As a conservative it is impossible for me to argue against the principles of the Tea Party. Lower taxes, smaller government, reduced government spending and Constitutional absolutism are solid, nay, essential ideals of a republican form of government. I don’t believe any Republican Party politician would disagree either, at least, not out loud. There may even be a few Democrats who will give a hearty “Amen,” though they might do so only under duress, and, even then, not mean it.
Because the Republican Party is the more conservative of the two dominant political communities, and, frankly, because the Democrats are unabashedly liberal, it is within the GOP that Tea Party folk (Teeps) feel the most comfortable. Except, “most comfortable” seems to be something like the comfort Barack Obama might feel at a reunion of the white side of his family.
Teeps are spending more time, effort and money attacking “fellow” Republicans than they are Democrats. It’s been called a battle for the soul of the GOP, but it’s more a tantrum than a battle. What is supremely unfortunate in this rebellion is that the bulk of those who believe in what the Tea Party is supposed to represent are being hoodwinked by a bunch of holier-than-thou Elmer Gantry‘s. The result has been not the salvation of wayward Republicans, but the elevation of the truly damned – Democrats.
It is more than likely that Teep fundamentalism put Barack Obama into a second term as President. With sneers that Mitt Romney “isn’t conservative enough,” or the disturbing rants about him being a Mormon, Teeps either stayed home from the polling place in 2012 or convinced others to. There was a little more than a 1% decline in Republican votes in 2012, but nearly 5% of Democrats bailed out. Barack Obama was weak and defeatable, but because some didn’t like the fringe on Romney’s robe, they decided he was unfit for the job.
Probably because of 2012, certain incontrovertible realities are beginning to take root within the Grass Root. Despite the (over)stated preaching by Tea Party activists, implementation of their gospel is sketchy. Proclaiming to do away with this, repeal that, ban something and closing agencies and departments make for great fire and brimstone, but unless they intend to do what they oppose – rule by the few – they have no chance to accomplish much of anything.
That’s the canon that’s not discussed; Tea Party leaders, if put in office, will not be able to govern. They do not believe in compromise or concession, so working with Congress, even a Republican Congress, will be impossible. Compromise is always a condition of government. The country (or state) will be in a constant flux and little will be done for the population.
But this may all be moot. Only about 22% of Americans relate to the Tea Party and although figures for Party members are not available, it’s clear the GOP has had enough of the zealots. Even the two Teep Patron Saints, Rand Paul and Ted Cruz, are becoming more secular Republicans as they abandon the constraints of the fundamentalist dogma.
Jennifer Rubin, a conservative columnist for the Washington Post wrote, in part;
Say what you will about Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), but they know a train wreck when they see it. They also know when to separate themselves from the cranks and the losers on the right. Although both supported the shutdown and were heartily supported by tea party groups in their own Senate races, neither one has endorsed Matt Bevin in Kentucky, Milton Wolf in Kansas or Chris McDaniel in Mississippi. In fact, Cruz’s office confirms he hasn’t endorsed anyone in the primaries. He may weigh in after the primaries. Rand Paul has endorsed two very establishment Republican candidates, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) and Mike Enzi (Wy.).
… neither one of these guys wants to be associated with, or take responsibility for, any tea party wipeouts if they can possibly avoid it. They have to be seen as serious people if they are going to be considered for president, and they don’t want to associate their brand of conservatism with the kookier incarnations out there in the hinterlands. They may say nice things about the tea party generically, but these guys are really on their own in elections.
… this reinforces our point that within Congress and the GOP as a whole there is more unity than the mainstream media portrays as the tea party devolves into a very fringe group backed by D.C. money-making operations. The latter used to be the tail wagging the dog; now these characters are just howling at the moon. In a political universe in which House Speaker John Boehner is stronger than ever and Rand Paul backs McConnell, the establishment has triumphed. If a year or so ago everyone was a “tea partier” on the GOP side, increasingly I suspect candidates won’t be so anxious to self-identify as such. There will be instead lots of ”constitutional conservatives,” “movement conservatives,” “Reagan conservatives,” and “full spectrum conservatives.” If this continues, the tea party, as many of us saw coming, will fold into the GOP completely, leaving little sign of a distinct movement. That is no surprise.
The tenets of the Tea Party movement have been corrupted by money and “leaders” unwilling to work with people who hold other ideas. Is this “establishment?” Is it “anti-Constitutional?” Is it “toadying?”
It’s common sense. This is government, it’s politics, not religion. There are no absolutes in politics and, guess what? It’s actually OK for someone to have a differing opinion.
Our Tea Party brothers and sisters need to either understand and accept this, or, get out of the Republican Party. An official Tea Party would be a more fitting ecclesiastical venue anyway. It would protect Teeps from being contaminated by the unclean and will free Republicans from the sanctimonious and self-righteous.
Either way, whether Teeps stay within the GOP or form their own party, they should always, always remember; the Zealots were wiped out by the Romans.