Tag Archives: Geoff Ludt

Santelli’s rant launches Tea Party five years ago today

“The government is promoting bad behavior.”

Tea Party Feb 27, 2009 Stimulus Package
Photo by Victoria Taft

Five years ago CNBC reporter Rick Santelli gave voice to the frustration felt by millions of Americans when President Obama announced plans to help stimulate the economy by, in part, redistributing billions of dollars to people who signed for a mortgage on a house they couldn’t afford. Santelli called them “the losers.” 

tea party feb 27 geoff and jeff
Photo by Victoria Taft

Santelli wasn’t done. Gesturing back at the traders, Santelli declared, “This is America! How many of you people want to pay for your neighbor’s mortgage that has an extra bathroom and can’t pay their bills? Raise their hand.” Boos came from the floor. Santelli looked at the camera and plaintively asked, “President Obama, are you listening?” One trader chimed in, “How about we all stop paying our mortgage, it’s a moral hazard!”

Two weeks later Geoff Ludt and dozens more like him across the nation held the first Tea Parties. 

tea party feb 27 2009 b w
Photo by Victoria Taft

At first critics ignored, then dismissed, then laughed at, then disdained the Tea Party. When they couldn’t kill it they went nuclear and called it a ‘racist’ organization. What else could it be, right? It couldn’t possibly been about redistributionist, wasteful, and currency inflating programs which would bankrupt our nation and send the bills to our kids–and their kids. Nope, as if by magic, whites, blacks, Hispanics, gays, atheists and Christians had become “racists.” 

Geoff Ludt Statement About the Status of the Oregon Tea Party

Tea party April 15 enhanced group

Statement Regarding the Status of the “Oregon Tea Party”

by Geoffrey Ludt

Having personally experienced financial difficulties during this “Great Recession,” I sympathize with John Kuzmanich’s private financial predicament and was shocked by his public exposure and humiliation in the pages of Willamette Week and disappointed that his personal matters were damaging the Oregon Tea Party brand (Jaquiss, Nigel (2013, October 16). Where’s John Kuzmanich. Willamette Week. 

I know firsthand that financial stress is dispiriting, it damages relationships (it is especially hard on marriages), it’s a lonely space that drains zeal, judgment and actions.

When coordinating Tea Party events, the commitment burns the candle at both ends — every moment spent on activism costs family time and earnings. Initially, you can rationalize the commitment’s costs — after all, when justice and liberty are at stake, what price is too high? Eventually however, nature course corrects and personal and financial obligations come home. I found myself at this point a few short years ago — John Kuzmanich was there and grabbed the baton (and I am thankful that he was).

In recent times it has been pleasing to see the inspiring work of “Citizen Journalists, Lobbyists, and Activists” — ordinary people working to give us a voice in the media and in the halls of government. The work of promoting good candidates and changing the composition of our local representation has not been as effective. I recently read that the assumed business name “Oregon Tea Party” and entity registration “Liberty Coalition PAC” at the foundation of the work to promote candidates went dangerously un-renewed and dissolved two years ago — anyone (including Tea Party opposition) could have read the same column and, for $150, registered the name with the state and used it. Fortunately, I was able to register “Oregon Tea Party LLC” and the assumed business name “Oregon Tea Party” in every Oregon county before something like that happened (McCain, Bruce (2013, October 19). Who’s Tea Party. Oregon Oracle.  With the dissolution of the “Liberty Coalition PAC” the entity underlying the “Oregon Tea Party” brand ceased in October of 2011 — all accountable leadership and past actions receded into history. There has been no formal “Oregon Tea Party” entity or leadership in the State of Oregon for two years.

Today, aside from the aforementioned LLC and assumed business name registrations, the only two other Tea Party-related registrations are: Oregon Tea Party State PAC, which is just a political action committee (not an entity) and John Kuzmanich’s federal “Liberty Coalition Pac DBA Oregon Tea Party” (despite the fact that the “Liberty Coalition PAC” was dissolved for failure to file and the DBA “Oregon Tea Party” failed to renew).

Between the Tea Party’s birth in February 2009 and today a lot of water has passed under the bridge. In the weeks ahead a constellation of stakeholders will communicate and flesh out some reasonable expectations regarding the Oregon Tea Party LLC’s formal future. There may yet be a next chapter for a formal “Oregon Tea Party”, anchored in a board accountable to local Tea Party aligned organizations or, perhaps, there will not be any formal use of the “Oregon Tea Party” brand at all — which may be how it is supposed to be, the Tea Party belongs to everyone after all.

The Oregon Tea Party Returns to its Roots.

Oregon Tea Party founder Geoff Ludt assumes OTP leadership.

tea party feb 27 geoff and jeff

Geoff Ludt invited me to the first Oregon Tea Party held on February 27, 2009. There were maybe 100 of us with a bull horn, a treasure chest containing tea and some hand made signs repudiating the huge amount of government spending. Most of us had never protested anything before.

We rallied on the steps of the historic federal courthouse building across from Pioneer Square because we’d been told we couldn’t have a gathering in “Portland’s Living Room” without forking over money none of us had.  So across the street we went, much to the amusement of the security detail. 

We dumped the tea in the Willamette River and a movement was born.

tea party feb 27 2009 b w

We decided after that to get more people involved.  With Geoff and his talented, hard working committees of dozens of activists, we held the April 15, 2009 Tea Party in which upwards of 6000 people crammed the entire Pioneer Courthouse Square. Hundreds of man-hours were spent on that event. I was convinced that this was a group that matched my values and was worth being a part. 

Tea Party April 15 group 1

Things were picking up steam. I would attend meetings of the Oregon 9/12 organization, Clackamas County AFP, give air time to You Choose events and spend time talking to folks from the Tea Party on my radio show. All of these groups sprang from that Tea Party event in April of 2009.

Tea Party folks began embedding themselves in current political groups and running for office–a clear win. To make a difference you’ve got to be in the arena. John Kuzmanich and Jeff Reynolds, the administrators for the OTP Facebook page, have done the hard work and run for office. Occasionally you’ll  hear a Tea Party person on OPB or interviewed for a news story. 

All the other groups are still going strong but when leadership of the group changed hands as Ludt left to take a second job to take care of his growing family, the Oregon Tea Party began to fade away.

What is the Oregon Tea Party anymore? 

It appears to be just a Facebook page. 

Now Facebook pages are fine, after all that’s all the left’s Blue Oregon is. There’s no movement at Blue Oregon, it’s just a bunch of rantings by Carla, Kari and that crotchety coot with the creepy videos, with an occasional panting of, ‘did you hear what Daily Kos said today?’ 

But we’ve got to do more. Everything in Oregon is run by far left Democrats. Their point of view pervades everything in the state. The Oregon Tea Party should become the defacto large-and-in-charge counter narrative. 

Some stories have surfaced about the leadership of the Tea Party which Willamette Week has pointed out (here) and Blogforce member Bruce McCain has investigated  here and here.  

But those concerns are moot now that the torch has passed. Geoff Ludt is in charge of the OTP brand legally in the state of Oregon and the Tea Party will begin its next phase.

And that’s a good thing. These folks are great American PATRIOTS. 

To you and especially to those who were there that first Tea Party on February 27, 2009 I say to you, “Freeeeeeeeeedom!!!!!”

Braveheart meme