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Duval GOP Chairman Addresses Tea Party ‘Controversy’

Duval County Republican Executive Committee (DCREC) Chairman Lenny Curry issued the following statement today in response to a blog-generated controversy regarding the DCREC's role in the First Coast Tea Party held on July 2nd.

A few people who attended the Tea Party carried signs which compared Barack Obama to Hitler and suggested his policies were fascist in nature. Among the hundreds of photos of the event posted to the Duval GOP's facebook, three included pictures of those individuals and their offensive signs.

A local blogger, Abel Harding of JaxPoliticsOnline, created a post which seemed to suggest that the Duval Republican Party had sponsored or paid for the event (they had not) and that those elected official and party leader who attended were somehow directly endorsing the homemade signs held by a few extreme individuals.

Chairman Lenny Curry's full statement on the matter follows:

"The DCREC had no role in the planning, organization, agenda, invitees, or speakers at the Tea Party. The DCREC merely used its extensive e-mail list to help promote awareness and participation in the event as a service to its members. The DCREC's e-mail included a "paid for" disclaimer which is required by state law regarding political communications. That disclaimer accompanies all of our communications and did not concern sponsorship of the event in question mentioned in the e-mail.

The DCREC does not condone racism or anti-Semitism in any form or fashion. While these types of behavior occur in small numbers -- and which are present in all political parties and cross all socio-economic lines - they should not, will not, and are not tolerated by the DCREC.

Unfortunately a few agenda-driven bloggers have taken the actions of a few individuals holding controversial signs who were present at the Tea Party and construed them to represent the views and beliefs of myself, elected officials present at the Tea Party, the DCREC, Tea Party organizers, and the thousand or so honest, hard-working people who were in attendance at the Tea Party.

I believe Tea Party officials made the right choice in not bringing further attention to those few people in attendance holding inappropriate signs by forcing them to leave or to put their signs away. Refusing them entry into this event or calling them out for their ridiculous signs would have given them a larger platform than they deserve.

As the philosopher Voltaire once said, 'I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to my death your right to say it.' I believe in this principle and I support the actions of the Tea Party organizers for allowing Free Speech to prevail.

Like most Republicans and concerned Americans, I don't have a problem with Barack Obama or the Democrat party; we have a problem with their policies and the tax and spend ways with which the Democrats are leading our country. Our children's future is one saddled with debt, a growing federal bureaucracy, and out of control government spending. While our party has responsibility for some of these conditions, remaining quiet about them now because we had a role in the past would be short-sighted and foolhardy.

As with most of my fellow Americans at the Tea Party, we wish to see a brighter day for America that includes fiscal restraint, and a smaller but more responsive government.

I regret that a few political opportunists have taken an event with an important message and attempted to muddle that message with lies and false charges.
The Duval County Republican Executive Committee is open and inclusive to all Americans who share our vision without regard to race, creed, sexual orientation or gender. We have too many important issues to address to become bogged down in false charges made by a few rabble rousers.

My door remains open to those who wish to discuss the important issues of the day based on facts and good ideas."

46 Responses »

  1. As I read the sights in question and the comments the bloggers allowed to post, I've come to the conclusion that the liberals are afraid. They are afraid because America is begining to realize what they voted for; and they aren't happy.

    As I understand, the Tea Party was a grass-roots event to illustrate that tax increases, and new taxes levied against Americans in one of the deepest recessions in decades is the wrong solution. I didn't hear where any organizations was passing out signs as people entered into the Landing, I didn't recieve an e-mail saying "bring a sign that says this or that". In fct, I believe the point was "political party be damned, don't raise taxes.

    I attended the Tea Party and I saw a vast cross referrence of Jacksonville society represented. Blacks, whites, hispanics, business types, working class, I even saw a young lady with pink hair and an earing in her nose! If this is the Republican party, I'd say the party as done an exellent job at reaching out to a wide spectrum of voters. They have indeed become the party of inclusiveness.

    If, as I suspect, this as a grassroots efforts to protest politicians who don't understand the impact of new or increased taxes, then the Tea Party illustrated how wide-spread this common sense has become : excluding the political cloak rooms around our distressed country.

    My understanding is the Chairman of the Republican Executive Commitee in Jacksonville wrote a response to the two we logs who made these charges. One log redacted the majority of the pertinant information, them stopped all posting, the other completely deleted the Chairmans response. Why would someone interested in fairness and truth do such a thing? The answer is simple: they aren't.

    • JDavis,

      I was one of the people who posted about this and I did not remove or prevent any comments. You may not be referring to Urban Jacksonville in your statement, but I want to be clear, no comments were removed or blocked, just for the record.

      • Then you wre the one who drastically editted the response? The Chairmans response is at the top of ths page, did yours quote the same without edit or alteration?
        I just want to be clear. . .

  2. Here are the facts concerning the current political environment in Jacksonville, and I suspect; around the nation.

    The new administration has done a good job of creating very sanguine expectations from the citizens of our great nation. The administration, the House of Representatives, and the Senate have used that good will to pass (unread) laws that have little or nothing to do with those expectations. The citizens are waking up to the reality of their votes; and they aren't pleased.

    While the Presidents personal numbers continue to remain strong, his performance numbers continue to fall. This means Americans want to give the President a chance; but he's really blowing it.

    The Republican Party, contrary to the blithesome predictions of liberal pundints, is strong, galvanized, and taking advantage of the obvious differences between the Administration, Et. al and their own vision for the country. While the Democrats are taking advantage of their political power to increase their coffers, the Republican Party is knocking on doors, increasing their numbers and recruiting new members from what used to be the definative middle-of-the-road voters. This has the liberals in a frenzy. So much so that they have to take something as positive as citizens excersizing their rights to peacefully protest and attempt to make that protest a Facist parade.

    No, the liberals know their policies are contrry to the will of the nation, so they have to divert attention from that to something darker, and as mean-spirited as they are. In conclusion, this business about making the Jacksonville Tea Party a deep dark abomination is nothing more than an attempt to ignore the thousands from Jacksonville who disagree with their liberal policies. The rest of the verbiage is nothing more than punditry. . .

  3. I tried to post these thoughts on the other web-sites and they aren't allowing GOP supporters to post.

  4. JDavis, my apologies for that. If you return to the site you'll see an explanation. You are more than welcome to post as your registration has been manually approved.

    • This lasted until I embarassed the liberals with facts and logical applications. Then they cut me back off. So much for honesty. . .

  5. Mr. Davis,
    This is not about GOP supporters not being allowed to post, if you will read the thread on bother jaxpolitics and Jaxoutloud, there are plenty of GOP posters, some of whom were making the party look worse, not better. I am a member of the GOP and I have been a happy poster on both sites for a good while now, and I know there are several other conservatives who regularly contribute as well. Please come over, your account has been approved and we would love to have you.

    • Seems strange that the Chairman tried to post a reply on two sites. One was deleted, the other was drastically editted. That wreaks of bias, and unfairness. Furthermore the picture are labelled as the Republican Party, the reality is it was an autonomous effort for anyone: party be dmaned. The people I saw represented, in the least, a wide spectrum of personal prefferences; prefferences that usually translate into personal opinions. From Blacks, to Hispanics, to what appeared to be urbanites and rural dwellers. I saw people shaking their heads when a minority speaker began, and hearty approbation when that (those minority speakers closed their speaches. Your repesentation of the day wasn't accurate, and when the chairman tried to explain that, one deleted the reply, the other editted it into something of little effect: then closed the ability to post.
      Again, this wreaks of what you claim to support: free speach and open dialog.
      'nuff said.

      • Did the Chairman actually try to post on JOL? I would think that if Chairman Curry wanted to post there he would be welcome to. Austin Cassidy, the editor of this site is a regular contributor there and I can not think of an instance where anyone was banned for trying to post a press release. I think that you are relying on speculation and your own erroneous assumptions to try and justify the fact that the party screwed up in letting that business appear on their site. I don’t know about you, but I am tired of being associated with over the top crap like that which plays directly into the hands of the Left. It allows them to set the discussion and gives them ample ammunition to use against us.

    • I came, I embarassed your star, and you blocked my posts. Nothing changed except the original perceptions are now established truths.

      • Mr. Davis, with all due respect, you did not embarrass anyone but yourself and our party.

        Broad generalizations, ad hominem attacks, assumptions about peoples past affilitations or actions and spraying flames around in a feeble attempt to illicit a negative reaction are not what qualifies as debate in most peoples book.

  6. Again, the reality here is that The present Administration, Et. al have squandered the publics desire to focus this nation in a different direction. Not a direction towards socialistic policies the President is below the mean by 2 % and the congress 63% say the nation isn't headed in the right direction. The Republicans are again percieved as the party of the people: the first time decades, and the nation, by super majorities disagree with the policies coming out of the Democrat Government.
    While the Democrats continue to sale their souls, (and our nations prosperity) for political contributions, the Republicans are knocking on doors, and illustrating what many of us knew all along: when you give a Democrat the nations credit card, they run up the bill like a punk who found your wallet.

  7. Jose,
    You’ve got to be kidding. You make it sound like jaxoutloud is some kind of reasonable forum. Their political threads are nothing but hate filled bitterness that is fueled by jealousy. Conspiracy theories are posted by bitter old women that spew hatred and lies. Their postings are so absurd that they have become the biggest laughing stock in town.

    Their favorite pastime is to post outlandish lies in order to smear Republican leaders. Then they pretend that they are simple and innocent defenders of our Community. Except for the handful of reasonable people that attempt to put the record straight, these bloggers simply banter the same hatred back and forth while no creditable person would believe their garbage. They are a joke, the site is a joke and thank goodness we have all found a creditable and reasonable outlet like JaxObserver.com

    • and yet they're "shocked" when someone opines in a way that affects their sinsitivities. . .

      • I am not shocked by an honest and well thought out opinion. In fact, the first part of your last post is very true in alot of ways. I don’t think anyone on the other sites were "shocked" by anything you said, they were annoyed because your rhetoric is inflammatory and not in keeping with any of the traditions of the fathers of the Conservative Movement. Reagan would not "opine" in the manner that you do, and neither would Buckley. Even Goldwater, for all of his aggressiveness knew the value of civil debate and was always a gentleman first, ideologue second.

      • You misunderstand, they were pretending to be shocked by the reference to Hitler. They weren't shocked, they were insulted. Something they've practiced for decades. When someone comes along and dishes a little back to them, they become very sinsitive. I would say if they wanted polite debate they should've pulled Rahm Emanuel and James Carville in years ago.

        They wre annoyed because my rhetoric was inflammatory? thats a whole lot of word to say I didn't pull any punches. DATELINE: Better get used to it. Too long these weak-mindd people have abused our genteility, and acted like lunatics. This is the day that the gloes come off. You tell a lie, you get called a liar: something Ms. Melendez learned today.
        Today they grow up and take what they dish out, or they stop dishing it out. To do and expect otherwise is weak-minded.

        This is absolutely fair.

      • Jose,
        Please don't tell me you are defending that laughable jaxoutloud site? If you are using words like "honest" and "civil" in the same breath as them, then it is clear that the sky is not blue in your world.
        Bitter, bitter bitter jealous people that just need to stop the hate. They need prayer, not a keyboard.

      • I am absoloutely defending all those "bitter" people at JOL. They are a good crowd. There are Republicans and Democrats as admins. People post there with views ranging from the wildly libertarian to Law and Order Democrats to liberal and conservative college kids. It is a good mix of people, if you dont like what Diane has to say, all you have to do it log in and debate her. It is not Democratic Undergrouns of Daily Kos.

        Also, JOL is a discussion board, JaxObserver is a Newsblog there is a big difference.

  8. JDavis,
    Your comments are thoughtful and backed up with facts. I applaud you for the cohesive and intelligent response to this post. Thank You!

    • Silence Dogood (aka: Mr Franklin),
      Thank you. Truth is easy to defend. It's the contortions we see from liberals that illustrate the obfuscatory intentions.

      • Mr Davis,
        Well done, you're a historian as well.
        "Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain and most fools do. " - Benjamin Franklin

      • As an American, I'm responsible to participate in the process of government: even at the level of repudiating misinformation.

  9. While I like the concept of the Tea Parties, I feel they may be getting off course. I don't feel as if they were supposed to be just Republican affairs.

    Everyone had signs blasting Obama for his tax and spend ways. Yet 4 blocks up the street, The Republican Mayor is in the same mode and these same Republicans are just "business as usual." Maybe it is time for a tea party in Hemming Plaza.

    Being over taxed is not a republican or democrat thing. It affects everyone.

    • Frank, I don't see where they ARE Republican only. I saw great diversity at the Landing this past Friday. If you think this was one-party participation, you're wrong. However, I think the Democrats are helping to increase the membership of the Republican Party. 63% of Americans think the Democrats have the country headed in the wrong direction. Basically, that's EVERYONE except the looney-left.

    • Just a note there were signs at the Jax Tea Party against the new taxes the Mayor has proposed.

  10. "I don’t have a problem with Barack Obama or the Democrat party; "

    You just childishly refuse to call the party by its actual name.

    Yeah, good luck getting back into power when this is your idea of clever.

  11. I reject the notion that Tea Party's are staged by the Republican's. In fact, it is funny how people keep trying to paint it that way. I have not heard or seen any creditable proof that they are affiliated in any way. The Tea Party’s have tapped in to a positive and constructive populist movement that the Libertarians are jealous of, and is something that scares the Democrats to death. I applaud the Tea Party’s for what they are trying to do, and I support their right to Free Speech. Take note of those that attack or try to quiet the Tea Parties. These will be the same people who selfishly try to claim the high ground as defenders of Liberty and the rule of law. However, it appears that free speech is only worth defending when it is their voice that they want heard. This is transparent and sad!
    The fact of the matter is that the Independents are flocking to the right in droves, and that is being reflected in the polls. JDavis has referenced this shift and he is correct. When you fight to defend my point of view, even when you don’t agree with it is when I believe that you have the heart of an American. Go Tea Party!!

  12. Democrat Party , Democrat Party, Democrat Party, Democrat Party
    G%d Damned Babies.


  14. I find it ironic that thois liberal website is notorious for it vehement diatribe, and when a person exposes that vehemency, they call him a "troll". The premise was these liberals want to disparage Republican and when faced with the truth, they call it something else. Let me see if I can re-cap the highlights of my reasoning with them.
    I reminded them the Tea Party was a grass-roots initiative with no affiliation to any one party. The participants were a sampling of virtually every demographic in Jacksonvlle. They insinuated the GOP sponsored posters comparing Obama to Hitler. I asked how many time they were outraged by "Bush=Hitler" and where were the posts that repudiated such diatribe. I further reminded them that unless they could prove the GOP had either commissioned those signs, or encouraged the theme of those signs, then the author and the website owed Jacksonville Republicans an apology.

    I recived some scolding for being so assertive, then took several insults (in very nice terms of course) . I clarified that the author wanted to accuse and say whatever she wanted to say, but Republicans were supposed to be polite and meek. I find that to be the evidence of a very weak-minded person and said so. I explained that I wasn't throwing out insults, then explained how I derived the proposition that Ms. Melendez was indeed a weak-minded individual. Apparently she was so weak-minded that she could dish out frank language but was too sinsitive to recieve such feedback. In my opinion this is indeed the epitome of a weak mind. Thank you Ms. Melendez for illustrating my point.

    This individual (I purposfully deffered from the term: "lady") failed toa acknowledge the Jacksonville Tea Party was a success on many different levels and as a result I've now been proclaimed "a troll".
    Democrat definition of a troll is obviously "someone who kicks my butt in a debate.
    Point made.
    'nuff said.

  15. Okay JDavis,

    You have been very critical about liberals in your posts on many boards. It is your right. As someone who is in the middle, I ask you....

    How come you are quick to attack the new administration and lament on their turn in the high office, yet right down there at city hall is a man who is in your party and calls himself a conservative and not one of you republicans have the balls to go down to City Hall and call him out on his millage rate plan and his exorbitant spending????

    This is not the obvious difference you proudly boatsed of in an earlier post. It is the same thing.

    Go down to the 4th floor at 117 Duval Street West and be so assertive. See where that gets you.

    • >You have been very critical about liberals in your posts on many boards. It is your right.
      Thanks, I think I'll exercise that right. I'm critical of liberals because I disagree with them. I'm derogatory towards liberals because they don't think. The caveate is I'm polite to polite liberals, but I don't suffer fools lightly.
      The obvious difference I referred to was the Democrats are using their political offices to hoard cash, the Republicans are out knocking on doors, listening to good people explain how the liberal agenda is destroying their lives, and the Republicans are explaining how to turn this nation around. Since 63% say the Democrat Administration, Et.al are taking us in the wrong direction, the premise is easy to be made that "the other direction" is the right direction. The Republicans are Moving Forward, the Right Way!
      This is the difference I referred to. I'm sorry you didn't recognize that point.

      "Go down to the 4th floor at 117 Duval Street West and be so assertive. See where that gets you."

      Nope, I'll wait until they get to my office where I can help them find the right path for their life. So far, I've helped 34 this year. What have you done?

      See? I use logic and reason and the liberals respond with emotion, insults, and veiled threats. This is why liberalism is the weaker position.

  16. "How come you are quick to attack the new administration and lament on their turn in the high office"

    I think I waited about 3 day longer than the opposition party did at the onset of the prior administration. Frankly, I don't know what you're complaining about. The new admistration has lived down to all my expectations. You see, I've been involved in soft-skills for more than 25 years. I've learned to listen, I've learned to watch people when they communicate. Everything I predicted to my family and friends about an Obama Presidency has come to fruition, or can come to fruition by his current activities.

    I'm critical because the man doesn't share the same vision as 63% of Americans today. When he's forced to acknowledge that fact, he replies: "I won".
    He did, He won the Presidency, and all the headaches of being the President. You never heard Bush 41 or 43 complaim about this fact. "44" had better get used to it. It's going to be a long three years.

  17. Where the Democratic Party (it ends in ic, despite a childish refusal to call it) separates itself from loony lefties, the Republican Party (I could call it the Republic Party) cow-tows to the Radical Right.. No one in any elected position separates itself from the racists or crazies in the party. They exist in both parties. Whether it be terrorists threatening elected officials, individuals proposing treason (Rick Perry or Todd Palin wanting their states to secede), or proposing theocracy, or drug-addled entertainers who throw slurs with no responsibility, hypocrites who criticize others for offenses they commit themselves, and those who think facts are irrelevent, the CURRENT Republican party has become irrelevent and out of touch.

    I used to have more respect for the party and for it's leadership and voted about 50-50. It has destroyed any respect it had for itself and any respect I've had for it.

    The "we only let them use our mailing list" and we had nothing to do with it is a rather spurious statement. How many groups would have access to this mailing list?

    There's an old saying--"Don't p** on my leg and try to tell me it's raining."

  18. 3 or 4 nuts with signs does not make the GOP full of racists any more than the fact that the longest serving Democrat in the US Senate (Robert C. Byrd of West Va.), a former Klansman who once as senator talked about "white niggers" suggests that the Democrat Party is racist. The Tea Party was about the wasteful spending of the Obama administration and the socialization of our economy, not a few nuts with inappropriate signs. You people need to get a grip on reality and look at this situation objectively.

  19. That is absolutely correct JDavis. 3 or 4 nuts does not make the GOP full of racists.

    Just like 3 or 4 nuts don't make the Dems full of racists. But your next diatribe will surely counter that and label them with a giant paint brush.

    If anyone needs to get a grip on reality, its you. Or are you going to wait until 2010 when you lose more seats??

    The purpose of the tea party was about the wasteful spending of the Obama Administration??? Well when and where is the Tea Party for the wasteful spending by the Peyton Administration?? We have $20 Million for Met park and $390 Million for a courthouse, but yet my taxes are about to go up for the things government should provide first and foremost- Public safety and education of our youth.

    There are a ton of people like myself who are in the middle and are tired of this garbage----from the far end of BOTH sides.

  20. I certainly question the spending of the Peyton administration. Many businesses have to cut pay for all employees, shouldn't the city take the same action? As Mr. Drebin suggests there is spending that should be cut; however, when compared with the Obama adminstration and the congress which is controlled by the Democrats, the Peyton administration is fiscally conservative.

    The federal deficit has been tripled in one year. It is questionable whether a lot of the spending in the Stimulus really will stimulate the economy. A lot the spending is deffered in the bill until 2010 (almost certainly a political move to pick-up votes in the mid-terms).

    The administration has gone from an estimated 4 million jobs to be created to an estimated 150,000 jobs saved (how do we prove that). Did we not lose almost 450,000 jobs in June? If we print money to get out of the recession, do we not risk inflation which could be worse?

    If we were going to run up a defecit to help end the recession, a tax holiday (on all personal income tax for one year) would have been a much better solution. It would have provided about 4% to 6% of the GDP toward spending within a 12 month period rather than having less than 5% spread over three years.

    The Republicans certainly spent like Democrats from 2001 throughb 2006; however, the Democrats are now in full power and have tripled that spending. We need a agreement among the Republicans and the "Blue Dog" Democrats (Democrats who are fiscally conservative) to take back our country. We need congressional members that are less concerned with their power and more concerned with doing what is right for the country.

    I may be wrong, but, the numbers that I heard are that 37% of the people in the US receive some sort of government assistance and that up to 51% do not pay income tax. If these people are incapable of connecting the relationship of higher taxes to fewer jobs, then we are headed toward becoming a nation of people who are dependent on government for everything, with no one producing anything of value.

  21. While I don't assign the Republican Party with the great success of the Tea Party, I think members of the party were happy to be there. Just as there was a broad spectum of other Jacksonville demographics represented, and galvanized. The response to: "FREEEEEEEEEEDOM!" was heart-felt and enthusiastic. I think the problem is the liberals (including the leftwingliberalmedia) saw their work from 2008 crumbling at their feet.

    Americans, Jacksonville voters, don't like the "change" they're getting from Obama and Congress and the Republicans are playing to that quite well. The Democrats know that, but they'd rather obfuscate and divert attention away from this reality than to change their policies.

    Republicans are knocking on doors and finding people agree with them more than Obama. They're building consensus and it's has the Democrats (no "ic") concerned that their policies are going to cause them 2010 losses. Which is correct. I see big victories for the Republicans in the mid-term elections.

    This traditionally happens to any first term President, but this administration has drastically alienated the working-class and seniors in America. Americans vehemently disagree with the Obama/Congress policies they've seen since January. 63% say the nation is headed in the wrong direction.
    The Republican visits are galvanizing those voters in a dramatic way. The party is turning disagreement into activity, and the activity will turn to votes by virtue of the time and emotion workers have invested in the process. An example would be the home-bound elderly woman I visited and wants to make phone calls since she can't "get out as well as used to". The country is in an uproar, and the Republican are their answer, {for the first time in decades the GOP is considered to be the stronger fiscal party}.

    This is why liberal blogs bar conservatives who embarass them on their own turf; This is why the Tea Parties are such a threat to liberalism, and more specifically; the Democrat Party. This is why the there is so much discussion over two posters in a sea of posters!

    Obama: the one-term wonder

  22. I've been a Democrat voter for 33 years and I can promise you the liberal leftwing has control of the Dem. party and they want govt. control over everything, economy, health care, banks, etc. The Supreme Ayatollah Barack Obumbler has never ran anything: no business experience, no military experience, no delegating work to qualified individuals and his Cabinet positions and CZars prove it. His Supreme Court nominee does not have the exceptional judgement to serve on the highest court as proven by 60 percent of her rulings out of 3600 being overturned by higher courts. Obumbler is rushing everything into a Dem. controlled Congress because the Hope and Change we get turns out to be: we Hope we have a little Change left after he spends us into bankruptcy, I WILL RUN, NOT WALK TO THE POLLS IN 2010 AND VOTE AGAINST EVERY DEMOCRAT AND FOR "CONSERVATIVES" -REPUBLICAN OR INDEPENDENT. My days of voting for Democrats are over!


  1. Jacksonville Tea Party Protest Features Signs Comparing President Obama To Hitler | Pure Politics