A #TBT special

I’ve mentioned before, someplace, that I have been a writer for The Patriot Post for over a decade now. In going through some old boxes over the holiday weekend (which it was for me since I took Friday off) I found a thumb drive with several years’ worth of submissions, including one I thought was appropriate for this space. This was written in October, 2009 – before we had our own bylines so it wouldn’t be under my work if you did a search there.

Message to GOP: Don’t count TEA Partiers in yet

It’s the dream of every political strategist: a large and highly motivated group of voters ready to get out, work for, and financially support a slate of candidates who they align with politically. Unfortunately, the national Republican Party may have missed the opportunity to take full advantage of the TEA Party movement because the GOP is backing candidates who don’t always work for lower taxation and less government.

TEA Partiers angered by Republicans supporting the bailouts and Waxman-Markey “cap and tax” bill are also bitter at the GOP establishment – particularly the National Republican Senatorial Committee – backing certain incumbent or anointed candidates who are working with liberals in Congress.

To that end, they are throwing their support behind candidates the GOP establishment shunned, such as Chuck DeVore in California, Marco Rubio in Florida (who is in a primary battle against the moderate outgoing governor Charlie Crist), and Doug Hoffman of New York, who was spurned by local Republican officials for an upcoming special election in the 23rd Congressional District in favor of a moderate, Dede Scozzafava, and opted to run under the Conservative Party banner.

In a year where the political winds and poor performance of Democrats both favor a Republican resurgence, their treatment of this motivated voter bloc shows the national party is not doing itself any favors listening to the wonks and not the people. Beltway insiders may look back after next November and wonder what could have been if they’d realized sooner what Americans truly want.

**********

Obviously this thought definitely didn’t first cross my mind back in 2016 when I started on Rise and Fall, but it illustrates an ongoing frustration I had with the GOP as a whole once you got past the local level. Yet in the near-decade since this piece was published I have learned a lot about the TEA Party and what it really wanted – and so can you by buying the book for which this site was created.

Four – yes, four – new radio tour stops on the schedule! (Make it seven!)

I’m going to write this as a stub of sorts because I want to fill in some blanks later – such as how to listen live if possible – but over the next couple weeks I have several new stops on the radio tour. It’s deserving of its own page, which I may create over the weekend if I get a chance.

So here’s where I am slated to be:

Sunday, July 7 – The John Whitmer Show on KNSS-AM 1330 and FM 98.7 – 8:30 PM CDT from Wichita, Kansas

Tuesday, July 9 – The Ross Report (with Carol Ross) on KPEL-FM 96.5 – 3:05 PM CDT (after news) from Lafayette, Louisiana

Wednesday, July 10 – Mornings with Gail (Gail Fallen) on KFKA-AM 1310 – 8:35 AM MDT from Greeley, Colorado

Triple dip Friday:

Friday, July 12 – The Brian Thomas Morning Show on WKRC-AM 550 – 8:05 AM EDT from Cincinnati, Ohio (close to my old stomping grounds as a Miami University grad.)

The Voice of Reason” with Andy Hooser on KQAM-AM 1480 and FM 102.5 – 1 PM CDT from Wichita, Kansas (a return to that fine city)

The Trevor Carey Show on KALZ-FM “PowerTalk 96.7” – 3:30 PM PDT from Fresno, California

Tuesday, July 16 – The Morning Show with J.R. Williams and Celinda Hawkins on KXYL-AM 1240 and FM 102.3 – 8:10 AM CDT from Brownwood, Texas

I probably have five or six more in the works right now. At this moment the idea is to schedule stops through August 16, closing up shop when we go on vacation. I’m thinking about a “fall tour” in September and early October before I stop actively seeking interview spots so I can write the next book!

Radio appearance #2 scheduled

And hopefully it clears the logjam.

On Thursday, June 20 I’ll be joining “Brother Craig, the Hatchet Man” as he does his afternoon program on WNTW-AM 820 and FM 97.7 in Richmond, VA and nationwide on https://thereallyrealdeal.com/. I’m slated to be live at 5:20 p.m.

I’ve been listening to a couple of Brother Craig’s previous author interviews and it sounds like we’ll have a good time!

I have another pre-recorded session to do Friday with another station in another location, air date to be determined. I’ll let you know when that airs.

Some initial reviews

Over the couple weeks since my book came out I’ve had good feedback. Here are some of the comments:

Gary Aminoff (Los Angeles-based TEA Party founder):

Michael Swartz has written this book about the history of the TEA Party, and was kind enough to document my role in it. If you are interested in how the TEA Party originated and it’s role in getting Donald Trump elected, you should buy this book.

Mark Williams (former president, Tea Party Express):

I just finished reading the newly published book by Michael Swartz on the #TeaParty and #TeaPartyExpress and highly recommend you read it too. The impact you and I had was epic (as clearly implied in his subtitle) and on par with any other political/social upheaval perhaps since the Civil War. Swartz captures it, mostly objectively, very clearly, and perhaps most important puts events into context.

Yes, I am in it. Yes, I am both a hero and a goat and a normal guy with clay feet, just like you, but together we changed the course of the future.

Read it. It’s future history.

Thanks to Michael for the enormous effort he put into researching this book to get it right.

I also got an e-mail note from a friend of mine who bought the e-book the day it came out. She said:

I enjoyed reading your book.  I find your writing style very cozy and easy to enjoy.

You told it pretty much as I remembered living it.  I was horrified by the co-opting of the Tea Party, but at the same time, politics is about power, so what did I expect?

The biggest point that I didn’t realize until our present circumstances was how deeply entrenched the Deep State was.  The Uniparty was already in place when we thought we could make some progress.  Ha!  We just didn’t realize what we were up against.

The bureaucrats, the Uniparty, and the media make for a pretty impressive bunch to try and defeat and we just didn’t get the big picture at first. 

(…)

Even though I homeschooled all five of my children, two of them are in liberal land to my horror.  Education is the start, but you are right….only the hand of God will turn this around since our hearts have to be changed. 

(…)

Congratulations on a job well done, Michael.

*****

And I also have my first reading coming up on June 22 for those local to Salisbury (or who don’t mind making the trip – it is on a Saturday, after all.) The details are here.

A word about hand sales

While “hand sales” (selling hard copies of books in person, such as at a table at an event) is not considered the “go-to” means of sales for most books, I think this book could be an exception to the rule based on the experience I’ve had with a previous book as well as seeing other local authors about doing this very thing. I probably sold as many copies of So We May Breathe Free (my 2012 book) in person as I did online.

Maybe political books are the sort of thing that beg for a personal touch.

As I recall, the rule on Amazon is that I can’t undercut their price on sales, which is fine. In fact, the advice I heard at a recent writer’s conference I attended was that $20 a unit was a good price for hand sales because you seldom need to make change. Considering the Amazon price is just a few dollars less, i think it’s a good deal.

Yesterday I shipped some books out to a few fine folks who helped me out. By doing so I found out about how much shipping would cost and it allowed me to establish a price for autographed and shipped copies: $25. The extra $5 is intended to cover shipping, which seems fair.

So if you’re interested in an autographed copy – particularly since the “First Edition” batch is numbered and dated, which will not be the case in subsequent orders – feel free to do so while they last. I have a few people interested already but there are about 10 to 12 more where that came from.

Just as an update: a friend of mine may be able to arrange another radio appearance in a different location, so pray for the best on that one. Help me spread the word!

First promotional radio interview scheduled

I’ve been in contact with Mike Bradley, morning host of WGMD-FM in Georgetown, Delaware, and I am slated to speak with him on my book next Friday (the 26th) at 7:40 a.m.

It’s been a little while since I’ve done radio (I just looked it up: over three years) and even longer since I did it live – the last few times have been pre-recorded segments for later broadcast. So I’m a bit anxious, particularly since I will be on the phone rather than in studio. Back when it was WICO-AM and did news talk, I would actually sit in studio with Bill Reddish and John Robinson to do their shows when I was a featured guest. I got more comfortable with that format once I realized it was just a conversation with a big boom mike between us. So we’ll see how it goes.

So on my home blog there will be another “radio days” segment., which will be #21 in the series. But I look at it as practice – how many people now do podcasts and such? Every little bit helps!

Presale begins April 15!

This will be the e-book cover.

The long road is about over. I am in the Amazon queue to begin presale, with the official kickoff for the e-book to begin this coming Monday, April 15 – the tenth anniversary of the Tax Day TEA Parties which occurred around the country.

I’m shooting to have the print version ready for presale as well.

With this good news comes a little bad news, or maybe not. Once the book is published, I’m going to create a new author website so this one will probably become a redirect. But that’s down the road a piece – for now I will be enjoying this accomplishment!

Hoping for the best!

Last week I finally got my manuscript to where I think it’s ready – pretty much. The only thing I’m not sure about is how to go about working in the endnotes. (There are something like 792 of them, so that’s an important thing!) And my cover concept isn’t all that complicated, but do you think I have time for the frustration?

It didn’t help that I was wiped out sick over last weekend, although I made some of that back when I was excused from work Monday.

I’m still shooting for getting this out April 15. Prayers are welcome, of course! But I don’t recall it being so hard the last time…

So, about those Jeremiah conservatives…

I made an executive decision as I wrote: this is an edited version from a post that is on my main website.

I’ve been meaning to get to this all week and the opportunity has finally arrived. Last week Erick Erickson at The Resurgent did a piece on what he called “Jeremiah 29 conservatives.” In the post, he cites Jeremiah 29:5-7, which is a portion of a letter from Jeremiah to those who were captured and forced to relocate to exile in Babylon. Erickson uses it to springboard to his main point.

I’ve probably researched the TEA Party more than 99% of the people out there and I found that it was a very unusual phenomenon in that the TEA Party began as a nationwide effort but then decentralized itself to the local level for a time. Think of the TEA Party as three early stages, which I’ll distinguish by their dates: February 27, April 15, and September 12. (All these occurred in 2009.)

The February 27 wave occurred in fewer than 50 cities and was really put together for one purpose: to make a statement about the unwillingness of government to consider solutions other than top-down financial stimulus and increased government control in addressing the Great Recession. Some may have organized this believing it would be a one-time deal, but there was such a success created that thousands of others, helped along by mass media, decided to get in on the action at the local level.

So rather than 40-odd mainly large cities, the April 15 (and later July 4) wave of TEA Parties took place in a thousand cities around the nation, big and small. Each local event had its own flavor, with some rallying around strictly financial and national issues and others departing from that script to address local items or topics dear to social conservatives, particularly those in the pro-life movement. There was no “right” way to do a TEA Party, and part of its appeal was the grassroots organization that didn’t get marching orders from a party or inside-the-Beltway group.

But by the September 12 Taxpayer March on Washington – an event I simply call 9/12 – local groups were being encouraged to join up in a national organization, supposedly to increase the clout of the movement. While some TEA Party groups remained fiercely independent, most others gravitated toward an alliance with organizations such as the Campaign for Liberty or Americans for Prosperity. (The latter is basically what happened to our local TEA Party.) This also coincided with the rise of Tea Party Patriots as an umbrella group, although they weren’t the only one as many states had similar entities.

Once the rallies became less frequent, though, hundreds of TEA Party groups withered on the vine. And many of those individual participants who stuck it out for the first couple years were perhaps made complacent by how easily the political tables were turned in 2010 and figured the movement didn’t need them anymore – they let the most passionate ones soldier on. So by the time 2012 and 2014 rolled around, many of those who believed in the TEA Party early on saw that the movement was no longer locally grassroots but corporate-style Astroturf, and no longer fiercely independent but now the red-headed stepchild of the national Republican Party.

As Erickson might tell it, that’s what happens when outsiders try to get involved in national politics, which is way out of the league of the average person. Most people are more interested in local activism, and (to be honest) if government were as it should be that’s all they would need to deal with.

So today I decided to look again at the Tea Party Patriots’ website as they celebrate their tenth anniversary. In a celebratory op-ed by Jenny Beth Martin – the only one of the three original co-founders of Tea Party Patriots to still be with the group – she cited a number of Washington initiatives as accomplishments of the TEA Party and noted they would continue to fight in the halls of Congress – just like any other lobbying group. They pay lip service to the local groups, but their focus is on stopping socialism on a national level. There’s nothing wrong with that, but let’s stop pretending they’re a grassroots group, okay?

It’s very sad to think that the TEA Party may have missed its golden opportunity because they lost focus on the local groups. If local needs are addressed, it’s more likely that states will follow and eventually the nation.

I have a suggestion for all this, but I can’t reveal it here – it’s waiting until my book is ready. (That’s called a tease.) Good Lord willing and if the creek don’t rise, look for it April 15.