News tagged as 'Mark Kevin Lloyd'

Is “ObamneyCare” the 2012 Version of “Where’s the Beef?”


Candidates for the 2012 Republican Presidential nomination have become so predictably dull and unimaginative in their campaign communications it was refreshing to see a spark of life come, improbably, from the Tim Pawlenty campaign. The self proclaimed dull guy in the room came up with  a clever term that has the potential to do for the 2012 Republican Presidential primaries what “Where’s the Beef?” did for the 1984 Democratic Presidential primaries.

Tired of Colorado Senator Gary Hart’s high minded rhetoric lacking specificity, former Vice President Walter Mondale challenged him to add some substance to his proposals.

“Where’s the Beef?” he asked him directly in one of their televised debates, borrowing the phrase made popular by the wizened grandmother in the Wendy’s television commercials for hamburgers.

Fast forward 27 years to 2011, and Tim Pawlenty (or some clever communications pro on his staff) has just coined a phrase that may have the same effect on Mitt Romney’s campaign “Where’s the Beef” had on Gary Hart’s 1984 campaign.

The term is “ObamneyCare.”

Pawlenty introduced it on Fox News Sunday this morning, and beyond the term itself, I don’t know if much more needs to be said.

Why would Republican primary voters support a candidate who introduced ObamneyCare to Massachusetts when the entire Tea Party movement is focused on repealing the very similar ObamaCare for the entire country?

Many articles in this space have suggested the need for a Voices of the Tea Party e-book that rates the current crop of Republican candidates on the degree to which they support the core values of the Tea Party movement.  I suggest that we add to that book a chapter on the candidate’s capability to communicate powerful messages in simple, easy to understand terms and phrases. After, all, “Hope and Change” was a powerful phrase that worked in the 2008 General Election. We’ll need a candidate capable of delivering even more powerful limited government messages in 2012.

Mark Kevin Lloyd is the former President of the Lynchburg, Virginia Tea Party and currently serves as Chairman of the Virginia Tea Party Patriots Federation. He is also the author of  The Battle for Virginia’s Fifth District. He can be reached on Twitter at @mklloydva .

Too Big a Liar Even for Congress


The cleverest line I’ve heard about the tawdry car wreck known as “Weinergate” was delivered by Mike Huckabee in one of his radio broadcasts recently, who said of Congressman Weiner:

“He’s too big a liar, even for Congress.”

When you consider the two centuries of liars who have served in Congress this is a stunning indictment. But if you’ve watched the cringe-worthy examples of Weiner’s blatant lies–his interview with Fox News’ Brett Baier where he lied to the anchor’s face, his infamous “if I were giving a speech to 45,000” line, his fabricated “certitudes” — you would see why Congressman Weiner is too big a liar even for Harry Reid to tolerate.

When asked what advice he would give Congressman Weiner if he received a phone call from him, Reid quipped, “I would tell him to call someone else.”

More importantly for the country, Mr. Weiner’s chronic dishonesty, on display in this sordid episode, is the low standard of behavior that animates political discussion of our national fiscal crisis in Congress. The country is going broke? Let’s pretend to cut expenses, but really increase them. Let’s cut those expenses over ten years, not this year, meaning let’s never cut them.

All of this is to suggest a Voices of the Tea Party e-book on the most important topic of the day–How do we restore integrity and honesty to elected political officials? This is a tough one, because the lack of integrity among politicians reflects, to some extent, the general decline of integrity in our society as a whole. Term limits have been suggested as one possible solution, but the possibility of that as a panacea is belied by the example of California–it’s become even more of a fiscal basket case since term limits were enacted there.

Mark Kevin Lloyd is the former President of the Lynchburg, Virginia Tea Party and currently serves as Chairman of the Virginia Tea Party Patriots Federation. He is also the author of  The Battle for Virginia’s Fifth District. He can be reached on Twitter at @mklloydva .

The Obamacare Waiver Economic Growth Plan


At least half of the anemic 54,000 new private sector jobs cited in last week’s Department of Labor report came from one company–McDonald’s. It’s surely no coincidence that McDonald’s is one of the politically connected and favored companies recently granted an Obamacare waiver by the Department of Health and Human Services. An investigation of the companies responsible for the other 27,000 new private sector jobs might reveal additional waiver grantees. Intrepid reporters might want to investigate  how many of these  jobs came from those high end restaurants in Nancy Pelosi’s San Francisco who were also granted Obamacare waivers.

Apparently, this is the sum total of the Obama Administration’s plan to revive the economy. The engine of economic growth from now until the November 2012 election will be driven by the granting of Obamacare waivers!

The Obama Administration, through its spokesman, the hapless Jay Carney, will undoubtedly trumpet this new visionary policy. Look for these words to be issued soon from behind the press secretary’s lectern:  “We’ve decided to continue our policy of issuing targeted Obamacare waivers to specific employers who, due to these waivers, will be able to create or save additional jobs.”

Here’s an idea for a Voices of the Tea Party e-book: What’s been the impact of Obamacare on economic growth so far?

Why not simply repeal Obamacare in its entirety and see every company–large, medium or small–start adding new jobs, regardless of the degree of political connections they enjoy?

Look for the voters to grant the entire country that one gigantic Obamacare waiver come election day.

Mark Kevin Lloyd is the former President of the Lynchburg, Virginia Tea Party and currently serves as Chairman of the Virginia Tea Party Patriots Federation. He is also the author of  The Battle for Virginia’s Fifth District. He can be reached on Twitter at @mklloydva .

Narcissus and Caligula on the Potomac


If, as Lord Acton once said, it’s true that absolute power corrupts absolutely, we need look no further than the banks of the Potomac to find contemporary proof.

Cases in point–the recent behavior of former Republican Congressman Chris Lee and current Democrat Congressman Anthony Weiner. Both appear to have taken compromising photographs of themselves and sent those digital images via social media or e-mail to young women.

Congressman Lee had enough sense to resign immediately.

Congressman Weiner has subjected us to elaborate non-denial denials, absurd press conferences, and rhetorical silliness that cause us all to wince at the man’s hubris.

What is it about power that brings out the inner Narcissus and Caligula in political leaders ?

Tawdry scandals are not new to Washington of course. What’s new is the Orwellian communications strategies and justifications offered by the current generation of political leaders embroiled in these scandals.

All of this suggests the need for a Voices of the Tea Party e-book that explores the pathology of power, especially as it relates to political parties. George Washington warned us of the pettiness and petulance of political parties in his Farewell Address. What’s needed, in my opinion, is an e-book that outlines a practical plan for constitutional tea partiers to supplant the corrupt leadership structure of both political parties, and replace those structures with truly representative, responsible, and humble leadership.

Mark Kevin Lloyd is the former President of the Lynchburg, Virginia Tea Party and currently serves as Chairman of the Virginia Tea Party Patriots Federation. He is also the author of  The Battle for Virginia’s Fifth District. He can be reached on Twitter at @mklloydva .

Ron Paul Is Just the Latest to Claim He Started the Tea Party Movement


A little more than two years ago, I dialed in to a conference call.  It was another in a series of calls that a relatively few people joined to talk about how we could stop Congress from passing the Stimulus, and TARP, and the Auto Bailout, etc.  But this one was different.  I was galvanized by what someone said on a cable news channel the day before.  I did my best to tweet and retweet the clip and the conference call details so that as many people as possible could join in.  I had a feeling that this call was going to be special.  When I hung up a little more than an hour later, I knew my life was not going to be the same for a long time.

The ideas set into motion on that call changed the course of not just my own life, or the lives of the 96 other people who bravely stepped forward that week to help organize a series of rallies; but the shape of American politics.  (Maybe one day, if you’re interested, we can talk about it.)

As is often the case when an idea is successful, everyone wants to claim it was theirs.  This is certainly true of the Tea Party movement.  But before we get too far down the road, I’d like to offer a few corrections to help set the historical record straight:

1. The populist, grassroots movement whose core principals include Constitutionally Limited Government, Fiscal Responsibility, and Free Markets, that is generally referred to as “the Tea Party movement” was  born out of the nationwide rallies that were inspired by Rick Santelli’s rant in February, 2009; and organized and launched within a week by 97 Americans across the country who agreed to a general set of operating strategies, many of which are still in practice today.

2. The Tea Party movement  is a decentralized movement – an alliance of peers – run most often on the spare change found between the sofa cushions and a lot – A LOT – of volunteerism.

3. There is NOT a national leader, co-ordinator, or spokesperson for the movement.  I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

4. Ron Paul is NOT the ‘godfather’ of the movement.  Many Tea Party people are small-“l” libertarians, and like very much what Paul has to say on some things; but that’s it.

5. Big-“L” Libertarians tried for YEARS to spur a widespread acceptance of Libertarianism through initiatives named after the Boston Tea Party.  For whatever reason, it didn’t resonate with everyday Americans.

6. The Tea Party movement is NOT a third party.  In those rare instances where you see a political party called “Tea,” it is often the cynical creation of a political opportunist, and generally not supported by the local Tea Party groups.

7. The heart and soul of the Tea Party does not live in the offices of any national organization.  It lives in the hearts and minds of the millions of hardworking men and women across the country who see that the path to lasting prosperity and freedom in America begins at our own kitchen tables.

With its growth and vibrancy over the last two years, I expect a certain amount of situations where people and organizations try to harness, frame, re-frame, lay claim, lead, and otherwise ‘own’ the Tea Party Movement.  This list is long and growing.

The American Family Council was the first to try – although their cute little “TEA” acronym, “Taxed Enough Already,” stuck.  Next was Newt Gingrich.  A few of the original organizers periodically try, building an impressive record of bullying and lawsuits along the way.  Matt Kibbe, Dick Armey and their pals at FreedomWorks tried, too – going so far as to write a book about it. #fail

Those on the left, in the media, and especially the establishment right have desperately sought to define, identify, and quantify the Tea Party movement.  When they can’t find the leader, they pick one for us.  We know their names: Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, and the aforementioned Ron Paul.  When they can’t find a spokesperson, they’ll take who they can get — which mostly amounts to generally well-meaning people that are not so much “Tea Party organizers” as a guy with an email list. Along the way, a few cunning entrepreneurs and opportunists have made a good living trading on the name and good will of the growing movement.

It’s no wonder.  While the Democrat and Republican Parties are losing heaps of membership and contributors, the Tea Party movement is growing by leaps and bounds.  All of the excitement and energy in American politics today resides in this well-known, people-driven movement; yet there is a distinct mystery about the movement — an ‘otherness’ that makes the Tea Party seem like something from another dimension.  Who is the leader?  How do they know what to do?  Who is paying them?  Are they a political party?

These are all questions worthy of a Voices of the Tea Party e-book. Mark Kevin Lloyd, who’s already written an e-book for the series, wrote a parable that describes the nature of our movement better than anything I have seen to date.

Consider a tall-ship sailing the high seas.  Picture the vessel as it pitches and rolls over the angry swells, its billowing sails straining against the lines.  The experts spend their time describing for the rest of us the curve of the hull, the planks of the deck, the stout masts, and the elegant rigging of the ship.

Is the she sea-worthy?  What about the crew?  Where is the captain?  How will they survive with no pilot at the helm?

They predict the inevitable destruction of this grand craft.  Surely the inexperienced crew will sail it into dangerous waters and crash it on the rocks.  So they begin the tragic tales that are to be told of how the ship and its crew were lost at sea, and the tales will become legend.  That may well be the case.  But it will not matter.

You see, the ship and the crew are not the Tea Party. The Tea Party is the wind.”
Mark is right.  The Tea Party is the wind.  It lives in the hearts and minds of millions of Americans; and it is they who will lead it, by leading themselves.

Christina Botteri is a co-founder of the Nationwide Tea Party Coalition, and is the social media strategist behind the successful launch of the Tea Party movement in February, March, and April of 2009. She can be reached on Twitter at ChristinaKb .

Why the Anti-Federalists Stayed


Historian Herbert Storing’s insightful little book, What the Anti-Federalists Were For, was published thirty years ago.  In those days, at the dawn of the Reagan Era, popular opinion of the Anti-Federalists was just beginning to reinterpret their role during the Constitutional debates. Previously, they had been considered misguided at best, undermining at worst. Storing’s classic was the first widely read attempt to correct that misinterpretation.

Prior to the formal establishment of the United States of America in March 1789, Anti-Federalists were those who opposed ratification of the Constitution on grounds that it gave too much power to a centralized government. Federalists of that era, such as James Madison, John Jay, Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and Alexander Hamilton, argued that the Constitution struck exactly the right balance between the power of the federal government and the powers of the thirteen original states. Numbered among the Anti-Federalists were such great American patriots as Patrick Henry, James Monroe, and George Mason, here in Virginia, and George Clinton and James Winthrop in New York and Massachusetts.

It was the constant political pressure from these Anti-Federalists that we have to thank for the important addition of the first ten amendments to the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, within the first two and a half years. The integrity with which the Federalists honored their promises–made at numerous state ratifying conventions–to swiftly introduce and ratify these amendments did a great deal to keep the Anti-Federalists within the covenant of the new Constitution.

I’ve often wondered what would have happened to the country had the Bill of Rights not been ratified. This suggests an interesting e-book possibility for the Voices of the Tea Party series. I’ve always been a big fan of the first and best “alternate history,” MacKinlay Kantor’s If the South Had Won the Civil War.  Here’s a title idea for an  alternate history of an earlier age: If the Bill of Rights Had Not Been Ratified.

Would the Anti-Federalists have stayed in the new union? I think not. What would the country have looked like in that case? I would be very interested in seeing at least one–perhaps several–speculative answers to these questions.

Mark Kevin Lloyd is the former President of the Lynchburg, Virginia Tea Party and currently serves as Chairman of the Virginia Tea Party Patriots Federation. He is also the author of  The Battle for Virginia’s Fifth District. He can be reached on Twitter at @mklloydva .

The Electoral Battle Between James Madison and James Monroe


My e-book, The Battle for Virginia’s Fifth District, is the story of the 2010 primary battle in Virginia’s Fifth Congressional District between several tea party candidates and Robert Hurt, and then between Hurt and Democrat incumbent Tom Perriello. Hurt won in a hard fought race.

The 2010 battle was not the first time this race had been heavily contested. The very first time an election was held to select a representative for the Fifth Congressional District, voters made a choice between our fourth President, James Madison, and our fifth, James Monroe.

In the summer of 1788, Virginia became the 11th state to ratify the Constitution. Elections were called for both the Senate and House of Representatives. Governor Patrick Henry, who despised the bookish Madison, worked the State Legislature (which in those days selected the Senator) to deny Madison the Senate.

Madison, then, was forced to run for the House of Representatives. Here again, Henry set out to thwart his rival. In one of the earliest documented cases of gerrymandering, Henry persuaded the Legislature to draw the Fifth District lines so they included both Montpelier, Madison’s home, and Ashlawn, Monroe’s home.

The two friends were forced to compete against each other. During the election, the two travelled together and debated in small and large gatherings throughout the district. On Election Day, when all the votes were counted, Madison defeated Monroe by 1,300 to 900.

It was during the debates with Monroe, a supporter of the Bill of Rights, that Madison realized just how important the passage of those ten amendments was to the general population. He made a campaign promise that he would vigorously support the Bill of Rights, and that’s exactly what he did. Within six months, Madison had pushed through the Bill of Rights, and two years later, all ten amendments were ratified.

To me, the story of how Patrick Henry’s political opposition to James Madison led to a Congressional election that brought about our Bill of Rights is a delightful topic for a Voices of the Tea Party e-book.

Mark Kevin Lloyd is the former President of the Lynchburg, Virginia Tea Party and currently serves as Chairman of the Virginia Tea Party Patriots Federation. He is also the author of  ”The Battle for Virginia’s Fifth District.” He can be reached on Twitter at @mklloydva .

What Does Obama’s Loyalty Day Proclamation Tell Us?


Yesterday was Loyalty Day.

Why have I never heard of this holiday? It’s been an official holiday since 1958, when Congress passed a law declaring it a day to remember loyalty to our country and its founding principles.

On May 1, 1959, President Eisenhower issued the first Presidential “Loyalty Day” proclamation, and every successive President has followed suit. I took a moment to compare some of the proclamations issued by four subsequent Presidents, and suddenly, the idea of a new Voices of the Tea Party e-book topic came to mind: How have conceptions of “loyalty to America” changed since 1959?

Why not compare the highlights of the Loyalty Day proclamations of John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, and George W. Bush to Barack Obama, and tell me if you see any dramatic differences.

Barack Obama

For over two centuries, Americans have looked with pride and devotion on a Nation that reflects its people’s highest moral aspirations.  On this day, we celebrate our brave men and women in uniform and honor those who gave their lives to keep our country safe and free. We also reflect on the contributions of patriotic civilians united by an understanding that citizenship is not just a collection of rights, but also a set of responsibilities. (Obama likes this phrase–having used it several times in the past.)

George W. Bush

Our Nation has never been united simply by blood, birth, or soil, but instead has always been united by the ideals that move us beyond our background and teach us what it means to be Americans. We believe deeply in freedom and self-government, values embodied in our cherished documents and defended by our troops over the course of generations. Our citizens hold the truths of our founding close to their hearts and demonstrate their loyalty in countless ways. We are inspired by the patriotic service of the men and women who wear our Nation’s uniform with honor and decency.

Ronald Reagan

Seldom are we called upon to consciously consider and express loyalty to our Nation and its ideals of liberty. It would be well to do so. The world is filled with tyranny and deprivation. Each of us can thank God that we are living in this blessed land. And when differences arise among us, which is only natural in a free society, we should always remain aware that we are one people, together and indivisible.

John F. Kennedy

Dedication, devotion, and loyalty to our country and to the free democratic precepts upon which it was founded has always been a cherished tradition with our people-from our Founding Fathers to our servicemen now serving in the far-flung corners of the world. Understandably, our people avoid ostentatious displays of patriotic fervor. Nevertheless, in these trying times, when international forces are attempting to undermine and destroy our form of free government and our way of life, it is entirely fitting and proper and in the national interest to set aside a special day each year on which to express our unceasing devotion and loyalty to this Nation.

Mark Kevin Lloyd is the former President of the Lynchburg, Virginia Tea Party and currently serves as Chairman of the Virginia Tea Party Patriots Federation. He is also the author of  ”The Battle for Virginia’s Fifth District.” He can be reached on Twitter at @mklloydva .

Restoration of True Leadership


Just before the November elections of 2010 I received a phone call from a young journalist who worked at an inside-the-beltway web-based publication. He was writing a  story on leaders in the Tea Party movement and wanted to interview me.  Only a few years out of a prestigious university,  he had a difficult time in hiding his disdain for the movement.

He asked me a series of questions that he had asked other Tea Party leaders across the country.  I could tell he was becoming increasingly frustrated with my answers. Finally, he could contain himself no more.

“You Tea Party people are like ANTS!  I ask you all the same questions and you give me almost exactly the same answer!” he exclaimed. “How do you people do that?”

His outburst took me aback.  My experience in dealing with my compatriots was hardly ever one of complete agreement.  But the questions he was asking were about fundamental beliefs, and that made me think.

“When people share similar beliefs and love the same things,” I told him,  “they will generally come up with the same answer.”

What struck me about this exchange, as I reflected on it, is how our common answers reflected the leadership style of the Tea Party movement. That in turn caused me to consider how much this style is derived from the example of the Founding Fathers. Tracing this heritage, it seems to me, is an excellent topic for a future e-book in the Voices of the Tea Party series.

The decentralized, leaderless, common mind of the Tea Party movement has sometimes been compared to a headless starfish who can survive the removal of one of its “arms.”  Other natural analogies may seem equally appropriate. But to my mind, the young journalist was wrong in comparing us to an army of ants. We can be better understood as a school of fish.

Like a school of fish that changes direction instantaneosuly, the Tea Party movement has a central nervous system, common thoughts and emotions, but no head.  It does not fit any modern model or template.  But from within the movement influential individuals do emerge, and they are true leaders.  This is not the invention of a new style of leadership.  Rather it is a “restoration” of the type of leadership practiced by our Founding Fathers, and the seed of what has come to be know as “American exceptionalism.”

Our founders knew that a free people guided by the right moral principles would not need to be led, but merely guided periodically.  They therefore gave us a representative republic and expected us to lead ourselves.  A restoration of their form of leadership is currently underway in the Tea Party movement.  An e-book identifying and describing this unique type of leadership would aid those emerging as leaders, and help others to step up and play their roles more effectively.

Mark Kevin Lloyd is the President of the Lynchburg, Virginia Tea Party and Chairman of the Virginia Tea Party Patriots Federation. He is also the author of  “The Battle for Virginia’s Fifth District.” He can be reached on Twitter at @mklloydva .


Sometimes We Over Think Things


I have been involved for more than twenty years in the Boy Scouts of America. I have served as a Cub master, Scout master, board member, and adult leadership trainer. I  have to admit that any success I have experienced as a grassroots leader has more often than not come from my experience with the Boy Scouts.

In training young men to be productive and well rounded citizens and leaders, the BSA has compiled an enormous library of “handbooks” on a multitude of topics. I’m sure everyone has heard of the “merit badge,” the Boy Scouts standard of achievement in particular fields.

I see the Voices of the Tea Party e-book series as a library of “handbooks” that can be used by tea party activists, and used for training in much the same way as the Boy Scout “handbooks” are.

From the beginning of the movement I have shared many of my experiences with other tea partiers, as have many other local grassroots leaders. I was involved in starting an organization from scratch, taking the lead position in the group, and working through campaigns with my fellow newbie activists.  Here in Virginia, we’ve   taken our organization to the next level by forming an effective federation of several dozen local tea parties. This brings a new perspective, and as we move forward, organizing on a broader level is going to be increasingly important. But organizing and functioning on the state level is much different from organizing on the local level, and it requires a different skill set, and altered expectations.

Our ebook series could offer insights on the different topics, and allow leaders, and other grassroots activists to begin building an effective reference library.

A possible “handbook” might provide insights into how to be an effective leader. For instance, a leader must often carefully craft the way input from the group is delivered to avoid gratuitous and unproductive argument. An ebook on how to do this would  be welcomed by most new Tea Party leaders.

Another could deal with the challenges of putting together a statewide federation or group of tea parties organized for concerted action. As you move to organizing on the state level the intensity of the type “A” personalities becomes much greater, and your difficulties increase exponentially. Some insights from those who have the scars of experience in this arena would most likely be welcomed.

We have an opportunity to address a wide spectrum of topics of interest to the movement, from basic constitutional issues, to forgotten history, to “How To” manuals for the movement. I think we should market it as a “reference library.”

We know that most of our folks are inundated with information, and real life responsibilities. 7,500 to 10,000  words is about the maximum we can expect to present to these busy and distracted patriots.


Mark Kevin Lloyd is the President of the Lynchburg, Virginia Tea Party and Chairman of the Virginia Tea Party Patriots Federation. He’s the author of the new e-book from Broadside Books: The Battle for Virginia’s Fifth. He can be reached on Twitter at @mklloydva .