Tuesday’s remarks by new Republican National Committee Chief of Staff Mike Shields seen as critical of conservative grassroots activists have not been well received by either the icons of the conservative movement or local grassroots leaders.
Despite efforts by RNC spokesperson Sean Spicer to walk those comments back, local conservative grassroots leaders–almost all of whom have been working hard for over four years with no compensation–remain unimpressed.
Ben Cunningham, founder of the Nashville Tea Party and one of the leaders of the decade earlier Tennessee Tax Revolt, told Breitbart News that “we are not about to be led by a bunch of timid Washington, D.C. Brahmins who are interested in making a buck off of people they see as naive. Either join us in the fight or get the hell out of the way.”
Cunningham added that “the problem for Washington, D.C.-based Republican consultants is they have become almost completely detached from the passion and purpose of the grassroots. To the grassroots Tea Party activist,” Cunningham continued, “the future of the country is at stake and they immediately distrust ‘consultants’ who feel uneasy about manifesting their passion and fighting for the cause. Tea Party activists have been demonized and vilified and called every name in the book by liberals for four years and it has only made us stronger and more determined than ever.”
Zan Green, founder of the Rainy Day Patriots, a local tea party in Birmingham, Alabama organized in February 2009, echoed Cunningham’s sentiments. “The RNC is welcome to join ‘We The People’ in our self funded, personal-time-spent efforts to restore our republic. We could use some team players and there is always room for more boots on the ground.”
Eric Olsen, co-founder of the 5,000 member Montana Shrugged Teaparty Patriots of Billings, Montana, told Breitbart News that “I take exception to all the reports coming from the Republican old guard. They do not realize it, but they are losing their base with such remarks.”
According to Olsen “the GOP should totally embrace the teaparty/grassroots followers as it is to their best interest. But they lack the political will to do so. Instead they demean the success of the movement. They purposely went out of their way last election cycle to disenfranchise the tea party, libertarian and Ron Paul supporters. We all know what happened then. They lost crucial elections across the nation while successful teaparty backed candidates like Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) won handily.”
Olsen called the RNC Autopsy report “a joke,” and added that “it shows the willingness of the old guard GOP to throw their platform under the bus giving in to the pressure from the extreme left.”
“Passion for America,” Olsen concluded, “is the only force that will resurrect real hope and change for the United States.”