On Wednesday, March 16th,
members of the Southwest VA Tea Party Patriots of Abingdon and
Bristol convened in front
of Morgan Griffith’s office on West Main in Downtown Abingdon.
About 13 of us showed up, waving Gadsden ‘Don’t Tread On Me’ flags and carrying signs that read “Cut Spending!”… “Defund ObamaCare!”… “Griffith Signed a Pledge!”… “Republicans: GROW A SPINE!!”
The irony was undeniable, given that our old digs in front of the former 28-year incumbent Congressman Boucher’s now-empty office is just down the street, on the opposite end of Main. We got to know that corner pretty well. That was where the fledgling Tea Party got to know one another well enough to become the core group that continues to stick together through the nauseous, serpentine ride that is post-modern politics—the kind that we may be assured that our country’s Founders anticipated, having the wisdom to craft the inimitable gift that is our Constitution, beyond compare to any other nation’s in history.
Together we tasted the defeat of the Tea Party’s pick for the run for Congress. Was there any one of us there on that day last May who didn’t emerge from the Ft. Chiswell High School auditorium dazed and confused by a goofed-up primary that sent Washington County to the gymnasium for a “re-count”, like a bunch of third graders for a fire drill? With the projection that Adam Light supporters would flip their vote for Dave Moore in the second round Griffith vs. Moore showdown, was there any one present who didn’t feel slightly stupefied that despite the large turnout for both candidates, no run-off materialized? Griffith was declared the winner after the first round.
Sour grapes? More like a lingering bad taste in your mouth. There could be no mistaking the fact that the Republican party’s support was firmly in place behind Morgan Griffith, a member of the Virginia House of Delegates since 1994 and Majority Leader since 2000. We didn’t get “our” guy, but could this marriage be saved?
We’d gotten regular calls from the Griffith Campaign for a couple of months. “Can you get some folks together for a rally?” Still, the old admonition of why-buy-the-cow-when-you-get-the-milk-for-free was the nagging refrain.
ONLY IF HE WOULD AGREE TO A PRE-NUP. After months of stump speeches, along with five other District 9 Tea Party groups, the Abingdon / Bristol Patriots accepted Griffith’s proposal, with the caveat of “mutual” support. Our big ticket items were no surprise to anyone; in exchange for our support, Griffith would have to pledge to diligently work to restore constitutionally limited government. Fiscal conservatism. And Defunding ObamaCare. Last October 14th we sealed the deal with our signatures and his. We went full-swing into knocking on doors, passing out literature, making phone calls and getting folks out to rally for the Griffith campaign stops.
It should also be no surprise to anyone that rather than idolizing Griffith– a supporter of the Patriot Act and not exactly enamored with the concept of term limits—our fervor was more symptomatic of an obsession to topple the reign of Rick Boucher.
Prior to the March 15th Continuing Resolution that would feed our morbidly obese government for another three weeks, a tidal wave of faxes, emails and phone calls rattled Griffith’s offices urging him to get on board with Bachmann and King, members of the Tea Party Caucus. Showing true grit, they had a plan to go up-front-and-center to address the $105 Billion ObamaCareBucks.
We liked the way Congressman Steve King talked:
…..House Republicans can take the next definitive step toward full and final repeal of the unconstitutional health care law by simply using the same tactic that abruptly ended all U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War: We can add an amendment to the continuing resolution (CR) to prohibit all federal funds from being spent to implement or enforce the provisions of Obamacare.
In stark contrast, here is Morgan’s response, issued in his March 14th E-Newsletter:
“I support defunding this egregious law, but using the Continuing Resolution to do so is not the proper vehicle. House rules do not allow for it. The appropriate legislative mechanism is one where mandatory spending, such as the $105.5 billion allocated for ObamaCare implementation, can be altered.
“I do not want a Nancy Pelosi style of government where we disregard the rules and run roughshod. Instead, I want a government that follows the rules, preserving the integrity of the institution. Following the rules can be frustrating at times, but it is one aspect of the 112th Congress that differs from the 111th.”
“….the integrity of the institution”???? Excuse me? Deference is being given to integrity here, referencing the behemoth that swallows up one-sixth of our economy and was shoved down the throats of an electorate that soundly rejected it along with the thug tactics employed to pass it? The nuclear-option-if-necessary/ Louisiana Purchase/Corn Husker Kickback/Stupak Sell-Out/Pass-it-to-see-what’s-in-it 3000-page Marxist/Socialist Valentine?
Even though Steve King had been making noise for months, arguing the case that this could systematically defeat the 111th Congress’ pre-appropriation of funds that effectively makes the 112th Congress irrelevant on this issue…..without the backing of Boehner and Cantor, it fizzled.
- However, on March 15th, fifty-four GOP congressmen stood up against the weak-kneed party leadership and voted no on the Continuing Resolution.
- On the same day that the vote carried to cut $6 billion, the US borrowed $4 more billion, just like every other single day of the week.
- On that same day our national debt jumped $72 billion. And on that same day this opportunity to Defund ObamaCare was lost.
- Morgan Griffith voted in favor of the Continuing Resolution.
So, on March 16th, here we are again, back out on the street with poster boards and magic markers.
Weird side note: How odd is it that Jeremiah Heaton, the 2010 Indie candidate just happens by while we’re waving our signs in front of Morgan’s place?!? Plenty. Apparently Jeremiah just can’t stay out of the limelight, but if he thinks he’s got a foot in the Tea Party door for a re-match the next time around, we’ve already written that story once.
But wait—it gets weirder.
When members of the New River Valley and Pulaski County Tea Parties along with SWVA Liberty Coalition are simultaneously gathering in front of Morgan Griffith’s Christiansburg office, the Chief of Police was there to greet them. Kinda makes you wonder, given that all the time we spent in front of Boucher’s office, we never even once had a squad car pull up.
That particular story is still being written and will appear as Part 2 on this blog.