By Tom Tillison
Florida Political Press
"One of the most prominent Tea Party leaders in all of Florida" has come out in strong opposition to the Ryan Budget plan.
Wow! Pretty compelling stuff, agree?
Everett Wilkinson, chairman of the South Florida Tea Party, sent out an email to his followers this past week that included these comments;
"The Tea Party and the GOP need to drop all support for the Ryan Medicare plan. It is a political trap and public policy nightmare... The Republicans will lose if they support the Ryan Medicare plan... Americans do not support the Ryan plan... This strategy will propel huge Democrat wins in 2012."
Of course, this is Wilkinson's opinion, to which he is very much entitled. Is he any more qualified than you or I in making such determinations? His public biography does not suggest any formal education that would give him this distinction, indicating instead that he acquired his knowledge of the political process through his life experiences. Just as most of us have.
Being that this is the tea party, he is only accountable to those who choose to follow him and just this week, in response to Wilkinson's comments, one of his co-leaders made the decision to no longer go that course by announcing her resignation.
Naturally, the liberal media, in it's never ending quest to advance the progressive cause, jumped at the chance to exploit a tea party leader denouncing the Ryan Plan. And that is where fact and fiction begin to meld.
In a blatant attempt to create a more compelling riff between the tea party and the Republican Party, and more importantly, to advance the Democratic Party's 2012 election strategy, the media exaggerated Wilkinson's role by referring to him as "one of the most prominent tea party leaders in all of Florida".
In truth, a year ago that description might have applied. Today, not so much. Now, I'm not in the business of disparaging tea party leaders - although, with some of the personalities, what a lucrative business that would be, however, it's fair to say the past year has not been a stellar year for Everett Wilkinson, insofar as his role in the tea party movement is concerned.
What's really important here is that we see the liberal media once again manipulating the truth in an attempt to portray one tea party organizer's opinion as being that of the many. And going out of their way to prop up the Progressive Left's talking points by embellishing any negative opinion of the Ryan Plan coming from tea party circles.
Something Matt Canter, spokesman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee took quick advantage of when he said, "Even the Tea Party gets it. The Republican plan to privatize Medicare and give tax breaks to the rich is not only bad politics – it is disastrous policy as well"
Sure, there are some within the tea party that share Wilkinson's opinion. There are some that strongly prefer the Rand Paul budget. And there are many more who understand the limitations of the Ryan Budget, yet see it as a step in the right direction - a starting point.
However, there are precious few who are willing to side with the Far Left and demagogue the issue for personal gain.
In reality, even the Democrats acknowledge that Medicare will default in the next 12 years. It will be impossible to restore fiscal sanity in government unless entitlement programs are a part of the solution. And there are not too many occasions in this country that either party is willing to take on this task for the simple reason that the other side will make political hay of it all day long, as we now see happening.
Yet, time is running out.
Whether the Republicans advanced the right plan or not, all involved should take note that the GOP showed the courage to put forth a plan. A step the Democratic Party was not willing to take, nor was President Obama.
The conversation has been started and the tea party would be well served to find ways to further that conversation, not add to shutting it down.