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Title: The Tea Party Is Officially Dead. It Was Killed By Partisan Politics.
Source: Reason
URL Source: https://reason.com/archives/2018/02 ... arty-is-dead-long-live-liberty
Published: Feb 11, 2018
Author: Matt Kibbe
Post Date: 2018-02-11 21:32:08 by Gatlin
Keywords: None
Views: 68
Comments: 4


It has finally happened: The Tea Party is dead.

The grassroots movement that fought so hard for fiscal sanity in government over the past decade is no more. It was killed off by the very same Washington establishment it sought to overthrow. Its death leaves proponents of limited government with some big questions: What went wrong? And what do we do now?

For me, it's personal. For years, the Tea Party was my life, and I have the the battle scars—and tattoos—to prove it. When I was the President of FreedomWorks, I worked side by side with tens of thousands of citizen activists as a Tea Party organizer, organizing protests and knocking on doors, hoping to topple the Goliath of government. But now the party's over.

I know, you've heard it before. Virtually every Beltway pundit in DC has pronounced the Tea Party dead at one time or another. Republican Senators well past their sell- by dates and Democratic apparatchiks alike have gleefully built a cottage industry on the prediction.

But this time is different. Republicans, now controlling both the legislative and executive branches, jammed through a "CRomnibus" spending bill that strips any last vestiges of spending restraint from the budget process.

Gone are the Tea Party's biggest and most hard-fought policy victory—mandatory caps in domestic and defense spending. The budget deal replaces them with $300 billion in new spending over the next two years, and, in all likelihood, sets a precedent for greater spending in the decade to come.

It's 2009 all over again, with trillion dollar deficits, and red ink as far as the eye—or at least CBO projections—can see. As budget deals go, it's a total fiasco.

The supposed fiscal hawks in the House Freedom Caucus drew a line in the sand on House budget plan that was only slightly less bad. They demanded "full funding for the military and community health centers."

In the Senate, Rand Paul and Mike Lee fought the good fight, but they couldn't even convince Ted Cruz to stand firm. Cruz, the one-time Tea Party darling, "reluctantly" supported the spending measure, making sure to itemize all of the spending increases he helped procure with his fellow Texas senator, John Cornyn, while simultaneously decrying "unfettered spending." Cruz's statement is world class political jujitsu.

Meanwhile, there are plenty of Republicans and Democrats in our nation's capitol celebrating the Tea Party's demise. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the primary architect of this steaming pile of budget prolificacy, has been actively plotting the Tea Party's demise for years.

So what went wrong? Ultimately, I think partisan politics broke the Tea Party.

To understand what I mean, we need to clear away some popular tropes employed by critics to discredit what I still believe to be one of the most important social movements in my lifetime.

The Tea Party was never the product of some top-down design, and it wasn't owned or controlled by anyone. It was organic and leaderless. That's why it was so powerful, fueled by new social technologies that allowed citizens to self organize outside of traditional political parties. Like-minded people, once anonymous and silent, found each other and found their collective voice.

The Tea Party also wasn't partisan. It was held together by a common set of values that united an otherwise disparate group. What did the Tea Party stand for? I would ask everyone I met as I traveled the country. The answer was always some iteration of the same thing: "Individual freedom, fiscal responsibility, constitutionally-limited government, and free markets."

This consistency of purpose made the Tea Party community a potent counter balance to the typical special interest inertia that drives the growth of government. The grassroots backlash against the Obama Administration's "shovel ready" stimulus spending shifted broad public opinion against the package. The same thing happened with Obamacare, which became so unpopular that even deep blue Massachusetts rejected it by electing Republican Scott Brown to fill Ted Kennedy's Senate seat.

If not for some amazingly underhanded and Constitution-bending procedural games played by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, the Tea Party would have succeeded in killing Obamacare. Even still, the fact that the fight over Obamacare consumed the entirety of Obama's domestic agenda for eight years no doubt killed countless bad ideas before they ever saw the light of day.

At some point, people started to notice. The Tea Party's enemies started to look for leaders to negotiate with, to deal with. But there were no leaders—or rather, there were tens of thousands. That was its greatest strength, and its biggest weakness.

I still remember being back stage at the massive 9/12 march on Washington in 2009. Over a million activists had shown up, and as word got out, the politicians started showing up too. They circled like sharks behind the stage, hoping to get at the microphone. We kept them off that day. But ultimately more and more opportunists got onto the Tea Party stage, wanting to "lead" a leaderless movement.

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#1. To: Gatlin (#0) (Edited)

There never was a Tea "party".

And it's only as dead as the American ideological principles that it represents.

That's why Trump is Tea Party in name only - He persistently fails to articulate any of those principles.

VxH  posted on  2018-02-11   22:20:47 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#2. To: VxH (#1)

There never was a Tea "party".

Now that you made me think of it, Patrick Henry Never Went to Tea Parties either.

Every school child knows—or should know—those stirring words of America’s beloved Founding Father, Patrick Henry. It was with that cry on March 23, 1775, in St. John’s Church, Richmond, Va., that Henry roused Americans to fight the injustices of the huge and powerful British government. Unfortunately, today’s Tea Party Patriots defile his words by twisting them into a specious campaign motto: “Give Us Liberty.”

According to self-styled Tea Party leader and former Republican Congressman Dick Armey, “We just want to be free. Free to lead our lives as we please, so long as we do not infringe on the same freedom of others.” Armey’s statement, however, is self- contradictory. Anyone who does as he or she pleases in today’s crowded, conflict- prone, urbanized society, automatically infringes on the freedoms of others. Simply walking a line on a crowded street deprives someone else of the freedom to walk the same line at the same time.

What Tea Party campaigners don’t seem to realize is that Henry was a self-sufficient farmer in the hill country of central Virginia. Like most farmers then, he believed the fruits of the earth were gifts from God—his to keep as a reward for sweat and toil, without sharing his earnings with government tax collectors. But living, as he did, on hundreds of acres in the wilderness, he needed and wanted nothing from government and contributed little or nothing to support it. User fees sustained what little government existed.

Like any good neighbor, however, Henry was always ready to pick up his musket and join his countrymen to fight for the common good, and he supported creation of a small federal authority to organize national defense and regulate international and interstate commerce. But he fought big government all his life and refused to attend the Constitutional Convention that created our huge federal establishment.

“As this government stands, I despise and abhor it,” Henry roared as he tried but failed to prevent ratification of the Constitution.

Although today’s Tea Party Patriots claim to emulate Henry, they do so selectively— and only to further their ambitions. Tea Party candidates from the farm belt oppose government subsidies—except for farmers. Florida’s Tea Party candidates oppose subsidized health care—except Medicare for the state’s retirees. Tea Party candidates in Alaska and other mining states oppose deficit-busting government bailouts and giveaways for every industry but oil, coal, gas, copper, silver, gold, iron, and other mining enterprises. The Tea Party wants to shrink government and cut deficits, but wants American troops to fight in Afghanistan and Iraq, stand guard across Europe and the Far East, conduct covert operations in countries that harbor potential American enemies, and patrol the Mexican border to halt illegal immigration. They want an end to government pork in every state but their own!

It is impossible to fill the needs, let alone fulfill the dreams, of the American people in today’s complex urban society by shrinking government and cutting taxes, and Tea Party candidates defile the words of Patrick Henry and, indeed, lie when they promise to ensure liberty by doing so. It can’t happen and won’t happen—and they know it.

I didn’t write this, Harlow Giles Unger did and published it here. Unger is the author of seven biographies of America’s Founding Fathers. His latest, Lion of Liberty: Patrick Henry and the Call to a New Nation, has just been released by Da Capo Press.

Gatlin  posted on  2018-02-11   22:33:40 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#3. To: Gatlin (#2) (Edited)

The original Tea Party was conspired in the Green Dragon Tavern:

http://www.masonicworld.com/education/files/feb04/green_dragon_tavern.htm

VxH  posted on  2018-02-11   23:16:16 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#4. To: Gatlin, neocon whore (#0)

It's 2009 all over again

President of FreedomWorks

The grassroots backlash against the Obama Administration

TeaParty07.com - Dec 16th Money Bomb - Ron Paul Tea Party

The modern era Tea Party was started in 2007 by Ron Paul supporters, a couple of years before this neocon shill came along with his FreedomWorks shuck 'n jive.

The backlash back in '07 was against George W. Bush. Ron Paul Tea Party 07 was rejected by the bushbots, Thus Obama was elected. Thank the neocon whores.

hondo68  posted on  2018-02-12   0:07:44 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


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