LETTERS: Tea party needs to stay out of king-making

I was troubled by the Gwinnett Daily Post article, “Tea party groups endorse Hice for 7th District race” (Aug. 1, Page 9A). Having been a candidate in this race for Congress, a tea party supporter and a friend of both runoff candidates, I feel that I have a unique perspective to share.

With the advent of the tea party movement, voters have been asked anew to verify Republican candidates’ veracity and adherence to conservative principles. The question thus becomes, is there a difference between tea party candidates and Republican candidates? What is the value of an endorsement?

If you are conservative you know the principles: The Constitution and the rule of law, free enterprise, fiscal responsibility, cutting taxes (in the Ga. 7th District, the FairTax), reducing the size of government, balancing the budget, and creating a strong national defense.

John Linder was one of the few Republicans who remained faithful to conservative principles. Philosophically he was very much in tune with the principles embraced by the tea party movement: House Resolution 25, the FairTax, is now a grass-roots movement. And yet the next representative of the 7th District must go further. He must embrace fully the conservative energy of the tea party movement. This energy is crucial to promoting good ideas and solutions.

Unfortunately in the 7th District, the tea parties and John Linder are engaging in the king-making game. This is not, in my humble opinion, a role the tea party should embrace, nor is it a role for a retiring congressman. They have dubbed their chosen candidates as the next coming of conservatism, and their endorsements are all they seem to think we should consider in choosing our next representative. This king-making practice runs counter to the core principle of independent thinking that is important to the electoral process. This practice is very troubling and I am uncomfortable as are many others who take voting seriously. The genesis of a citizen’s vote should come from a thoughtful intellectual consideration of the candidates, not from anger-driven recoil or an endorsement by self-appointed leaders of a movement.

Yes, passion is important. It played a prominent role in my decision to run for Congress, and it plays a role in every candidate that runs for elective office. But uninformed passion can be as dangerous as any form of ignorance. Voting is the sacred obligation of individual citizens, but informed voting is our responsibility.

Candidates will succeed when they balance passion and knowledge in solving our nation’s problems. Voters will be succeed when they to listen to their instincts not the king-makers.

Please vote Tuesday.

— Jef Fincher