Tag Archive for 'Tea Party'

Small Business Advocate Poll: Who will have the most impact on 2012 elections?

The Question: Which group will have the greatest impact on the 2012 presidential and congressional elections?

11% - The “Occupy Wall Street” protesters
89% - The national “Tea Party” movement

My Commentary:

The last time America had two seemingly grassroots groups protesting simultaneously on a national level was probably when women’s suffrage and prohibitionists shared the national stage. A century later, their 21st century protesting successors are the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street.

It’s interesting that these two groups are being compared to each other. The Tea Party can already boast some political accomplishments. The emerging OWS is still defining itself.

We wanted to know what you think about the life and legs of these two movements, so last week we asked this question: “Which group will have the greatest impact on the 2012 presidential and congressional elections?” Here’s what you said:

Those who think the Occupy Wall Street folks will make the greatest impact came in at 11%, while the rest, 89%, said they believe the Tea Party will stir up the most trouble between now and next November.

There are similarities between these groups, but there are also significant differences. Look for my take on this next week, including the connections to Main Street small business.

Recently on The Small Business Advocate Show I talked more about what small business can learn from the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street. Click here to listen or download.

For more great SBA cotent, click HERE!

To take this week’s poll, click HERE!

Small Business Advocate Poll: Principles of the Tea Party

The fundamental principles of the Tea Party are a balanced federal budget and smaller government. Do you think their ideas are good for America or not?

80% - Good

14% - Not Good

0% -Undecided

My Commentary:

The so-called Tea Party is an interesting phenomenon in that it sprang up as a true grassroots movement. Regular Americans representing many demographics and regions started demanding a commitment to smaller government and fiscal conservatism from any political candidate who wanted their vote.

In less than two years of existence, without any central organization or financial backing, the Tea Party nominated and elected enough members of Congress in 2010 to become a political game changer by 2011.

We wanted to know what you think about the Tea Party, so last week we asked this question: “Do you think their ideas are good for America or not?” Here’s what you said.

A little more than one-in-ten of our sample said the Tea Party was not good for America. Only 5% said they were undecided. But 82% of our respondents said the Tea Party was good for the U.S.

This week we ask another question involving the Tea Party, so I’ll have more to say about this group later.

Take this week’s poll HERE!

Check out other great SBA content HERE!

Who is writing & telling your brand story?

The last time America had two grassroots protesting groups gaining critical mass simultaneously was when women’s suffrage and prohibition shared the national stage.

A hundred years later their 21st century successors are the “Tea Party” and “Occupy Wall Street.” And like their indignant forebears, the new kids on the block have just enough things in common that they’re often compared to each other, in spite of the fact that they’re really quite different, including, as you will see, in non-political ways.

Both the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street (OWS) believe that the objects of their indignation are broken and must be reformed. Essentially, the Tea Party wants to make the Federal government more fiscally responsible, while OWS demands that 21st century capitalism include elements of social justice. And in some cases both groups are itching for the same reform, like ending taxpayer bail-outs and restricting the influence of lobbyists. But here is where they diverge.

Protests by the Tea Party helped it resurrect and assume a legendary brand. But their actions were quickly polished into a cogent brand story that is being leveraged within the existing political process. As proof, in less than two years the Tea Party told their brand story sufficiently to elect enough members of Congress to significantly influence the national policy debate.

OWS protests have also created a compelling brand. Consequently, it has acquired one of the best forms of business serendipity – free PR. But, as reported in a recent article on PostAdvertising.com, the lack of a cohesive message – caused by demands that range from Tea Party-ish to Utopia – has prevented the crafting and delivery of a successful brand story. Unfortunately, as the article concludes, the OWS story is being written and told by others.

Our online research supports the foregoing appraisal. When we polled our audience about which group will have the greatest impact on the 2012 elections, Occupy Wall Street came in at 11%, while 89% thought the Tea Party would stir things up the most. A companion poll asked if either movement was “Good for America.” Over 80% said yes to the Tea Party, while only13% favored OWS.

Regardless of which ideals you align with politically, as a small business owner you must take a lesson from how the two groups manage their brands and brand stories. One is finding success by writing and telling their own story; the other one – not so much.

Who’s writing and telling your brand story?

I talked more about telling your small business’ brand story today on The Small Business Advocate Show. Take a few minutes to download or listen.

For more great SBA content, click HERE!

The Blame Game

Recently, in the Small Business Advocate poll, we asked this question: Who do you think is most responsible for the current state of the U.S. economy? Here are the results:

27% - Congress

18% - President Obama

55% - Both

Jim’s Comments:

Lately, we’ve been asking what you think of President Obama’s attempts to create jobs in America. Some of our audience members said, “Hey, you’re picking on Obama - what about Congress?”

Well, there are at least two reasons why we don’t think we’ve been picking on the prez:

  1. He’s the president. It’s his watch. He asked for the job. To paraphrase President Truman, he occupies the desk upon which the buck stops.
  2. He has put his jobs plans right out there, expending a lot of words and taxpayer money on various jobs programs of which he has taken full ownership.

Nevertheless, we do agree that Congress shouldn’t be left out. So last week in our online poll, we asked this question: “Who do you think is most responsible for the current state of the U.S. economy?” Here are the results.

All by himself, President Obama did better this week, with only 18% of our voters putting all of the responsibility for our troubled economy on his shoulders. The 535 occupants of the big building on the other end of Pennsylvania Ave. faired a little worse, with 27% of our respondents blaming Congress.

The big number was reserved for Team Politic. More than half of you said both the president and Congress were to blame for the economy, which includes the worst sustained unemployment conditions in generations.

I’m not trying to be controversial, but with these kinds of numbers so close to the next election, and with the economy not expected to improve dramatically over the next 13 months, I’m predicting a major housecleaning in all three houses. Not along party lines, but along the lines of the political class - members of both parties who have long forgotten what they were sent to Washington to do and who they were sent to represent.

For my part, it’s about time.

I talked more on The Small Business Advocate Show about who is to blame for our current economic troubles. Click here to listen or download what I have to say, and while you’re there, see what other people are saying about the economy.

Be sure to take this week’s poll HERE!

Access other great SBA content HERE!

What’s good for small business is good for the world

The mid-term Congressional elections will be held barely more than a month from now and, if you’re a political junkie, it’s been a high time. This is the most interesting political landscape in my lifetime for a two specific reasons:

  1. There is an almost unprecedented dramatic line between what the two main political parties stand for.
  2. Both parties are somewhat in disarray because their political class paradigms are being shifted by influences that are threatening to upset their incumbency apple carts.

Many people believe that this election may go down as one of the most important ones in the history of our republic.  I am one of those people.  That’s why we wanted to know how members of our audience were leaning on the election.   So last week we asked this question:

“If the election were today, which party would you be more likely to vote for? (Note: Assume all Tea Party candidates are now on the Republican ticket.)”

Fifteen percent said they would vote for a Democrat and 85% said they would pull the Republican lever.

As you have likely seen, most polls indicate that Republicans will make major gains in the House and Senate. In fact, on my radio show recently, Steve Forbes predicted that the GOP would win a majority in both houses.

It’s not a surprise to me that our respondents tip even more heavily for Republicans than the national political polls, because our audience is primarily small business owners.  Members of this sector of the electorate are tired of Washington passing laws and regulations that hurt small businesses, whether we’re collateral damage or the intended target, and right now the folks who are getting the blame for these assaults are Democrats.

But there is one thing that’s unique about this election cycle that may water down the GOP’s apparent advantage: There is as much of an anti-incumbent sentiment among the electorate as there is anti-Democrat.  As I said at the beginning, we’re experiencing a most interesting political landscape.

My hope is that whatever happens, it is good for American small businesses. Because I believe that what is good for small business is good for America.

I recently reported on this issue on my radio program, The Small Business Advocate Show. Take a few minutes to listen and, whether you agree with me or not, be sure to leave your comment. Listen Live! Download, Too!

To participate in current poll question, visit www.smallbusinessadvocate.com and vote.

Note to political class: It was never about the tea

Even though it had a virtual global monopoly on the tea trade, by 1772, the British East India Company was burdened with tons of unsold tea and associated financial problems. One of the reasons for these problems was that, to resist paying the Townshend import duty of two shillings and three pence per pound, imposed by England, merchants in the American colonies were operating a black market of lesser quality tea than The Company’s bohea variety.

Consequently, on May 10, 1773,  the English Parliament passed the Tea Act, which provided for The Company’s tea to be sold at a significant discount in America. The Act did not impose any new tax, but it did do two things: 1) the lower price would undercut the colonists’ black market; and 2) each pound of the cheaper tea would still generate Townshend duty revenue.

In most market actions, lower prices are welcomed by consumers, especially for a superior product. But in 1773 America, where even the slightest westward twitch of the British government was considered by the once and future revolutionaries as disrespect at a minimum and oppression at a maximum, English ships laden with tariff-generating cheap tea were not welcome in American harbors.

Resistance to The Company’s cheap tea was universally vociferous throughout the colonies, but in New England, the reaction manifested in the immortal Boston Tea Party. What the English government did not learn from the Boston Tea Party was that resistance by the American colonists was more about the principle of liberty than any specific government policy.

So far, I haven’t joined the modern-day Tea Party movement, attended any of their gatherings or even interviewed any self-proclaimed members on my radio show. But as a small business owner wanting little more from the Federal government than for it to do me no harm, increasing anti-market sentiment and intrusive policies surely make me identify with the principles of the 21st century Tea Party and its 18th century namesake.

On the 237th anniversary of the Tea Act, the U.S. government would do well to not minimize what is behind peaceful resistance to intrusive policies or indignation to words that offend self-determination. It’s not just about a tax, tariff, tea or health care, it’s about liberty.

Americans haven’t come lately to their love for liberty nor their willingness to stick a finger in the eye of any usurper of that beloved principle which, more than anything else, is America’s greatest product.

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