One of the founders of the Minnesota Reform Party, Dean Barkley, has reached out to tea party activists with an open letter at Minnesota Tea Party Patriots entitled: “Don’t start your own party! Take over mine!” Barkley writes:
Hello, my name is Dean Barkley. I have spent the last twenty years trying to change the ways things are done by our corrupt two party system. I began by forming the Reform Party in Minnesota. Later, we changed the name to the Independence Party, ran candidates, and eventually elected Jesse Ventura as the most widely known governor in America. Like you, the traditional political parties hated us. I just ran for the US Senate, and received 15% of the vote – with no money! The point it: change can happen!
People nationwide understand how bankrupt the two party system is (and has bankrupted America, too!). To be effective, this movement must transform into being a real political force and fast. To do so, it must create the legal, financial, and staffing infrastructure that a real political party has. The Republican Party is trying to lure some of you into its folds with pretty promises. But don’t be fooled. They just want your time, money, and votes. And they will continue business as usual – and run things their way!
I consider myself a political revolutionary, and therefore, I am one of you! I created the Independence Party in MN, and I have a plan. If enough tea partiers join the Independence Party, it becomes you! Think of it. YOU run the Independence Party, not the other way around! With all of the legal and political infrastructure elements it has. This will save lots of time and trouble. The scattered tea party people become The Tea Party – in name as well as fact. A real party – that can change things. You can do this in two weeks. Register online at MNIP.org. If three hundred do, and become delegates, they will own the Independence Party. They can change its name to Tea Party – and inherit all the party structure you need! Register to be a delegate. You can do it online. But hurry, the online caucus closes on 2/28/2010.
Let’s get back to the future and back to the United States Constitution, limited government, and the fiscal common sense of living within our means.
In a commentary for Minnesota Public Radio, the current chair of the party, Jack Uldrich, reiterates and refines Barkley’s message:
Unlike the other political parties, the Independence Party truly espouses a “Big Tent” philosophy, and we welcome broad-based citizen involvement. That said, the Independence Party also understands it is no longer sufficient to only be against government; it is imperative that political parties also engage in the serious and difficult task of outlining constructive solutions. The Independence Party’s rich tradition of putting forward serious and credible candidates every election cycle speaks to this proud history.
To this end, I’m confident that many individual members of the Tea Party movement are also serious about addressing real entitlement reform, controlling government spending, and putting forward meaningful electoral reform. On this basis alone, I encourage those associated with the movement to visit our website and review our party platform.
We don’t expect everyone to agree with every platform plank. In fact, we only ask our members and candidates to be in agreement with 75 percent of our core planks and 60 percent of supporting planks. If any citizen, including members of the Tea Party movement — or any other movement for that matter — can live within these guidelines, and if they are also willing to engage in honest, constructive and respectful political debate on those issues on which they are in disagreement, then, by all means, the Independence Party welcomes them.
The two party system is failing Minnesota. It has already catastrophically failed at the federal level — as witnessed by the $14 trillion (and growing) national debt. The Independence Party and the Tea Party movement are two different reflections of this reality. As party chair, I welcome any citizen who is serious about helping get this country back on a sound fiscal track.
Cross-posted from Poli-Tea.