DJ Mikolay, a founder of the New Jersey Reform Party, looks at a Minnesota maverick in this appreciation:
..almost all Tea Party activists are united in the demands for a smaller federal government, lower taxes, Congressional term limits, and a balanced budget. Indeed, these demands have come to characterize modern conservatism and several Republican contenders rode these platform planks to victory during the 2010-midterm elections.
And yet, despite their anti-establishment promises, many of those considered “leaders” within the Tea Party rose to prominence as members of the political class. Career politicians like Michelle Bachman, Sarah Palin, and Tim Pawlenty, individuals who spent their entire political lives as members of the Republican establishment—and in turn, supporters of big government—have now positioned themselves as independent thinking, anti-establishment loose-cannons.
One must wonder: if these politicians were so concerned about these issues, why did they spend decades ignoring (or even perpetuating) them? The argument often presented is that nobody knew exactly what a mess America had gotten itself into. One would be hard-pressed to find a single politician who foresaw the disaster that would characterize the politics of the early 2000s.
Well, several individuals actually did sound the alarm…but very few paid attention.
One such maverick was Former Senator Dean Barkley, Minnesota’s political watchdog (who became a perennial thorn in the side of the political establishment), who has spent the last two decades promoting the very same ideas that propel the modern Tea Party.
“We have been yelling about the deficit and debt for twenty years now,” said Senator Barkley…
Full commentary by D.J. Mikolay @ http://www.ahherald.com/columns-mainmenu-28/the-populist-approach/11410-former-senator-dean-barkley-tea-partier-extraordinaire
Dean Barkley was a founder of the Minnesota Independence Party, and managed Jesse Ventura’s successful campaign for Governor in 1998. Barkley ran for Senate from Minnesota in 1996 and 2008, and briefly served in the U.S. Senate after Gov. Ventura appointed him to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Sen. Paul Wellstone.