Tom Kacich: Tea party members say they'll be back

Tom Kacich: Tea party members say they'll be back

The tea party is down but not out, say Jan and Phil Peterson of the Ford County Tea Party.

"I think we were kinda in shock when we got defeated so badly," Jan Peterson, who heads the group, said of the results of the November election, including the re-election of President Barack Obama and Republican losses in Congress and the Illinois General Assembly. "I think we need to go back to the old Republican Party, before it got dominated with people who had their own special interest and don't listen to the people anymore. They need to go back to that and talk to us. They are out of touch with the American people."

Added her husband: "A lot of people were shocked. We had no situational awareness at all of what was coming. We had no perception of what was coming."

A Rasmussen Reports poll this week found that only 8 percent of Americans say they are members of the tea party, down from a high of 24 percent in April 2010, just after passage of Obama's health care law.

"I don't think our membership is down. I think people are not in the open as much as we were 3-1/2 years ago, when things started. People are still as active, we're just more behind the scenes now," Jan Peterson insisted.

Phil Peterson said that in Ford County, almost half of the Republican Party committeemen are affiliated with the tea party. But he acknowledges that Ford County is an outlier.

"We're an extremely conservative county," he said. In fact, Obama got only 27.6 percent of the Ford County vote in November, among his worst showings in Illinois.

But he still thinks the rest of the country eventually will come around to Ford County's thinking.

"Many of us have the opinion that until people actually suffer a little bit and see the consequences of electing some of these guys, that you're not going to be able to talk to them and reason with them," he said.

It's not the message that's the problem, Jan Peterson said, it's the messengers.

"We were working our tails off all over the country. We were doing our part. But the Republican Party in Washington and in Springfield was not doing its part. That's really why we lost it. That's my thinking anyway," she said.

Her husband agreed, saying Republicans are "the crummiest communicators in the world."

He said his group will continue to work with "the Republican Party and other organizations that have conservative values" and will begin to gain disciples again.

"We haven't gone anywhere. We're just sort of biding our time and picking our arguments and our issues closely," he said. "We have not gone away. We will not go away."

Hays/Langendorf money. State Rep. Chad Hays, R-Catlin, and his unsuccessful Democratic challenger, Michael Langendorf, already have filed their campaign disclosure reports for the last quarter of 2012.

Hays' report shows he collected $28,594 in the last quarter and spent $25,004. But for the entire two-year election cycle, reports show he raised $201,487 and spent $124,133. Expenditures included everything from laundry expenses for when Hays was in Springfield and candy for parades to billboards, brochures and political consulting.

Langendorf's shows that he spent about $4,824 in his campaign and was even able to repay himself a $5,000 loan he had made to his campaign and to reimburse two donors for most of their campaign contributions. Most of his campaign expenditures were for postage, printing and an ad in The News-Gazette.

Since Langendorf received 15,240 votes in the Nov. 6 election, he's the early favorite for most economical use of campaign contributions by a major candidate. He spent just 32 cents for each vote he got. Hays, who got 26,479 votes, spent $4.69 per vote.

Rietz reimbursement. One of the great benefits of running unopposed is that you don't have to ask for or spend any money in a campaign. Champaign County State's Attorney Julia Rietz is an example.

The Democratic prosecutor had no election opposition this year and so was able to repay herself part of a loan she had taken out more than eight years ago. Rietz reported paying herself $4,106 from a $12,000 loan she made to her campaign in 2004.

The repayment leaves her with no cash in her campaign fund, but don't read that as an indication that she has decided not to run again in 2016.

"I just got tired of having to send in all the reports," she said. "When the time comes I will reopen (the campaign committee) if necessary."

Stratton money. Les Stratton, who hopes to unseat Urbana Mayor Laurel Prussing in the Democratic primary this spring, has filed his campaign statement of organization with the State Board of Elections, reporting $2,200 on hand. Prussing has not yet filed.

Baby Barickman. Jason Barickman, the former Champaign County Republican Party chairman who today becomes a state senator, also is celebrating fatherhood for the second time.

Last week Kristin Barickman gave birth to Walter James Barickman at Advocate BroMenn Medical Center in Normal. Walter was born six weeks early but still weighed 5 pounds, 4 ounces. He was transferred to St. Francis Medical Center in Peoria for observation, and probably will remain there for the rest of the month.

But the baby is getting stronger daily, his father reported.

The Barickmans have another son, Augie, 11/2.

Kacich wedding. On a personal note, my wife and I were thrilled to attend the beachfront wedding last week of our oldest son, Matt, and the former Jackie Firmand, who grew up about four blocks from our home. We had a grand time in Mexico, meeting Jackie's extended family and getting further acquainted with her parents, Ali and Matt. We're excited to welcome Jackie to our growing family. And I'm proud of Matt for continuing the tradition among Kacich men of marrying up.

Tom Kacich is a News-Gazette editor and columnist. His column appears on Wednesdays and Sundays. He can be reached at 351-5221 or at

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mark taylor's ghost wrote on January 09, 2013 at 12:01 pm

I know, right??????2?

The TEA PARTY WILL RISE AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!111!!1

It ISN"T the message. OUR MESSAGE IS SOUND AND TOTALLY TOTALLY POPULAR!!!!1! It's just that we have the crummiest dang messengers. Mitt was RIGHT when he said that if only he was a latino, then we'd have won easily.

And Ford county Republicans are just the people to bring forth a new MESSENGER OF TRUTH!!!!1! These, after all, are the ones who had the foresight to endorse RICK SANTORUM, the only candidate with the GUTS to call not only for outlawing abortion, but also OUTLAWING CONTRACEPTION!!!!1! IT JUST MAKES SENSE.

Talk about fiscal responsibility.

Now, if we can just rig it so that enough of those people, who we all know are really just FAKE VOTERS, don't get to vote, then we'll be golden and America will experience a bright shiny TEA PARTY FUTURE!!!!!!!!11!

WOOOO HOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!111!!!!!1!


Sid Saltfork wrote on January 09, 2013 at 1:01 pm

One people, one country, one leader........?

syzlack wrote on January 09, 2013 at 2:01 pm

The next meeting will be at the Paxton Burgerbraukeller.  Get ready to get your putsch on!

rsp wrote on January 09, 2013 at 2:01 pm

Is that so everyone can suffer and see the light?

syzlack wrote on January 09, 2013 at 1:01 pm

My thinking, anyway, is "the other dude done it." 

spangwurfelt wrote on January 09, 2013 at 3:01 pm

'We had no situational awareness at all of what was coming. We had no perception of what was coming."

Want to stop that from happening again? Here's a simple rule. Fox "News" isn't news. It's intentionally slanted propaganda. The reason you didn't know Romney was positioned to lose was that they didn't *want* you to know that Romney was positioned to lose.

If you want to know what's actually happening in the world, start by turning Fox News off.

"Many of us have the opinion that until people actually suffer a little bit and see the consequences of electing some of these guys, that you're not going to be able to talk to them and reason with them."

You mean, like the way Ronald Reagan tripled the deficit? Or is that something else Fox "News" never quite got around to telling you?

vcponsardin wrote on January 09, 2013 at 9:01 pm

Oh, yeah.  The Tea Party will be back.  Just like Ross Perot's Reform Party will be back...

rsp wrote on January 09, 2013 at 9:01 pm

"I think we need to go back to the old Republican Party, before it got dominated with people who had their own special interest and don't listen to the people anymore. They need to go back to that and talk to us. They are out of touch with the American people."

Isn't the tea party a special interest? Didn't they try to take over the country? 

Illini Libertarian wrote on January 10, 2013 at 12:01 am

Republicans value economic freedom (or at least they used to) but are conservative with social/personal freedoms; is that exactly the same as the Tea Party's values? Democrats (generally) value personal freedoms, but have little respect for economic freedoms. What do they all have in common? Lack of respect for freedom.

Conservatives have lost their way, liberals are a bunch of sheep, and the tea party isn't sure what it is. Ready for economic and personal freedom? Study libertarianism and be free.

Sid Saltfork wrote on January 10, 2013 at 9:01 am

I found it interesting that in this week's news the moderate republicans are dropping the brand name "republican".  They are forming essentally a middle ground party; and requesting that moderate democrats join them.  I found it refreshing that logic, and reason are returning to some politicians.  The extremes of the Tea Party, and the Left are not the mainstream of voters.  More, and more voters are identifying themselves as Independents.  A moderate party would be more accepting of compromise; and less polarized.

SaintClarence27 wrote on January 10, 2013 at 10:01 am

It's intellectually lazy to think that endorsing some level of government intervention and regulation of the marketplace is 1) automatically wrong and/or 2) lacking respect for freedom. Libertarianism is just that - intellectually lazy. 

Sid Saltfork wrote on January 10, 2013 at 12:01 pm

Oh my.....  you are going to stir them up.  The Tea Party, and the Libertarians will denounce you as a Lib.  Lib as in Liberal not to be confused with Libertarian.  I does get confusing when RINOs, and DINOs get thrown into it.

Ex-House of Representative from Illinois, Joe Walsh, has announced that he is seeking public office in Illinois.  He plans on making a speaking tour of the state.  He was a Tea Party darling.  He probably will speak on family values, and fiscal responsibility.  He has first hand experience with both.  With his history, he will fit in well with the Illinois General Assembly if elected.  I would imagine that he will speak in Paxton to the Ford County Bund. 

SaintClarence27 wrote on January 10, 2013 at 1:01 pm

I have never been able to understand why Libertarians (regardless of the correctness of their views) overwhelmingly vote Republican. If you are so focused on "freedom," then why vote for a party who explicitly restricts individual freedoms simply so one can decry the regulation of corporations as restricting economic freedom? 

Bulldogmojo wrote on January 10, 2013 at 5:01 pm

The Tea Party will be back? From where? Their concrete bunkers? Will they signal one if by land two if by sea so we will know they have arrived?

Maybe next time they can bring with them an explanation of their actual agenda because I couldn't figure it out or at least bring us all a mug full of grog and some shepards pie for our wenches. 

rsp wrote on January 11, 2013 at 6:01 am

Maybe they'll bring me a wench t-shirt? 

mark taylor's ghost wrote on January 11, 2013 at 8:01 am

Were are all the TEA PARTY DEFENDERS?????????????222????

Are they just FAIR WEATHER PATRIOTS???????22?

Now is the time for all good MEN to come to the aid of their party!!!!!!111

Where are the people who know IT'S JUST RIGHT to talk about fiscal responsibility while passing abortion ban after abortion ban after abortion ban? Isn't the connection obvious?????2?

Where are the GOOD TEA PARTY MEMBERS who know the SIXTY SEVEN TEA PARTY REPUBLICANS were right to VOTE AGAINST more of MY MONEY going to those mooching hurricane Sandy Victims even after demanding federal aid for their taker state constituents after their natural disasters???22?

Where are the GOOD TEA PARTY MEMBERS who know it's right to shred social security, medicaid, and medicare in order to fund ANOTHER TAX BREAK for millionaires???? Those poor millionaires have suffered SO MUCH. It's time those mooching seniors and poor people take a haircut so our poor millionaires can FINALLY catch a break from the rest of us.

Where are the GOOD TEA PARTY MEMBERS who know IT"S JUST RIGHT to keep those people from voting??????22?

Where are the GOOD TEA PARTY MEMBERS who know it's right to stop bus service to the new Y in order to keep certain types from being able to ride the bus to their neighborhoods while double taxing their constituents but not actuall providing a service (talk about fiscal responsibility)??????222??

Where are all the TEA PARTY DEFENDERS?????????22?

Where are the organizers of the anti tax rallies held in taxpayer funded parks??????22? I remember those organizers, local people, talking up the tea party so much and saying they were a tranformational movement that TAKE OUR COUNTRY BACK!!

Where are those local organizers and leaders??? Have they moved on to something more lucrative and financially rewarding????2?

Are they even planning another anti tax rally in a taxpayer funded public park this year??????2?

Are they mere cowards and summer soldiers or will they stand up again for what they say they believe in?

Sid Saltfork wrote on January 11, 2013 at 10:01 am

Evidently, they are all in Ford County.  Paxton is the bastion of their power in the state.  It seems that they have went underground only to rise when partisan, political warfare occurs.  Many of them elsewhere are passing themselves off as libertarians now.  They are just waiting for a new Leader to emerge.  When Eric Cantor comes forward, they will embrace him.  They still get excited over Michelle Bachman, and Palin pin-ups also though.  Ex-Congressman, Joe Walsh, will be courting them next.

mark taylor's ghost wrote on January 11, 2013 at 11:01 am

You mean Joe Walsh, the TEA PARTY REPUBLICAN who just called for violence:

He paraphrased Thomas Jefferson in saying, "We may have to shed blood every couple hundred years to preserve our freedoms."

That Tea Party Republican Joe Walsh?

Sid Saltfork wrote on January 11, 2013 at 12:01 pm

Yep, the deadbeat dad, Joe Walsh.  The guy who did not pay his child support until his ex took him to court.  The same guy that bought a condo with his girlfriend, and went bankrupt.  The guy who said that his opponent who won election was using her combat loss of limbs along with her military service as props to get elected.  He announced in Chicago this week that since he is no longer in Congress, he will seek election in state politics.  He is known for his temper, and theatrics.  The Tea Party elected him.  They love him since he reflects their values.

He has never played in a band either.  That is the other guy.

read the DI wrote on January 11, 2013 at 10:01 pm

The TPers get their clocks cleaned and its the Republicans who are "out of touch with the American people"?

That kind of thinking loses (even more!) elections.

Sid Saltfork wrote on January 12, 2013 at 1:01 pm

The Republicans embraced the religious right, and the Tea Party in order to get their votes.  The price that they paid was the acceptance of extremist views.  Moderate conservatives were denounced as Republicans In Name Only (RINOs).  Now, the Republican party is trying to re-connect with the mainstream of voters.  Some of them are distancing themselves from the extremist right just as some of the moderate Democrats (DINOs) are trying to distance themselves from the extremist left.  Hopefully; the extremists in both parties will be purged so a middle ground, compromising body of legislators can bring stability back to the nation.