Monday, September 24, 2012 at 5:57 AM
Nationally and in Ohio, the Tea Party still claims to be a political force to be reckoned with. But none of its preferred candidates made it past the primaries to run against President Barack Obama this fall. Ideastream’s Brian Bull recently dropped in on a Tea Party event in Medina, and asked how members are warming up to more mainstream Republican candidate, Mitt Romney.
Last year, it was all about Michelle Bachmann…then Rick Perry….then Herman Cain….and finally, Rick Santorum. But that’s all in the past. Speakers at the Medina rally praised the leadership of Massachusetts governor, Mitt Romney. Among those in the crowd was Ed Curren of Strongsville, who confessed he had hoped one of the other candidates would clinch the nomination.
“I’m sorry that Mitt Romney is not doing the kind of hard-hitting standing up, articulating his positions and benefits of his policies,” says Curren, a financial manager. “But given the alternative, I’m certainly going to vote for Romney rather than Obama.”
Not a ringing endorsement...but Tom Zawistowski isn’t surprised at how the GOP primary season turned out. He’s president of the Ohio Liberty Coalition, which represents 80 statewide Tea Party groups.
“The Republican establishment basically worked very hard to make sure that their candidate wasn’t a Tea Party candidate. They kept splitting our vote, so they wouldn’t win.”
Zawistowski says his membership backs Romney for his business experience, and they also like running mate Paul Ryan’s budget plans. But Zawistowski acknowledges most wish both candidates were more conservative. And there has been reluctance by some Tea Partiers to embrace Romney, who recently compared them to “a ferret in a dishwasher”. However…
“...I don’t think they’re going to appeal to us, because they know we’re going to vote his direction anyway,” concedes Zawistowski. “If we did have some advice for him, to attract not just us, but to attract the majority of voters in this state particularly, it would be to not be afraid to express his conservative values.”
Zawistowski says if Mitt Romney wins, people can expect the Tea Party movement to be actively engaged in Washington “on a daily basis.”
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