I have never publicly protested anything. I have never run for office. I would not want it, even if it were offered without the race, because I'm not one who really wants to be confrontational.
I offer you a vanity of my own which I published months ago before the victory in New Jersey by a guy with real stuff, Governor Christie, which tells us why we got a Barack Obama and the answer lies as much in your remarks quoted above as in my vanity. You take your frustration out on Republican politicians who did exactly what you wanted them to do. I do not mean to pick on you personally, and I sympathize entirely with your frustration, but I ask you, is not the situation which obtains today the inevitable result of such fastidiousness as you're describe in yourself? I also ask, have you thought this through?
Here's the vanity:
Returning from church, "silent" Calvin Coolidge was asked by the press, "what was the sermon about?" "Sin," he answered, offering no more. "What did the preacher say about sin?" pursued the press. "He was against it."
The burlesque in the 23rd Congressional District in New York State demonstrates beyond peradventure that the elites running the Republican Party are hostile to the interests of the conservative movement. It is also clear that unless the Republican Party can accommodate the Tea Party movement it will fail in the upcoming elections.
Judging from the intermeddling of the Washington elite on behalf of Charlie Crist in Florida together with their indefensible endorsement and financing of Rino, Dede Scozzafava in 23rd District of New York, it is probable that the establishment elites in the National Republican Party are covertly hostile or passively aggressive toward the Tea Party Movement. Possibly, these elites fear the Tea Party movement constitutes a threat to their personal power. Possibly, they fear the movement because it is unaccountable and likely to become a loose cannon. Indeed, is not inconceivable that the apparatchiks of the Republican Party would have secretly preferred a loss to Democrats than a win by the Tea Party Movement.
But let us not assay virtue exclusively on one side and only evil on the other.
At this point the Tea Party movement is a protest movement and not a reform movement. It is clear about what it is against. It is against taxing and spending, taxing and borrowing, borrowing and spending. It is also clear that it wants to throw out representatives of either party who trespass on these three taboos. But what does the movement stand for ?
The Tea Party Movement has no plank on whether to cut Social Security as a means to balance the budget because it has no platform and the movement has no platform because it is not a party. Would The Movement raise taxes to maintain Social Security at current levels and standards? Would it tax to maintain our national defense capabilities at their current levels? Would it tax to pay down the debt? We do not know and, revealingly, we do not even know whom to ask.
Clearly, The Movement as a general principle would prefer to reduce spending rather than raise taxes. Would the movement choose to reduce spending on Social Security rather than raise taxes? Would it cut Medicare to reduce taxes? To balance the budget?
These are questions that the Tea Party movement has not addressed and professional politicians, like those despised Republican elites in Washington for example, know that the trajectory for entitlements like Social Security and Medicare are such that if they are not reduced they will ultimately consume the entire federal budget and then bankrupt the country. Even Barack Obama himself has acknowledged this and, in an Orwellian triumph of illogic, has exploited this reality to justify spending more on health care reform to keep the already bankrupt health-care system from bankrupting the whole country. But it doesn't matter who says it, there simply is not enough room in discretionary spending, even if it we eliminated all military spending, to get the budget under control. Whenever you hear a politician say that he will solve a fiscal problem by curbing waste fraud and abuse, use one hand to cover your wallet and the other to cover your genitals because you will need to protect both.
"The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, But in ourselves,
Why does the professional politician tell us that he will resolve these massive shortfalls by eliminating waste fraud and abuse? Because that's how he got to be a professional politician in the first place and that's how he remains a professional politician. The unattractive truth about us as voters is that we seek out those politicians who will pander to our eagerness to dodge reality. One needs look no further than the neck and neck race in New Jersey where Corzine is able to remain a viable candidate for just that reason. The very strength of the Tea Party movement is that there is no one in charge who must answer to this conundrum: Do we tax the people more or cut grandma's Social Security and deny her end-of-life Medicare treatment? The closer the Tea Party Movement gets to political power the less easy it will be for it to dodge these kinds of questions and the more political power will elude it. The more it answers these questions, the more it will fracture. That is simply the lifecycle for all political movements.
So long as the Tea Party movement remains in the "protest" stage, it is playing offense not defense, and it need not answer these questions. One might note that the Obama presidential campaign succeeded in riding protest right into the Oval Office without ever once being forced into the "reform" mode. It succeeded in this by exploiting media bias and presuming on the generous nature of the American people who wanted to settle the problem of race in America once and for all. Director of White House Communications, Anita Dunn, has recently revealed in a taped interview how the Obama campaign contrived through artifice to avoid confronting these hard questions. But in a larger sense, while we conservatives complained that Obama was an "empty suit," Obama confounded us with the race card. This was a classic case of a politician succeeding by misdirection. He did not say, "vote for me or you are a racist" far from it, as an accomplished prestidigitator he was more subtle, "vote for me" he intimated, "and receive an indulgence for your original American sin of racism." He chanted "reform" ("change") but it was only through inadvertence, as occurred by chance with Joe The Plumber, or when he thought the microphones were off when describing the "bitter clingers" of Pennsylvania to San Francisco fat cats, that Obama ever revealed the real radical nature of that "change."
Indulgences free for the taking, just pull the lever marked "Obama"
Axelrod contrived a political campaign of genius. Barack Obama ran as a white, black man so that he could govern as a pink Manchurian Marxist. If Obama had run as what he was, a radical redistributionist, he would surely have been repudiated at the polls. But his race gave Axelrod the running room to avoid telling the voters the truth and the media provided the downfield blocking. Now the tea party protesters are furious. They are indignant. They sense they have been duped. They have been seduced and betrayed and they are mad as hell. Curiously, they take a good portion of their wrath out against the Republicans whose sins in comparison to Obama's can only be described as venal.
To Govern is to Choose.
Now that the real nature of that reform has become evident, the Tea Party Movement is aroused in full cry, and rightly so. That is not to demean the Tea Party Movement but simply to acknowledge that this protest movement is consistent with the best in the American tradition. It is naïve (as well as heretical) to believe that Obama is the Messiah. Equally it is naïve to believe that any protest movement does not carry with it the seeds of its own corruption which must eventually be reformed in its turn.
Let us return to what we know the Tea Party Movement is against: taxing, spending, and borrowing. We have noted that the movement has not been compelled to say what it is for apart from a return to constitutional principles of our founding fathers. But what are they for when they have to choose between raising taxes or cutting grandma's Social Security check? Between borrowing and cutting grandma's Medicare and denying her a desperately needed hip replacement?
These are difficult decisions and a party might be able to finesse these questions without answering, as Barack Obama succeeded in doing by exploiting his race, but by the next election cycle both the press and the voters will demand answers to these questions.
We conservatives have been betrayed literally left and right. Elected Republicans to our dismay and to the injury of the party and the country have finessed the hard questions by telling us lies; they said, let there be new entitlements, let us borrow, and for God's sake, keep the party going and the Devil take the hindmost. If the Tea Party Movement dodges these questions as the Republicans have done, or lies blatantly about them as the Democrats have done, it will betray its soul and it will be either discarded or reformed in its turn. But if conservatives have been lied to, Independents who largely populate the tea party movement have virtually begged the politicians to lie to them about grandma.
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; ~Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
If the Tea Party Movement keeps its integrity and answers these questions it will have to make very hard choices. More immediately, it will have to have the architecture in place by which those choices can be made. That means it will need an organization which in turn implies the need for a Constitution to provide for orderly procedures for voting etc. It implies that the movement will have "leaders." These leaders will have to be empowered to speak for the Party . They will in the fullness of time unavoidably become elitists who will seek to retain their positions and enjoy the perquisites of office. They will begin to play the political game. To protect their sinecures they will find ways to dodge hard answers to hard questions. In this they will ultimately become indistinguishable from the elites who inhabit the Republican Party today. Eventually the cry will go out, "Reform The Tea Party Now!"
There will be those who will declare in disgust, "no do not try to reform the Tea Party, it is hopeless, the party is too corrupt and cannot be reformed. It must be replaced with a new party." The ruling Brahmins of the Tea Party will at first ignore the reformers and then denigrate them. Ultimately the reformers will either be absorbed into the establishment Tea Party, as most reform movements of substance historically have been, or the reformers will evaporate away into the American scene, as movements on the fringe have done, or, most unlikely, the reformers will become the dominant party of the right, an unlikely achievement which only the Republicans themselves have managed to do.
This is not to denigrate the Tea Party movement or the reform spirit which animates it. A harbor cannot be cleansed but by the changing tide. It is the reform spirit that contributes to making America what it is. Without it we would all be living in Chicago.
Rather this is to provide perspective, hopefully an adult perspective, which empowers conservatives to shoulder their generational responsibilities like grownups. We conservatives are charged with a generational duty to both past and future generations to pass on the unspeakably precious legacy bequeathed to them by the generation of the Great Depression and World War II; who got it from the immigrants, the Doughboys and the pioneers; who in their turn received it from a great generation that fought the Civil War; who owed it all to the Founding Fathers and the Winter Soldiers.
To be worthy of the name, Conservatives know that we must conserve that which was bequeathed to us in blood and toil, leavened with no small measure of Gods grace, and render the next generation at least as good as we got. We are conservators of a sacred trust. Therefore, what Obama is doing to this legacy is not just ill advised, it is profane .
I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am, let's face it. It was you, Charley.
Liberal media observers profess to find "Teabaggers" angry and they find that anger to be off-putting. Let them stand in our moccasins and judge us. A mountebank has presumed on the good nature of the American people to secure office by false pretenses where he has revealed himself to be a Manchurian Marxist. This, in the wake of a "compassionate conservative" who was long on compassion and spotty on conservatism. Small wonder tea party people are angry at both sides. We are angry because we know that we will not be able to pass on to our children that which was given to us by grace because we were in effect betrayed and made "bums" by those in whom we have placed trust. Every second the national debt clock ticks and every second our current chance to do something for our kids diminishes. Nevertheless, in the discharge of our responsibilities we must not forget, "The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, But in ourselves,
As The Book says, as there is "a time to break down" there is also "a time to build up" and as there is a time to "cast away" there is also a time to "keep."
I say to those who would cavalierly abandon the Republican Party, you will have an obligation to put in its place as good as you took.
You said: “I say to those who would cavalierly abandon the Republican Party, you will have an obligation to put in its place as good as you took.”
If I put NOTHING in it’s place, I will have fulfilled that, as of now. You’re not understanding my point at all. My point is that nobody, apparently, in the GOP leadership is willing to lead. AT ALL. If the leftists can mob a bank until the bank agrees to make bad loans, lead by taxpayer funded “activists”, then why are we on the right limited to “nice dialog” and “symbolic gestures”?
I came home one day to find that we had a serious financial crisis, one which would have caused a serious family crisis on top of that. So, we “fixed” the problem. As in, identified what had to be done, determined the course of action, and did it. It’s no more complex than that. It required making choices, taking some actions, and yet, it wasn’t actually anything particularly controversial.
So, I’m not understanding why the games, and no action. We ARE broke. The course is unsustainable. The actions to be done are not even any longer a matter of debate, other than minor matters at the fringes. The consequences are world changing if we do not, not to mention both the moral condemnation and our own sullied future history if we don’t. So, what’s the issue? Why play games? Why sit in DC and do diddly? The obvious course of action is to just...win. And it’s time to do that. So why is the GOP so desperately afraid?
The TEA Party phenomenom is defined as a protest. Obviously. The people can’t propose legislation, vote on it, or argue in Congress. Our “role” here is to be the parent who sees the baby trying to climb the drawers to get to the cookies in the top shelf and say “NO!”. We cannot, by design, “lead”. Nor should we be.
Nor should the collective responses be manufactured into a political party, just so it can play footsie games in DC.
Rather, I want an answer from the guys who claim to be on my side in DC... “Why won’t you get off your duffs and do something???” instead of playing the parlor game?
Very good point. This is why I lost all respect for Michael Smerconish when he loudly left the Republican Party and appears on GEMSLSD whining about it.
While he is a RINO (and RINOs disgust me), what offends me more is his attitude of "Cater to me! It's all about me!"
A lot of people who feel like I do (further to the right than the Stupid Party) sound to me no different than Smerconish.
I will work to replace the Stupid Party or reform it to something honorable.
Faith. Hope. Charity.
This was the only line that stood out for me, incongruent with the rest. The rest was very well reasoned.
LMO do not find anger off-putting...they are always clucking approvingly at the rage-du-jour on the left. No, just as with everything else, it is suspect only because it comes from the right.
Pretty easy replacing something that committed suicide.