A number of their rising stars from two years ago lost their re-election bids in November…. Republican House Majority leader John Boehner has seemed to stop catering to them (and crying for them)… Senator Jim DeMint is quitting…. No one pays much attention to the uttering of Sarah Palin anymore…
Liberals rejoice. The Tea Party movement, at least in the halls of Congress, is dying.
I was on board with the Tea Party, for about two minutes anyway. The base instinct of the movement was, and remains, relevant – our Federal government is spending and wasting way too much of our tax dollars. I abandoned them as soon as it became clear that, what ever it was that sparked the populist uprising, the Republican party had co-opted the movement. It lost all credibility with me. Instead of focusing on Government spending, it quickly focus on the spending supposedly being perpetrated by the current President, Barrack Obama. Here is a chart that was circulation a few weeks ago to show how horrible the current president is:
Yes, the federal outlays did jump at the beginning of 2009 when Mr. Obama was sworn into office. Some of that was due to TARP and the stimulus, but does anybody think that if John McCain would have won in November of 2008 instead of Obama, that, given the hell that was the near depression the economy was falling into, McCain would have done anything different? And when you look at the chart showing the outlays before being adjusted for inflation, you see the Obama Presidency’s rate of spending increase is THE SAME as his predecessor!
No, I’m not going into Obama “Blame Bush” mode. Though it is true that the former Republican President grew government by about a trillion dollars, I chastised the current President for overplaying that card. It was almost as if his contribution to the spending increases never existed. But the same behavior is true with the Tea Party; it was almost as if the spending under Bush never happened. Where was the call to undo any of the things that were put in place by G W? Medicare – D? The unnecessary Department of Homeland Security? (a few changes in the intel sharing rules would have been just fine thank you) The failure that is “No Child Left Behind”? And don’t get me started on the cost of the unwinnable Global War On Terror, which is 4 trllion dollars and rising, and for which much of the tab is off the books.
The Tea Party was completely silent on those Bush spending enterprises, which, of course, made the whole thing a dishonest enterprise. That might not have been the case had it not got absorbed by the Rush / Hannity / Levin led wing of the GOP, who’s main mantra for the last two years has been “Compromise Is Evil / Moderates Are Evil!”. But it did. And now we are seeing the consequences. Blind ideology is no substitute for smart politics. And smart politics are going to need to be practiced in order to even start to get us out of this mes that has been caused by BOTH parties.
I might be premature to say this and assign failure to the Tea Party movement, but i don’t think so. To anyone standing on the outside looking in, I think it’s pretty obvious the movement, such as it is, has run out of steam.
But why did the movement fail?
In my opinion, it’s the same reason why a CEO would fail as a President, and why you can never run a democratic / republican government as a business. In both those cases, a CEO and by that regard, a business, has total control over the direction of the company – the direction is set from the top down, something like a dictatorship. That doesn’t mean that the head honcho SHOULD act as a dictator, but the decision making process starts at the top and works its way down. This isn’t true of our government. Even though they sometimes seem weak, and the President sometimes seems to have so much power, the core of decision making power in our government still lies with the congress. Unless your party not only has a majority in both houses AND has the Presidency AND has a specific ideological unity that is very rare, there will still need to be compromise in order to get things done. Generally, only shocking events such as the 9/11 attacks or JFK’s assassination ever got Congress to act… Well… In congress! Even Lincolns Republicans were not all on board with his proposed plans to end slavery. The Tea Party never got this. They always viewed things monolithically, with a business plan overlayed on a government chart. It’s like trying to put a large square peg into a small round whole. It was destined to fail.
Compromise is not a dirty word. A government such as ours can’t operate without it. The Tea Party died because it looked at that word as if it were a four letter one. This, to me, is odd. They claim to be the true historians concerning the Constitution, yet there was always this huge blind spot – the Constitution of the United States is a document born of great compromise. Compromise led to the bicameral Congress, to its adoption and ratification by several of the southern Colonies, and even to the eventual inclusion of the Bill Of Rights.