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Tea Time

Talking FreedomWorks

During the locally-staged, nationally watched Republican Leadership Conference, Michael T. Martin sat down with David Spielman, a member of one of the most influential organizations in the Tea Party faction.


Sadly, we missed Texas Governor Rick Perry performing calisthenics before giving his speech to the delegation at yesterday's Republican Leadership Conference session. Before the events of Friday were over, however, New Orleans got in a little bit of a policy workout with FreedomWorks, the Political Action Committee supporting Tea Party candidates. Grassroots campaign organizer David Spielman sat down with NOLA Defender for an interview about their positions New Orleans issues. Known for their support of Tea Party initiatives that move the GOP to the right, like the recent "Retire Orrin Hatch" campaign, the organization has become one of the dominant groups shaping conservative politics.


Ultimately, Spielman stuck to FreedomWorks' party line: “lower taxes, less, government, and more freedom” for the answer to just about every question, though the phrasing differed just enough to sound creative.


When asked about the federal government’s role in the continued recovery in New Orleans, Spielman responded that government should never have been involved in levee construction in the first place. When asked about federal funding, considering that New Orleans was not flooded by Katrina but instead by the federal levees breaking, he did not deny the fact that the federal government has a responsibility that it needs to fulfill, however, he was adamant about private control of the levee system and that the rebuilding of the system should be done by private interests.


On the Big Oozy, we asked Spielman what he thought about BP’s responsibilities as they related to the largest oil disaster in American history. Surprisingly, at least to this writer, he thought that BP was liable and should be held responsible, however, he also stated that the federal government too was culpable. He didn’t elaborate much further on this, despite being pressed, and instead referred to the FreedomWorks website, which states their energy policy.


On the issue of charter schools, Spielman was enthusiastic about the privatization of schools nationwide. In particular, he referenced FreeedomWorks' efforts in Pennsylvania on Senate Bill 1 and hoped that the successes there could be transferred to states like Louisiana where charters are taking off. This position is one where FreedomWorks and the Obama administration share common ground and upon being pressed about this, Spielman agreed that their issues overlapped. He did seem reluctant at first to pull down the boogeyman that is the Obama administration, but ultimately, he was forthcoming in offering support to the issue, even if it did cross ideological grounds.


Despite FreedomWorks' reputation as the dark money that supports the Tea Party movement, Spielman was forthcoming and seemed relieved to be away from the frenzy inside the exhibition hall - even if it did mean raising the spectre of common ground with the president.

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Renard Boissiere, Evan Z.E. Hammond, Naimonu James, Wilson Koewing, J.A. Lloyd, Nina Luckman, Dead Huey Long, Alexis Manrodt, Joseph Santiago, Andrew Smith, Cynthia Via, Austin Yde


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Michael Weber, B.A.


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Linzi Falk

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Alexis Manrodt

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