A Rose by any Other Name
By Charles Robertson, co-founder Broward Tea Party
The question arose at our Tea Party Meeting, “should we change our name?” The intention was to remove “Tea Party” from our name. Those who supported the change pointed out that the Tea Party has been effectively portrayed by the liberal media as a radical, fringe, extremist organization. It matters little the inaccuracy or unfairness of the portrayal, what counts is what the public believes. Polling would show that the Tea Party image has suffered, affecting our ability to market our message. It’s hard to counter public opinion and this negative image makes Tea Party recruiting an uphill struggle. Perhaps they say, with a different name, our group could attract more members.
One way to circumvent the branding burden is to rebrand. A simple name change would immediately neutralize any negative image. A new name would mean a clean slate that could still promote Tea Party principles, an agenda that appeals to mainstream America. That’s an easier sell which could boost membership thus creating a more effective political action group. The pro name changers would argue that results are what matters. If that was all that mattered, I might side with them.
My first thought against a name change is that it’s conceding defeat. This change would reward the smear merchants and leave me, and many others I suspect, feeling cowardly for not defending our team. I’m not for raising the white flag and moving on. Tea Partiers are patriots and fighters for our cause. It would seem hypocritical to fight for our principles while at the same time shedding our identity.
Tea partiers need to relish the attacks, if we weren’t a strong force, there would be no attacks. Even under a new name, if we grew to prominence then we’d again be on the liberal radar dealing with the same smear campaigns. If we changed our name to let’s say, Team Liberty, then it would only be a matter of time before you’d hear us described as, Team Liberty – formerly the Tea Party. The more successful Team Liberty would become the more its opponents would link it to the Tea Party which tells me our name also carries a positive attribute. We’re the staunchly conservative, anti-liberals, and that’s branding we should relish and hold on to.
United we stand. Imagine if most Tea Party groups opted to change their names; that would spell the end of the movement…. the headline – “Tea Party Fractures”. Yet, despite the media onslaught, the Tea Party still maintains millions of faithful members. Should an economic crisis come to pass as many predict, the Tea Party would resurge. The failure of liberal fiscal policy would only validate and vindicate our message. Just as quickly our image would change. The pendulum would swing back to the conservative side, the Tea Party banner would be a beacon to those looking for answers and a new course of action.
My final argument regarding our identity crisis is that our name is just a convenient excuse for our difficulties. We don’t have a good member retention record. I’ve seen scores of people come to the Tea Party looking for the group to support their candidate. They’re quick to go when that doesn’t happen. Our name has nothing to do with that. People get excited and enthused for their leader, not so much for free markets, fiscal responsibility, and limited government. We’ve lost others when our meetings focused on a topic that didn’t interest them… Fickle – pseudo – activists. Finally, our biggest obstacle is apathy, self centered citizens who don’t know and don’t care. There’s no name that would spur them to action.
Perhaps the best thing the Tea party can do is summed up in my favorite saying:
Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence.
Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent.
Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.
Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts.
Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.