A Desperate Alice Linahan…

Alice Linahan is a self-avowed “conservative housewife turned social media expert who founded Voices Empower and travels all over the country covering the political scene” who “teaches others how to ‘aggregate and disseminate’ the news to others via social media.” Voices Empower, according to its website, “has quickly risen as an organization playing an integral part in holding politicians and the progressive/liberal media accountable by getting real stories out to Americans across the country.” This boils down to the following: a Tea Party conservative figured out how to use the Internet and is teaching other radical conservatives how to use the Internet too. The following statement a few lines later in the previously quoted post authored by one of Linahan’s admirers illustrates this point: “It never ceases to amaze me that I can write something and it is read by someone I don’t know in a state I’ve never even visited.” Welcome to the Internet, glad you could make it.

But back to Alice: I search and research, trying to find evidence of experience, education or at least a working knowledge of the issues she generalizes so freely about in her online musings, but all I find are very colorful musing about the gloom and doom that can only be saved by giving her group money and following her extremist views. Somewhere amid her busy schedule of simplifying complex international conflicts and opining on the proper course of foreign policy, Linahan finds time for local politics. Or as Bud Kennedy so clearly pointed out… her paycheck… Her current project is hosting “Speaker Showdown II” in Austin in next week in a second attempt to remove Joe Straus as Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives with Fox News Contributor and former Democrat Pat Caddell. ImageCaddell, who was a Democrat pollster working for presidential candidates including George McGovern (1972), Jimmy Carter (1976, 1980) Gary Hart (1984), Joe Biden (1988) and Jerry Brown (1992) prior to leaving the Democratic party in 1988, seems like the perfect partner for someone like Linahan in terms of being highly vocal without actually saying anything. Caddell and Linahan, I would argue, are examples of a more widespread affliction of the Tea Party faction: all negativity, nothing constructive. Caddell’s approach to campaigning was summed up by the Washington Monthly as follows: “Caddell believes the key to winning contemporary elections is appealing to ‘alienated’ voters–that ever-growing group of mostly younger voters who are not easily identified as liberal or conservative and don’t trust government, politicians or the parties. You can’t lure these voters with programs and stands on specific issues, so the theory goes. Rather, you must remain as uncommitted as they are. You lure them by attacking that which caused their alienation: the Establishment.” That description sounds ideologically similar to the extremely loud and incredibly ineffective nationwide Occupy movement and simultaneously describes the problem with the far left and far right: spend all your time and energy being anti-anything/everything and you simply can’t be at the table when it’s solution time. If extremists on both sides could realize that their desired complete overhaul of absolutely everything is not going to happen, perhaps they could redirect that time and energy to something useful. I think my favorite part of the Speaker Showdown II is the $600 a table dinner is now being sold as “Pat Caddell Benefit Dinner & BCS Game Watch”. I guess Pat needs some benefit and an Alabama vs. Notre Dame game gets people in the door? How much does Miss Alice get????

Linahan has keeps some curious company with her Women on the Wall Co-Founder Rebecca Forest. On June 11, 2011, Ms. Forest was captured on video saying “If you want to know why we can’t pass legislation in Texas it’s because we have 37, no 36, Hispanics in the Legislature. All of the states that have passed legislation have a handful and I mean literally, some of them have NO Hispanic legislators, well, maybe 3 or 5 or something. So that’s, umm, part of our problem and we need to change those numbers. Umm, we need to do something about that in fact, during the debate on “sanctuary cities,” several Hispanic legislators testified that their grandparents and their parents were migrant workers who came over here to work and that THEY even worked in the fields. And some of them even admitted that they had been here illegally and that they came illegally. So the problem is these Hispanic legislators … is that it’s too close to them and they, umm… simply cannot vote their conscience correctly. So that’s about all I have to say to you, please come to the hearing, and help us spread this message. Thank you.” WOW… I am sure Republican State Representative Larry Gonzales was happy to hear this.Screen Shot 2013-01-05 at 5.41.13 PM

Linahan is also chummy with Ray Myers, chair of the Kaufman County Tea Party and fellow anti-Straus Christian fundamentalist xenophobe, routinely retweeting his tweets and reposting his posts on her personal blog as well as the Voices Empower website. Myers is the founder of the God and Country Organization, which advocates a merger of church and state under the guise of First Amendment free speech exercise and denies that the separation of the two was ever constitutionally intended. As long as the church is a Christian one, mind you. Suggested reading on the God and Country website is the book The Church, in a State of Separation by Dan Cummins, which is described as a “concise but powerful overview of biblical, world and American history providing sound reasonable evidence why the American church and her clergy should be leading the charge in today’s political battles for freedom”. Myers is unsurprisingly anti-Straus and gained notoriety during the last attempt at replacing Straus by calling for voters to elect a “Christian Conservative who decided not to be pushed around by the Joe Straus thugs”. Myers claimed that his statements were not meant to be anti-Semitic, but peruse the God and Country website and it is pretty clear that Myers sees “Christian” as a prerequisite for “elected official.”

One of her Fellow Tea Party Activists is sure to get her hand slapped by Linahan. In the following email, JoAnn Fleming begs newly elected members to meet with her to discuss the Tea Party platform and promises not to discuss the Speaker’s race. Obviously she realizes the members are not amused by her previous antics…

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For better or worse, the Internet is a great equalizer. One can express one’s views to the entire world instantaneously with nary a proofread or a fact check, with the obvious drawback that the credibility bar has been lowered, possibly demolished entirely. There is a lot of noise, but a fraction of it rings true. The name “Voices Empower,” taken literally, aptly encapsulates Linahan’s approach: she believes that a loud voice is empowering regardless of what it is saying. Luckily we don’t need to pay Alice Linahan and her friends at Women on the Wall to educate ourselves and others (their stated mission). We can do that for ourselves, for free, on the Internet.

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