Born in Brooklyn, Frank Santarpia, co-founder of the Staten Island Tea Party, is a graduate of Brooklyn Technical High School and Fordham University where he received a B.A. in Communications. A truck driver for 10 years, Frank would later become an entrepreneur who started several successful businesses. Recently, Frank sat down for an interview to talk about his experiences.(full story at frontpagemag.com)
Ilya Galek: A great deal has been written about the Tea Party movement in America – some of it correct, much of it lies and smears. What can you tell us about the movement from the perspective of an insider?
Frank Santarpia: I believe that the rise of tea party groups throughout the country was a spontaneous – and disconnected – reaction to the frightening growth of the federal government. This fuse was lit under Bush, as we all know, but it was the policies proposed by Barack Obama, and finally the mortgage bailout scheme, that really caused the explosion.
Conservatives had been quietly seething for years – certainly after we realized that Bush was far from the fiscal hawk we thought or hoped he would be. The nomination of a moderate, reach-across-the-aisle guy like McCain was another kick in the pants to conservatives, and eventually the initiatives of the Obama administration became unbearable. His policies were like a modern-day version of the Intolerable Acts. Finally, when the mortgage bailout scheme precipitated the Santelli rant in March of 2009, people like me – people who had never been involved with politics before – got off our butts and got involved.
I guess it was the timing, though, that led to the number one smear. Because critical mass was reached, and public demonstrations began, after President Obama took office, the movement was immediately labeled racist. Of course, the lead perpetrators of that smear knew it not to be true, but the low-information progressives who followed them could not fathom a conservative movement that wasn’t purely white, mostly Southern, fundamentally Christian, anti-gay, anti-minority, xenophobic and, of course, unintelligent. It was what they were being spoon-fed for years, and the mainstream media wouldn’t disabuse them of their misconceptions; it was what they wanted to believe, too. In fact, they bent over backwards looking for overtly racist signs or banners at tea party rallies, and when they couldn’t find any of those they tried to latch onto secretive “code words,” which, of course, didn’t exist either.
Congressman Robert Andrews (D – NJ) told reporters he believes Speaker of the House John Boehner (R – OH) cannot do his job with fiscal cliff negotiations because the tea party is a “problem” for the Republican leader.(from "Lawmakers Leave Capitol Without A Deal" at breitbart.com)
“There’s the tea party. I think it’s an aberrant strain of the Republican Party that knows what it doesn’t like; knows what it’s angry about, but doesn’t know what it wants to do,” said Andrews.
“I think [Boehner will] survive on January 3rd, sure, but on four occasions the country’s been—in these two years—the country’s been brought to the brink of real economic harm, because a small group on their side doesn’t want anything,” Andrews added.
Congressman Pat Tiberi (R – OH) shot back at Andrews remarks saying that the tea party is not giving Boehner “anymore problems than moveon.org or code pink is giving Ms. Pelosi.”