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!

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.

Remembering the rant

For the first time, I’m cross-posting from my “home” website, monoblogue.

On a humdrum Thursday morning, there were probably a few dozen thousand who were watching the CNBC show “Squawk Box” and a lot of them probably weren’t paying full attention when one man’s statements were the spark that lit the fuse of pent-up political frustration. It was a fire that raged out of control for several years before being contained by a political party more interested in power and winning elections than in its stated principles.

I half-jokingly wrote that night that I thought Rick Santelli would be the next guy on the unemployment line, but instead he’s become something of a cult hero for those things he said a decade ago. Yet in looking up his whereabouts it appears he’s doing pretty much the same thing as he did a decade ago. In that respect, he’s a lot like most participants in the TEA Party who did what they did out of love for the country, not fame, fortune, or political power. I’m sure his name has come up a lot today, though.

But in just eight days after Santelli made his remarks, tens of thousands of people got together in over thirty cities around the nation and began a phenomenon that people still talk about today. And because there are a number of useful lessons that came from the TEA Party, I wrote a book detailing its history: Good Lord willing, I’ll have it ready in time to commemorate the tenth anniversary of one of the most massive and widespread grassroots uprisings in recent American history, the Tax Day TEA Party of 2009 on April 15. I was at the one here in Salisbury, and five months later I was at the unforgettable 9/12 Taxpayer March on Washington. (I posted on that event in two parts the next two days, and the posts reminded me I had even more photos on my then-relatively nascent Facebook page. Revisiting this with the new WordPress block setup allowed me to add the captions I wrote originally, too.) As they say, the rest was history.

And to think: how many people just thought February 19, 2009 was just going to be another humdrum winter’s day?