The Tea Party Imperative

posted at 11:37 am on May 20, 2010 by Doctor Zero

Rand Paul’s decisive victory in the Kentucky GOP primary is widely viewed as a demonstration of Tea Party power.  Democrat spin doctors have already wheeled Paul into surgery, laughing and high-fiving each other as radioactive chunks of extremism turn up in his biopsies.  He might be sitting on a healthy lead against his Democrat opponent now, but they’re hoping he’ll rot away from extremism tumors by November.  Since Jack Murtha’s chosen successor prevailed in Pennsylvania, the prognosis for anti-establishment, anti-incumbency fever might not be so bad after all!

The hopes of the Democrat Party are based on a misunderstanding of what drives the Tea Party movement, including the large number of independent voters who share their sympathies without identifying themselves as members.  No one understands the Tea Party less than Michael Kinsley, whose entire body of work can be boiled down to the assurance that titanic central government is inevitable, and all resistance is either childish or evil.  In an essay masterfully fisked by InstaPunk, Kinsley dismisses the Tea Party movement as a gang of clueless malcontents:

A Harris poll released the last day of March reported that a third of all adults support the Tea Party, and slightly less than a quarter oppose it. Do they know what they are supporting, or opposing? The movement is not yet united on a single platform or agenda, like Newt Gingrich’s 1994 Contract With America, which started as a triumph and ended as an embarrassment. The lack of specifics allows anyone who is just existentially fed up (and who isn’t, on some days?) to feel right at home. No one will demand to know what he or she is fed up with.

Kinsley would doubtless croon with delight over the difficulty opponents of Big Government encounter, once they move past a general dislike of uncontrolled deficit spending and begin discussing cuts to specific programs.  “The government spends too much money, and raising taxes is not the answer… but don’t you dare touch my [insert favored program here.]”  The hungry weed of the State has roots sunk into every American heart, and wallet.  Game, set, and match.  Now grow up, sit quietly, and watch the numbers on the deficit spin.

He’s wrong about the lack of focus in the Tea Party.  So are the Democrats trying to find a glimmer of hope in the results of the Pennsylvania special election.  There is something that unites us, more powerful and enduring than a vague fear of defaulting on the national debt, or seeing a bigger chunk of our paychecks disappear into the black hole of Washington.

The American people tired of being lied to. We’re tired of being defrauded.  We’ve had it with fabulously expensive programs that do nothing but enhance the power of those who administer them.  We reject the tired excuse that government only fails when it’s not big enough.  We know the romance of the State is a lie.  The evidence of its failure is piling up around us, at a rapidly accelerating pace.

It’s not just a matter of high taxes and choking regulation.  That’s part of it, of course, but Kinsley’s caricature of the Tea Party as a mob of grouchy old men complaining about their tax returns is far from the truth – as anyone who actually attends Tea Party gatherings could tell you.  Those gatherings are full of young people protesting their indentured servitude to the appetites of today’s politicians, and the future collapse of a ridiculously unsustainable system.

Americans are a generous people, unwilling to tolerate the poor dying of hunger or disease in the streets.  The acolytes of Big Government insult both our intelligence and character, when they insist trillion-dollar deficits are the only alternative to despair.  The energy roaring beneath the surface of the Tea Party movement springs from the growing realization that expensive government never works.  The entire concept is a fraud.  It doesn’t matter who tries it, or how noble their intentions are.  The entrenched political elite would be much better off if their fantasies of surly voters driven by personal animosity toward President Obama, Harry Reid, and Nancy Pelosi were true.  This movement is powerful precisely because it’s not shallow.

No one welcomes the understanding that a system they have lived under their entire lives, built over the course of a century, is fatally flawed and headed for collapse.  This knowledge is a heavy burden.  The Tea Party is determined, not spiteful.  It’s about renewal, not doom… demanding better from the political and media elite, not lashing out with blind fury as the light fades from America’s eyes.

This is the Tea Party imperative: No more politicians voting for legislation they haven’t written, or denouncing state laws they haven’t read.  No more billion-dollar environmentalist con jobs.  No more programs that can never be repealed.  No more fraudulent candidates.  No more illusory “moderate Democrats” representing a party that abandoned every plausible claim of “moderation” when it rammed the health-care monstrosity down our throats.  No more “moderate Republicans” cutting deals with a system only a few years away from crashing down on all our heads.

Arlen Specter got over 480,000 votes last night.  Pennsylvania’s District 12 elected the successor of a crook they made Senator-for-Life.  The power of incumbency is not to be underestimated.  In November, with the future of this country hanging in the balance, we will discover its limits.

Cross-posted at www.doczero.org.

This post was promoted from GreenRoom to HotAir.com.
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Comments

In November we make the major changes or this country as we have known it, is all over.

jsunrise on May 20, 2010 at 11:44 AM

Great Post Doc. Very good read.

Brat4life on May 20, 2010 at 11:44 AM

We’re tired of being defrauded. We’ve had it with fabulously expensive programs that do nothing but enhance the power of those who administer them. We reject the tired excuse that government only fails when it’s not big enough. We know the romance of the State is a lie. The evidence of its failure is piling up around us, at a rapidly accelerating pace.

Salient sentiment.

Fletch54 on May 20, 2010 at 11:47 AM

Kinsley and the “liberal democrat establishment/Washington elitist” would love nothing more than to pin down the Tea Party movement with a concrete label or position. They have, (so far), been unable to define the grass roots group as an affiliation to any one demographic, age group, or ethnic population that they can attack by design. Lord knows the lamestream media has taken their best shots to vilify the Tea Party as angry white conservatives, yet provide no factual evidence—hence the frustration from dinosaurs like Kinsley, Eugene Robinson, Frank Rich, and the rest of the ilk, clinging to the last bastion of liberal collectivism and their “government knows best” attitude.

In their feeble minds, the peons in the Tea Party movement simply can’t think, (or govern), for themselves without the crutch of the liberals power-structure guiding them to enlightenment. The “foot soldiers” have a new set of shoes….and they’re saying, “Don’t Tread on Me”.

(re-posted from the Greenroom)

Rovin on May 20, 2010 at 11:48 AM

Well said as usual. The Tea Party is harnessing America’s traditional worries over government intrusion. The fuel for their engine is the proof that those worries are well-founded.

Pundits might take note of the current list of top nonfiction on Amazon. Half of the books on the list are about the Founders, and the Constitution. Beck is a bigger mover of books than Oprah. There’s a yearning for knowledge about the original plan for our nation. And the more folks read the words of the Founders, the worse today’s leaders look.

hawksruleva on May 20, 2010 at 11:50 AM

Rand Paul’s reasoning seems almost robotic at times. He makes me nervous.

RBMN on May 20, 2010 at 11:51 AM

No more programs that can never be repealed.

For the record, there are no programs that can never be repealed, no matter what anyone says. In fact, repeal of programs and entire government departments should be our goal.

Vashta.Nerada on May 20, 2010 at 11:58 AM

For the record, there are no programs that can never be repealed, no matter what anyone says. In fact, repeal of programs and entire government departments should be our goal.

Vashta.Nerada on May 20, 2010 at 11:58 AM

I agree!!!

NJ Red on May 20, 2010 at 12:05 PM

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/michaeltomasky/2010/may/20/us-politics-tea-party-movement-ran-paul-civil-rights

Rand Paul = Bigot who would deny blacks seat at lunch counter

NOw an International story

jp on May 20, 2010 at 12:05 PM

The American people tired of being lied to. We’re tired of being defrauded. We’ve had it with fabulously expensive programs that do nothing but enhance the power of those who administer them. We reject the tired excuse that government only fails when it’s not big enough. We know the romance of the State is a lie. The evidence of its failure is piling up around us, at a rapidly accelerating pace.

Awww yep … That about sums it up. Especially the lied to part —- about things like government rationed health care, before the ink on the promises are even dry — Government can’t even follow their own plan when it comes to oil spills, like buying and stocking fire-booms for immediate deployment, regulate the border or do other things which should be simple. Especially when it comes to things like sealing the border and all the promises of actually doing something, when a simple fencing plan would at least do something to control it ….

tarpon on May 20, 2010 at 12:05 PM

There is a tide in the affairs of men.
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
On such a full sea are we now afloat,
And we must take the current when it serves,
Or lose our ventures.

horatio on May 20, 2010 at 12:06 PM

Your right Doc, most of this country is mad at these self-protecting politico’s. And we must run the Bilderberg’s plan off the track now. They fear a public revolt? I think we’re starting to see one.

SWChance on May 20, 2010 at 12:08 PM

Two corrections Doc:

1) That should be “Congressman” for Life, not Senator

2) You said: “Since Jack Murtha’s chosen successor prevailed in Pennsylvania, the prognosis for anti-establishment, anti-incumbency fever might not be so bad after all!”

I think that should be “not so good”

Jon0815 on May 20, 2010 at 12:09 PM

Excellent.

Bugler on May 20, 2010 at 12:10 PM

What a shock! The libs cry RACISM!!! Freaking pathetic. We have the most racist president in our history, and Rand Paul is a racist? Oh but Obama’s blatant racism is the acceptable kind. Got it.

Sugar Land on May 20, 2010 at 12:12 PM

We’ve had it with fabulously expensive programs that do nothing but enhance the power of those who administer them.

Would be a lot more powerful argument if advocates, activists, or candidates habitually even mentioned the unmentionable names of the programs that take up the lion’s share of federal spending, and committed to cut them as much as necessary in order to bring the budget and unfunded obligations into balance by whatever date – or specified the taxes that will be raised if the unmentionables are to remain sacrosanct. Might also be nice to know how we’re supposed to be able to tell when the “system” is no longer in danger of “collapse”?

Anything else is just the rightwing version of leftwing free-lunchism and countercultural apocalypticism. 40 years ago, lots of people also used to love to complain about the “system,” though it was never wholly clear what they were talking about, or whether all of them were talking about the same thing.

As for the politicians, they don’t need to “lie” to us if they can get by without having to discuss the truth – if we have already lied by omission for them.

For example, I couldn’t find any mention of entitlements on Rand Paul’s web site – except for the Veteran’s benefits, which he pledges to expand. Nor do they appear in the “Contract from America.” If he’s willing to cut defense radically, as some suspect, he’s all about hiding the fact. So, there you are, the new Tea Party hope unwilling to speak about the biggest budgetary pieces of BIG GOVERNMENT – with one exception, where he talks about expanding it.

Oops – one other exception: I believe Rand Paul stands for higher payments to doctors under Medicare. So add more spending.

Someone convince me that this adds up somewhere other than in fantasy.

CK MacLeod on May 20, 2010 at 12:12 PM

November will be interesting, we get to see if America is willing to fight back or finally accept this new royal class as permanent.

After the collapse, when drifters and vagrants show up at my compound hoping to bum a chunk of bread, I will quiz them on who they voted for and react accordingly.

Bishop on May 20, 2010 at 12:15 PM

The romance is over

reminds me of Walter bagehots writing on the English constitution

government relies on the “dignified” parts (pomp and circumstanc and high brow oratory) of government to accrue support for the “efficient” parts of government

people are no longer interested in the dignified part

blatantblue on May 20, 2010 at 12:19 PM

CK MacLeod on May 20, 2010 at 12:12 PM

I generally agree with your comment. Paul Ryan seems to have broken with political expedience, going out on a rather courageous limb.

To bring this outfit back into line, many of us are going to have to sacrifice. We can’t carp about the debt burden we leave to our kids and grandkids without stepping up. I have no expectation of ever collecting…or asking to collect…Social Security, for instance.

Ragspierre on May 20, 2010 at 12:24 PM

The American people tired of being lied to.

this bears repeating…..

The American people tired of being lied to.
The American people tired of being lied to.
The American people tired of being lied to.
The American people tired of being lied to.
The American people tired of being LIED TO.

ted c on May 20, 2010 at 12:26 PM

the romance is over and the beating is going to begin

ted c on May 20, 2010 at 12:27 PM

People like Rand Paul talk all this theoretical nonsense and get a following because they are not one of the grown-ups in charge. Like Rush Limbaugh and all the other ideological talkers their theoretical nonsense could never be put into practice.

Decider on May 20, 2010 at 12:41 PM

Pennsylvania’s District 12 elected the successor of a crook they made Senator Representative-for-Life.

FIFY.
It was Specter who thought/hoped to be Senator-for-Life.

Amendment X on May 20, 2010 at 12:46 PM

Rand Paul’s reasoning seems almost robotic at times. He makes me nervous.

RBMN on May 20, 2010 at 11:51 AM

I agree. I heard him on O’Reilly and was not impressed. I think being opposed to abortion even when the life of the mother is threatened is pretty extreme.

Rand Paul = Bigot who would deny blacks seat at lunch counter
jp on May 20, 2010 at 12:05 PM

I read about this earlier, and it is a bunch of hype. He is no bigot in my opinion.

bopbottle on May 20, 2010 at 12:48 PM

Rand Paul = Bigot who would deny blacks seat at lunch counter
jp on May 20, 2010 at 12:05 PM

jp = Sucker who believes leftist race-card-propaganda.

Dark-Star on May 20, 2010 at 12:51 PM

The American people tired of being lied to.

We’re tired of being defrauded. We’ve had it with fabulously expensive programs that do nothing but enhance the power of those who administer them. We reject the tired excuse that government only fails when it’s not big enough. We know the romance of the State is a lie. The evidence of its failure is piling up around us, at a rapidly accelerating pace.

Wow! Sounds like the Vietnam war – pretty much all the traits and characteristics there anyway. No bodies yet, but then ObamasteinCare hasn’t crypt-kicked in yet. But then as Marx said, “History repeats itself, first as tragedy, then as farce.

MB4 on May 20, 2010 at 12:53 PM

Your right Doc, most of this country is mad…
SWChance on May 20, 2010 at 12:08 PM

No, sorry SW, they’re not. It’s the people who are paying or are going to pay (financially) for those programs. Those who receive the benefits (power, prestige, payments. et al), for the moment until the host bleeds out (see Greece for our future) are/were the ones who put these people in power over the decades, not just in the last few election cycles.
We are now just starting to reap the bitter fruit from an indoctrination program called “public education” and the war of the classes that was set up by FDR and the expanded front of that war by LBJ.

Amendment X on May 20, 2010 at 12:54 PM

Rand Paul = Bigot who would deny blacks seat at lunch counter
jp on May 20, 2010 at 12:05 PM

jp = Lynch mob mentality.

MB4 on May 20, 2010 at 12:55 PM

It’s binds the Tea Party movement is simple… it’s always been about sovereignty starting and ending with the sovereign individual. The dolts in the MSM, DC, academia, and the useful idiots will never grasp such a simple concept which binds those in the Tea Party movement, who do not need no stinking contract when the contracts were written 230 years ago.

The social contracts have long been broken in DC and throughout the state capitals. If the Tea Party decided to not go to work and stay home to spend time with the family and neighbors taking care of neighbors making sacrifices, the rights and power of the individual would quickly return.

Watching_Cloward-Piven on May 20, 2010 at 12:57 PM

I unfortunately have to agree with those is say it’s not true that most of the country is mad. As with Iraq and Afghanistan, most of the country is out shopping.

MB4 on May 20, 2010 at 12:59 PM

The American people tired of being lied to. We’re tired of being defrauded.  We’ve had it with fabulously expensive programs that do nothing but enhance the power of those who administer them.  We reject the tired excuse that government only fails when it’s not big enough.  We know the romance of the State is a lie.  The evidence of its failure is piling up around us, at a rapidly accelerating pace.

Someone needs to start placing these words up on a Billboard someplace.

Chip on May 20, 2010 at 1:05 PM

Might also be nice to know how we’re supposed to be able to tell when the “system” is no longer in danger of “collapse”?

CK MacLeod on May 20, 2010 at 12:12 PM

Like most “bubbles” we will know it is no longer in danger of “collapse” after it has “collapsed”.

MB4 on May 20, 2010 at 1:06 PM

As with Iraq and Afghanistan, most of the country is out shopping.

MB4 on May 20, 2010 at 12:59 PM

+1.

It’s one thing to come to terms with the fact that nasty things are done in one’s ‘defense’.

It’s quite another to deliberately say “whatever, dude” and turn your back upon two bloody occupations, because of a pathetic attention span and/or it’s no longer politically convenient to do so! (our news media is very guilty of the latter)

Dark-Star on May 20, 2010 at 1:07 PM

Anybody want to give Rand Paul the bad news that Kentucky takes $1.5 tax dollars for every $1 they supply? Smaller government? Yea, then Kentucky declares bankruptcy.

http://www.visualeconomics.com/united-states-federal-tax-dollars/

Decider on May 20, 2010 at 1:15 PM

If candidates cannot stand up for shutting down parts of the government that are spending us into oblivion, then we will be spent into oblivion and then there will be NO programs and NO viable government left. That is not a fantasy, and the more I hear about those showing that government ‘help’ is well liked, popular and fiscally sound is nuts: the third is impossible as we can now see and without that it doesn’t matter how damned popular or well liked it is as it will go being unsound.

We may have gotten lazy and come to depend upon such ‘entitlements’ that spend us into the poor house. Then we all wind up in the poor house and have no ‘entitlements’ and those crying against ending them are seen as the ones living in a fantasy. This means that we will, shockingly, suffer a major economic catastrophe, lose all the ‘entitlements’, see the economy collapse, and a general repulsion of the forces that caused this which are not ‘Main Street’ or ‘Wall Street’ but come very close to ‘K Street’ and Pennsylvania Avenue. That does not bode well for any supporting those last two streets and saying all is well and good with the economy ‘helped’ by the federal government.

Unfortunately the poor will always be with us and after putting trillions of dollars over decades into ‘helping’ the poor, we have not ended poverty in America but raised the living standard to the point where being ‘poor’ here is better than being ‘rich’ in China, India, Greece, Argentina, Russia… and if we could dedicate the money spent to ‘helping’ the poor to REMAIN in the hands of those who EARN IT we would have an even better economy, prosperity and a more equitable system without federal regulators putting their thumbs on the scales. As it is the ‘poor’ are losing incentives to be non-poor and contributing members of society and just look to the next big federal hand-out of freebies, like for homes they can’t afford that are not going to go up in price until this system is removed in its current state of being. The American working class has demonstrated more ability to invest as a WHOLE to assure their retirements than the federal government can ‘guarantee’ via a ponzi scheme. That is no ‘fantasy’ and we had best drop the archaic notion that Americans can’t figure out daily finances without help and contributions from the federal government.

What we see is a cry for an equitable system that is fairly administered regardless of race, class or social position, so that there are no ‘entitlements’ and no quotas based on race and no kickbacks to politicians from their cronies at the federal trough and ending systems that try to do the economically impossible. If that is a ‘fantasy’ then the reality of our current course is not towards sweetness and light, and begins to look a lot like Mad Max. If facing up to the stark consequences of that and recommending we change our course to a better way of doing things is a ‘fantasy’ then sign me up in a shot as its a better ‘fantasy’ than the one we are currently in that will not and cannot work any longer. Stop complaining about the tough paths out and how unachievable they are… that may be a steep cliff to get up, but the water below us is now at our ankles and you can either recommend trying to go up, or drown. Going up may be a ‘fantasy’. Staying where we are has a dreadful certainty to it that does not end well for anyone involved.

ajacksonian on May 20, 2010 at 1:16 PM

Stock market down sharply in response to Doctor Zero’s post. Erick Holder suspects that Doctor Zero bought large number of stock shorts before posting. He has not read Doctor Zero’s post yet but has heard about it is thinking about legal action against Doctor Zero.

MB4 on May 20, 2010 at 1:23 PM

Excellent post as usual DZ.

We are now just starting to reap the bitter fruit from an indoctrination program called “public education” and the war of the classes that was set up by FDR and the expanded front of that war by LBJ.

Amendment X on May 20, 2010 at 12:54 PM

I would add to these important points that an unintended consequence of the deferments given to college students that went into education during the Viet Nam War, added a large number of left leaning, anti military teachers to a union that would itself tilt left.
Because of this we have ended up with public indoctrination, and a couple of generations of students that weren’t taught critical thinking, but instead a PC enforced groupthink that has embraced leftist ideas.
The Tea Party is critical not just in selecting the Right candidates, but in integrating and educating younger Americans in the founders intent.

ontherocks on May 20, 2010 at 1:56 PM

Holder has not read Doctor Zero’s post yet but has heard about it saw it laying on a table, and is thinking about legal action against Doctor Zero.

FIFY

Ragspierre on May 20, 2010 at 2:00 PM

No one understands the Tea Party less than Michael Kinsley, whose entire body of work can be boiled down to the assurance that titanic central government is inevitable, and all resistance is either childish or evil.

The Borg never understood the human race either.

percysunshine on May 20, 2010 at 2:01 PM

So…

Decider, should all Americans vote according to the standard of “What can we get from the FEDs?”

Where will that “thinking” get us?

Ooooppps, we know that (see California, Michigan, New York, etc.)

Ragspierre on May 20, 2010 at 2:03 PM

Kinsley is an Atlantic-sized fool…

http://hindenblog1.blogspot.com/2010/05/burn-michael-kinsley-atlantic-scale.html

Ragspierre on May 20, 2010 at 2:04 PM

Sadly, I’d say the Tea Party is officially dead as a serious movement. Their first victory is a kook like Rand Paul who constantly appears with 9/11 truther nuts like Alex Jones?

Amazingly, the Tea Party backed this guy, no doubt knowing his association with the truthers and the other kooks. But, for some reason they didn’t seem to be bothered by any of it?

Amazingly stupid. The Tea Party will never be taken seriously after this.

TheBlueSite on May 20, 2010 at 2:50 PM

Sadly, I’d say the Tea Party is officially dead as a serious movement. Their first victory is a kook like Rand Paul who constantly appears with 9/11 truther nuts like Alex Jones?

Amazingly, the Tea Party backed this guy, no doubt knowing his association with the truthers and the other kooks. But, for some reason they didn’t seem to be bothered by any of it?

Amazingly stupid. The Tea Party will never be taken seriously after this.

TheBlueSite on May 20, 2010 at 2:50 PM

Paul jumps out to a 25-point lead in KY Senate race
Share12
posted at 1:36 pm on May 20, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

If you say so.

ontherocks on May 20, 2010 at 3:18 PM

im not saying he cant get elected. he probably will. but the guy is a certified kook. if the tea partys only victory so far is a kook…well, it doesnt speak well of the tea party. why did the tea party support him to begin with? greyson wasnt kooky enough for them?

no one is going to take a movement seriously if the only victories are electing a kook and getting behind palin who doesnt even enjoy the best ratings among conservatives and is despised by most liberals and moderates.

TheBlueSite on May 20, 2010 at 3:37 PM

Sadly, I’d say the Tea Party is officially dead as a serious movement.

TheBlueSite on May 20, 2010 at 2:50 PM

I’d say that you are officially dead as a serious commenter.

Ask not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee.
– Hemingway

MB4 on May 20, 2010 at 7:10 PM

for some reason, everyone wants to pretend rand paul isn’t out of his gourd. somehow this is GOOD for the tea party. once again, twilight zone.

TheBlueSite on May 20, 2010 at 9:47 PM

isnt this the best way for the media to tag the tea partiers as racist? their first victory is a kooky look who doesn’t think the civil rights act is constitutional?!

TheBlueSite on May 20, 2010 at 10:14 PM