle.

December 20, 2011 at 3:12 p.m.
Czech123 said...

This whole country is f'd up and it is the fault of both parties. When the so-called leaders enact legislation, but exclude themsleves from the legislation they pass, there is a serious problem. They don't possess magical powers that make them anymore special then you or I, but they (Congress/Executive/Judicial branches)all think they do. They beat down the common working man/woman, and shake him for everything he/she's worked for, to better themselves. The pockets of both sides are greased by special interest groups to further their causes. There is not a single candidate, currently sitting or running, that is worth a darn. They will all be puppets of those interest groups that pay the most!!!

December 20, 2011 at 6:49 p.m.
shoe_chucker said...

didn't the pea tarty back Chucky boy? what did they expect? a leader? all they got was talking points and and a GOP rubber stamp. it looks like they have not learned a thing.

you baggers need to wake up and stop flirting with the neocon scum that got us in this mess.


December 20, 2011 at 7:40 p.m.
sangaree said...

The most troublesome assets of the tea party is their movement seems to say, If you don't do what we say or disagree with our agenda, we will destroy you by any means necessary.

There's just something really base, ugly and downright evil about that attitude. Then they claim to be doing it all for the love of "God" and to preserve their "Christian" rights.

December 20, 2011 at 7:52 p.m.

Many good, hard working individuals are discovering renewed hope. I am one of them. Learning that Ron Bhalla, as Congressional Candidate, is re-energizing interest in The Manhattan Declaration is huge! Thank You Ron. Please read just one tiny excerpt from this great document: "We... have united at this hour to reaffirm fundamental truths about justice and the common good, and to call upon our fellow citizens, believers and non-believers alike, to join us in defending them. These truths are (1) the sanctity of human life, (2) the dignity of marriage as the conjugal union of husband and wife, and (3) the rights of conscience and religious liberty. Inasmuch as these truths are foundational to human dignity and the well-being of society, they are inviolable and non-negotiable. Because they are increasingly under assault from powerful forces in our culture, we are compelled today to speak out forcefully in their defense, and to commit ourselves to honoring them fully no matter what pressures are brought upon us and our institutions to abandon or compromise them. We make this commitment not as partisans of any political group but as followers of Jesus Christ, the crucified and risen Lord, who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life." Once again, Thank You Ron Bhalla!

December 20, 2011 at 11:23 p.m.
shoe_chucker said...

W Bush claimed to be a bible thumper too. look how well that worked out for us.

December 21, 2011 at 6:34 a.m.
JustOneWoman said...

ORRMEANSLIGHT just skirted the questions I asked him. "Are you deliberately misleading or do you just not know better?" ORRMEANSLIGHT, Since you seem to not hear what others say, I think you must be a troll-bot.

December 21, 2011 at 11:49 a.m.

To Those on this site who have asked me questions: I may not be absolutely accurate in how I interpret our great Constitution of this United States of America. I may not even be absolutely accurate in how I interpret our 'revolutionary' Declaration of Independence~"...endowed by their, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." I mean no offence, I am only trying to take 'The High Road' ~With Honor to All Good People~ Ken

December 21, 2011 at 2:08 p.m.
JustOneWoman said...

Well, since I am the only one asking you questions, I must be "those". When someone has called you out on your information, is not considered "taking the high road" to ignore them and then say you might be inaccurate. I have seen the high road and that is not it.

December 21, 2011 at 4:46 p.m.

Assumptions, sometimes, are deleterious. JOW you may not know of the others to whom I refer. Howbeit, I do stand corrected on some of your points. I will strive to gain greater understanding, therefore, becoming more valuable to many. I am grateful.

December 21, 2011 at 10:03 p.m.

If it so happens that this is a final comment for this article, then, I would like to utilize the space to commend Chris Carroll. Of all the years that our family has read this great newspaper (Times Free Press wins 23 journalism awards:2011){Editor and Publisher magazine named the Times Free Press as one of the top 10 newspapers in the United States: 2002},we have not recognized any other Journalist who so completely fulfills the following: "Seek truth and report it. Journalists should be honest, fair, and courageous in gathering,reporting,and interpreting information."-Society of Professional Journalists. Thank You Chris Carroll!

December 25, 2011 at 2:33 p.m.
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