Since Rick Santelli's rant some two and a half years ago, FreedomWorks has done yeoman's work in the fight for conservative principles. The grassroots organizers rank right up there with Americans for Prosperity in providing the folks on the ground with the tools and information needed to stand up to the progressive, big government agenda of the Left.
And once it became clear to all that the tea party was not just a flash in the pan and was, in fact, a real political force to be reckoned with, FreedomWorks presented itself as a leading force in the movement. As a tea party activist from the very early days, I had no objections to this claim. In fact, I felt FreedomWorks was more influential in the movement than the 'vaulted' Tea Party Patriots.
Then the organization announced it's endorsement yesterday of Adam Hasner for U.S. Senate here in Florida... and the water begins to get murky.
As a tea party activist and the proprietor of the Florida Political Press web site, I often find myself wearing duel hats. At times, it's difficult to play both roles without compromising values or letting someone down, and, here again, I find myself in a position of wearing two hats. The first as a supporter of Craig Miller, an opponent of Hasner's in the U.S. Senate race, and the second as a disappointed tea party activist.
Now I fully understand that everything I say from this point forward will be dismissed as partisan rhetoric by many, but facts are facts. And even though my analysis will be looked upon by some as an exercise to benefit Miller's campaign, my intent is to draw attention to one of the greatest challenges facing the tea party.
Adam Hasner entered the Florida Legislature in 2002; the budget that year was $50.4 billion. His last year, due to term limits, was 2010; the budget that year was $70.4 billion. Folks, that's a $20 billion increase in 8 years, all under Republican control. $20 billion!
In one year alone, the 2009 legislative session, taxes and fees were raised by almost $2 billion to account for this massive growth. And, yes, Hasner voted for these increases, defending his voting record by saying that he voted against a cigarette tax that was signed into law, but had to vote to approve the budget.
To be clear, I not suggesting that Hasner was solely responsible for this incredible expansion of government, however, for FreedomWorks, which says it's 'leading the fight for lower taxes, less government, and more freedom', to endorse him, you'd expect to see Hasner on the largest stump he could find in Tallahassee over the course of eight years denouncing what was happening, would you not?
After all, if he didn't do it then, is something going to magically click inside of him if he goes to Washington?
And for those who are still with me, this brings us back to aforementioned challenge, which is that we the people must come to the eventual realization that it's time for new leadership. If we expect to usher in the change this country so desperately needs, we cannot keep electing career politicians that say one thing and do another.
Or expect these politicians, brought about by crisis, to suddenly become something they are not. The debt ceiling debacle we now see happening should tell us, once and for, that these people are never going to do what needs to be done.
One would think, being that they're mired in the thick of it all in D.C., that FreedomWorks would understand this better than most.