2012 Was A Warning to the Tea Party… Ready For A Course Correction?



 By: Tom Duggan, (11-17-12)

While Tea Party member are still in shock over the 2012 ass kicking we took in the polls on Election Day, now is the perfect time for a lecture on course correction. 


Katie Ives and Christine Morabito of the Greater Boston Tea Party

Then Democrat candidate for State Senate Katie Ives with Christine Morabito of the Greater Boston Tea Party. Morabito and Ives came together when Morabito moderated a Democrat debate in the 2012 primary sponsored by The Valley Patriot newspaper and WCAP radio.

Very high on the failed strategy list for the Tea Party is the way Democrats are treated as “the enemy” on all issues, and the unwillingness to dialogue with them.

Like it or not, Massachusetts is a one-party state dominated by Democrats. If the Tea Party doesn’t change course and bring some of those Democrats into the fold, dialogue with them, and actually work with them on key issues, well… we will continue to fail over and over.

Democrats who have never been to a Tea Party meeting and have no personal experiences with members of the Tea Party, often make the most vile accusations and attacks. That’s because they are operating on the belief that the Tea Party is “dangerous” based on what they have heard from their colleagues on the left. Once they meet with the Tea Party and see for themselves what it is all about, they are much less likely to be hostile, in some cases can even become allies.  

The key to any success in changing the public image of the Tea Party and getting important legislation passed, is to infiltrate the Democrat Party and penetrate the strangle-hold the leadership has over the minds of it’s members.


Tea Party activists say that the Tea Party is nonpartisan, yet before the primary election in September, the Merrimack Valley Tea Party held what was dishonestly called a “Candidate Forum”.

The impression people were given was that it was open to all candidates. As we were leaving I heard some members say they were not voting for particular candidates because “They didn’t even bother to show up.”

With all due respect to those who planned that “candidate forum” it should have been called “A Forum for Preferred Candidates” because Democrats and Independents were purposely not invited. In fact, one Republican who did attend was told he couldn’t speak. 

Diana Dizoglio

Diana Dizoglio

Candidates like newly elected State Representative Diana DiZoglio, (a Democrat), and newly elected State Senator Katie Ives (also a Democrat), had no opportunity to talk to Tea Party members and hear our concerns. They had no opportunity to share with us views that we both agree on. And we had no opportunity to change their minds on issues we don’t. 


For the record, Diana DiZoglio took a stand (before the primary) in favor of Voter ID, she was shunned by the Tea Party. I think our members would have liked to hear what she had to say on that issue before the election.

Kathleen O'Connor Ives

Kathleen O’Connor Ives

Then there’s newly elected Senator Katie Ives. Ives said before the primary (against her fellow liberals) that she would “champion” legislation for 209A reform. She also championed heavy penalties for local officials who refuse to comply with freedom of information requests, and is an avid defender of the first amendment.

These are all issues sacred to the Tea Party and yet, the candidates and the members were robbed of the opportunity to discuss those issues. And now that both women have won, they will be voting on those issues at The State House.


It’s time to start being as fair minded and open minded as we say we are. Otherwise, we become what the media and the Democrat leadership says we are. It may be fun to attend a Tea Party meeting every month to listen to speakers who agree with us on all the issues. But it doesn’t accomplish anything.

Forging an alliance with rogue Democrats on key issues benefits everyone.  

But you can’t forge alliances with individual members of the dominant Democrat Party by slapping them in the face before they even take office… simply because they don’t agree with the Tea Party 100% on every issue.  

Katie Ives and Diana DiZoglio, by virtue of being Democrats, will be able to help the Tea Party advance some our most important goals in very big way.  

YES, Katie Ives will be very liberal on taxes and Diana Dizoglio will be very liberal on union issues.

But, Senator-elect Katie Ives has publicly committed to attending Tea Party meetings and seeing for herself what the Tea Party is all about. She isn’t dismissing the Tea Party as bunch of racist, angry, old white people, as the media and those in her party portray us. She isn’t dismissing the Tea Party because she won without it on election day.

No, Katie Ives has extended an olive branch despite all that she has heard and all that she has experienced.

If a Democrat like Katie Ives is willing to break ranks with her party, come to tea party meeting, and listen to our concerns … moreover, if she is willing to come and speak to Tea Party members and take questions, she should be welcomed with open arms. In fact, the Tea Party should be reaching out to her and inviting her to the next meeting.

Just imagine how powerful it would be when Governor Patrick or some other Democrat leader begins vilifying the Tea Party and a liberal, tree-hugger from Newburyport takes to the floor of the Senate and says: “I go to Tea Party Meetings, they are not racists, they are not hateful, in fact I work with them on many issues and what you are saying is simply not true.”

If Tea Party members are licking their wounds after a crushing defeat on November 6th, just imagine two years from now when we lose more conservative members of the legislature and move backward even farther.

The only way to stop that slide is to reach out to those long considered the “enemy” and start to make gains on issues that the Democrat leadership opposes, but many of their members do not.

I can tell you from covering Katie Ives that she will be no shill for the leaders on Beacon Hill. Neither will Diana DiZoglio. Unless, of course, the Tea Party continues to shun them and pushes them in that direction. 

Right now The Tea Party is at a crossroad in Massachusetts. We can make the needed course correction or just keep repeating the failures of 2012. 



Tom Duggan

Tom Duggan

Tom Duggan is president and publisher of The Valley Patriot Newspaper in North Andover, Massachusetts. He is an author, host of the Paying Attention TV/Radio Program, lectures on media bias and police issues, is a former Lawrence School Committeeman, former political director for Mass. Citizens Alliance, and a 1990 Police Survivor. You can email your comments to

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5 Responses to 2012 Was A Warning to the Tea Party… Ready For A Course Correction?

  1. dan lorkupinis Reply

    November 18, 2012 at 6:58 PM

    The wacked out tea party posts on the mapoli twitter channel do as much harm as anyone to perpetuate the negative characteristics/stereotypes you oppose.

    • Tom Duggan

      Tom Duggan Reply

      November 19, 2012 at 12:06 AM

      Dan can you send me that feed on twitter and which account it came from I would like to take a look.

  2. Paul Murano

    Paul Murano Reply

    November 18, 2012 at 8:28 PM

    In the short term this makes sense. But if you read the tea leaves for the long term the tea party would be joined with RINOs and Libertarians to combat the rising socialism. These extremes, which are flip sides of each other, will continue to polarize as a result of ignoring and placing on the back-burner the vital issues of life and family – the foundation that stabilizes society enabling it to have healthy economies.

  3. Tom Duggan

    Tom Duggan Reply

    November 19, 2012 at 12:05 AM

    I believe that party is a few blocks down and to the right. You don’t GET to that fight without winning the propaganda war FIRST. THAT is the ticket into the arena where the life issue is fought and decided.

  4. Christen Varley Reply

    November 19, 2012 at 10:44 AM

    At the risk of repeating myself for the umpteenth time, if the “tea party” (whatever that is) makes the decision (finally) to look at individual pieces of legislation/policy and make allies where it can instead of trying to align with party politics, there will be more successes.

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