Fort Lauderdale Tea Party Leader Speaks Out on Sarah Palin

 

scottcarrera2.jpg
Fort Lauderdale Tea Party leader Gabe Carrera, at right, with Rick Scott during the campaign.

By day, Gabriel Jose Carrera works as a bespectacled immigration attorney, but in countless off-hours during the past 18 months, he has had another calling: leading the Fort Lauderdale Tea Party to help elect candidates like Rick Scott, Marco Rubio, and Allen West.

Carrera is one of the original leaders of the Tea Party. He started stumping for his favorite candidate, Rubio, at gun shows across South Florida in 2009. At the shows, he would pass out Rubio T-shirts and another item he said always raised the ire of those in the gun crowd: photographs of Rubio's U.S. Senate opponent Charlie Crist hugging Barack Obama.

He went to political events and made numerous Tea Party videos that he posted on Facebook and YouTube. Carrera protested on the corner of North Federal Highway and Oakland Park Boulevard and walked neighborhoods where he left hundreds of political packets on doors.

During the July 4 weekend Tea Party rally when radio talker Joyce Kaufman made her infamous remark about bullets over ballots, he could be found manning the hot dog grill. And after all the events and protests, Carrera would socialize with his compatriots at the Jib Room bar on Oakland Park. 

That's the way the Tea Party was, says Carrera. You did whatever needed to be done. Although he often served as the face of the party, Carrera is quick to say he's not the leader of what he describes as a "slightly disorganized grassroots movement." There are others who led the local effort, people like GOP activist and blogger Javier Manjarres, organizer Patrick Castronovo, and the mother of the party in Fort Lauderdale, Danita Kilcullen.

Carrera was a local Tea Party leader, but what was he leading? What exactly is the Tea Party? Carrera can't seem to define it, though he takes a stab at defining himself.

"I don't like Republicans because they are bastards, and I don't like Democrats because they are assholes," he told me. "I try to be Gabe. I guess I consider myself a

constitutional conservative."

The Tea Party itself has never been properly defined it, least of all those who identify with it. It manifested itself during the last election cycle as a loud and amorphous storm on the face of U.S. politics, full of sweeping and often vicious rhetoric, loud speeches by fringe folks, and a dime-store brand of "I'm More American Than You" patriotism.  

The movement is political backlash personified (with a Toby Keith soundtrack). It's known much better for what it despises -- immigration, Barack Obama, health-care reform, regulations of all kinds, liberals, and Democrats -- than anything it stands for. 

So I turned to Carrera to find out what the Tea Party really is -- and after several hours of interviews, it turns out that, like the movement itself, Carrera is a mass of seeming contradictions.

carreracar.jpg
Carrera on the campaign trail.
He's a former criminal gang member and drug addict who found God in what he describes as a jailhouse miracle. He was ordained as a Pentecostal minister by Ohio televangelist Rod Parsley in his late 20s and became a fundamentalist missionary. Even later in life, he went back to college and graduated from Nova Southeastern University Law School in 2005. But he still remains a fire-and-brimstone believer in what he calls "God's law."  

A first-generation Cuban-American, he's stringently anti-immigration while at the same time representing illegal immigrants in court. He's deadset against Mexican immigration and was an early proponent of the wall on the border, but he supports opening the doors for Venezuelan immigrants who want to get away from leftist dictator Hugo Chavez.

He's greatly opposed to health-care reform, decrying government involvement in insuring people. Yet he and his wife can't afford health insurance while his kids -- you guessed it -- get health care through a State of Florida program.

He has a tattoo of Confederate flag on his body (he won't say where) but says he didn't put it there in honor of the pro-slavery Confederacy but because he identifies himself as a rebel. Ideologically he's the polar opposite of John Lennon, but he listens to classic Beatles songs like "Revolution" and "Helter Skelter" to get himself pumped up for political action.

Carrera is a big fan of right-wing pundits and radio talkers, with his favorites being Glenn Beck, Michael Savage, and Rush Limbaugh, in that order. He's also a friend of and believer in Joyce Kaufman. He was of course there for Kaufman's speech (grilling the dogs) during which she proposed bullets as a political remedy. And Carrera said he had a visceral reaction to those words. "I was like, 'Hell yeah!'" he told me. "Is Gabriel Carrera going to run down the street and start shooting any government official? No. I think that statement is more symbolic. It says we can change our government."

He said those words prior to the Tucson shooting that targeted U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords shooting, and he says nothing has changed since about the way he feels.

Carrera is also, not surprisingly, an ardent supporter of Sarah Palin's. "When you make fun of Sarah Palin, you are making fun of me," he said. "When you are hitting her, you're hitting me."

Palin infamously included Giffords' district under an image of a rifle's sight in one of her political posters, an act that Giffords herself condemned on cable television in March, telling a national audience that Palin needed to understand that such violent imagery could have consequences.

Giffords was also reviled by the Tea Party, which routinely labeled the congresswoman a "traitor" during weekly protests in that town. After she voted for health-care reform in March, someone smashed the window to her Tucson political office. Two days later came Palin's crosshairs poster.

Carrera, however, says that Palin's name never should have even come up in the Tucson coverage.

"I take it very personally," he said. "I think the media is connecting her to that, and it is irresponsible. I think it's erroneous. I think it's an attempt by the left to make sure she's not elected president in 2012."

Another reason he may be touchy about the Palin topic is that in his only attempt at elected office so far, Carrera became embroiled in an eerily similar controversy, one that involved a heartbreaking murder that captured the nation's attention, accusations of hateful and dangerous political rhetoric, and even a campaign poster that allegedly included an extremely controversial bull's-eye target.

This is the first part of a series on Tea Party leader Gabriel Jose Carrera. Part two will tell the story of Carrera's campaign for state House that rocked a town. 

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68 comments
yahoo-JTWEQCYVVFC2TXDOR22FHC22QQ
yahoo-JTWEQCYVVFC2TXDOR22FHC22QQ

When the two parties continue to evacuate the large majority of the collective center to set camp at the polar extremes it leaves a lot of room for the emergence of lunatic fringe politics.....this guy makes ZERO SENSE....and the tea Party is a party of irrational thought.

HugoChavez
HugoChavez

Pulpsters;This is what most of you don't understand so I will lay out for you the socialist liberal agenda. The end result will be to have a Venezuela style country with a socialist cummunist underpinning. Step 1; Destroy the middle class. This is done by devaluating the Dollars. Create hyperinflation to destroy the middle class buy desrtoying their purchasing power. Taking away their wealth; home ownership and retirement plans.2. Disarm the people. Use any excuse like the congresswomans case to call for control. So the politicians remain untouchable.3. Control the media. Silence talk radio. Belittle and smear fox TV and any other non agenda news including the regulation of the internet.4. Creat czar posts under socialist influences and use the executive order for short term gains.5 Overrun the borders with criminals and illegal aliens. Flood the system. Overwhelm the system.6. Have progarms that seem like very altruistic and noble goals like no child left behind and healthcare. That furthers the class warfare and destroys self reliance.7. Continue to demonize and tax the wealthy until there are no wealthy.8. Create crisises whenever possible.9 Create a police force that doesn't respect civil liberties and apparently doesn't answer to anyone(TSA).Do this in increments so that the populace becomes accustomed to pat downs and illegal searches and seizures.10. Take God out of the equation. So That the people understand that whatever rights they have are granted and withdrawn by the government and not inalienable rights given to us directly from our creator.

But you say why do this. Well why did Hugo Chavez do it? Ask yourself that question. This all can be done in the name of democracy as it was done in venezuela. We need to remind ourselves that this country is a republic in which all the citizens are guaranteed equal protection. The people in power are the ones that are the enemies of the state.

Pineystride
Pineystride

Tea Baggers seem to me to be a lot of very angry people. And there is a lot to be angry about in this world. Unemployment, income disparity, public corruption...the list goes on. And "government" and "government employees" are such an easy target. The truth is government does much good and there are many things that government does that no one (save perhaps a few survivalists in Montana) would want to live without: simple things like, providing fire supression services, garbage collection and paving our roads. Would the tea baggers prefer to live in chaos, do they want a bosnia or haiti?

cindermaggi
cindermaggi

LEAVE IT TO THE PULPY TO SAY WHATS ON HIS MIND!!! Now tell me how u really feel Bob!!!

Stop Hating the USA Tea Party
Stop Hating the USA Tea Party

Ahhh the Tea Party.

Tarnishing with every step a group of REAL revolutionaries that founded this country.

We should go back to Bush era rational and declare them all 'unpatriotic' because they don't like the president.

So the Tea Party and I guess most Republicans are unpatriotic and hate the United States and it's President. Discuss...

lifelongyankfan
lifelongyankfan

Can anybody tell me the reason or reasons that this article was even written? I do not see any news in it. What's next, a long story on the guy who cleans the urinals in my office building? He's definitely as important as the cretin in this article. What's the damn point?

Geraldsch62227
Geraldsch62227

sarah palin, rush, g. beck, hannity all headed for oblivion after tuscon tragedy has consequences gabby giffords warned about. good riddance of their garbage.

Rayboyusmc44
Rayboyusmc44

They were meant to be rifle scopes. At least stick by your message. No one thought they were surveyors sites when they were put on line.

talk about denying reality.

Wether they incited the dumb ass or not, please don't go into chicken crap denial now.

Rayboyusmc44
Rayboyusmc44

If this guy thinks he will get anything different from the tea partiers once elected, he is peeing into the wind.

they already were into their parties with the lobbyist to raise money for their future campaigns the first week in town. Now if they take money from the current establishment lobbyist, who will they be serving?

Jimt10000
Jimt10000

The Giffords shooting brought out the worst from the media.

The media have spent as much time trying to assign political blame for the cause of the shooting as they have trying to unearth facts. As it turns out, the murderer is a mentally unstable individual, with no coherent political ideology.

It’s becoming increasingly clear that political vitriol played virtually no role in Jared Lee Loughner’s shooting spree. His political thinking is hardly coherent, and his obsession with Giffords predated the tea party and Sarah Palin’s emergence in national politics. One of his few close friends told Mother Jones that he became fixated on the congresswoman when he asked her a question at a 2007 town hall about "the government having no meaning" and felt she didn’t answer. His killing spree wasn’t motivated by disagreement with her positions on health care or immigration.

Based on the available evidence, Loughner sounds like someone with untreated mental illness, whose grasp of reality grew ever more tenuous with time. He fits the profile of someone whose horrific shooting spree didn't have to be triggered by any provocative political rhetoric in the news.

But even with those facts out there, it didn’t stop numerous media outlets from connecting his beliefs to politics -- and isn’t stopping the continued rush to politicize this tragic event. The fervor to fit such craziness into a political matrix is regrettable, and, sadly, contributes to the overheated political environment that many in the media are condemning in the first place.

Christy
Christy

Great to hear the Congresswoman is making progress. 2 Years ago there was a 47 year old Mississippi woman whose husband shot her in the head. She made a cup of tea before police arrived. When Police arrived she offered them tea. She made a complete recovery. Bullet passed threw the lobes of her brain.

www.msnbc.msn.com/id/30268741/...

Jimt10000
Jimt10000

The Giffords shooting brought out worst from the media.

The media have spent as much time trying to assign political blame for the cause of the shooting as they have trying to unearth facts. As it turns out, the murderer is a mentally unstable individual, with no coherent political ideology.

It’s becoming increasingly clear that political vitriol played virtually no role in Jared Lee Loughner’s shooting spree. His political thinking is hardly coherent, and his obsession with Giffords predated the tea party and Sarah Palin’s emergence in national politics. One of his few close friends told Mother Jones that he became fixated on the congresswoman when he asked her a question at a 2007 town hall about "the government having no meaning" and felt she didn’t answer. His killing spree wasn’t motivated by disagreement with her positions on health care or immigration.

Based on the available evidence, Loughner sounds like someone with untreated mental illness, whose grasp of reality grew ever more tenuous with time. He fits the profile of someone whose horrific shooting spree didn't have to be triggered by any provocative political rhetoric in the news.

But even with those facts out there, it didn’t stop numerous media outlets from connecting his beliefs to politics -- and isn’t stopping the continued rush to politicize this tragic event. The fervor to fit such craziness into a political matrix is regrettable, and, sadly, contributes to the overheated political environment that many in the media are condemning in the first place.

KennyPowersSays
KennyPowersSays

Hey Pulp;

Why is their even a series of articles on Carrera. Is it a "glowing testimonmial" or a "know your enemy" piece?

Jimt10000
Jimt10000

What was actually on Sarah's site, was a map with district markers (surveyor symbols were used). These surveyor symbols were used on the map to indicate the districts of Democrats .This is a surveyors mark:http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_qQvU...This is a crosshairs:http://www.freeclipartnow.com/...

Also the Democrat Congressional Campaign Committee is using maps with marks.http://www.verumserum.com/?p=1...

The left Daily Kos actually put a “bulls eye” on Gabrielle Giffords back in June of 2008:http://hillbuzz.files.wordpres...

Bob Hartmann
Bob Hartmann

Palin's speech was exemplary of the Tea Party and people like Carrera, incite passion, create fervor, step away and let the loonies have their way, take no responsibility for your actions, and call yourself a patrtiot. Sista Sarah had a case of the poor me's yesterday and her actions and words will haunt her henceforth. She is not presidential material, she's a pit bull, that all!

earlbishop
earlbishop

You guys should stop complaining because, one the health care we have now isnt as good as it was supposed to be. also the law has just been signed so give it some time. so if u want to say u have the right to choose tell that to ur congress men or state official. If you do not have insurance and need one You can find full medical coverage at the lowest price search online for "Wise Health Insurance" If you have health insurance and do not care about cost just be happy about it and trust me you are not going to loose anything!

glenanniegirl
glenanniegirl

If Sarah Palin gets elected President by beating Barack Obama in 2012, it'll only be because he did something incredibly stupid, like illegally invading a foreign country over trumped-up charges... stuff like that. The more the Reps keep Sarah in the spotlight, the more flubs she does, and the more 'reasonable' people dislike her cynicism and foolishness.

Pulp
Pulp

President Cool Say Chill. They don't even try to hide it anymore. News: Gabrielle Giffords' family invited Debbie Wasserman-Schultz to Tucson with Obama and she was in the the hospital room when Giffords first opened her eyes. Also there was Nancy Pelosi, whom Giffords recently voted against for the Democratic House leadership position.

Ethan
Ethan

Article quotation - "There are others who led the local effort, people like GOP activist and blogger Javier Manjarres, organizer Patrick Castronovo, and the mother of the party in Fort Lauderdale, Danita Kilcullen.

No one worked harder or was more important to the movement than Carrera, who often serves as the de facto face of the party and as an emissary to the candidates themselves."

I have been to many Tea Party events, all over Broward County. The majority of those in the Grassroots movement are incredibly patriotic. I have seen Carrera only once.

Javier Manjarres is the owner and managing editor of the blog "The Shark Tank", and is generally hated by the majority of local conservatives because of his attack for pay attacks on conservatives, including grassroots leaders. His friend and accomplice Patrick Castronovo is often given the task of trying to "make nice" and clean up the damage left by Javier, but is often just as guilty of attacking conservatives. Both are generally looked upon as oppertunistic, and predatory - some might even say cannabalistic.

This article shows a surprising lack of true investigation and research into who actually holds sway in the Grassroots and "Tea Party"... and a distinct attempt to take some of the worst examples in the political realm and portray them as the norm. Anything to get the "click", right?

Model Citizen
Model Citizen

Matt Drudge's headline about Obama's solemn speech?

PRESIDENT COOL SAYS CHILL

Model Citizen
Model Citizen

In Sarah Palin's speech today denying that words are responsible for violence, she said,

"...journa­lists and pundits should not manufactur­e a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence they purport to condemn. ..."

a statement that clearly acknowledges that she believes that words can incite hatred and violence.

Go figure.

Pulp
Pulp

Here's Obama on nine-year-old Christina Taylor Green in what was the crescendo of his speech tonight on the Tucson shooting:

"Imagine: here was a young girl who was just becoming aware of our democracy; just beginning to understand the obligations of citizenship; just starting to glimpse the fact that someday she too might play a part in shaping her nation's future. She had been elected to her student council; she saw public service as something exciting, something hopeful. She was off to meet her congresswoman, someone she was sure was good and important. She saw all this through the eyes of a child, undimmed by the cynicism or vitriol that we adults all too often just take for granted. I want us to live up to her expectations. I want our democracy to be as good as she imagined it. All of us - we should do everything we can to make sure this country lives up to our children's expectations."

Anon4life
Anon4life

Oh, and that pic of Scott and Carerra is freakin creepy.

Anon4life
Anon4life

This guy could be Jared Laughner. God help us.

observing
observing

How sad this obviously accomplished man has set for himself an agenda that would use the machinery of government to inflict his faith based beliefs upon the rest of us, including the many who do not share his views. I don't agree with the smart aleck tone of the other commentators.

P_Nis
P_Nis

Is that his Lexus? If it is, he can't afford health insurance and has his kids covered by the state yet he's driving a Lexus? Also, a convicted gang member and drug addict goes to Nova Law and gets admitted to the Florida bar?? Is this a joke or is a disposition towards criminal behavior a prerequisite for admission to Nova Law School?????

Guest
Guest

You're wrong. Your statement about a devalued dollar is conspiracy theory stuff. The middle class has been destroyed by the elites who want everything for themselves without regard to people further down the pecking order. Elites who you on the right tend to revere as if they were gods on earth.

Using Hugo Chavez as an example shows how wrong you are. Chavez came to power precisely as a reaction to how bad the right ran Venezuela. The citizens were tired of the corruption and the wat oil revenue was mispent. I was in Venezuela even before Chavez was elected president and the country was falling apart. The ranchos were in the same condition as they are in now. The streets have as many pot holes as they had back then. Personal security is as non existent as it always has been. Chavez is a scoundrel but don't blame him and forget about what the right did. In fact, what the right did over there is very similar to what the right did here. Bush left the country in a mess and now it's up to the democrats to fix it.

Deep Sigh
Deep Sigh

About #10. Any god should be taken out of the equation. Separation of church and state. It's sickening that this countries politics are run by religion.

If there wasn't so many easily brainwashed religious nuts out there, people might actually make logical decisions based on facts.

The religious agenda, which is abused in our political system along with scare tactics, unfortunately makes up a huge part of the voting population. It's a shame that being a brainwashed idiot doesn't disqualify anyone from voting.

I can't bring myself to argue your other 9 absurd points, I think it's clear from what you write that you're part of the brainwashed idiots I'm referring to.

Pineystride
Pineystride

Dear Hugo,"The people in power are the ones that are the enemies of the state." So what do you propose? Anarchy? Because if the people in power are always the enemies, there can never be anyone in power. I am posing a serious question here: what do you propose as an alternative to the current structure of demorcracy in the US? As Reinhold Nieuhr stated, "Man's capacity for justice makes democracy possible; but man's inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary."

Virgil Starkwell
Virgil Starkwell

Respectfully disagree. They will be elevated. These people on the Right are rabid and cult-like.

They will never relent, never concede.

Time will pass and they will resume their gutter rhetoric.

Jimt10000
Jimt10000

They were meant to be surveyor symbols, because they are surveyor symbols used to indicate the districts.

Virgil Starkwell
Virgil Starkwell

"Presidential material"? That dingbat couldn't get a job as secretary for any of the following Republicans: Goldwater, Reagan, Bush, Sr., Nixon, etc:

The Republican party has degenerated into a cesspool of fools, dullards, dolts, etc: I feel bad for the many intelligent people on the Right who are being overshadowed by this new movement of Mongoloids.

P.S. Can you tell that I woke up this morning and decided to be more civil?

BumFarto
BumFarto

Dear Mr. Hartmann: I am compelled, on behalf of the dog once owned by my friend Patrick who was a classmate of mine a number of years ago and on behalf of my former sister's-in-law boyfriend's dog, Ace, to object to the defamatory comparison you make between pit bulls and former Gov. Palin. You, sir, demean, not only the the breed, but canines everywhere. Woof!

Ansil
Ansil

She couldn't get herself elected even if this never happened. However, my opinion is that what the newscasters and bloggers are doing is wrong to try and link her or any other politician to this nutbag. If the message is stop the rhetoric then both sides need to stop the rhetoric and the images that they claim purports violent acts or your argument holds no water. So far all I've seen is the right being attacked for pretty much what both sides are guilty of doing. I would never vote for her but I would vote republican and so would every other pub friend I have. What the libs are doing is just making themselves look bad. Nothing more.

Gator
Gator

And John Boehner stayed in Washington to attend a GOP fundraising party.

Elnathan
Elnathan

Interesting? The only Conservative Manjarres is on record of 'exposing' is Robert Lowry. This is the same Lowry who wrote DWS on a target and shot at it-shamed the whole Republican party. The same failed candidate who lost last year in a primary race;the same candidate who only raised a couple of hundred bucks during an earlier reporting cycle. From what I have seen on his website, he supported Rubio, Allan West, and Rick Scott..what is your point?

Pulp
Pulp

Ethan, Carrera was definitely a leader of the Tea Party and very active, but you're right: That was bad writing. I've edited it above. Thank you.

Jimt10000
Jimt10000

She was talking about false accusations.

The media have spent as much time trying to assign political blame for the cause of the shooting as they have trying to unearth facts. As it turns out, the murderer is a mentally unstable individual, with no coherent political ideology.

Model Citizen
Model Citizen

If you hover your mouse pointer over your avatar it says, "Expand P_Nis's Profile". And when you click on it, it really does expand the profile of your penis.

Virgil Starkwell
Virgil Starkwell

When Gabrielle Giffords was running for re-election last year, her opponent--Jesse Kelly--held a political event to "remove" Giffords where you could also shoot a fully automatic M16 with candidate Kelly.

Those were the words in the ad and an actual event.

Only in the bizarre world that the knuckle draggers on the Right live in would that be acceptable.

Eduardo Especial
Eduardo Especial

Kindly stop the dissembling. Whether the actual graphic used was that of a "surveyor's symbol" is beside the point. The obvious intent was to portray a rifle scope sight, with the message that the representatives in those particular districts were being "targeted."

Or would you suggest the message was that these reps were just being "measured"?

Virgil Starkwell
Virgil Starkwell

Bullshit! There is no moral equivalence argument to be drawn on this issue.

When Gabrielle Giffords was running for re-election last year, her opponent, Jesse Kelly held a political rally to "remove" Gabrielle Giffords where you could shoot a fully automatic M16 with Kelly. Those actual words were used in the advertisement for the event.

That kind of yahoo shit is unique to the knuckle draggers on the right.

Stop being a shill and try to maintain some credibility.

Patti Lynn
Patti Lynn

MC...I usually like what you say, but you have just slandered retarded citizens everywhere. I have never met a retarded citizen with hatred in their heart such has been exhibited by the Tea Party people.

Virgil Starkwell
Virgil Starkwell

I thought it was an advertisement for a Louisville Slugger.

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