St. Louis Tea Party Slams Gateway Pundit
First, a little background: with Congressman Todd Akin running for Senate, two Republican candidates are now vying for Missouri’s recently redrawn Second District (covering some of the outer regions of the St. Louis area). I don’t like either candidate (tea party favorite Ed Martin and Roy Blunt campaign chairman Ann Wagner), but the contest is creating a rift between genuine conservatives in the tea party and those who want to pander to the establishment to increase their own influence (which includes Jim Gateway Pundit Hoft and CNN “political analyst” Dana Loesch).
After the St. Louis Tea Party embarrassingly refused to challenge GOP Insider Roy Blunt in 2010, some of the leaders clearly had their minds made up to actually live up to their stated dislike of crony capitalism by taking on the Republican establishment in 2012. On the other hand, Dana Loesch, who voted for Mitt Romney in the 2008 primary and explicitly said that she liked RomneyCare before realizing that it was more profitable to be a “tea party spokesperson” on national television, is unsurprisingly abandoning Ed Martin in favor of Wagner. And Jim “Gateway Pundit” Hoft, writing on Loesch’s website Big Journalism, also recently launched an attack on Ed Martin. However, members of the St. Louis tea party leadership Michelle Moore, John Burns, and Ben Evans wrote a recent post dismantling Hoft’s attacks on Martin. You can read the full post here, but I’ll share a few highlights:
First, they point out that Martin didn't turn the race ugly; he was actually the target of an attack from Dan Riehl earlier in the year on Breitbart's Big sites (where Loesch is an editor).
They reiterate a point from tea party blog Reboot Congress that it was ridiculous for Hoft to try to imply that Ed Martin is more connected to Roy Blunt than is Ann Wagner.
They criticized Hoft's attempts to pretend that Wagner's husband is no longer involved in advocating on behalf of Enterprise Rent-a-Car:
As everyone in the Tea Party knows Ray delisted himself in preparation for Ann's campaign; however, he is still Enterprise's Government & Public Affairs Vice-President. In that capacity, he oversees Enterprise's lobbying and he helps determine where their campaign funds go. Again, Jim knows this, but deliberately ignores it in the post.
- They point out that Chip Gerdes, a familiar creepy scuzzbucket for readers of my home blog, said that he wrote Dan Riehl's original attack on Ed Martin as a "warning shot:"
As mentioned at the top, Hoft was quoted in the first hit piece against Ed Martin that came out last August on Big Government. That piece, supposedly written by Dan Riehl, sparked a firestorm among Tea Party conservatives in Missouri. Upon questioning, Chip Gerdes, another paid political consultant, stated that he wrote the piece as a 'warning shot' to Ed Martin because of comments that Martin made on a Christian AM radio station.
- They also question where Hoft got his data and whether he even did his own writing:
If Gerdes is writing hit pieces for Ann Wagner and publishing them under Dan Riehl's name, what else has he written?...We ask: Where did those figures come from? Dan Riehl and Dana Loesch have written on Twitter and in Tea Party emails that hundreds of thousands of dollars were given to Ed Martin by Ann Wagner's Enterprise connections. This has been proven false. Who gave Jim the data and where is it? Let's see some research.
The biggest criticism of the tea party, though, is that Hoft attributed their research to Ed Martin, even though he should have known better. St. Louis Tea Party founder Bill Hennessy, who wasn’t one of the authors of the post, suggests that Hoft “intentionally deceived his readers” in the comments:
I, too, am disappointed by Jim Hoft’s inconsistency and deception. Inconsistency: Jim approved of Dan Riehl’s Big Government hit piece on Ed Martin some months ago—the one that rehashed old Carnahan distortions that 24th State shot down in 2010. Deception: Jim knows that St. Louis Tea Party researchers, not the Ed Martin campaign, performed the research and supplied it to Daily Caller. I was present when Jim was told. By pretending otherwise, Jim seems to intentionally deceive Gateway Pundit readers. Cordially,
So, there are a lot of questions there, but my biggest one is this: will Hoft even acknowledge the criticisms? We all know he ignores arguments from almost anyone who disagrees with him, but will he be equally afraid of debate with his fellow members of the tea party? They also suggest that Loesch should give them a platform on her radio show or on Big Journalism to respond, and I think they have a strong point.