There has been some buzz about the national movement called “The Coffee Party”.  Some in the national media who dislike the Tea Party movement framed it as a direct challenge to grassroots phenomenon.   Many in the Tea Party felt assured that they were gearing up to attack conservatives, and with Truth Squads and White House snitch sites we had reason to be weary.  But one person who attended the meeting at Mokabe’s Coffee in St. Louis has a different take on the group.  Mark insists that The Coffee Party is not intending to oppose the Tea Party, but to simply provide another means to achieve some of the same goals in a somewhat different way.  He and I discussed many assumptions and concerns that people had about both sides of the political spectrum.

Upon arriving to Mokabe’s, one could see a sign in the window announcing the meeting.   Once  inside, though the meeting was already over,  there was a residual debate gong on between a man and a couple.  This was a friendly but spirited conversation.   The topic was what causes inflation, the man said government spending, the young couple held that it was because, “corporations are pocketing too much money”.  He continued, “we are so focused on growth and getting bigger, the scale of everything is more, that is why things are more expensive.”  The young lady added “As for government spending, defense spending is a lot too.” 

A good start.

Mark, who was enjoying a speciality drink began to discuss what the meeting was about.  At this point he did not know the Greyfalcon was conservative or involved in the St. Louis Tea Party.  Overhearing questions about the Coffee Party Mark said, “I was there, and it was not about bashing the Tea Party.  It was about getting government to be more responsive, that government was not all bad, but certainly was not  representing  the people well enough.”  Mark continued, “The idea was to bring consideration and civility make to political discourse.  When someone was introduced as a Tea Party member, the people clapped.”

At the Todd Aiken town hall Wednesday, the 2200 plus clapped for the person who identified themselves as a Democrat.  Mark was pleased to hear that.  When asked if they thought that the Tea Party was seen to be uncivil he said, “Those are the ones we see on TV.”   

Then, we discussed the statements made by Barack Obama about “Don’t do a lot of talking and get a mop”, and “you have people here (In St. Louis) waving tea bags around”, as well as Obama’s bitter response to John McCain at the health care summit.  Mark said he had never heard about any of that, and that he Obama “usually does not do that”. 

This is an obvious source of dissention between the political camps.  We are well aware of Obama’s unprofessional and threatening posture toward the private sector and conservatives, but many of them do not notice it.  But that is likely based on the sources for their information.  MSNBC, CNN, the major networks and print media have been careful not to show Obama in a way that would make him look bad.  But those remarks he made and many others cannot be put in a positive context.

Mark also reported that the term “teabagger” was discouraged, and that he had advised the one woman who used the term not to do so, and she agreed, as well as the others.  Mark was not even sure that the group was clearly left leaning, explaining “I would have assumed that, but except for a couple of speakers who were clearly liberal,” there was not a lot of specific pro-left posturing.  He admits “I originally thought you where left-leaning, to be honest, because of the place we are in, and I hate to say it,partly because you are black”.

As far as blacks being left leaning, the media and the political establishment has done a lot to make the rule, so that mistake is understandable.  And Mokabee’s is known as the “alternative gay and lesbian” establishment, although obviously it is not exclusively so.  And from living in South City for 12 years, one cannot help but the notice the anti-Bush pro-Obama slant of the that area. 

But one of the women working behind the counter was a Republican.  She said she voted for Bush both times then voted for Obama.  We have heard that many times.   When asked if the group was looking for provide balance he said “not against the Tea Party, but they did want to offer another avenue to get people involved politically.  We broke into groups of about six and the “facilitators” had us make a list of things that we thought were major problems in the nation.”

Facilitator.  A significant difference between the two operations for sure. 

Mark also added “The leader Dan Lear said he was a homeschooler, and that he did not want the Coffee Party to be co-opted by the Democratic Party.  Dan thinks that th Republican Party is trying to co-opt the Tea Party.”

The man who was talking to the young couple joined our conversation.  He was definitely a free market guy, but he was also at the Coffee Party meeting.  On his debate on inflation, I agreed with him, adding the going of the gold standard helped blow up the money supply.  He replied “that was under Nixon.” 

There are certain commentator(s) who insist that the road to the deficit and financial crisis was paved by “Progressive presidents”, Teddy Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, FDR, and Bush family.  But absent from this repeatedly bashed historical figures list is Richard Nixon, who instituted some anti-free market  executive authoritarianism of his own.  These include price and wage freezes, pulling the nation off the goal standard, and applying the “Philadelphia Plan”, which established quotas for racial hiring.

We was a Republican.  And he threatened people he didn’t like as well.  Obama should be weary of going down this road.

Mark did not give of the vibe of someone who hated conservatives, and made a concerted attempt to make sure that the Coffee Party was not deemed a challenge to the conservative movement.  That, regardless of how one feels about this stance, speaks volumes about the credibility that the Tea Party has.  Even when the Team Obama advocates in the media hype the group up as the answer to the conservatives, those involved do not want the job. 

According to the release put out on their Facebook site, they claim to have had 65 people, the press said 40. 

In any event we thank Mark for giving us the scoop.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Mark
    March 17, 2010 at 4:13 pm

    I believe another correction is in order. You quote me as saying “I originally thought you where left-leaning, to be honest, because of the place we are in, and I hate to say it,partly because you are black”. I did not say ‘I hate to say it’ but rather ‘I’m ASHAMED to say it’. It may seem like quibbling, but to me, it makes a huge difference.
    Thanks again,

  2. Mark
    March 19, 2010 at 9:23 pm

    This is Mark the guy you talked with the other day. I really enjoyed talking with you on Saturday at Mokabe’s. But I feel I need to correct some mis-perceptions I may have given you.
    1. The facilitators were attendees who held up their hands to volunteer for it. I could have been a facilitator myself. In fact, I took over for our facilitator in the reporting segment when she had to leave early.
    When you said: “Facilitators. A significant difference between the two operations for sure”, I think you were implying that the organization was top-down with these facilitators there to guide the members when in fact it was just so that we could have someone take notes and report on what was said.
    2. The leader was named Dan Lear not Mike. While he did say that the Republicans are trying to co-opt the Tea Party, He didn’t imply that they were at all successful but said that the Tea Party was resistant to this.
    3. I also, may have given you the wrong impression that the organization was not an answer to negative portrayals of progressives. I believe that that was its genesis. What I did want to leave you with was the fact that it is not the ANTI-Tea Party. When I said I wasn’t sure if it was liberal, I meant that there were classically conservative statements about personal responsibility and such, as well as liberal sentiments but I believe that most attendees felt that government is not the enemy and that it has a role to play in solving many of our nation’s problems.
    Thanks again,

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