"We have been dismayed to learn that so many organizations and individuals outside the state of Kentucky are considering one of (Bill Johnson's) opponents to be 'the' Tea Party candidate," organizers Sue Jaycox and Debra Tennison said in a joint statement Thursday night.
It's the latest backlash to Sarah Palin's endorsement of Rand Paul, whose positions on foreign policy, federal drug laws and abortion have been called into question by former Palin backers.
“While I respect Sarah Palin for her personal choices, I stand in disagreement with her and Mr. Paul’s public policy position of letting the states decide the issue of abortion. This is simply pro-choice for states. Instead, we need to protect our God-given unalienable right to life at all levels of government, including the federal level." - candidate Bill Johnson
And, count Kentucky's Lisa Graas among them. Until the Palin/Paul endorsement, Graas was the administrator of the Palin Twibe on Twitter, which was the top political group on Twitter. She auto-tweeted over 200 pro-Palin blog feeds and had over 700 individual, active members tweeting on issues of importance to all Palin supporters. The account was followed by more than 3,000 people.
But after the SarahPAC $2,000 donation to Paul and the endorsement, Graas is shutting down her PalinTwibe blog, Twitter account and facebook page.
In an e-mail after the Rand Paul endorsement, Graas told me, "I tried to tell SarahPAC, but would they listen? Nope."
"I'm a Reagan conservative before I'm a Palin fan," Graas continued, "and the same can be said for Kentucky. Looks like Sarah Palin is lacking some common sense."
And that's from Sarah Palin's biggest supporter in Kentucky. Her blog relates her sense of betrayal:
"I've been sending almost daily communications to SarahPAC telling them about this race and begging them to call me. No one has called. I've been working for Sarah Palin since September of 2008 almost daily, in horrible pain, and can't get a ten-minute phone call from a staffer? It doesn't matter if it's not true. I'm done. It doesn't matter anymore. I'm done. They can't call me??? I'm done."
In a WHAS11 Political Blog entry on January 20, I had linked to Graas' blog and revealed the consternation of some Tea Partiers who believed that Rand Paul's "grassroots" campaign was "astroturf," or fake.
The USA Today's Kathy Kiely reports on Friday about similar concerns by Tea Partiers across the country, as Palin is about to speak at the National Tea Party convention in Nashville on Saturday.
..... more than 3,200 websites containing the words "tea party," have been registered with Go Daddy, which calls itself the world's largest Internet domain name provider, said company spokeswoman Elizabeth Driscoll. Five organizations using the name "Tea Party" have registered political action committees with the Federal Election Commission.
The different groups are the movement's strength, Tea Party enthusiasts argue. "It really is a grass-roots movement," says Tom Gaitens, a FreedomWorks field coordinator who has worked with a number of Tea Party groups in Florida. "They want to remain local."
The disdain for centralized authority that has given the Tea Party movement much of its energy also has led to disputes over who has claim to the Tea Party name.
Joint statement issued by Sue Jaycox, Frankfort Tea Party organizer, and Debra Tennison, Central Kentucky Tea Party organizer.
“Having organized some of the Tea Parties in Kentucky last year, we support Bill Johnson for U.S. Senate. We have been dismayed to learn that so many organizations and individuals outside the state of Kentucky are considering one of his opponents to be "the" Tea Party candidate. The Tea Party movement is a diverse coalition of citizens who agree that the current administration's policies, including rampant spending and attempts to greatly expand government control of the private sector, are not within the realm of reason.
“We can attest to strong support within the Tea Party movement for Bill Johnson who not only shares our concerns but has the eloquence and the backbone to bring effective change in Washington. We believe any candidate who claims to be "the" Tea Party candidate is clearly out of touch with its spontaneous and diverse nature that is truly non-partisan and completely free from being bound to any one candidate.”
And here's the release sent by the Bill Johnson campaign on Tuesday after Palin's endorsement was announced:
“According to reporting by several sources, Sarah Palin disagrees with Mr. Paul on some issues, Mr. Paul has never spoken to the Governor, and $2000 changed hands. Frankly, it appears like typical Washington behavior by two individuals claiming to be outside of politics as usual.
“While I respect Sarah Palin for her personal choices, I stand in disagreement with her and Mr. Paul’s public policy position of letting the states decide the issue of abortion. This is simply pro-choice for states. Instead, we need to protect our God-given unalienable right to life at all levels of government, including the federal level.
“It lacks honor to base an endorsement primarily on ‘shaking things up in Washington.’ We already have enough of the wrong kind of shake from the Washington Democrats and Libertarians. Instead, we need to elect principled leadership on the issues and chart a course back to the Ronald Reagan conservative platform.”