Tea Party on Government Reform
When I introduced my bill to get votes on the record, it was immediately and instinctively embraced by the Tea Party. As they got the word out, Democrats began to call me and ask to have their names put on the bill. Then Republicans did as well. The bill took on a life of its own. People across the state were calling their legislators to see if they supported the bill. I had legislators coming up to me in a panic saying, "Make sure my name is on the bill!" I fought alongside the Tea Party to get votes on the record.
Last year's ceiling debate in which so many critics said the Tea Party was now "running" Washington--well, that was only the beginning. It should be a surprise to no one that Washington remains stubbornly resistant to change. Despite much crowing about the "extremism" of Republican freshmen, conservatives haven't changed anything yet. But we are getting started.
At best, our current policies are merely slowing down our fast-approaching default. We are borrowing $40,000 per second. Entitlements and interest will consume the entire budget within a decade. The debt ceiling deal set spending caps that increase every year. My understanding of "cutting" spending is that you would spend less next year than you spent this year. Yet the debt ceiling caps still rise each year, revealing the lie that spending will be cut.
Constitutional reverence is not just in cyberspace. The US founding documents are woven into the warp and woof of Tea Party routines. Pocket-sized versions of the Constitution appear on merchandise tables at Tea Party meetings. "Constitution talk" bubbles through discussions in Tea Party gatherings. "Smaller government, the Constitution, and personal responsibility" are the Tea Party's core principles.
Tea Party skepticism about experts is part and parcel of their direct approach to democracy, their belief in citizen activism. To guard against possible bamboozlement, Tea Party members arm themselves for confrontations with their Representatives by reading particular bills themselves. For Tea Party activists, any hint that a legislator or expert has not personally read every line of a bill is a damning indictment.
thousands of patriotic Americans have taken to the streets in protest--invoking the historic Boston Tea Party in the process. They are running for office and swarming the voting booths, sending shock waves from MA to HI. Their anger is directed against the establishment--that lumbering mass of old-guard politicians who do not understand that there is a quiet revolution taking place. And the shock waves are being felt on both sides of the political aisle.
Why do we care about $29 billion in earmarks when our national deficit this year will be around $1.5 trillion? Because earmarks corrupt the process and divert attention from the real task of governing and oversight.
A modest 1-year moratorium on earmarks, proposed in 2008, was defeated 29-71. However, due to pressure from the Tea Party movement and an extremely frustrated American public, the idea of a moratorium remains alive, and at least the House GOP voted as a conference in Mar. 2010 to adopt a moratorium. What legislators should do is adopt a moratorium on pork until the budget is actually balanced, but don't hold your breath. In fact, the GOP failed to mention earmarks in its "agenda" document released in the fall of 2010
Perhaps what challenges the movement's many critics is the fact that Tea Party does not buy into the traditional Left vs. Right debate. It is better framed as "big vs. small." It is a fundamental debate about the size and scope of government. Triggered by bailouts of irresponsible behavior on Wall Street, the Tea Party movement is first and foremost about fiscal responsibility--something that the political establishment across the Left-Right spectrum has failed to deliver. Trillion-dollar deficits and stimulus packages that only stimulate more deficit spending do not pass the commonsense test of kitchen-table economics.
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Natural Law Party
George W. Bush(R,2001-2009)
George Bush Sr.(R,1989-1993)
John F. Kennedy(D,1961-1963)
American Civil Liberties Union