Next Generation Will Thank Tea Party
Junior members of Congress are among the least powerful people in Washington – less powerful than their seniors in both parties; less powerful than many unelected bureaucrats in executive branch agencies.
Yet Americans have been barraged with formulaic talking points intended to convince us that a handful of junior House Republicans identified as "tea party" legislators – less than 20 percent of one-half of one-third of the federal government – has taken over the country and is holding America hostage.
People who buy that fiction are uninformed, stunningly naive or purely partisan.
Granted, groups like tea parties influenced American politics by providing much of the energy for the 2010 midterm election and the 2011 debt-ceiling deal. But until the 2010 election, the media spent nearly two years ignoring arguably the most important grassroots movement in recent American history, and, unless a story fits a negative narrative or provides convenient excuses, continue to disregard it.
After the 2010 general election, the debt-ceiling deal and, now, public resistance to and delays in implementation of Obamacare, the American left needed scapegoats to explain the broad opposition to President Barack Obama’s policies and the Democrats’ failed agenda. Tea parties were nominated – and targeted.
Smugly convinced of their own rectitude, liberals have chosen to blame tea parties for the nation’s problems, for the same incivility the left has shown the grassroots – or any others who merely disagree with them – and for the intransigent partisanship of which liberals themselves are guilty.
Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and fellow liberals tell us that Standard & Poor’s downgrade of America’s credit rating had nothing to do with the $4 trillion debt increase that she, Sen. Harry Reid and Obama engineered during 2009-11 when they had complete control of the spending process (or the nearly $3 trillion additional rung up since then). Channeling George Orwell, Pelosi and her media enablers called it the "tea party downgrade."
Writing about tea parties, Slate’s Jacob Weisberg condescendingly reported "that there’s no point trying to explain complicated matters to the American people."
It’s not that complicated. Practical Americans know that, given the already massive debt, the debt-ceiling "debate" shouldn’t have been necessary. Most normal Americans returning home to find the sewer backed up with sewage to the ceiling wouldn’t raise the ceiling; they’d pump out the sludge.
Sadly, America is approaching another debt ceiling, and the same hollow rhetoric we heard before and during the last debt "crisis" has begun anew.
Nonetheless, despite dire predictions, the automatic sequester resulting from the last debt ceiling deal was a nonevent; the administration faces, among others, real IRS and NSA scandals; ever more unpopular, Obamacare looms; and deficits and debt increases persist.
The year 2014 is shaping up to be another tea party year.
Establishment Republicans are threatened by the grassroots, too.
In an interview on PBS News Hour, David Brooks, the New York Times’ domesticated "conservative," and Mark Shields, nobody’s conservative, both criticized congressional tea party members, charging, among other things, that they aren’t "normal members … going to Congress to create coalitions, make alliances and … pass a lot of legislation."
Brooks asserted, "They’re not legislators" – only obstructionists "who want to stop things."
Conversely – and perversely – Brooks seems to think that Congress’s only function is to pass legislation, create coalitions, make alliances, obey leadership, never obstruct, and, above all, never stop anything, including demonstrably bad things.
"The tea party types," says Brooks, are "running against the Republican establishment. … Their (only) object is to take over the Republican Party."
Terrific idea, David!
Indeed, there is considerable skepticism among tea party supporters about the Republican Party’s ability to govern, to control spending, and to express and preserve acceptable core principles.
There is no genuinely conservative party in America, and, because third parties are unlikely to succeed, there may never be one without reforming the Republican Party.
Many Americans resent that liberals, including big-government Republicans, will not accept that the choices government faces are ones about which reasonable people can disagree. Rather than undertaking the effort to persuade their fellow citizens, liberals insist that their opposition is stupid and that America is doomed, in Weisberg’s words, to an "excruciating form of self-destruction."
That’s a tough sell considering that tea party sympathizers aren’t a majority in electoral politics any more than they are in Congress.
Tea parties aren’t really parties, just groups of like-minded Americans who believe that the government doesn’t reflect the will of the people. In 1773, the issue was taxation without representation. Today, Tea Parties oppose confiscatory taxation, profligate spending and the massive debt that will burden generations of Americans.
Without the tea parties and similar groups, there would have been no debt-ceiling debate in 2011, and, likely, no debate this year. Obama would be advocating additional unbridled stimulus spending and larger payoffs to his supporters. Indeed, he still does.
The continuing pressure on national and state politicians to deal with government debt is solely the result of energy generated in 2009 by spontaneous grassroots organization in response to reckless, irresponsible government spending policies.
Future Americans will celebrate tea party resolve.