Friday, January 21, 2011

Results of the SITP 2011 Survey

My Dear Fellow Patriots;

A majority of our membership has responded to the survey we distributed last week; some of the results were predictable - some were not. There isn't room to display the entire survey here, but we are working on exporting the numbers to a coherent spreadsheet, and when we're done we'll post it up on our website. Results of the presidential straw poll are at the end of this email.

It comes as no surprise that a bit over 90% of the respondents hail from Staten Island, and most of the rest are from Brooklyn, the other boroughs and New Jersey. We do, however, have SITP members in AZ, CA, FL, MO, PA, SC, TX and even one in Okinawa, Japan - a little island about which I've done some writing.

Our group skews older - but perhaps not as old as you might expect: 38% are under the age of 46. I'd like to do better in this category, but we have to recognize that many folks in their 20's and 30's are wrapped up in raising young families and making a living, and hence not quite as able to pay attention to political activism.

Perhaps surprisingly to those who view the tea party movement as a bunch of ignorant yahoos, results reveal that fully 78% of our group attended college, and 22% of those did post-graduate work.

Party registrations broke down this way:

Republican - 68.4%

Democrat - 8.1%

Conservative - 9.4%

Independent - 8.8%

Unaffiliated - 5.1%

However, when asked to describe their political leanings on a right-to-left scale, regardless of party affiliation, respondents answered this way:

Libertarian - 18%

Conservative - 72%

Moderate - 8%

Liberal - 1%

Progressive - 1%

John McCain received the presidential vote of a bit more than 94% of our group, Obama just 1.62%., which I assume tell us that those who identify themselves as registered democrats don't always vote that way. The rest checked off "Other" or "Did Not Vote."

Reaffirming the core principles of the tea party movement, upwards of 96% of respondents consider themselves Very Conservative or Conservative when asked about fiscal and constitutional matters - no surprise there. But when asked about their views on social issues, more than 15% identified themselves as Middle-of-the-Road or Liberal, eclipsing both Republican/Conservative party affiliation and political leanings. From this we can infer that some who consider themselves staunch conservatives are less rigid when it comes to social issues.

When asked to identify the two issues that are of most concern, the majority (67%) of respondents chose "Reduce Federal Spending and National Debt" and 68% chose "Stop the Slide into Socialism" - once again echoing core issues of the TP movement.

In what I consider to be the most gratifying revelation of the survey, fully 42% of the respondents said that they had done volunteer work on a political campaign in 2010. However, even more importantly in my mind, of those that did work on a campaign an astounding 77% of them did so for the first time. That is a remarkable statistic, and I like to think that the SITP played some small role in this. Our mantra - almost our motto - from the beginning has been to keep people "informed and engaged," and the proof that we have been successful in both areas lies in these numbers.

Most of you, 80%, get your television news from FOX; 55% listen to Rush, Sean or Mark Levin on an almost daily basis; 47% listen to or watch Glenn Beck.

When presented with the proposition that there is too much government in our lives, 97% agreed; but when asked if government should promote traditional values, only 72% answered in the affirmative. This reinforces the Libertarian skew within the group, as do the responses to questions about the relative importance of specific issues like taxes, spending, earmarks, Obamacare and immigration, in which over 85% of respondents said these were "Extremely Important" issues. However, when asked about social issues such as gay marriage and moral direction, these numbers dipped into the low 70's, and when asked about the number of abortions performed in the United States, only 55.3% considered this to be extremely important as an issue.

What can we take away from this? You be the judge. It may be that in light of such pressing economic issues, and in the presence of such a left-leaning administration, social issues have been relegated to a back burner, or it may be that the Staten Island Tea Party is not quite as socially conservative as other groups around the country. Either way, I think it reinforces the decision we made very early on - that is, to keep the SITP away from social issues, and narrowly focused on three core principles: fiscal sanity, free markets and a constitutionally-limited government.

The presidential straw poll was all over the map, with every one of the 17 names getting at least one vote - including Barack Obama. I was shocked by the results, to say the least - and I intend to do another straw poll within a week or so to see if they bear up. The clear winner was Chris Christie of New Jersey, though since the results were so spread out his plurality was only 16%. Finishing second with 15% was..."None of the Above." I cannot account for this, except to say that left off the list were the names Jim DeMint, Michelle Bachmann and Hillary Clinton. In the next poll we will add those names and remove the possibility of voting for NOTA. We'll see where that takes us.

Other candidates (or non-candidates, as the case may be) to receive double digit votes were Palin and Huckabee, followed by Romney and Gingrich. One tier down sat Rubio, Pence and Paul - even Bolton got a fair share of votes.

All in all, it was a valuable snapshot of our group and we'll continue to evaluate results as they trickle in. What it does not - and cannot - show is what a great group of people make up the Staten Island Tea Party, and what a unique opportunity we've been blessed with. I'm speaking of the opportunity to see and hear and interact with other ordinary Americans who love liberty and rejoice in their freedoms, right here in our little corner of the world. To be able to have this and still call ourselves citizens of the greatest city in the greatest country in the world is quite a gift, quite a gift.

Now, who thinks we should support secession?

Your in Liberty,

Frank Santarpia

Staten Island, NY

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Thoughts from Jonah Goldberg

Prior to last night, the Left, the liberal establishment, the mainstream media, Hollywood -- I know, I know: This strikes some as a redundant list, like a rabbi talking about how you can't eat ham, or pork, or bacon, or swine -- were determined to push a palpably false storyline.

As I mentioned in the Corner, I was on Fox yesterday debating some woman named Nancy Skinner who couldn't get her brain around the idea that if there is no evidence confirming her position and ample evidence disproving her position, then her position must be untenable.

This was of course just one minor example. No doubt everyone reading this "News"letter knows what I'm talking about. We say, "Two plus two is four," and they respond, "Yes, but a vest has no sleeves."

It's all so incredibly exhausting, like trying to explain trigonometry to a fern. No, scratch that. Trigonometry is hard to explain to anybody. It's like trying to tell a fern it shouldn't buy the premium cable package, with Cinemax and Showtime and all that, since it doesn't really watch much TV. Okay, maybe that doesn't work perfectly either, because the point I'm getting at here is that it's impossible to explain anything to a fern once it's decided that it isn't going to change its status as a non-sentient vascular plant.

Likewise, it is impossible to have a serious conversation with people who have locked onto an interpretation of reality that isn't dependent on facts.

But at the same time, if you don't push back, a false conventional wisdom concretizes. Not only does this completely ruin an already ludicrous extended arguing-with-a-fern analogy, but it also does massive damage to the country. The idea that Kennedy was killed by a "climate of hate" survives to this day, despite the fact that it's a complete lie. The early success of that lie made the Great Society possible. If left unopposed, the lie pushed by the asshat chorus this week could easily have dealt a mortal wound to the new GOP House, conservatism, never mind the whole country.

That's one reason why conservatives should be very reluctant to buy the "discourse" discourse. Yes, it's absolutely true that folks on our side -- and every other side -- say things they shouldn't say from time to time. It happens. And it's worth criticizing, condemning, or excusing, depending on the substance and the context. But often what the Left calls hate speech is really simply unwelcome honesty.

Before the age of the Internet, talk radio, and cable TV, the establishment could have gotten away with turning Loughner into a tea partier, just as it turned Goldwater into a psychopath, Father Coughlin into a right-winger, and the Soviet genocide into an accounting error.

They still try, but there's room to push back now.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

On the Arizona Shootings

January 9, 2011


The organizers and staff of the Staten Island Tea Party asks its members and followers to pray for the victims of yesterday's senseless shootings in Tucson, AZ. As are all Americans, we are shocked, saddened and horrified when confronted with senseless violence of any kind, in any place.

We are, and must remain, a nation of laws, but we also recognize that an implied social contract exists among every citizen of this great country. This contract recognizes that disputes of any and all natures must be settled through civil discourse and debate, in the courtroom or at the ballot box, and that violence is never the answer.

We also caution against attaching political motives to the act of a madman, as do we caution against blaming political or ideological opponents. It is a sad fact, but true, that this is indeed happening now, and has been happening since the tragic event took place. This type of misguided finger-pointing is beneath contempt, and we condemn this destructive rhetoric in the strongest terms.

Fair and honest Americans will not engage in such accusations - those with hate in their hearts might.

As we go about our business today, let us direct our thoughts and prayers to the victims and their families. Let us spend some time in solemn reflection on their loss and pain, and finally, say a prayer of thanks for the gift of life given to us by God, and for blessing us with this magnificent nation.

Monday, January 3, 2011

THIS is the next step for the SITP

My Dear Fellow Patriots;

The Staten Island Tea Party, like so many thousands of tea party groups throughout the country, has been evolving.

Indeed, those groups that do not evolve, that remain stuck in time and place, are destined to become obsolete and will watch their influence slowly die. Those who believe that their ultimate goal is to act as noisemakers, forever shaking their fists at the powers-that-be while they stand on the outside looking in, are doomed to a future of irrelevance.

With our passion and our numbers, we have garnered tremendous attention - however, our ability to shape events and policies as outsiders is inevitably going to wane. That is my belief.

But from the inside - we can transform the way politics is done.

In a little over a year-and-a-half, we have seen our numbers grow from 2 to 2,000. But if we are to maintain our relevance we must be ready and willing to take a bold next step: we are going to fundamentally change the Republican Party on Staten Island.

We are instituting a project that will transform the Staten Island Republican County Committee into a group that reflects the conservative ideals and principles espoused by the tea party movement: fiscal sanity, free markets and a constitutionally-limited government.

In order to do this we need volunteers who are willing to move beyond rallies and campaign work, and who are ready to actually step into the process. We need men and women who are willing to take seats on the committee, in order to make sure that the reins of control are returned to the hands of the people, and to make sure that the era of “good-ol’-boy” cronyism is ended.

It is our intention to transform the committee so that we may nominate candidates not because they are next in line, or because they have friends in high places, but because they represent our core beliefs. We want to institute fresh and aggressive ideas to pro-actively grow a NEW Republican Party on Staten Island, one that will reach out to college campuses and minority communities, to show them that free-market Republican and Conservative values are the best way to achieve the American dream.

In short, we need you - hundreds of you. And because there are two seats in each Electoral District, husband-and-wife teams are especially welcomed.

You will not be asked to speak in public or to any groups; it will cost you no money; you will need to do no public campaigning and you will not become a public figure.

You will be asked to attend TWO meetings a year. That's it - two meetings a year to transform the way politics works on Staten Island.

With your help we will get this thing done; we will take this first step toward once again being a Republic of the people, by the people and for the people – and we will do it one district at a time.

I cannot stress this enough: you need no prior knowledge of the inner workings of the committee system - only a belief in the core principals of the tea party movement.

Simply visit for more information and a registration form. If asked for a password, it is: constitution

Thank you for your time and dedication. Within a few days or weeks after you register, you will receive notification about a meeting at which we will explain the process in much greater detail.

When we say that we have much work to be done - these are not merely words. Thomas Paine said "The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country."

I hope to hear from many, many of you soon. If it is at all possible for you to help, please do not be a sunshine patriot, and do not shrink from the service of our country.

Yours in Liberty,

Frank Santarpia

Staten Island, NY