On a private conference call, a group of top Tea Party and conservative organizers offered a surprisingly frank description of their goal, according to a source on the call: Completely blocking any kind of bipartisan compromise, and completely preventing any type of health care reform bill at all from ever becoming law.
The source who got himself on the call was an organizer for the AFL-CIO, and AFL-CIO spokesman Eddie Vale provided me with the organizer’s notes. It’s certain to be seized on by Dems to argue that organized Tea Party opposition to Obama has no constructive intentions and is fomenting public “concern” about Obama’s plan solely to prevent any reform from ever taking place. GOP officials would argue that they don’t share these goals.
The call consisted of representatives of top conservative groups, such as the American Liberty Alliance, the “Tea Party Patriots,” and RecessRally.com, the AFL-CIO’s notes say.
The moderator on the call, whose name could not immediately be determined, told listeners that bipartisan compromise on the Senate Finance Committee, where senators are holding talks, must be stopped at all costs, AFL-CIO’s notes say. The moderator called on members to pressure GOP Senators seeking compromise with Dems, like Chuck Grassley, Mike Enzi, and Olympia Snowe, to stop the negotiating.
“The goal is not compromise, and ANY bill coming out this year would be a failure for us,” the moderator said, according to AFL-CIO’s notes. The moderator added that “the Democrats will turn even a weak bill from the Senate Finance Committee into Canadian-style single-payer through underhanded implementation.”
Another organizer on the call, according to AFL-CIO, added: “The purpose of Tea Parties is not to find a solution to the health care crisis — it is to stop what is not the solution: Obamacare.”
Check out AFL-CIO’s notes right here.
To be clear, this is AFL-CIO’s version of what happened. I’m reaching out to the groups in question to get more, and I’ll keep you posted.
Update: Corrine Williams, a spokesperson for the American Liberty Alliance, tells me that the focus of the call was educational and policy-oriented, and not on the movement’s political goals. But she acknowledged that the above sentiments may have been expressed during a Q and A at the end of the call, though she doesn’t think the exact language was the same.
But Williams did confirm that the movement’s goal is to prevent the current compromise bill from becoming a reality, because it represents Obamacare. She said no audio of the call exists.
Update II: Tea Party organizer Eric Odom issues a statement in effect denying that the Tea Party movement has specific legislative goals:
“I and the America Liberty Alliance do not have the purpose of politically ‘accepting’ or denying legislation. Instead we provide individuals the tools to express their concerns to their government representatives.”