Tolbert: Austin Barbour Calls For Grassroots To Retake Tea Party

Mississippi native political consultant Austin Barbour was in Arkansas this weekend. He stopped to speak at the Clinton School of Public Service on his way to Fayetteville for some sort of football event. I am guessing the Little Rock speech was the highlight of his trip. But anyway…

…“Sadly, I see the Tea Party taken over – particularly at the national level, which pulls into these local levels – by political operatives mostly just trying to make a quick dollar,” cautioned Barbour. “There are some Tea Party national groups that were raising millions of dollars – it’s fair to say – and they were spending 85% of their money on overhead with 15% of their money getting out to candidates. That’s ridiculous. We have folks at the national level that are focused on making money and they weren’t focused on the issues that made us so powerful in 2010 with fiscal issues. That’s what worked in 2010. And they didn’t care about winning general elections.”

So what should be done about it? Barbour offers this advice.

“We have great folks involved in the Tea Party. There are a lot of Tea Party folks who voted for Thad Cochran – no question about it. But they need to take back over the Tea Party at the local level,” said Barbour. He argued that local folks focused on issues that their communities care about need to retake the power in these local groups, away from national outside well-funded organizations.

It’s timely advice for Arkansas.

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