According to Wikipedia, the Tea Party movement began in:
“2009 through a series of locally and nationally-coordinated protests. The protests were partially in response to several Federal laws: the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, and a series of health care reform bills.”
It is a grass roots movement that wants to bring the United States back to the founding principles of the US Constitution. However, it has been mired by controversy. Many people see it as a movement that is controlled by middle aged – high income – white – males. In my opinion this is not true. To me, it is a movement by the people in direct response to the out-of-control government spending that began with TARP in 2008. It is a movement to bring the Republican Party back to the core principles that were prevalent during the Administration of Ronald Reagan: small government, reliance on the individual; and lower taxes (supply side economics). It is a movement in the same way that the Republican Party was a movement when it started in 1856 (approximately).
It is not a racist movement as many have claimed. However, there have been incidents where followers of the Tea Party have been accused of such. One such incident which comes to mind involved a group of Black Congressmen who were allegedly attacked with racial slurs while on their way into Congress on the day of the health care reform vote. Many reported that they were called by the “n” word. However, there has been no physical evidence that this ever occurred.
Some will also argue the Tea Party is racist because they want to seal the border with Mexico. With unemployment at almost 10% and as annouced today as high as 14.4% in Nevada, is that necessarily a bad thing? They also are against amnesty for illegals. The Democrats and Far Lefties are claiming this is racist as well. But, doesn’t the Republican Party on the whole feel that way too. Isn’t it true that the Democrats only want to grant amnesty to build a potentially strong voting block in a few key states such as Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada and California.
There have been other incidents at Tea Party events that were definitely racist. I will not deny that. A simple search of the Internet will give them to you. But, that is not what the Tea Party is about. It just reminds me of the old saying, “Don’t let a few bad apples spoil the bunch.” Every movement will have its extremists. The Democrats have their Far Left “Progressives.” Muslims have their jihadists. A few radicals in the Tea Party should not cause the whole movement to suffer.
And, suffer, it hasn’t! At this point in time, it appears to be one of the dominant forces in the Republican Party. It has already caused the downfall of two sitting Senators. One in Alaska and one in Utah. It has brought to prominence Rand Paul in Kentucky and Christine O’Donnell in Delaware. And, some of these surprise winners in the primaries will win in November. However, many will lose because the perception is that the Tea Party is too far to the right to be in the mainstream of the country. And, again some of them are. For instance, Rand Paul (who is ahead in the polls) is basically a Libertarian. Christine O’Donnell (who is far behind in the polls) is as well. Unfortunately, she has also been branded stupid similarly to what happened to Sarah Palin.
But, isn’t this what people said about Ronald Reagan as well? Isn’t this what the main stream media said about Newt Gingrich when his “Contract with America” was published in September, 1994? Both times, the pundits were proved wrong. Reagan went on to get elected twice and is thought of as the greatest president of our lifetime. Gingrich took control of the House and went on to lead the government into the only period of balanced budgets for as long as anyone can remember.
So, maybe a shift to the right is necessary. Maybe the mainstream Republican party and the moderate Democrats are not what the country needs right now. Ryan Hecker’s Tea Party “Contract with America” which was published on April 12, 2010 contains the following clauses as reported by Wikipedia:
- Identify constitutionality of every new law: Require each bill to identify the specific provision of the Constitution that gives Congress the power to do what the bill does.
- Reject emissions trading: Stop the “cap and trade” administrative approach used to control carbon dioxide emissions by providing economic incentives for achieving reductions in the emissions of carbon dioxide.
- Demand a balanced federal budget: Begin the Constitutional amendment process to require a balanced budget with a two-thirds majority needed for any tax modification.
- Simplify the tax system: Adopt a simple and fair single-rate tax system by scrapping the internal revenue code and replacing it with one that is no longer than 4,543 words – the length of the original Constitution.
- Audit federal government agencies for constitutionality: Create a Blue Ribbon taskforce that engages in an audit of federal agencies and programs, assessing their Constitutionality, and identifying duplication, waste, ineffectiveness, and agencies and programs better left for the states or local authorities.
- Limit annual growth in federal spending: Impose a statutory cap limiting the annual growth in total federal spending to the sum of the inflation rate plus the percentage of population growth.
- Repeal the health care legislation passed on March 23, 2010: Defund, repeal and replace the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
- Pass an ‘All-of-the-Above’ Energy Policy: Authorize the exploration of additional energy reserves to reduce American dependence on foreign energy sources and reduce regulatory barriers to all other forms of energy creation.
- Reduce Earmarks: Place a moratorium on all earmarks until the budget is balanced, and then require a 2/3 majority to pass any earmark.
- Reduce Taxes: Permanently repeal all recent tax increases, and extend current temporary reductions in income tax, capital gains tax and estate taxes, currently scheduled to end in 2011.
Is there any Republican that disagrees with these ten points? I think not.
Copyright 2010 by Frank T. DeMartini. Permission to copy will be granted freely upon request.