Monday, September 20, 2010

Tea Party Power

By Alan Caruba

America is chockablock with some very smart people, if only the ones in charge would pay them some attention. One of them is Peggy Noonan who writes a weekly commentary for The Wall Street Journal. She came to public attention as a speechwriter for George H.W. Bush, coining his “thousand points of light” phrase.

Unlike the vast majority of political pundits, Noonan “gets” what the Tea Party movement is all about. Writing in the September 18 edition, she examined the tug of war between conservative and liberal legislators in Congress, with the liberal side always gaining more when the rest of us on the sidelines have wanted both Democrats and Republicans to STOP spending money and start reducing the size of a government run amuck.

The other factor is the increasing urgency of the times in which we live. She wrote, “Here’s the great virtue of the tea party; They know what time it is. It’s getting late. If we don’t get the size and cost of government in line now, we won’t be able to. We’re teetering on the brink of some vast, dark, new world—states and cities on the brink of bankruptcy, the federal government too.”

“The issue isn’t ‘big spending’ anymore. It’s ruinous spending that they fear will end America as we know it, as they promised it to their children.”

In short, the Tea Party movement is us!

That’s “us” as in conservatives, people who go to church; small business owners; people who love both college and professional football, NASCAR and other sports; people who think abortion is murder; gun owners; people who worked all their lives and can’t get by on Social Security and who know, even with Medicare, any serious illness will financially destroy them; people raising children today who wonder if there will be any Social Security when they retire—if they can retire; people worried about what their kids are learning in school and what they are not being taught about U.S. history and civics.

In my state, New Jersey, Democrat to the core, these people, despite their party affiliation, put Chris Christie into office as Governor. Last week he addressed a conference of firefighters, greeted initially by some boos, but in the end, they crowded around him like he was a rock star, all eager to shake his hand. He hadn’t backed down an inch from his demand that government service union members begin to contribute more to their pension and healthcare funds. He bluntly told them, “we’re doing this now so there will be a pension fund ten years from now.” They knew he was right.

After a misstep or two, the Republican National Party got the primary elections message. They back Miller in Alaska, O’Donnell in Delaware, and Angle in Nevada. The inside-the-beltway crowd have, excuse the pun, read the tea leaves!

Ultimately, this leads political wonks and onlookers to ask whether Sarah Palin will take a run at the GOP nomination for president. There is no question that she has confounded a lot of people, myself included, who were ready to write her off as an anomaly, an unknown Governor of Alaska selected to be, of all things, the GOP candidate for Vice President.

I think that, once the midterm elections determine how much power in Congress shifts to from the Democrat to the Republican Party and how well the GOP puts into action the expectations and demands of the Tea Party movement, neither Palin, nor anyone else will know what her decision will be.

This nation has already experimented with electing a charismatic candidate for President, a man about whom little was actually known, and who has demonstrated how spectacularly ill-prepared and unprepared he was for the job.

I am inclined to think that, consciously or not, when it comes to a presidential candidate the Tea Party voters are going to be looking for substantial experience and, perhaps more importantly, a proven record of belief and action that reflect traditional conservative values.

First, though, a Republican Congress will need to do some immediate heavy-lifting, repealing or at least defunding Obamacare, making it clear that Cap-and-Trade is dead, cracking down on a rogue EPA, stopping amnesty proposals, and letting it be known that any unspent billions in bailout programs should be returned to the national treasury to reduce the debt.

After that, the 2012 national elections will take care of themselves and the Tea Party movement may have reinvigorated the GOP, creating a coalition of independents and even disaffected Democrats that may yet save this nation from ruin. The last time that happened Ronald Reagan got elected.

© Alan Caruba, 2010


joetote said...

Another wonderful column. As I lived in New Jersey for close to 10 years, I can surely identify with the people who treat Christie like a rock star.

For what it's worth, here's my slant on the Tea Party.

The Tea Party movement is not a fight for the heart and soul of the Republican party! A co-opted media led by a hard core left wing wanna be dictatorship government would want you to believe that it is in fact all about the Republicans. And they would be dead wrong! The Tea Party movement is a fight for the heart and soul of our country! It is a fight to return us to what made us the greatest country in the world! How sad that entrenched politicians on the right along with the garbage on the left cannot or refuse to understand such a basic tenet!

LarryOldtimer said...

Those who can . . . do, those who can't . . . either teach, preach or go into politics.

Sarah Palin demonstrated, before going into politics, that she is a can-do person, and demonstrated in politics that she is a can-do person.

That sort of person makes other politicians feel extremely uncomfortable, for obvious reasons.

Speaking as a well experienced public works civil engineer, she would be a delight to "work for" in government, for someone of my ilk, who thinks that taxpayer dollars shouldn't be wasted.

LarryOldtimer said...

And I agree with what joetote said. In spades.

I just hope that this time around the "revolution" will be relatively free of blood-letting. Things getting to look pretty bleak as of now - to me.

The more our governments need control, the more resistance from governments and government hangers-on there will be.

Ronbo said...

As you said earlier, Alan, there is a "Whiff of Revolution" in the air.

I hope and pray this will be a peaceful revolution, the last thing this country needs is the massive death and destruction such a violent eruption would cost Americans.

However, if the Obama Regime and its Leftists stooges engage in blocking peaceful change by unlawful actions, then all bets are off.

Personally, I don't think the Leftist Ruling Establishment understands the danger they face in literally losing everything...EVERYTHING, because if push comes to shove, the Patriots have the numbers, the will and the ruthlessness to get the job done.

Dave's Daily Day Dream said...

Those who can . . . do, those who can't . . . either teach, preach or go into politics.

Well, there's some truth to some of that, but as one who has worked, fought and preached for a living, I recommend that Larryoldtimer change churches! ;-)

That said, I feel better now.

The Republican PTBs will try to co-opt all that is good about the tea party folks and claim it as their own. They will say "they can't win!" (Carl Rove all over the TV on Sunday), and it was our idea first.

Screw the Republican PTBs - you know, the McCains, the Newts, les Georges. They are quaking in their expensive boots at the notion of the people taking back some of what was a nation of right thinking, moral, freedom loving individuals, who voted according to conscience, with integrity, not according to the lies of the party line.

Stronger letter to follow (as we used to say in the military)

TexasFred said...

As a TEA Party official I would like to offer up a few points that I believe need to be seen and known regarding the TEA Party as a whole.

Our Core Values
*Uphold the U.S. Constitution*
*Limited Government*
*Fiscal Responsibility*
*Free Markets*

The TEA Party is supposed to be focused on those particular points. There are some in my TEA Party in particular that are wanting to stray from those Core Values and are pushing very hard for The Rowlett TEA Party to become "The Rowlett Come to Jesus and Bible Study group."

They want to take on the abortion issue, they want to PREACH from the podium, they want to take on the military and U.S. Senate over DADT.

For the life of me, I can't find ANY of those issues in the TEA Party platform or our Core Values.

Each individual TEA Party group is in it's own little world, there is no focus, no leadership per se and the direction is blowing in the wind, a *rudderless ship* as it has been called on a number of occasions.

The TEA Party can do great things, they can affect elections, they have awesome potential, but until a national platform emerges and there is strong leadership in place, they aren't going to accomplish anything earth shattering...

And they have to get the Charismatics convinced that this is about our Core Values and not Brother Love's Traveling Salvation Show...

Guy in Ohio said...

Nice column Alan. I was fascinated by the initial level of resistance to the Tea Party movement, from BOTH sides of the aisle. Now, I'm equally fascinated by the shift in support for the movement on the part of Republicans. People are waking up, and they see the writing on the wall. The question now is, are they just paying lip service, or do they really understand what it's going to take to re-build the Republican Party? I can't see the Tea Party ever becoming a true third party, because not many people think that would be a good thing. I have mixed feelings about that, but to me, it seems pretty obvious that for now, the Republican Party needs to sincerely embrace Tea Party philosophies and the rest will just fall into place. If they regain control of Washington, and don't adhere to those philosophies, then the REAL fun starts ...

Anonymous said...

Great column! Read below and if you can help please pass on'''

Petition for Recommitment to the Declaration of Independence, please pass on.

We the undersigned have understood the true meaning of the below document. Again we find ourselves suffering at the hands of TYRANTS. This petition is to recommit ourselves to the founding values, primary of all that LIBERTIES come from our CREATOR and not men. That being so, they only govern with the consent of THE PEOPLE. We are declaring independence from tyrants, the elite and those that wish harm to our REPUBLIC. Even coming out of silence the tyrants continue to plot our demise. WE THE PEOPLE declare to be free men and women and we will be lied no more. There is One that has all power, may you trust Him now.

Common Sense Patriot

To Defend the Truth
We, the citizens of the United States of America, commit to support each of its agenda items and advocate on behalf of individual liberty, limited government, and economic freedom. We as patriots have many things we can do to return our country to the values that made or country great. You as an individual can sign and share this with friends. As a point of issue this should be referred to your local politicians for review. We have had a great impact as patriots in the last year with grass roots movements and at some point we will have candidates that are not of our Conservative values. This could be used as a tool for holding candidates and politicians presently in office to adhere to higher standards expected by Americans. I suggest you send this to all and expect a response and act accordingly.