Our political leaders haven’t yet risen to the occasion presented by this moment. But here the people rule. Here there are not just official Democratic and Republican parties, but there are informal, bottom-up, popular parties. Such as the Tea Party. Yes, the Tea Party has been about spending and debt, about solvency and prosperity. But at its core, the spirit of the Tea Party has always been a reawakening to the threats today’s big-government liberalism poses to our constitution of liberty. If our leaders can’t quite grasp this, perhaps Tea Party activists can instruct them that the problem with big-government liberalism is not just that it spends our money, or even that it spends more money than we have; it’s that it takes away our freedom.

The Tea Party spirit has subsided a bit in the past year, a victim of its own success in 2010 and of uninspiring Congressional leadership and a problematic presidential field in 2011. Could a once-obscure HHS regulation be the spark that leads to a Tea Party revival in 2012, one that redefines the political landscape and reinvigorates the conservative cause?