Under the Radar, Tea Party Shaping Election

It’s been said that the Revolutionary War was one of the first guerrilla wars. The British army was used to fighting on open fields, marching in fixed columns toward the enemy and firing in formation.

When King George sent his troops to try to crush the Colonials, the Redcoats had superior numbers, better weapons and advanced training on their side.

But the Redcoats would often take severe losses from small bands of barely organized Colonial fighters who would suddenly appear from the brush or from behind a stand of trees or a small wall, fire, then disappear again into the surrounding countryside.

Today, it’s the Redcoats in the media and political establishment who may be in for a big surprise in the coming election.

Despite attempts to undermine it, dismiss it, demean it and ignore it, the Tea Party is sneaking into position.

As recently as June, James Carville declared, “The Tea Party is over,” expressing one of the fondest wishes of the Left and many politicians on the Right.

And for much of the past year, it may have seemed like Carville was correct. Participation at Tea Party meetings was down, rallies were fewer and often sparsely attended, particularly in blue states like California.

The national Tea Party Patriots suffered a schism between its leadership, which was co-opted by the Republican Party, and its grass-roots membership.

Added on top of that was pressure felt by small, often financially strapped Tea Party groups across the country when a group of liberal Congress members sicced the IRS on them, using their charitable tax-exempt status applications as an excuse to demand everything from Tea Party leaders’ personal financial information to address and contact information about rank-and-file members and speakers.

Many within the Tea Party movement were feeling discouraged, betrayed and targeted — justifiably so. Just this week, the media tried to lay blame for the Colorado shootings at the Tea Party doorstep.

But that good old Colonial spirit dies hard. What seems to outsiders to be a time of decline has been instead a chance to reload.

Grass-roots groups, cut free from the turncoat national leaders, have reorganized and are building stronger statewide coalitions. Some are abandoning their applications to become 501(c) tax-exempt organizations in order to be free of IRS harassment.

Tea Party members are getting inside local and national campaigns, doing the grunt work of calling, mailing, organizing and rallying for candidates.

They’re getting involved in issues like propositions, bond sales and tax increases. Across the board, there seems to be a move away from demonstrations and toward concrete results.

The Supreme Court’s inexplicable and unforgivable decision to uphold Obamacare as a tax has become a rallying cry for the troops. In the past month, repeated anecdotal evidence suggests a huge groundswell of support for the Tea Party.

As one local leader quipped, you can always tell the government’s done something bad when you exceed meeting capacity at the local Denny’s. By all reports, there have been a lot of meetings exceeding capacity lately.

King Obama’s troops may be better equipped than the Tea Party, and they may even be more numerous, but here’s fair warning.

The Tea Party is reloaded and ready, and the Left will not see it coming.