Posts Tagged ‘Debbie Landis’

Action Is Brewing Endorsements

By Elizabeth Crum | 2:36 pm May 27th, 2010

Tea Party activist-organizer Debbie Landis is out with her group’s election endorsements.

The page says candidate recommendations were “finalized using AIB Subscriber and grassroots polls, voting record when applicable, issue stances, prior endorsements, and interaction with the candidates themselves.”

And:

“These candidates were selected based entirely on their skill-sets, credibility and grassroots ratings as they apply to Transparency, Accountability, and Fiscal Responsibility.”

Agree or disagree?  Chime in by leaving a Comment below.

In Which Tea Party Organizer-Activist Debbie Landis Further Explains AIB’s Endorsement of John Chachas

By Elizabeth Crum | 9:15 am May 24th, 2010

File this one under the label that pretty much describes John Chachas’ entire U.S. Senate campaign:

Too Little Too Late.

Or, if you prefer, tuck the folder behind Ralston’s recent characterization:

What Might Have Been.

This weekend one of the largest, most influential grassroots groups in Nevada – Anger Action is Brewing – surprised everyone by coming out with a late-in-the-game endorsement of John Chachas.

A spokesperson for the Tea Party Express couldn’t call me fast enough to give me his three cents.  (Can you guess what he said…?)

I later chatted with AIB founder Debbie Landis about her decision.

Here’s what she said about her organization’s ability to endorse within the limits of its non-profit status:

Apparently, when I was on my paperwork filing binge for AIB to make sure we were in compliance with everything we needed to be, we filed an intent to influence elections with the SOS as a non-profit…so although as a 501c(4) we cannot contribute financially nor dedicate ourselves to a campaign, we can endorse candidates we think will further our cause.

As for why she decided to endorse at all, and why so late:

I have been getting non-stop emails asking who we like, why, and whether we’re afraid to commit because we only want to support the Republican who wins the primary.

It wasn’t an emotional decision, and I tried to make that clear. It’s okay to like Tarkanian and Angle personally and still think somebody else can do a much better job.

I guess it’s up to John to get out there, but the fact that his team is not doing as much as they could is no excuse for me not to do so.

On whether she thinks she’ll regret it:

The one regret I have is being so stupid as not know what our abilities were under NRS 294A.375 and for waiting so long to announce who we were supporting.

Re: why this endorsement is “special” (if it is):

I think the difference is that we’re not profiting and we’re responding to people who honestly respect the work AIB has done and the time we’ve taken, and who really want to know what our conclusions are.

On whether she stands to gain or lose by doing this:

I’m sure I burned a ton of bridges with this endorsement, but I can’t turn off that little voice that says Chachas is better, faster, smarter and a much more logical choice than any of the other candidates given the state of Nevada and the financial health of the U.S. today.

Perhaps he is.  Soon to be Was.

PAC Using Chachas As Fundraising Tool

By Elizabeth Crum | 5:09 pm May 12th, 2010

You may or may not know there is a small war going on in and between Nevada conservative grassroots groups over which candidate is the greatest conservative ever to walk the face of the earth and which candidate secretly works for Lucifer.

As the bombs and mortars have flown, Debbie Landis of Action is Brewing has been widely criticized for expressing her personal support of John Chachas, and there have been Words — both on and off the record — between she and the Angle-endorsing Tea Party Express as well as between she and Nevada grassroots types who do not approve of her choice.

The thing is, if you ask 10 conservative grassroots types whom they support in the U.S. Senate race, you’re quite likely to get 5 to 10 different answers.  They are all over the map, so for any grassroots or Tea Party group to lay claim to “The” preferred candidate is kinda silly.

Anyhow, from Western Representation PAC this afternoon, a missive looking for funds in order to run a newspaper ad against Chachas:

The Senate race to replace Harry Reid is critical for the Tea Party Movement in the 2010 midterm elections. It is critical that the Tea Party movement capitalize on this opportunity to elect a candidate that represents our constitutional values!

John Chachas is running in the Republican primary and has been using his vast personal fortune to buy support from conservatives. The problem is, Chachas is the worst kind of politician who embodies all that is wrong with the politicians we have in Washington right now. It would be a disaster to pass up the chance to replace Harry Reid with a true-blue conservative and instead support someone as flawed as John Chachas.

During the last presidential election John Chachas gave the MAXIMUM personal contribution to BARACK OBAMA! Chachas has all sorts of reasons he offers now as to why he gave Obama the money. Our favorite is where he says he did it to help elect the weakest candidate on the Democrat side. So Mr. Chachas is either disingenuous or dumb. But we’re sick of Republican candidates trying to curry favor with liberal Democrats by giving them campaign contributions, and then coming back years later to run for office and then explain what they really were doing when they gave the money. It all stinks, and it’s the last kind of person we need to be the Republican challenger to Harry Reid.

John Chachas has never held elected office so there is no voting record to judge him by, there is only what he says and what he has done:

Chachas says: I’m a Nevadan.

Chachas does: Chachas has lived his ENTIRE adult life in New York. He only moved back to Nevada 7 months ago to try and buy a Senate seat.

Chachas says: I’m a conservative.

Chachas does: Gave the Maximum Contribution allowed by law to Barack Obama.

Help us stop this Obama donor posing as a Republican by making a contribution —– [HERE]

The Western Representation PAC has set a goal of raising $10,000 to run newspaper ads exposing the truth about John Chachas and his support for Barack Obama. Please make a contribution of $10, $25, $100 or more to help us get the word out about the REAL John Chachas. Your donation of $50, $100 or more today will allow us to continue our fight to stop political corruption in our government.

The Western Representation PAC is a grassroots organization based in Nevada and a partner organization of Tea Party Express III. We are the sponsor of the Campaign Against Harry Reid on Facebook which has over 11,000 supporters. Join us at http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Campaign-Against-Harry-Reid/320157200716

A secure donation can be made by clicking the donation button.

Thank you for your support.

Dustin Stockton

Chairman

www.DefeatReid2010.org

Western Representation PAC

I am not an apologist for Chachas, but I will say this:

John Chachas spent $2300 on the Dem candidate he believed was weaker than Hillary and then raised nearly $70,000 for the Republican in the presidential race, so he was responsible for moneys raised 25:1 in favor of the GOP.  He never hid from the donation and has since said it was a mistake.

As to his being “dumb” or “disengenuous,” anyone who has met or seen Chachas in action knows he is anything but stupid or scripted.  He understands global finance and world markets and since graduating with honors from Columbia and Harvard has enjoyed a successful 25-year career that would easily qualify him for the Senate Banking Committee were he to be elected.

Re: the man’s “vast fortune”, if you read the filings, you’ll find he’s not really all that wealthy — although he’s matched 2 dollars for every 1 dollar invested in him by his supporters — but financial success in the Land of Opportunity should not be a disqualification in any case.

And Chachas may have been living and working in New York since college, but he is only U.S. Senate candidate actually born and raised in Nevada.  His family has deep roots in the state dating back 90 years, longer than every other person on the ballot.

Voters can make of all that what they will and then donate (or not) to Western Representation PAC for their newspaper ad.  Early voting starts next weekend.

Title: If You Thought Anger Was Brewing Before, Or Activist Debbie Landis Skewers Tea Party Express for “Disgusting Manipulation”

By Elizabeth Crum | 5:03 pm April 28th, 2010

Wowza.

Debbie Landis, a Tea Party uber activist-organizer — she is the founder of a 501(c)4 and website called AngerIsBrewing.com and the organizer of last Friday’s debate in Reno — is rather displeased with the Angle-endorsing Tea Party Express (TPE) peeps right now.

Seems TPE sent out a press release “defending” Anger is Brewing from a “whisper campaign” without bothering to name their source, verify their facts or get a comment from Landis.  And it seems Landis thinks the press release is more of a smear than any kind of support.  First, the TPE missive:

Tea Party Express Statement Defending Anger Is Brewing from Whisper Campaign

“Over the past few days we here at the Tea Party Express have heard several different rumors seeking to discredit the Anger Is Brewing organization, which has been active in the Nevada tea party movement.

“These rumors allege that the Anger Is Brewing organization has decided to sell out its endorsement for U.S. Senate to candidate John Chachas after Chachas made a $3,500 contribution to the Anger Is Brewing organization.

“This is obviously a false and malicious attempt by some people to smear and defame Anger is Brewing leader, Debbie Landis, and the organization as a whole.

“Obviously Ms. Landis would not sell her endorsement for a candidate in exchange for $3,500. We’ve worked with her and know that she has higher ethical standards than this.

“Furthermore, John Chachas is obviously not a candidate that would earn tea party movement support. In the last presidential election, Chachas was a contributor to Barack Obama’s presidential campaign (contributing $2,300 of his personal funds to Obama). And Chachas made no friends in the conservative-aligned tea party movement when he smeared Sharron Angle by calling her too conservative.

“Anyone who thinks that a candidate who follows the constitution is ‘too conservative’ is obviously not going to be taken seriously by the tea party movement.

“In the race for Senate there are many important issues that should be discussed by the candidates who have asked for our votes. We should focus on these issues and reject any attempts by various camps to smear those involved in the tea party movement who have sacrificed their time, energy and personal money to fight for this country.”

Landis says Chachas gave Anger Is Brewing $3,000 to help pay for insurance costs associated with the Carson City Tax Day Tea Party, but that he donated nothing to the candidate debate in Reno. Chachas and numerous other candidates spoke at the Tea Party on April 15th, and Landis says he received no special benefit for his donation.

“How dare anyone insinuate that I am for sale?” Landis fumed.

Landis says she believes the TPE press release was, at best, a thinly veiled attempt to perpetuate a rumor and smear both she and Chachas under the guise of “defending” her.

“Why aren’t these accusations against me quoted or sourced?” asked Landis.  “I am outraged that they would send out a press release with false, unsourced information and not even come to me for a comment.”

Landis admits she likes and supports Chachas personally, but says Anger Is Brewing has not and will not endorse any candidate and that she merely wants Nevada voters to make up their own minds without outside interference from out-of-state groups like TPE.

“The arrogance of this Tea Party Express press release surely demonstrates the impotence they feel in trying to influence Nevada politics from the outside,” says Landis. “It’s desperate, it’s disgusting, and it’s politics as usual.”

Joe Wierzbicki, a spokesperson for the Tea Party Express, had the following to say (these are excerpts from an email he sent me in response to my inquiry):

Our release today came in response to several calls we’ve received from local tea party activists (starting yesterday) who were furious that they claimed that Anger Is Brewing was trying to organize a group endorsement of John Chachas.  And we were sent the TV clip where Chachas said he gave $3,500 to Anger Is Brewing as part of the proof.  The accusation made to us was that the endorsement was sold out for money.  Of course a lot of this is he-said, she-said rumor stuff which frequently happens in political campaigns like this.

We said to those who have contacted us that this had to be a joke just to smear Debbie and Anger Is Brewing by various campaigns.

We get rumors here all the time, including smears of us…

And:

I have to say that Debbie’s response to our press release surprised me.

She’s always been very down on Sue Lowden, but surely she’s not serious about backing John Chachas?  A Wall Street millionaire who didn’t even live in Nevada before deciding to run for Senate, gave money to Obama and now attacks Angle for being too “right wing” when clearly the candidates who emerged from the tea party movement were Sharron Angle and Bill Parson.

So I’m a bit confused at Debbie’s comments, but she should know we are fans of the work she has done in the tea party movement in Nevada.

And I’m quite sure no one in the tea party movement could possibly be serious about doing a push for Chachas.

Landis says that last statement is an example of the type of outsider arrogance that irritates her.

“I think John Chachas is an excellent option for Nevada, maybe even our new Scott Brown,” says Landis.

Debate Season is ON: Grove Event in Reno Almost Sold Out

By Elizabeth Crum | 2:09 pm April 22nd, 2010

Meant to post this earlier, Dear Readers, because I was told last night there are 280 seats sold (so only about 70 left) for the Grove Center event tomorrow night (yes, they are selling tickets, to cover stage/lighting and other costs):

Candidate Forum, Debate, and Reception

What: Conservative Nevada Candidates for Governor and U.S. Senate

Where: The Grove at South Creek, 95 Foothill Road, Reno, NV 89511

When: April 23rd, 6-9 pm. Ticket purchase begins at 4:00 pm, Doors open at 5:00 pm.

Cost: Earlybird Registration is CLOSED / Admission is $15 at the door, $0 for candidates.

Inquiries to:  event@angerisbrewing.com — or call Debbie Landis at 775-530-2694

Landis says it is her hope that this will be the most comprehensive gubernatorial and U.S. Senate debate held before the primaries.  The three GOP candidates for governor are on from 6 to 7:00 p.m., and the Senatorial candidates are on from 7 to 8:15.  Confirmed from the GOP pack are Sharron Angle, John Chachas, Chad Christensen, Bill Parson, Danny Tarkanian and Sue Lowden.

The event moderator is Sam Shad of Nevada Newsmakers and the blogger-panelists include:

•Nancy Dallas / News Desk by Nancy Dallas (and occasional NNB contributor)

•Eric Odom / 73 Wire, Patriot Caucus and American Liberty Alliance

•Donnel Dike-Anukam / VoiceBox Radio Show at UNR

There will be a cash bar reception immediately following the debates at which attendees can meet the candidates.

Landis says the candidates will make a brief introductory statement (approximately 60 seconds), that question order and category will be predetermined, and that candidates will have two minutes to respond to each question.  Candidates will be allowed to address each other directly.

Kudos to Debbie Landis for putting this successful event together.  She admits and often emphasizes that she has “zero” event planning experience, but she seems to be doing quite well up there.

SPONSORS: No candidate signs will be allowed in the parking lot. Campaigns may place a yard sign on the stage for a sponsorship fee of $250.

This event will be covered by all major newspapers, all local news channels, blogged live, taped for use on Nevada Newsmakers, and archived online at News 4 in Reno and News 3 in Las Vegas. Media credentials will be available at the door beginning at 2pm.

New York Times Looks at Tea Party, Grassroots vs. Reid in Nevada

By Elizabeth Crum | 9:27 pm April 5th, 2010

“Tea Party Groups Make Harry Reid Target #1″ says the headline of this piece in the NYT. A few excerpts, the first about Tea Party activist-organizer Eric Odom who recently moved to Nevada to set up his Defeat Reid HQ:

But come the midterm elections, what may be more significant is what is happening here, in a dark condominium where the Home Depot tags are still on the lawn chairs that double as indoor seating for guests.

The blinds drawn against the desert sun, this is the new burrow of Eric Odom, a chief organizer of the first nationwide Tea Parties last year. Mr. Odom moved here a few weeks ago with his fiancée and a blogger sidekick to mobilize the state’s Tea Party groups for the midterms. By training activists in get-out-the-vote tactics like the “voter bombs” that helped Scott Brown become the new Republican senator from Massachusetts, they are hoping to unseat Nevada’s senior senator and the Democratic leader, Harry Reid.

In a matter of weeks, this state has become ground zero for Tea Party members, who understand that as a symbol of the movement’s power, you cannot get much bigger than beating the Senate’s top Democrat.

Yep. A Reid defeat would be a big, fluffy feather-in-cap for both national and Nevada Tea Partiers. So various groups are doing their grassrootsy thing, including the Tea Party Express which kicked off its third cross-country bus tour last weekend in Searchlight. Their parent organization, Our Country Deserves Better PAC, spent $350K in the last few weeks of Massachusetts Miracle Brown’s campaign, and they have vowed to target the Reid race in much the same way.

The NYT piece says with 12 candidates in the GOP primary, none seem to (yet) be attracting a majority of Tea Party support (true, I think) and also references the potential wrench-in-the-wheels that is Scott Ashjian, who filed last month to run as the candidate of the Tea Party of Nevada:

“He took advantage of a situation and efforts made by other people,” said Debbie Landis, the leader of Anger Is Brewing, a Nevada Tea Party group. “He underestimated the Tea Party. We’re not going to pull a lever that says ‘Tea Party’ just because it’s the buzzword of the day.”

Maybe not. But with four independent candidates and two minor-party candidates also in the running, Tea Party leaders fear splitting the anti-Reid vote.

A poll by the Las Vegas Review Journal in February, before Mr. Ashjian filed as a candidate, showed a generic Tea Party candidate winning 18 percent of the vote, leaving the unspecified Republican nominee with 32 percent and Mr. Reid with 36 percent.

About 20 Tea Party leaders in the state have signed a letter saying that they do not endorse Mr. Ashjian and that they would not call anyone the “Tea Party candidate” anymore — the preferred term is now “grass roots.”

Mr. Odom, a former Republican consultant, also set about trying to get rid of Mr. Ashjian within a week of moving here from Chicago. He bought the rights to www.ashjian4senate.com, which now redirects visitors to a Web site accusing the candidate of abusing “the Tea Party brand.”

“He forgot to buy the domain name,” Mr. Odom said, wearing a Chicago Cubs cap as he sat in front of the computer terminals he uses to update a growing library of anti-Reid blogs and Web sites. “It’s campaign 101.”

Ashjian’s got problems that extend beyond Odom, too.  Anger is Brewing recently joined the Independent American Party in filing a lawsuit to remove Ashjian from the ballot. And last week, the Clark County district attorney’s office filed felony charges against him for bouncing a $5,000 check. (Restitution was made and the charges were subsequently dismissed. But in the meantime, Ashjian was all over the news. And not in a good way.)

The thing is, as the NYT article says, the Tea Party movement generally rejects attempts at centralization. Most Tea Party activist-organizers dismiss the notion of a new political party as a way to achieve their ends.  Instead, they are trying to work within the grassroots and/or existing party structures as party officers, committee members or get-out-the-vote and precint leaders.

Meanwhile, Nevada movement Tea Partiers against the Nevada Tea Party party are worried:  If Ashjian stays on the ballot, will voters pull the lever for him just because the words “Tea Party” are typed next to his name?

They hope not, while Harry Reid dreams…

Gloves Off: “Tea Party of Nevada” Candidate Scott Ashjian Calls Tea Party Groups “Paranoid” and “Afraid,” Grassroots Leaders Respond

By Elizabeth Crum | 9:45 am March 18th, 2010

Don’t miss the LVRJ piece on the latest with Tea Party of Nevada/third party candidate Scott Ashjian.  He says he’ll attend the Searchlight Tea Party rally even though he is not an invited speaker.  And called Nevada’s tea party groups “paranoid” and “afraid.”  Here’s the latest:

Three sources at Tea Party Express (TPE) told me Ashjian contacted them last week to ask if he could get on the speaking agenda at the Searchlight Tea Party rally.  This attempted circumvention of Nevada’s tea party organizers occurred because Ashjian and his new political party have already been denounced by over 20 Nevada grassroots groups (which I wrote about last Wednesday).  TPE leaders told Ashjian he could not have at the podium, based primarily on opposition from the state’s grassroots activist-organizers.

According to the dozen or so Tea Party/grassroots organizers and leaders I’ve talked to in the weeks since the “Tea Party of Nevada” (TPN) political party filed papers with the Secretary of State, the shunning of Ashjian and TPN is based on (1) the fact that nobody active in the grassroots had ever heard of him before a few weeks ago, nor have they heard from him since, and (2) concern that a third party candidate will pull votes from the GOP nominee and hand the US Senate election to Harry Reid.  As one of them put it to me this morning (name withheld because, he said, “I do not want the focus to be on me or my name.  The one and only focus here should be the cause, not the individuals and personalities”):

“If Ashjian really believes he can beat Harry Reid as a first-time, unknown third party candidate, which is what he keeps claiming in all these media appearances, he is, frankly, a fool.  That being the case, why should any of us embrace him or take him seriously?  We may well all agree on the principles, but many leaders in the grassroots are also pragmatic and want to be smart about our strategy.  We want to win elections.  We’re not out here just randomly ranting and raving.”

He added:

“What I see from Ashjian so far is a slick presentation and a bunch of unrealistic claims about what he can do.  Frankly, I don’t have time for that nonsense even if he is a conservative.  I’m interested in figuring out which conservative candidate has the right set of core principles and is most electable and then pitting that person against Harry Reid in the general election.  Ashjian can’t win the general and is a distraction, and I say the quicker we all forget about him, the better.”

Debbie Landis of Anger Is Brewing and Sheila Danish of Reject Reid, two of the signatories on last week’s big disavowal document, both agreed and said they echo and endorse the remarks.

In his comments to the RJ, Ashjian rejected suggestions that he should give up his third party candidacy and join the Tea Party groups in their effort to work within the current party system:

“By them saying I should fall in line is an insult,” Ashjian said. “I’m not asking for an invitation. I think they should get behind me, not fall in line like sheep. They’re so paranoid, it makes me think they have weak candidates and they’re afraid.

“The more they attack, the more they show their hand, and I mean that across party lines. It’s not politics as usual. We’re running a different campaign, and they’re scared to death.”

My grassroots guy had this response:

“An insult?  What is an insult is that this guy is asking for a spot on the podium, yet as far as I know he has never attended a grassroots event or picked up the phone and reached out to a single tea party or grassroots group in Nevada.  To this day, we have not heard a peep from him.  I think he should have reached out to us prior to filing his party paperwork, but at the very least, it would have been in order – and it would have been smart – to start reaching out to us right after that, to at least get some conversations going.”

And:

“Did he really think we would get behind him when we don’t even know him?  Does that make any sense?  Any candidate with two brain cells to rub together knows you have to make some calls, send some emails, have some friendly conversations with people in a position to support you and help you reach your target voters.  You don’t just show up on Ralston’s show and Talk Radio and start tooting your own horn and think that is going to get you anywhere with the people who work in the trenches, that they will suddenly “get behind you.”  It’s ridiculous.”

And:

“Scared to death?  No.  But we are legitimately concerned that Ashjian may gain traction with voters who are not smart about electoral politics, and that he’ll siphon off votes in the general and help get Harry Reid elected.  If Ashjian is more interested in spouting off and calling us all “paranoid” and “afraid” than he is in being smart and helping us work a viable strategy to actually beat Reid, I question his sincerity and his credibility.”

Stay tuned, Dear Readers, for there is sure to be more.  With recent Rasmussen polls showing that generic Tea Party candidates could earn as much as 17% of the vote, as long as Ashjian is in the race this story is not going away.

Dear Tea Party Candidate: You Are Not Invited to OUR Tea Parties

By Elizabeth Crum | 12:05 pm March 10th, 2010

Some Nevada Tea Party activists are gathering signatures to denounce the new “Tea Party of Nevada” political party.  Via email missive (and attached statement: Joint Statement 3-10-10) from a group of activist/organizers:

For Immediate Release: March 10, 2010

From Nevada grassroots and tea party leaders

Subject: Unified Statement / Grassroots Nevada is United

On March 9th, conservative leaders across Nevada came together to issue the following statement. The signature list is subject to modification over the next 24 hours. The final, signed statement will be available by Friday, March 12, 2010 at 12 noon.

We, the grassroots/tea party leaders of Nevada, speaking for the conservative activists in our communities, are united in issuing the following statement.

– We are united in denouncing the TPN (Tea Party of Nevada).

– The TPN is not a conservative party who speaks for grassroots and tea party activists in Nevada.

– The TPN is not now, has never been, and will never be affiliated with grassroots efforts in Nevada.

– The term “Tea Party Candidate” will no longer be used to indicate grassroots support for a candidate or candidates.

– The TPN will not be invited to or allowed to represent themselves at conservative grassroots events and functions across Nevada.

– We are united in our desire for fiscal responsibility, transparency, and accountability from legislators and in legislation from Carson City, NV and Washington, D.C.

– We are united in opposition of progressive leanings towards unfunded mandates as a solution to appeasing special interest and delivering ‘social justice’.

– We are united in the belief that our government should be inspiring pride and accountability, and personal strength and opportunity, not a path for us to follow to have our needs met as the government sees fit.

– We, the tea party activists and grassroots organizers in Nevada, are united.

The joint statement is attached for signature. Please return a clear/strong signature by fax to Debbie Landis 775-852-2611 or email to info@angerisbrewing.com. When all signatures have been returned, the final document will be made available electronically.

Feel free to disseminate to the media as a joint NV grassroots effort, with our organizations united we are exponentially stronger than the sum of our members. I am truly proud to be part of joint efforts moving forward.

We are all in this together,

Debbie Landis / www.AngerIsBrewing.com

I don’t mean any disrespect, but wouldn’t one just naturally assume that the Tea Party of Nevada principals (and candidate Scott Ashjian) are well aware that they speak for themselves and not “for grassroots and tea party activists” around the state?  Does this really require a formal denouncement?

Various grassroots and tea party leaders, activists and groups (and any candidates they support) also speak only for themselves and their own members/supporters and not for all grassroots/tea partiers.  Nobody “owns” a certain message or the right to speak about it.  Are all the different factions and wings of the grassroots/tea party movement going to put out disclaimers/denouncements clarifying that others do not speak for them?

And speaking of owning:

Scott Ashjian was quoted in a CNN story today as saying, “I don’t think Republicans own the Tea Party. In fact I know they don’t in Nevada, because I do.”  Not sure what he meant by that.  The Tea Party, as a movement, is not “owned” by anyone.  The Tea Party of Nevada, as a political party, is not “owned” either.  A political party, by nature, is an organization that seeks to attain and maintain political power within government by participating in electoral campaigns, educational outreach or protests.  Parties espouse an expressed ideology or vision bolstered by a written platform with specific goals.  It’s not about ownership, it’s about ideas.

Beyond all this “ownership” talk, though, here’s the bullet from that doc that really gets me:

“The TPN will not be invited to or allowed to represent themselves at conservative grassroots events and functions across Nevada.”

Really?  Why not?  And who is going to stop them?  Isn’t the very nature of public, citizen-driven grassroots gatherings to allow and enable individuals to show up and express their views?  What are these folks going to do if Scott Ashjian shows up with a sign and some stickers and starts speaking to people?  And why on earth wouldn’t he be invited to, say, a rally or a debate with and among tea party/conservative candidates?  Aren’t individual liberty and the right to speak one’s mind part of the energizing force and core values of the Tea Party movement?

Whether Scott Ashjian is “the real deal” as a tea party candidate, or an electable candidate at all, is not the point here.  (Vetting him is all well and good but ultimately, his conservative creds will be for the voters to decide.)  He’s a citizen, first and foremost.  If he wants to form and file a third party, run for office, do CNN interviews, show up at a Tea Party or attend a conservative event, he ought to be – and is – free to do so.

Update (12:22 p.m.):

Here is a list of signers to the above document/denouncement so far:

Anger is Brewing / Debbie Landis
Citizens Awareness Network / Jesse Law
Citizens in Action / Juanita Cox
Fallon Tea Party II / Bob Clifford
Gardnerville Tea party / Ron Stevens
Glenn Beck Meetup Group/ Sally Minster
Grassroots Nevada / Jamie Costello
Las Vegas 9-12’ers / Jeff Waulfe
Las Vegas Tea Party / Frank Ricotta
Patriot Caucus / Eric Odom
National Precinct Alliance / Tony Warren
Nevada Families Eagle Forum / Janine Hanson
Nevada Patriots / Diana Orrock
NvRA / Travis Christensen
P.A.C.T. / Janice Baldwin
Reject Reid / Sheila Danish
Nevada 9-12 Americans / Charlene Bybee
Western Representation PAC / Dustin Stockton
Winnemucca Tea Party / Mike Myrhow
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Updates to this list can be seen at www.angerisbrewing.com
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Update (1:04 p.m.): I’ve received a few emails on what I wrote and need to clarify one thing.  The organizers of an event always have the right to set their agenda and decide who will step up on the podium to speak.  In my comments, I was talking about Ashjian’s right to show up and walk around and talk to people.

It should also be said, perhaps, that the right to do something does not necessarily make that something the right thing to do.  And that cuts both ways in this situation. Do Tea Party/grassroots groups have the “right” to denounce Scott Ashjian and ban him from their podium and private events?  Yes.  But is that the right thing to do?

And:  Did Scott Ashjian & Co. have the “right” to form and file the Tea Party of Nevada as a political party?  Yes.  Was it “right” for them, having never been involved in Tea Party activities or groups, to use the Tea Party name to do something most Tea Party activists do not endorse (form a third political party)?
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Maybe there is some right and wrong on both sides here.
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