Thursday, February 2, 2012

Does the TEA Party Have the Courage of its Convictions?

“…what’s good for the nation, individual liberty, personal freedom and everybody free to do their own thing”. Now, that sounds just super to me, a personal mantra almost. Where does it come from? Well you can here it at the 1:57 mark of this video:

There is Dick Armey, supposed godfather of the Tea Party talking about the philosophical underpinnings of the movement. Armey is singing his little song here after being slammed by the anchor for his rank hypocrisy. Earlier in the video we see Armey prattle on about how there is no “limited government” candidate to support in the Republican nomination. She then asks the most obvious question in the history of Journalism, which is “what about Ron Paul?” We then get to see Armey dance around the issue in his normal politician style, for that is all he has ever been, a politician. He is no more a believer in a cause than any of these clowns. He starts with his little nonsensical prepared remark, is called on it because it is such a stupid, stupid thing to say, and then continues on with his silly little dance. This is my issue with the Tea Party, if such an entity actually exists, where does your loyalty lie, is it with your principles or your so-called leadership?

Individual liberty, personal freedom and everybody free to do their own thing. Those are great words, founding principle of the Republic, and really what the Tea Party is supposed to be about, from my understanding. You have seen the insurgent nature of the movement with the candidates they supported over “establishment” types in 2010, and the resulting debt ceiling fight which unfortunately tarnished their image. But what we have seen this election cycle is the Tea Party aimlessly turning from one “Not Mitt” candidate to the other, and it is mystifying. In what way, shape or form do Michelle Bachman, Rick Perry, Herman Cain, Rick Santorum or Newt Gingrich represent the ideas in the lead in sentence? Cut taxes, disband the EPA, platitude, platitude, something, something. After that you have to honestly admit that at least three of these people are theocrats who would for some reason impose school prayer and a mandatory love of Christmas by all citizens across the land. The rest of them are no better in terms of “everybody doing their own thing”. All of them have no interest in you doing your own thing if you are an atheist, gay, Mexican, a marijuana user etc, etc. Through the entire process you have had a candidate in Ron Paul who supposedly meets the ideals of this group, this notion of individual liberty, and where has Dick Armey and FreedomWorks been? In this video he says that the movement is essentially decentralized and diffused, everyone marching to their own drummer. Yet if all roads lead to the same place (which is what he means when he says there is no small government conservative in the race) except for one, how is it all of these Tea Party, small government, individual liberty lovers have not arrived, organically, at the same place, which is supporting Paul in this process? If they liked everything except his foreign policy, why didn’t they support Gary Johnson at the beginning? If, according to Armey there is no one to support in the Republican nominating process, why don’t they throw their support behind Johnson or another outside candidate now? If it is the foreign policy or the crazy notion that you should be left alone in your intoxicant of choice that keeps them from supporting Paul or Johnson, what about all of the other ideas you have to compromise to support Santorum or Gingrich? Are Tea Partiers actual limited government conservatives, or are they Burkeans who want to make sure the gays are stuffed back in the closet and the Predator drones are properly deployed to shoot Mexicans trying to cross the border?

What is the end goal here? If Armey is willing to bloviate on about how there isn’t a good option to support, then what is his purpose? To find the lesser of all evils to support, and then try and get the most personal freedom he possibly can? To demand a seat at the table, in order to steer policy towards everybody being free to do their own thing? He says that they are not concerned about “power” as the dirty old, establishment politicians are, then why not stand by your principles and support the candidate that most reflects your values, win or lose? Paul may not have a chance of winning the nomination, but if gaining and maintaining power are not the object here why not throw all your support behind him, providing maybe a 60/40 or better split between the establishment and the Tea Party, and effectively lobby to change the platform, with real influence. If there is no home for freedom and liberty within the Republican party, why play in that sandbox at all? If the object is not to enrich Dick Armey and FreedomWorks, then why are they not standing front and center behind any of the Libertarian Party candidates, a party that is only concerned with “individual liberty, personal freedom and everybody free to do their own thing”? If freedom is the concern and not the label, then the Tea Party and its substantial base of support could be uniting with Libertarians, the libertarian minded and independents of all stripes to try and throw a wrench in this system.

I have never believed any of these “Tea Party” organizations and their leadership, many former establishment type Republicans, have any notion of not supporting the Republican party, no matter the nominee, and whatever statist drivel comes out of their platform. For those really concerned about changing the system, they need to start considering who they are supporting and why. Is it a seat at the table? Will that ever result in any real change? Can you change either of these parties by slowly nipping away at the edges? Very doubtful. What people really need to start realizing is that the merry-go-round will never actually get anywhere, no matter what color you paint the horses. If principles are what is important, then start living by them.

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