Field report: Petitioning for Constitution Party at Alabama Tea Parties

Posted by me (Paulie) in comments on a previous post; slightly edited:

Libertarians question Republican participation in Tea Parties

I attended three tea parties [April 15, 2010] in south Alabama.

I was petitioning to put the Constitution Party on the ballot for Congress.

[I’m a Libertarian, but] the LP candidate always runs as a write in, and neither he nor the state election officials can tell me how many votes he got in any year except 2002, when we had ballot access; additionally, he is rabidly pro-war in the middle east, which I greatly dislike in a federal candidate. The Constitution Party recruited David Walter (http://www.walterforcongress.com/) and no other alternative party or independent candidate is seriously pursuing ballot access in the district.

Even though

A) The Constitution Party is in my view by far the closest to the views of most Tea Partiers than any other party, including the Libertarians and Republicans,

B) As I pointed out to people, the Democrats are not participating in this election and we will have a one-party election without the 5,000+ valid signatures Alabama requires in this congressional district (8-9k raw to be safe),

C) Incumbent Congressman Jo Bonner (very likely to win the Republican primary) voted for the “bailout” (AKA ripoff), and his Republican primary opponent Peter Gounares (http://www.gounaresforcongress.com/) enthusiastically signed our petition,

Numerous people refused (some emphatically) to sign our petitions, signed with great skepticism, and some came back to scratch their names off. Many signed *ONLY* because the Democrats are not in this race.

I still managed to get 205 signatures and some enthusiastic comments, but Republican herd mentality is prevalent at tea parties.

18 thoughts on “Field report: Petitioning for Constitution Party at Alabama Tea Parties

  1. paulie Post author

    Meanwhile, at TPID

    AL: Chuck Baldwin Denounces Democratic-Republican Deficits at Tea Party
    From the Montogomery Advertiser:

    Tea party rallies drew crowds at scores of Tax Day rallies across Alabama as irate speakers called for smaller government and lashed out at Washington politicians and federal health care legislation. More than 300 turned out Thursday at the steps of the Alabama Capitol, where former Constitution Party presidential candidate Chuck Baldwin denounced the nation’s ballooning debt.


    P) Not the greatest coordination of resources on the CP’s part, seems like to me.

    They have a congressional candidate in only one of Alabama’s seven congressional districts, and it’s not up in Montgomery, but down here in south Alabama.

    So here I am, getting slammed by a Republican elephant herd for trying to get this candidate on the ballot at tea parties in Mobile and (ahem) Baldwin County, which just so happens to be right next door to Baldwin’s own Escambia County, Florida.

    Wouldn’t it have made more sense for Chuck B to speak down here if he was going to go to Alabama and not all the way up in Montgomery?

    It’s not as if the Common Sense Campaign would not have invited him. They invited ME to the events. And the organizers signed for me (several days earlier) and said they were hoping to run into us and wondering where we had been.

    Oh well….

  2. C James Madison

    Although Alabama ballot access is obscene, keep persevering.
    On another note, it seemed as if you are running into citizens like Palin, who vent against the prevailing course but then run back to the same party that did very little between Jan 3, 2003 and Jan 2, 2007, not coincidentally the same time period they had both houses and a white house.

  3. Hmmmmmmmmmmm .......... Lake

    “…….. I should get more specifics on the Gilchrist lawsuits. My info may be imperfect. I am getting it second hand from Mark Seidenberg.

    On the King v. Robinson lawsuit, or the Obama lawsuits, or McCain citizenship, or my own gubernatorial campaign (Lake: against Chelene Nightingale), and the plans of the American Independent Party / American’s Independent Party, in California and nationwide, I may be a good informant. I will be posting”

    “(How about) …….. a link for the American/America’s Independent Party? (Also http://www.politics1.com ??????????) The Constitution Party, via voter registration is now 6th [or less!!!]. In other ways it bulks larger, but not necessarily for long, [especially] if they don’t straighten up.”
    ———- Markham Robinson

    Oh the organization that has been leading me on since AT LEAST 2008. A veterans group that cares nothing for former military! A California veterans advocate whom no longer resides on the planet and should be barred from seeing patients! His Nevada assistant, run out of California by LDS, claiming discrimination by anti Mormons (whom just happen to be Mormons). And ‘growing’ via the loss of two gi – normous states and a third smaller state! Oh, THAT Constitution Party USA ??????????

  4. paulie Post author

    Although Alabama ballot access is obscene, keep persevering.

    Thanks, I shall.

    On another note, it seemed as if you are running into citizens like Palin, who vent against the prevailing course but then run back to the same party that did very little between Jan 3, 2003 and Jan 2, 2007, not coincidentally the same time period they had both houses and a white house.

    Indeed.

  5. paulie Post author

    There’s also this, somewhat regionally biased report from Jake Witmer, who is here with me. I disagree only in that I don’t think the people of Massachusetts, New York, or any other state would be different in this regard…


    The people here in Mobile AL, are proof that the flouride conspiracy theorists are right.

    There is one candidate on the ballot, the jerk who voted for the bank bailouts, Jo Bonner. There is no Democrat running against him. Only the Constitution Party is even trying to run someone against him (I’m here gathering signatures for the CP and the Statewide LP race in 2012).

    People will admit that they don’t want the incumbent, and then not sign a nominating petition. Common objections:
    1) “Jo Bonner’s my choice!” (implies not only that they are too ignorant to care about economic policy, but that they want him to be appointed, and can’t fathom the value of holding an election. A dictatorship would be just as good for these people, because they don’t hold their leaders to any standard, and they don’t care how they got to be “leaders”.)
    2) “I’m just not sure that’s a choice I want.” (As if any voluntarily-supported choice could be worse than the current dictatorship of the two major parties.)
    3) “I need to do some research” –Again, unclear on the concept of elections.
    4) “Won’t that split the vote?” (Again, this is after they’ve been informed that Bonner is running unopposed.)

    The old saying “Make something idiot proof, and nature will invent a better idiot.” In Alabama, nature has truly built a better idiot. An American-Alabaman uber-idiot whose ignorance prevents all concepts of any kind from being communicated.

    Most of the general public here truly has no idea why elections are even held. …But I am getting a lot of sympathy signatures from Southern hospitality. The second I start to get too tired to smile, I literally cannot get a single signature.

    Whims and emotions have long determined who gets elected, here in Alabama.

    Is it any wonder these people have literally sold their children into debt slavery?

    I also ran into one voter out of 3,000 who said she was in favor of the bailouts because she “cares about the economy”. …Wowza!

    -Jake Witmer

  6. Andy

    “The old saying ‘Make something idiot proof, and nature will invent a better idiot.’ In Alabama, nature has truly built a better idiot. An American-Alabaman uber-idiot whose ignorance prevents all concepts of any kind from being communicated.”

    I’ve gathered petition signatures and/or voter registrations in 26 states plus Washington DC (including Alabama) and I can say that no state or region has a monopoly on idiots.

    I petitioned at a TEA Party event in California and my response was better than the response that Jake and Paul got in Alabama, but that’s because I was gathering signatures for ballot initiatives that were for less taxes, less spending, less regulation, and decentralization. There were several other petitioners at the TEA Party event that I was at so I didn’t have as many individual signers as Jake and Paul, but I had multiple petitions and most of the people signed all of them. Also, most of the people that I asked that had not already signed did sign.

    I would say that the TEA Party crowd was more informed on average than a regular crowd (such as random people walking in and out of a grocery store). Of course some in the crowd were more informed than others. The crowd consisted of libertarians (including some Libertarian Party members), independents, paleo-conservatives (some of whom were suppoters of the American Independent Party which is the California branch of the Constitution Party), and Republicans (some of whom were Sarah Palin supporters).

    Just because I had a more positive response at a TEA Party in California than Jake and Paul had at a TEA Party in Alabama it does not mean that it is easier to get signatures in California than it is in Alabama. Californians get bombarded with petitions on a pretty regular basis and a lot of people get sick of it. Plus, there is a higher percentage of people in California who are either from a different country or state and can’t sign for that reason as compared to many other states. One thing that California has in its favor for gathering petition signatures is good access to locations where you can ask people to sign, however, if you can get a location in a place like Alabama people are generally more willing to sign because they aren’t as burned out on the process.

  7. Andy

    I want to revise something I said above. I think that Jake and Paul went to more than one TEA Party. I only went to one TEA Party and I was there for around 4 hours, maybe a little longer. So the actual number of signers in ratio to the time that we were at the TEA Parties may have been closer.

    However, I got less resistance than they did because I was gathering signatures on petitions to place initiatives on the ballot which appealed to the TEA Party crowd while Jake and Paul were gathering signatures to place a minor party candidate on the ballot that SHOULD appeal to the TEA Party crowd (especially given that if this candidate does not make the ballot it will mean that the only candidate on the ballot will be the incumbent Republican who voted for the bailout), but they had a lot of ignorant Republicans there who would not sign due to not wanting to “take votes” away from the Republican, whereas I had ballot initiatives which are not partisan.

  8. Jake Witmer

    The pattern that I noticed here was that: Republican = Religious = Conformity above everything = Nonsigner, unless highly intelligent.

    Democrats, Independents, young people, = much more willing to sign, much more willing to want an alternative of any kind.

    Many of the religious people here seem to think —upon polite questioning, if I don’t seem like I’m mad that they won’t sign, and their objection was “I need to think about it”— that if the petition is something good, then it will show up at their church. This kind of mixing of religion and politics is, of course, the insertion of “social conservative” or “social intolerance” into politics. It is the adding of compulsion and force to religious ideas that demand force to be taken seriously, since free-thinking people cannot otherwise take those ideas seriously.

    The “if this is a good thing, it will show up at my church, my husband will hand it to me, or my pastor will endorse it, or someone in my community will put it in front of me” is such a pathetic admission that the person I’m speaking with cannot think for themselves, that I have learned to simply say “OK, take care now!” and give them a smile, because taking up more of their time would simply make their head hurt, and make them angry.

    Eventually, when their lack of thought has utterly destroyed the economy, their husband, or theocratic-proxy-thinker will place something that is anti-government in front of them. They may have to jiggle it, (to get them to “bite”, much like the reptilian intelligence they are) but at that point, when there is absolutely no choice left except direct violent rebellion, I am confident that they will “do the right thing”. At the point that the Sheriff is no longer only cracking negro skulls for smoking pot, but has cracked their front door, and their teenage kids’ heads, and confiscated their SUV, I am betting that they will start signing nominating petitions.

    As the state begins floundering, it always climbs the economic ladder in search of victims. Yolanda Madden was one such victim, and there will be many more. Eventually, on the eve of a United Soviet States of America, Winston Churchill’s famous quote will ring true for American politics, ushering in a new industrial revolution in American politics:
    “You can always count on Americans to do the right thing – after they’ve tried everything else.”

    Amen.

  9. Jake Witmer

    I found that approximately 25% of the people at the Tea Parties readily signed, and perhaps another ten percent signed because I was polite and smiled. I also noticed that I would have had more signers overall, if the ones who were so stupid that I needed to explain things several times would simply have said “no” so I could have moved on to another intelligent person.

    The Democrats and Independents who were at the Tea Parties all signed immediately, as did the people who understood immediately what a nominating petition was. It seemed to me that every single home-schooler signed, because several signers identified themselves as “homeschoolers”. (What does this say about government school “social studies” classes?!)

    The person who remarked about the “Palin” fans at the Tea Parties was correct.

    In short: while Palin was in the seat of power in Alaska, she did nothing to decrease the tyranny of the Alaska government. She did not pardon Frank Turney, she did not force the legislature to abolish (using her bully pulpit) the Alaska Jury tampering law that outlaws free political speech on courthouse steps. She was worthless to the freedom movement while she was in power. She was friendly to the Alaska libertarians, but did not understand one lick of what they were trying to accomplish. Therefore, she should not now be included in pro-freedom politics, or taken seriously, even if she is an otherwise acceptable private citizen (who believes in gun rights, lower taxes, blah blah blah).

    Belief in something assumes an onus to defend that belief.

    Similarly, at the Tea Parties, there are a lot of people who feel –like Reagan– that they should be upset at big government, because the figurehead of big government now has a “D” next to its name. These people were not bothered by the big government of George Bush, nor the big government of Reagan for that matter. Therefore, they make a mockery of their alleged beliefs.

    The only thing necessary to appease them is that a Republican once again wins the highest office in the land, and government spending will once again be “OK”, since perhaps then, slightly more of the bloated budget will then be directed toward “bombs for brown people”(foreign), and “nightsticks for negroes”(domestic). As long as the three R’s are in power (Racist, Religious, Republican), these people can’t take the time it takes to sign a signature to worry about politics. And it shows.

    Again, I’ll defer to Churchill for a quote about what appeasing the Republican power establishment (the incumbent, Jo Bonner, who sits alone on the ballot, and will, unless we are successful) with power will do for the average Alabama resident: “An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last. ”

    Obviously, I think that Republicans should vote for Gounares in the primary on June 2. If they don’t, then they will be admitting that principles mean nothing to them, since Jo Bonner voted to bail out Goldman Sachs. The big bank bailouts were pure, undiluted communism. If the Republican Party does not punish communist votes, then they are identical to the very worst of the Democratic Party.

    And why did Bonner feel like he could get away with voting for the bank bailouts? Because Alabama ballot access laws make him so difficult and expensive to challenge that the Democrats didn’t think it was worth the expense! Imagine that! Relying on impediments to the ballot to shelter an incumbent politician from bearing the consequences of his actions! Is this supposed to happen in the free Republic of America?

    Is there supposed to be a $3,000 filing fee to run for office? Is there supposed to be a petition that requires 5,058 valid signatures per congressional race?

    …No. The prior numbers are quite high in relation to other states. And the fact that they are means that Jo Bonner feels he can essentially say (with his “bank bailout” vote):
    “Yeah, I voted for the bank bailouts that put you and your kids into debt, and cut the saving power of the dollar in half. What are you gonna do about it, sucker?”

    Appeasement (Voting Bonner on June 2, or November 2),

    or War (Voting Gounares on June 2, or Walter on November 2)?

    Sometimes, war IS the answer.

    If the Republicans here don’t stand against enemies foreign AND domestic, then they stand for nothing but conformity and religiously-motivated social intolerance. Since when were those American values?

  10. paulie Post author

    At the point that the Sheriff is no longer only cracking negro skulls for smoking pot, but has cracked their front door, and their teenage kids’ heads, and confiscated their SUV, I am betting that they will start signing nominating petitions.

    Will there be ballot access petitions by then?

  11. paulie Post author

    I found that approximately 25% of the people at the Tea Parties readily signed, and perhaps another ten percent signed because I was polite and smiled. I also noticed that I would have had more signers overall, if the ones who were so stupid that I needed to explain things several times would simply have said “no” so I could have moved on to another intelligent person.

    That sounds about right.

  12. paulie Post author

    Actually, I’m not sure all of those were stupid. No doubt some were, but I think some of those were intentionally wasting our time so as to minimize our signatures.

  13. paulie Post author

    The Democrats and Independents who were at the Tea Parties all signed immediately,

    Not for me. Notably, I had at least one counter-protestor who said she would not sign for anyone except Obama, as if that had anything to do with the congressional election.

    And a few other really stupid counter-protestors, especially at Bienville Square (the first one that you missed).

    I don’t remember running into any counterprotestors in Fairhope or Daphne, do you?

  14. paulie Post author

    Obviously, I think that Republicans should vote for Gounares in the primary on June 2. If they don’t, then they will be admitting that principles mean nothing to them, since Jo Bonner voted to bail out Goldman Sachs.

    Agreed.

    The big bank bailouts were pure, undiluted communism.

    No, fascism.

    The communists would have nationalized the banks outright.

  15. paulie Post author

    And why did Bonner feel like he could get away with voting for the bank bailouts? Because Alabama ballot access laws make him so difficult and expensive to challenge that the Democrats didn’t think it was worth the expense! Imagine that! Relying on impediments to the ballot to shelter an incumbent politician from bearing the consequences of his actions!

    While I fully agree with you about our ballot access laws, Bonner (and almost all other incumbents, in almost all other years) are very difficult to beat – whether in the primary or in the general election – almost every time, regardless of who is or is not on the ballot. Thus, they can vote for whatever they want, no matter how unpopular, as long as it does not upset the big money interests.

  16. paulie Post author

    conformity and religiously-motivated social intolerance. Since when were those American values?

    I don’t like it any more than you do, but these have been elements of “American values” since at least when the Puritans landed on Plymouth Rock, or Columbus in the Bahamas, depending on how you define America.

    For that matter, the people who lived here before the Europeans “discovered” America had their versions of same, too.

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