Remember Royal Alexander?
For a short time, he was Chief of Staff to Congressman Rodney Alexander (no relation), and in 2007, he ran as the Republican candidate for Louisiana Attorney General, a race he lost handily to Buddy Caldwell, the Democratic candidate.
Not surprisingly, Mr. Alexander is still engaged in politics, and it appears that he is attempting to assert himself as a leader of the Tea Party in Louisiana. Yesterday, Rachel Maddow reported that Senator David Vitter signed a pledge from the North Central Louisiana Tea Party that he would, among other things, conduct himself “personally and professionally in a moral and socially appropriate manner,” a commitment that draws obvious attention to Mr. Vitter’s admission of a “serious sin.”
Interestingly, the North Central Louisiana Tea Party is not registered to conduct business in the State of Louisiana.
They’re just an informal, grassroots organization of like-minded folks who want to take back the government, right?
Royal Alexander’s name and e-mail address are plastered all over the website for the North Central Louisiana Tea Party.
Clearly, Mr. Alexander, who was embroiled in a sexual harassment scandal in 2006 involving another Congressional staffer, is a founder of this informal organization, and as the former Chief of Staff to a Republican United States Congressman, it probably wasn’t too difficult to get Senator Vitter to endorse his “Tea Party” pledge, particularly if the whole thing could be framed as grassroots.
Royal and company haven’t yet taken the time to register the organization with the Louisiana Secretary of State, but they don’t seem to mind asking for donations and contributions.
Either way, Royal has, in fact, registered an organization called the Red River Tea Party, LLC, which, on Thursday, hosted what may have been the most boring and lackluster political forum in Louisiana history (though, to be fair, it did feature a bizarre attack on the alleged true “religion” of Louisiana’s Secretary of State and candidate for Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne).
Considering the North Central Louisiana Tea Party is now asserting itself as a political organization seeking donations and pledges from candidates, I believe they have an absolute obligation to be as transparent and open as possible. Louisianans need to be aware of the connections between the North Central Louisiana Tea Party and the Red River Tea Party. Are they both merely front groups for Republican Royal Alexander?
Like most folks in Louisiana, I don’t really care about what David Vitter promised Royal Alexander he would do or how he would behave during his second term; both men have been plagued by scandal. It’s kind of funny that they’re able to generate national attention by signing pledges about personal and professional behavior. TPM and Rachel Maddow missed the real story: This has nothing to do with the Tea Party; this is primarily about establishment, scandal-plagued Republicans attempting to manufacture a movement.
Honestly, I’m most disappointed in Butch Gautreaux and his campaign, as a Democrat, for Lt. Governor. Apparently, he signed off on Mr. Alexander’s so-called Tea Party pledge. With all due respect to Mr. Gautreaux, I hope he’ll take his name off of Royal Alexander’s list. Royal’s not grassroots; he doesn’t represent the Tea Party; and there is absolutely no reason a Democratic candidate for any statewide office should feel compelled to pay lip service to Royal Alexander. Mr. Gautreaux’s decision to publicly align himself with a blatantly astro-turf Tea Party organization d0es absolutely nothing for his candidacy; if anything, it emboldens Caroline Fayard, who appears to be, by far, the most qualified and informed candidate for the job.
First, is Jay Dardenne a muslim now?
Second, I disagree *slightly* with your assessment of the issue being “astro-turf.” I agree that there is a manufactured quality to the organization of the tea party movement. The evidence leading to the Koch brothers and Dick Armey’s Freedom Works group is well-documented, freely admitted, yet strangely ignored in much of the MSM coverage of the tea party. But I don’t think the tea party works if you don’t have “true believers” willing to be a part of the movement. Non-politico-types honestly feel drawn to this movement. To nominate candidates like Rand Paul, Christine O’Donnell, Buck in Colorado, the guy who beat Bennett in Utah, etc., takes more than a manufactured movement. It requires the “organic” acceptance of its followers. The formation of the tea party movement may not be like the humble organic origin that the civil rights and anti-war movements of the 1960s had. However, it has an agenda and has already had an impact on American politics.
I agree that it’s a little ingenuous to claim to be “of the people” when funded by the Koch brothers, but I don’t think it’s the only part of the story. People believe in the ideas espoused by tea partiers, and they’ve had (and will have) a tangible influence on politics in this country. I think the fight should be focused on those ideas and just how wrong they are. (Of course it doesn’t hurt if the candidates they are responsible for nominating are a little–or a lot–nuts.)
If Jay Dardenne is a Muslim, then he is probably the most “secret Muslim” in the entire world. The reporter didn’t clarify what, specifically, was stated about Mr. Dardenne’s religion, but the comment was made by Jim Crowley, a Democrat also seeking to be Louisiana’s next Lt. Governor. Apparently, he was referencing something said on talk radio. Hopefully, someone can clarify this for all of us.
In any event, I completely agree with you about the national Tea Party movement. I was trying to make a specific point about how Royal Alexander, who is the definition of a Louisiana Republican Party insider, is attempting to reassert himself as a Tea Party activist. The Red River Tea Party and the North Central Louisiana Tea Party appear, to me at least, to be nothing more than organizations founded and spearheaded by an entrenched Republican political operative, even though they may present themselves as “grassroots.”
Either way, I believe the movement, which definitely has some “organic” support, has much more to do with opposing President Obama than with taxation policies, and even though some folks may believe the Tea Party is an independently-minded movement, to me, it looks like a skillful attempt at rebranding unpopular conservativism in the wake of progressive victories. I think, ultimately, the movement will fail, not just because they’ve been nominating absolutely absurd, anti-intellectual candidates, but because instead of offering real, practical, and sustainable solutions, they’re only offering visceral outrage and platitudes. How can anyone expect a politician to effectively govern if they believe government can never be effective? The Tea Party likes to wrap itself in the flag and patriotism, but at the same time, it seeks to attract followers by playing up an opposition to taxes; it may be an easy sell for many folks, but to me, it seems completely exploitive and disingenuous, particularly considering that taxes continue to be reduced for the vast majority of Americans. (Again, it’s not really about taxes; it’s about Obama).
How could we forget Royal Alexander? Google his name, “email,” and “LABH” to refresh your memory.
The devil and the deep blue sea. Those are our choices.
Choice number one: the not-so-veiled racism, xenophobia, and theocracy of the Tea Party. Choice number two: Democrats and Republicans, who all “whored out” to corporate special interests long ago.
There is a small bright spot. The Tea Partiers might actually vote to end some corporate welfare and tax loopholes for corporate special interests.
Unfortunately, elected Tea Partiers will have the same re-election concerns as all others. Since the Supreme Court has facilitated corporate special interests’ buying of politicians like so many sacks of potatoes, any expectations of meaningful Tea Party reform are suspect.
One thing is sure. If the likes of Royal Alexander shape a successful Tea Party, we will see the worst of all worlds.
You will have my, and all those that see their latest property tax bills for this year votes. In 2010, it was 1,081, in the current fiscal year that is to be paid by 12/31/11, that fine current tax assessor wants to stick me for about 20-25% more simply because he noted that the builder is building higher quality houses (Granite, professional cooking units, higher grade carpets…) As you might guess, when I moved in it was “contractor grade” materials. Crap carpet, crap paint job, inside/out, already have had to spend 6,000$ to replace my whole A/C/Heat Pump with one that is supposedly of acceptable quality.
The stuff he’s putting in now is of a much better grade and because your (“hopefully” soon gone) predator (oops, meant assessor) I’ve been taken to the cleaners this year. When you win, I want to come discuss this raping of the populace by your predecessor, even though I was down there today and it is not a pleasant experience. Some got a piece of paper for free, some paid 2.00/page, I would hope that you fix that any way you can. I shouldn’t even mention that a person walking into that building is made to feel like a criminal right off the bat.
Please act right so you can take “what’s his name out”, we need help when Shreveport is the highest taxed city in the state. I can’t wait to visit and get my stuff straight later. I will be at the poles, and so will a number of my friends.
All the Tea Party organizations are NOT part of any central organization. Koch and Dick Army tried to form a “national committee, national organization” thinking that if they could get all the Tea Parties together they would be a formitable force. But that is old political thinking. New thinking is all separate in order to cater specifically to the individuals from that Party’s specific area. Even State Tea Party organizations don’t get off the ground. Koch and Army were never able to form any national organization except what Michelle Bachmann was able to form similiarly to Army if not affiliated with it, a National Tea Party organization, party or whatever but not what is concidered a national organization would be where all individual groups join the national one. They haven’t joined anything, Koch and Army just like to put out noise like all the Tea Party’s are now under one national organization. They haven’t. But there are several “national” groups. These groups are in name only and may have started a Tea Party themselves but have no other Tea Parties with them like a national organization would have. Even if so central group has more than one Party in it, it still doesn’t mean at that the Tea Party has a central controling group now. They don’t. When you have a lot of money you can make noise, but it doesn’t mean it’s the truth.