As Congress begins its month-long August Recess (the House broke on July 31 and the Senate is due to leave town August 7) politicians may be evading Washington, D.C.’s sweltering summer heat, but for some the political temperature has just begun to rise.
It was not long ago that a newly-elected President Obama—joined by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and a liberal Congress of seeming juggernaut status—was feeling his oats and talking up an ambitious big government agenda that before summer’s end would see, among other things, a hostile government takeover of America’s health care system and a new energy tax in the form of a draconian cap and trade carbon emissions scheme. The sheer specter of such threats sent shivers down the spine of those who love liberty. But in planning their socialist utopia, the left apparently didn’t count on conservative grassroots and the pressure they would bring to bear.
Thousands of “Tea Party” protests began in earnest in the spring where by most estimates upwards of a million limited government activists attended thousands of events all over the country to express their outrage at Obama and the Democratic leadership in Congress’ continued push to dramatically expand the size and scope of government on the backs of the American taxpayer. The tea party phenomenon not only reinvigorated the right’s grassroots base (in desperate need of a shot in the arm after the left’s 2008 electoral gains) it also served as a warning to more moderate and centrist lawmakers as well as vulnerable members of the Democratic Caucus in Congress facing tough reelection fights just a year away. Thus, significant sand was thrown in the gears of the Obama-Pelosi-Reid machine and they saw policy priorities like health care and cap and trade slip past their planned summer timeline.
These set-backs for the left were seen as opportunities for conservative grassroots groups on the right to increase pressure on key legislators in opposition to big government reforms while they are at home during August. I know as chairman of FreedomWorks, our activists will be out in force to oppose the two biggest threats currently on the table—government-run health care and cap and trade—at the hundreds of town hall events and listening sessions that will take place throughout the country.
Putting on a brave face, Pelosi recently had this to say to a reporter who asked whether or not she was concerned about this conservative grassroots maelstrom: “I am not afraid of August. It’s just a month.”
But if Pelosi and others think merely hunkering down during the month of August will get them over their rough patch, just wait until September gets here.
FreedomWorks Foundation—together with allies in the limited government movement including the National Taxpayers Union, Tea Party Patriots, and Grassfire—is hosting the 9-12 Taxpayer March on Washington (www.912dc.org). Born largely out of the Tea Party movement, the 9-12 event promises to be a historic gathering of limited government grassroots activists in our nation’s capital. Never before have so many conservative activists gathered in Washington, D.C., not to lobby for government intervention or money to feed a special interest pet project, but actually seeking less government interference in their daily lives. A little more than a month away, thousands have already registered, booked travel and hotel accommodations and will be ready that Saturday, September 12 to march down Pennsylvania Avenue to the West Lawn of the Capitol and give the liberal left establishment a piece of their minds.
The March on Washington, not unlike the Tea Party protests of the spring and summer, isn’t getting a lot of media attention at the moment. Whether the press comes around and decides to actually cover an event of this size and magnitude remains to be seen. However, if Pelosi and company don’t start to take notice, they do so at their own peril.
2010 is right around the corner and with every House seat in play as well as several swing-Senate seats, liberals need to understand that this conservative grassroots renaissance is no freak occurrence, nor is it a passing fad. As they will see for themselves on September 12, a standing army of limited government true believers is coming together. They are actively engaged in the political debate, well-informed, and you can bet that come election time they will be ready to walk neighborhoods and make phone calls knowing full-well who supported the liberal left’s big government agenda and who stood fast against it.