A group of prominent Republican strategists have combined to form “American Crossroads,” a committee that is aiming to spend upwards of $50 million on House and Senate races this fall. The group plans to take advantage of the Tea Party movement – a series of organized protests that’s sweeping across the United States at the moment.
“We intend to paint a very vivid picture of the fork in the road that this country faces – not merely a choice between two candidates, but a serious philosophical decision about the future of this country.”
According to The Washington, a group of prominent Republican strategists have combined to form “American Crossroads,” a 527 committee that is aiming to spend upwards of $50 million on House and Senate races this fall. If “American Crossroads” can reach their lofty fund-raising goals in 2010, it could be a major player in the 2012 presidential race.
“We intend to paint a very vivid picture of the fork in the road that this country faces — not merely a choice between two candidates, but a serious philosophical decision about the future of this country,” said Jim Dyke, a former Republican National Committee communications director and now a member of “American Crossroads” board of directors.
Dyke is joined by former RNC chairman Mike Duncan and vice chair Joanne Davidson on the board while Steven Law, a former executive director at the National Republican Senatorial Committee, will serve as president and CEO.
Dyke adds that the group is currently hiring operatives with state-specific campaign knowledge to bolster the operation.
The broader goal of “American Crossroads,” according to Dyke, is to help Republicans win races this fall and “then expand that model to play a decisive role in winning the presidential election two years from now.”
In that, “American Crossroads” is aiming to take a page from what Democrats did in 2004 — constructing a shadow party to spend hundreds of millions on the presidential election.
The Democratic effort — a three-headed beast that included the Media Fund, which handled ads, America Coming Together, which handled turnout, and America Votes, which coordinate between the two — was lauded for its broad reach but disbanded after the election in the wake of a series of campaign finance rulings.
Both parties have tried to recreate the fund-raising successes of 2004 but have never come close.
If “American Crossroads” can reach their lofty fund-raising goals in 2010, it could be a major player in the 2012 presidential race, The Washington Post writes.
Joining The “Tea Party”
The Tea Party protests are a series of nationally-coordinated protests across the United States that first emerged in the beginning of 2009.
The protests are part of a nascent, larger anti-tax political movement called the “Tea Party movement“.
* April 15, 2009; to coincide with the annual U.S. deadline for submitting tax returns, known as “Tax Day”.
* July 4, 2009; to coincide with Independence Day.
* September 12, 2009; to coincide with the anniversary of the day after the September 11 attacks.
* February 8, 2010; the National Tea Party Convention was held in Nashville, Tennessee.
Most Tea Party activities in 2010 have been focused on opposing the efforts (supported by the Obama Administration) to enact a very broad program of changes to the health care and health insurance industries, and on recruiting, nominating, and supporting candidates for upcoming state and national elections.
A series of national polls conducted by Republican survey researcher David Winston over the past several months provides the fullest picture yet of the Tea Party movement and, as important, how its membership stacks up against the general populace:
1) Roughly one in five people (17 percent) consider themselves members of the Tea Party movement.
2) Of that 17 percent, roughly six in ten identify themselves as Republicans while 28 percent describe themselves as independents and 13 percent call themselves Democrats. Two-thirds self-identify as conservatives while 26 percent described themselves as moderates and just eight percent were liberals.
3) Tea parties are far more male (56 percent) than female (44 percent), a contrast to the general public (48 percent male/52 percent female).
4) Twenty-one percent of Tea Party movement say that the national debt/spending issues are the most important issue facing the country, more than double the number in the overall poll sample.
5) Just 15 percent of self-identifying Tea Party members believe the country is headed in the right direction while 83 percent said it was heading off on the wrong track; a similar 17 percent approved of how President Obama was handling his job while 81 percent disapproved.
The name “Tea Party” is a reference to the Boston Tea Party, whose principal aim was to protest taxation without representation.
The protests have sought to evoke images, slogans and themes from the American Revolution, such as tri-corner hats and “Don’t Tread on Me” flags.
The letters T-E-A have been used by some protesters to form the acronym “Taxed Enough Already”.
A $50 million budget would make up for a lot of hats, flags and tea bags.
But it remains to be seen if the original protesters are willing to join hands with one particular side of the political game board.
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