Death of the Tea Party

As someone who was just given the left-foot of fellowship from the Tea Party Facebook page for simply wondering out loud why Ron Paul was missing from their GOP presidential candidate polls and Tea Party news feeds, the biggest danger I see for the Tea Party is that they get co-opted by the Republican Party.  My guess is it’s already too late.

I’ve worked professionally in the grassroots conservative politics for more than twenty years and I can say that the death knell for all previous constitutionally conservative uprisings in the past has been that sooner or later all of these movements have become just another cog in the Republican Party’s political machinery.

That’s why the Tea Party needs to know when to walk away from the Republican party and constantly remind themselves that the Republican Party has been just as much an enemy to limited constitutional government as have the Democrats.  Frankly, the Republican Party is far more dangerous.  That’s because Republicans, unlike the Democrats, like to pretend they’re constitutional conservatives especially during elections.

Those in the Tee Party need to keep reminding themselves what we got when Republicans were in power and when they could actually do something to limit the size, scope, and reach of the federal government.

Instead of dismantling the Department of Eduction, we got No Child Left Behind.  Instead of free market reforms to healthcare like expanding and promoting medical savings accounts and allowing insurance companies to compete across state lines, we got Prescription Meds for Seniors and the litigious Americans with Disabilities Act.  Instead of returning to laissez-faire capitalism we got TARP and the “too big to fail” myth (both under the Republican sponsored Keynesian lie that we needed a little socialism in order to save capitalism).  Instead of scaling back or even putting an end to foreign entanglements abroad and returning to individual liberty at home we got more unconstitutional wars, the misnamed “Patriot Act,” and the incompetent and unconstitutionally invasive (been to an airport lately?) TSA.  Instead of ending the Federal Reserve  and returning to a system of sound money (as opposed to the current Machiavellian system of uneven weights and measures that is artificially propped up by petrol dollars), we got Alan Greenspan (Reagan) and Ben Bernanke (W).

So, if the next GOP presidential nominee is either of the two I think it will be, the best thing the Tea Party can do is tell its members to stay home on election day or vote for a constitutionally consistent third party candidate.

My guess is like good Republicans they won’t do either.

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36 Comments on “Death of the Tea Party”

  1. LJ Says:

    I have until now said that I would vote for Ron Paul in the primary and then, if he doesn’t get the nomination, vote for the Republican candidate in the general election. I am very seriously reconsidering that position. The recent debate on this blog has helped me clear my thought process and mitigate the pragmatism that was dominating my thinking until now. While I believe re-electing the current resident of the White House would be worse than a Republican replacement, even a liberal insider like Romney, Perry, or Gingrich, the problems inherent in electing one of these three are several:

    1. Voting for them is against my strongly held principles of strictly limited government.
    2. Voting for them would consequently be a surrender to pragmatism over principle.
    3. Voting for them, again pragmatically, will have little long-term affect on the demise of our Republic since, I am convinced, we are headed for a terrible period of economic and social upheaval possibly resulting in totalitarianism.

    If America endures a period of severe economic and social upheaval and survives, possibly what will emerge is a country that resembles the more Biblical model our forefathers intended it to be.

    If Ron Paul runs on a third party ticket and splits the Republican vote that will pretty much guarantee Obama a second term. Then if the House is lost again to the Democrats and the Senate remains Democrat I believe the end of American as we have known it will be quickly at hand; maybe that’s better than stringing it out any longer. I’m not sure. Many economists say the longer the delay the harder the fall.

    I guess there’s a more positive possibility related to Sean’s post. That would be that the Tea Party not get co-opted by the establishment Repubs and stand their ground and actually help stem the big government Repub’s takeover of the movement.

    LJ

  2. John mcWilliams Says:

    My God Jim! I’m a doctor not a politician. We all would agree that the Republican canidates are not what we would like to see, specifically on the limited government. However, we can not afford four more years of what we have had to edure since 2008. Anything that would help the current office to stay in four more years would be shameful.

  3. Sean Gerety Says:

    I disagree John. The real power is not in the Executive but in the Congress. Also, I’m certainly not saying we should make the perfect the enemy of the good. However, if the Tea Party can’t get a constitutionally consistent and acceptable presidential nominee from the Republicans this time around, and make no mistake they won’t, they should turn their attention again to the Senate and House races where they can find real constitutional conservatives to back.

    Frankly, I’d be happy with 4 more years of O in the White House if I could get another dozen or so Mike Lee’s, Rand Paul’s and Jim DeMint’s in both Houses. I’m willing to wait 4 more years rather than seeing the TP squander their political capital on a lost presidential bid or by backing someone who is no more conservative or dedicated to upholding the constitution than is John McCain or George W.

    The only reason the TP has had any influence is because they have not been beholden to the Republican party. That is the only reason they were so successful in challenging and even undermining the Republican establishment in the last election. But, if the TP becomes just another shill for the GOP it’s over.

    As for being four more years of O, how do you think the TP became a dominate force in the last election? Do you really think there would even be a TP if McCain was elected? 8 years of W nearly destroyed whatever was left of the conservative movement and IMO McCain would have finished it off entirely. Besides, if we actually could get more constitutional conservatives elected to Congress, men who just don’t pay lip service to the idea of limited gov’t, what could O possibly do to further destroy the country?

    So, yes, staying home would be preferable to voting for, much less supporting, another big gov’t Republican.

  4. Steve M Says:

    Why stay home? Why not just vote for Obama?

  5. Sean Gerety Says:

    Depending how the nomination process goes, I think strategically speaking that might not be a bad thing. However, asking rank and file conservative voters, much less lifelong Republicans, to start thinking of politics more like a game of chess is a bit too much to ask.

    FWIW during the last presidential election Rush Limbaugh was basically making that very argument when McCain emerged as the nominee. He laid out precisely why having a liberal like Hillary or O in the White House would be preferable for the conservative movement. I honestly couldn’t believe my ears. Of course he backed away from that position almost the very next day (he does have a lot of advertising to sell after all).

    The important thing is for conservatives to learn, if they’re going to learn anything, is that the real power is not in the Executive branch. The only problem with O’s first term was that the Republicans botched things up so badly when they had power that the Dems ended up with not only control of the House but got a super majority in the Senate and were able to ram Obamacare through before the Chappaquiddick killer could be replaced by Brown. Also, the Dems did have the benefit of running against W’s unconstitutional wars (only to have O start a few more of his own).

    But, don’t get me wrong, I really don’t think there is a political solution to the problems facing this country (for the real solution see John Robbin’s Christ and Civilization). However, that doesn’t mean that Christian conservatives should be stupid in how they play the game in the meantime.

  6. John mcWilliams Says:

    Sean,
    I agree that it is congress and senate that has the power. I guess what I didn’t mention was it would be great to get real conservatives as you described in the both houses, especially in the senate to allow control of both houses. I just can’t help it. Every time I see O and have to listen to his voice, I get sick to my stomach. I hope the TP does not become grafted into the republican party as well. Less government is the goal. With that said, I can’t say that G.W. or McCain is worse than O. Instead of four more years with O and “another dozen or so Mike Lee’s, Rand Paul’s and Jim DeMint’s in both Houses”; How about one of the republican canidates and “another dozen or so Mike Lee’s, Rand Paul’s and Jim DeMint’s in both Houses”. Certainly you would say that is better than what we have now.

    Regardless of what is will happen in the elections, remember, and I know you know, our Great God is shaking things up. We can rest in His sovereignty.

  7. Dewi Says:

    Steve – Staying home is easier and conserves fossil fuels. Whereas I, on the other hand, intend to carpool over to the firehouse & vote for Obama. IMHO, he’s the only one that even resembles a Christian – if that should have any bearing…

  8. John mcWilliams Says:

    So if a Christian conservative votes republican in the general election and not for O he is stupid? Cmon, you don’t mean that. Do you?

    By the way, I do agree that John Robbin’s Christ and Civilization would the answer.

  9. LJ Says:

    Steve M: I understand you point. I followed your arguments with the other Steve M., Hugh, et. al., and I get it. In your view it’s worse to have Obama than ANY Repub, or it’s better to have ANY Repub than Obama. But I wrote three reasons I’m probably going to change my mind from your point of view.

    Sean is correct that if conservative/libertarian voters could gain back the Senate and maintain or increase the House majority that would be far more powerful than gaining back the Presidency. The key is to elect serious conservative/libertarian types and not continue on the suicidal path of enabling the establishment Repubs to control the party. It’s got to end some time so why not now?

  10. John mcWilliams Says:

    Dewi,
    I usually pretty good at seeing sarcasm, but not sure if you are serios or not about Obama resembling a Christian.

  11. Sean Gerety Says:

    @John. I think voting for a Mitt, a Newt, or a Perry would be stupid. That is assuming past performance is the best predictor of future performance. I did say voting for O is a lot to ask and I frankly haven’t listened to one entire speech the man has made and for the same reasons you gave.

    But, if McCain won in ’08 I can tell you there never would have been a TP nor would Rand Paul or Mike Lee or the others like them have been elected. It was only due to the reaction against O that those races went the way they did. Frankly, I thought Hillary would have been better in ’08 since she is so shrill and conservatives have such a visceral reaction against her that the Dems would never have gotten the Senate. Frankly, I don’t think they could have gotten the House either. The problem was O at the time was largely unknown and came across like the Joel Osteen of the Democrat party.

    But, hey, I was making the same argument in 2008:

    http://godshammer.wordpress.com/2008/09/03/still-dont-know-who-to-vote-for/

    At least I’m a consistent offender. 8-)

  12. John mcWilliams Says:

    “Joel Osteen of the Democrat party”
    Good one.


  13. “the Joel Osteen of the Democrat party.”

    This made me laugh out loud!

  14. Steve M Says:

    The thought of four more years of Obama quickly quells any tendency I might have to chuckle at anything.

  15. bsuden Says:

    “The thought of four more years of [Geo. W.] Obama quickly quells any tendency I might have to chuckle at anything.”

  16. Steve M Says:

    I am quite sure that if Obama has the opportunity to appoint a couple of supreme court justices in the next four years they will far superior to those appointed by Geo. W.

    A few more really terrible supreme court justices will send a strong message to the Republican Party. They may possibly also aid in the further destruction of this country. That is simply a reasonable cost of sending the appropriate message to whomever it is that we are interested in sending some message. Let’s do it!

  17. Tim Wilder Says:

    I met a guy 15-20 years ago who was trying to form a new party that would work somewhat like the Conservative Party in New York used to, endorsing some Republicans, sometimes running their own candidates, etc.

    His ideas was the they would co-endorse the Republicans who were OK, while staying independent, and throw their weight behind the really good ones and run candidates against the liberal ones. They would focus on congressional races where they could make a difference and stay out of big contests where the level of spending made any contribution by them irrelevant. Meanwhile they would work on voter education, consistency with principle and building a movement. He had his literature with his ideas worked on in well produced printed form.

    The only thing he couldn’t manage was to get members. I tried talking about it to various people, but discovered that what almost everyone really wants, above all, was to get on the bandwagon of a winner. Behind all the rationalizations, that desire has a powerful grip on people, and is deep in human nature.

  18. Hugh McCann Says:

    Again, I ask (esp. of our zealous purist brethren): What of the Constitution Party?

    http://www.constitutionparty.com/

  19. David Reece Says:

    Hugh,

    I think the Constitution Party is probably fine. I am on the “don’t vote for a candidate unless they meet certain standards” side of this debate, and I could easily get behind the Constitution party as far as I know, but I have not really researched them much since there is basically no Constitution Party in Arizona. The Libertarians are the only real third party organization our here. The problem with the Libertarians out here is that they are largely pro-abortion.

    I think I basically agree with Sean’s view of the strategy and methods of political reformation, and I agree with everyone here that a real reformation is needed to save our political system. John Robbins war right.

  20. Steve M Says:

    David

    In Oregon we have both the Libertarian and Constitution Parties. Executing a brilliant strategy and methods to achieve political reformation they managed to send a message to the Republicans. They also managed to stick the rest of us who live in the State with John Kitzhaber for our governor. Of course this no big deal in the larger picture which I am obviously missing. I am upset and hold these two parties responsible for sticking us with the worst of the only two candidates with any chance to win. A big step forward was achieved, but I am unable to put my finger on exactly what was accomplished.

    Democratic John Kitzhaber 716,525 49.29%
    Republican Chris Dudley 694,287 47.77%
    Constitution (Oregon)Greg Kord 20,475 1.41%
    Libertarian Wes Wagner 19,048 1.31%
    write-ins 3,213 0.22%
    Totals 1,453,548 100%
    Margin of victory 22,238 1.53%

    Since the election Kitzhaber has postponed the execution of a murderer because he is personally against the death penalty. He did this despite the fact voters here approved the death penalty and the measure was upheld by the courts. This is simply a sample of the things to come from this extreme leftist.

  21. David Reece Says:

    Steve M,

    My point is that their are minimum standards for being a civil magistrate, and it is immoral to vote for a person who does not meet those standards. It is the same with a candidate for church office.

    Do you understand this point?

    Do you reject this point?

  22. Hugh McCann Says:

    That’s what we’re arging about:

    What ARE “the minimum standards for being a civil magistrate”?

  23. David Reece Says:

    Hugh,

    I was trying to get Steve M. to state his position as favoring any minimum standard or no minimum standard at all.

    If he holds to a “no minimum standard” view then he would be willing to choose between Mussolini and Stalin if the two were on a ballot and were the most likely candidates to win.

    Let me get back to you with some thoughts on what the standards are tomorrow.

  24. Steve M Says:

    David

    Not to keep you in suspense, I do have a minimum standard. I have not fully formulated it yet. I have a bit of fleshing out to do. However, I can tell you that I would refuse to vote for either Mussolini or Stalin because they are both dead. Part of my minimum standard is that the candidate must be living. I am still working on the rest.

  25. Hugh McCann Says:

    S.M.,

    I think D.R. assumed the candidates’ vitality when he said, “if the two were on a ballot and were the most likely candidates to win.”

    But your point gave at least me a chuckle, for which I am grateful. :)

    I think we’re unanimous here that the candidate has to be (1) breathing.

    H.M.

  26. justbybelief Says:

    “Frankly, the Republican Party is far more dangerous. That’s because Republicans, unlike the Democrats, like to pretend they’re constitutional conservatives especially during elections.”

    Amen! They are the political version of wolves in sheep’s clothing.

    During the last debate the whole motley crew of Republican candidates, excepting Paul, gave wholehearted support for the [Un]patriot[ic] Act.

    Always reforming…

    Demo-Rat >= Republi-Con

    At the very least a Rat does what he’s supposed to do.

  27. Steve M Says:

    Hugh

    It appears that D.R. erred in assuming the candidates’ vitality simply because they were on the ballot and were most likely to win. I know of several cases where dead candidates were listed on official ballots and at least one where the dead candidate won the election. I may have to rethink my minimum standards

  28. Sean Gerety Says:

    What Tim is discussing is what I’ve been basically involved in as far as implementation in one way or another for the last 20 years. My problem with Paul is that he doesn’t come across as someone who is particularly vigilant when it comes to the defense of this country. I’m not saying he’s not or wouldn’t be, but he comes across a bit too wimpy on foreign policy. I think discussing the use of letters of marque and reprisal in GOP debates is too esoteric for most people, myself included. But no more empire building or being the world’s policeman are still a winning issue. Plus, this time he should throw the RC Lew Rockwell under the bus if the race card is played against him again (fwiw Robbins’ open letter is still the most viewed blog piece I’ve ever run).

  29. justbybelief Says:

    “I think discussing the use of letters of marque and reprisal in GOP debates is too esoteric for most people, myself included.”

    At first I thought so, however, Paul woke me up on the use of these Constitutional methods. Maybe this is more a statement concerning our ignorance of the Constitution rather than a weakness in foreign policy on Paul’s part. I understood it more thoroughly the second time he brought it up in debate and am still a little weak on it.

    According to State Department documentation and U.S.C. the U.S. is now engaged in implementing global governance. If you want to know what the U.S. military is doing oversees, this is it. Maybe other nations aren’t as ignorant of this fact as Americans are and this is why we are being resisted by those who still have an ounce of manhood left.

    The best method for securing ourselves is not to be a threat to other peoples and nations.

    When we debase our own currency, to which all other economies are tied by coercion, we necessarily bring the ire of other nations and peoples. We also borrow from our enemies. Paul has brought this up in debate also. It went by most people as though he was speaking in a foreign language. This is more evidence of our complete detachment from the principles of liberty and the use of those ‘obscure’ things necessary to secure our own safety.

  30. justbybelief Says:

    Alex Jones brought up an interesting point on his show yesterday or the day before. His point was that the real issue at hand and what we are facing as a nation is an elite group of people controlled by Satan who are trading in the souls of men. The monetary system and other illegitimate methods being the means.

    The Tea Party, if it was ever legitimate, has been co-opted by the controlled opposition.

    As an example of how our souls are being bartered by the elite, a friend of a friend asked a pastor at a local church if he could use the church building to host a conservative grassroots meeting. The pastor responded by saying, “If we allowed this meeting we’d loose our 5013c status.” Need I say more?

    Another example: This same friend of a friend knows wealthy men and business owners who are involved with agents of the forest service. Some agents of the forest service hold grudges and will not allow certain lawful actions by these wealthy men and business owners on forest service land if they offend them in any way. Anyway, this friend of a friend said, “These wealthy men and business owners cannot speak up on behalf of conservative issues because they may offend the forest service agent and loose benefits of forest service land, therefore, we need others, who don’t have much to loose to speak up instead.” The issues in this case revolve around the timber industry which has been almost completely eradicated here in northwest Montana. Men are being coerced into silence when they speak up and oppose wolf reintroduction. By the way, these are NON-NATIVE wolves that have been introduced here in Montana.

    Though these examples do not speak directly to the denial of the gospel–Satan’s primary intent–I believe they may be fruits of it.

  31. LJ Says:

    Steve M: “… However, I can tell you that I would refuse to vote for either Mussolini or Stalin because they are both dead. Part of my minimum standard is that the candidate must be living. I am still working on the rest.”

    Funny! (necro phobia politico – fear of voting for dead people?)

  32. Dewi Says:

    “Dewi,
    I usually pretty good at seeing sarcasm, but not sure if you are serios or not about Obama resembling a Christian.”

    John,
    I suppose the fossil fuels/carpooling came across as sarcastic, but the ‘Obama might be a Christian’ wasn’t. Sorry, I’m not really all that clever.
    Lately I’ve been slogging (literally slogging) through Van Drunen’s book on Natural Law & the Two Kingdoms doctrines (take my word, here, Clark’s works are much clearer) and it occured to me that many people are quite willing to say horrible things about opponents in the Kingdom of this World that they would never think to say in the context of Christ’s Kingdom. Especially in the political arena.
    How can we judge whether or not someone is saved? I am a guttering wick and a bruised reed – I have not the full assurance that I so desire and yet I do have enough discernment to refrain from attacking other self-professing Christians. Or calling them names.
    If Romney or Huntsman were to claim the Name I would beg to differ for obvious reasons, but if Hillary (Methodist), Bubba (S. Baptist), or Obama (Assembly of God) profess to be Christian, I accept that at face value. Ironically, Huntsman strikes me as the most reasonable man of the bunch in the GOP field – but if I don’t vote for him, it won’t be because he’s LDS, it’ll be because I disagree with what he wants to achieve in office…

  33. LJ Says:

    Sean,
    Would you supply a link to this?

    (fwiw Robbins’ open letter is still the most viewed blog piece I’ve ever run).

    Thanks,
    LJ


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