MoveOn, Tea Party find common ground

by Claude E. Welch

The following is the text of my regular monthly column in the Lufkin (Texas) Daily News that appeared last Friday.

The goals of two political organizations, MoveOn.org on the left and the Tea Party on the right, are as divided as political goals can possibly get. They are “natural born” political rivals. However, recent news is their divide is narrowing and, if so, it is not encouraging for some politicians and their major financial backers.
First, the news out of San Francisco details a meeting in the Berkeley living room of Joan Blades, a co-founder of MoveOn.org, and Mark Meckler, a national Tea Party leader. According to a reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle the meeting was “a mind blowing political tableau of a liberal bulwark sharing homemade blueberry scones and occasionally agreeing with a Tea Party leader.”
The gathering of the two political figures and their guests was the latest offshoot from an online organization called Living Room Conversations that was co-founded by Ms. Blades and a New Jersey GOP operative Amanda Kathryn Roman. Ms. Roman says their purpose is to “promote intimate gatherings of folks who might believe they agree on little politically – until they sit down together to listen to one another’s perspective. Civilly.” There have been meetings toward that purpose and there are signs of progress that offer a glimmer of light (and hope) at the end of a dark political tunnel.
At the Berkeley meeting one topic was “crony capitalism.” According to the news source the group, “after three hours of watching one another’s media caricatures disappear the participants decided that, for starters, they’d all support reinstating the Glass-Steagall Act, a depression era federal law that prohibited commercial banks from getting involved in investment banking.”  The act was repealed in 1999 and is “widely seen as a major contributor to the 2008 financial market crash.”
The group acknowledged “getting so wrapped up in their partisan driven politics that they don’t take time to see who is picking both of their pockets.” They agreed that politicians “all like to pit us against each other. They don’t care about us.  They don’t care about poor kids. They don’t care about small businesses owners. They’re just playing the politics of hate.” The group also agreed that “their family and faith were the most important things in their lives” and “there is plenty of room for transpartisan agreement, especially for a country that seems starved for it in the face of tough national debates over guns, spending and immigration.”
Ralph Benko, a conservative commentator who introduced those who attended the Berkeley meeting, said “If MoveOn and the Tea Party agree on anything all politicians should watch out.”
Second, MoveOn and Tea Party activists are working to oust Sen. Mitch Mc Connell (R-Kentucky) when he comes up for re-election in 2014.  That should not be a difficult task as just 17% of all voters in his state say they’ll vote for him, including only 34% of all Republicans.
We all remember Sen. Mc Connell who breached his sworn duty to act in the best interest of ALL Americans and, instead, announced four years ago that his “number one goal was to make President Obama a one-termer.” He tried to do exactly that with his unrelenting use of the political weapons of mass obstruction during the time our nation faced the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression.
Kudos to Kentuckians of all political stripes for working together to rid our national government of the likes of Mitch Mc Connell. Their message will ring loud to politicians who promote narrow and hate filled agendas, after which the light at the end of the political tunnel will get much brighter.