So I got a very interesting and unexpected message yesterday. Jo Ingles from NPR Radio contacted me and asked me to call her station. It turns out that Tom Zawistowski was displeased with our article from yesterday reporting that Donald Allen and Kelly Kohls were going to attempt to challenge Governor Kasich in the Republican primary.
They had contacted Zawistowski to confirm the story and he trashed us in return. From NPR’s Andy Chow:
A top Tea Party leader has some harsh words for a conservative blog after it reported about a possible challenge to Gov. John Kasich in the Republican primary.
It started with an article posted Monday afternoon. ThirdBasePolitics.com, a right-leaning blog, was reporting that two Tea Party Republicans were trying to get on the ballot to challenge Gov. John Kasich in the primary.
Tom Zawistowski, president of the We The People Convention, slammed the article and said people around Ohio will now try to dig up dirt that will hurt the two Tea Party activists trying to pose a challenge.
“The people who run that blog are paid by the Republican Party and Kasich Administration or one of their crony capitalist flunkies to work full-time to destroy anyone that says anything about the governor. They are thugs. Okay? And they don’t represent the people—and they don’t represent American values.”
Nick Mascari wrote the article on the Third Base Politics website. He stands by his report and adamantly denies receiving any assistance from the Ohio Republican Party or the Kasich Administration.
“I don’t know where Mr. Zawistowski got his information but we make absolutely no money off the blog—we don’t even host advertisements and we’re certainly not paid by anybody so those are absolutely false accusations.”
Be sure to click on over to Chow’s article and read the whole thing. (The most comical part is that he slammed our article but then confirms its accuracy.)
There are so many things wrong with Zawistowski’s statement, that I don’t even know where to begin.
Yes, we openly support Governor Kasich. We don’t agree on absolutely everything, but we agree with 90% of what he has done. I am not a fan of medicaid expansion, didn’t agree at all that the Controlling Board was an appropriate way to get it passed, and we said that publicly.
But there has been plenty for us, and the tea party, to agree on with respect to this governor’s leadership. An $8 billion budget shortfall was overcome without raising taxes. $3 billion in income tax cuts. The state death tax was eliminated. A record amount of money has been put into the state’s rainy fund. He has consistently supported the 2nd Amendment and signed every pro-2A bill to reach his desk. School choice has been expanded. More pro-life measures have been signed than any other Ohio governor.
What we don’t believe in is tearing people down and treating them like our arch enemy over the 10% we don’t agree with.
But under Tom Zawistowski’s leadership of the Ohio Liberty Coalition and his other organizations, that’s exactly what we have.
Zawistowski demands 100% loyalty to his positions. No less. Or he and his organization will tear you down as bad or worse than the Democrats do.
He has every right to that position. It’s a free country. I’m just illustrating the difference between us and the OLC.
Because of this difference, they say we aren’t conservative and label us “cronies”. And now they are even fabricating lies about us.
We reported FACTS about his first LG candidate. We reported the FACTS about Allen and Kohls’ being their new candidates. We backed up these reports with evidence (in the latter case, Tom’s own email.)
In response, he reported lies to the press about us being paid, with nothing to back it up. He can’t produce evidence to back it up, because it isn’t true. He obviously made it up. He also lied to his own members and told them that the ORP was planning to primary conservative members of the Ohio General Assembly. What evidence did he have to back that claim up?
It’s not just Zawistowski. Tea Party blog Ohio Media Trackers falsely accused us of getting opposition research on Brenda Mack from the Kasich administration. Without any proof to back it up. The fact is that we received a tip from a reader in Youngstown. We followed it up, and it was all right there on the Clerk of Courts website for anybody with a computer to find. We simply reported the information first, before the professional media.
On both of these stories, we had the information before anyone in the Kasich administration had any clue about it.
We get tips all the time. We have contacts and sources within Ohio’s tea party community. And yes, we have contacts in the Ohio Republican organization, too. We are a volunteer blog that uses information from many different sources.
Sometimes we use it to simply report information as a news story, like my article yesterday. No opinion was offered, only the fact that OLC had new candidates. Other times, we mix in our opinion.
Do we defend the people we support from their opponents? Of course we do.
Obviously, what we do most is go after Democrats. But we aren’t afraid to take on people from the right who are tearing down our candidates, either. And this appears to be what angers Tom Zawistowski. Apparently, he doesn’t like to be challenged.
He rails against Republicans and points out their flaws every single day and defends his people and his positions. But when we point out their flaws, he labels us “thugs”. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander, Tom. Don’t dish it out if you can’t take it.
One thing we don’t do is make up lies about somebody and spread them across the state like Zawistowski and the Media Trackers article I referenced above.
Who are the real thugs? Are they the ones who reported the facts about their opponents, or the ones who are making up false accusations and lies?
Tom Z’s credibility may be suffering because he is forcing Ohio’s tea party movement to rely on his multiple hand-chosen candidates who have sordid pasts and tax problems. These are not my opinions. These are facts.
Those kinds of problems will sink a campaign. One only has to look at Ed Fitzgerald’s Kearney debacle to realize that.
By his own admission, Zawistoski never even heard of one of his candidates until two weeks ago, and now is promoting him for the highest office in the state. That’s not how you lead a successful campaign.
In his frustration, he is now taking it out on a couple of volunteer bloggers. His lies to the media about us, and about other topics, are libelous and will only further damage his credibility, and worse, the credibility of the conservative movement.
We aren’t going to lower ourselves to the same level and fight back with the same kind of false accusations and name calling. But we will defend ourselves.