T Nation

Tea Party: Will it Last?

I was going to post this on another thread, but I thought that it needed a separate one, because I hope that it generates important discussion

On another thread, Thunderbolt made this observation:

“…Tea Partiers insist on shelving social issues and putting fiscal issues and limited government as the core of their message…”

This is where things become “dicey” for these “movements”. There is NO QUESTION that fiscal issues have social implications…but there are a myriad of social issues that simply can’t be boiled down to “it’s not my responsibility”; “get a job”; and “build a wall and deport”.

The “Perot Movement” (yep…I drank the Kool-Aide) was a case in point. It had the greatest momentum of any “movement” in modern political history and even led (indirectly) to the election of a President.

However, as soon as the “Perot Movement” began to attempt to come up with a) a viable platform of some sort and b) began to attempt to take a stand on any host of social issues, it fell completely apart. (In addition to Perot finally losing it).

Now…if the “Tea Party” is not “really an organization”…with no real leader or platform and some vague “values” that it follows, that’s well and good…but having no cohesive voice and/or leadership will only take you to the outskirts of the “Promised Land”…and attempting to address the social issues of this large Republic of ours is where these “movements” begin to lose their focus.

Right now they have clear “boogymen” to direct a collective rage (Obama/Reid/Pelosi/Huge Recession/Big Government/etc.)…but that doesn’t last long, as previous movements have shown.

I think that the jury is still out on the Tea Party.

What say 'ye?

Mufasa

I want to point out, that when the town hall meetings were happening months ago, people also said that this was an artificial turf movement which wouldnt last, and here we are with it still going strong. I think that this movement will be rockin’ in full stride come November, maybe even stronger with because they have even more reason to be pissed.

[quote]Benjamin Franklin - Continental Congress, 1778
“Whereas true religion and good morals are the only solid foundations of public liberty and happiness . . . it is hereby earnestly recommended to the several States to take the most effectual measures for the encouragement thereof.” Continental Congress, 1778[/quote]

Unless this nation ever realizes this again no political movement will make a bit of lasting meaningful difference.

Franklin and practically all of the other revolutionary era thinkers from whom ten pages of quotes could be posted essentially echoing the above, must have been frothing religious right wing lunatics.

I think its spirit will, even if it never formalizes into a third party.

Interestingly, the Tea Party is as much a reaction against the GOP as it is the Social Democratic push of the these-aren’t-your-grandfather’s-Democrats Democrats. The GOP, for the last decade was about national security, fiscal liberalism, and social issue litmus tests.

The Tea Party, on the latter two, are the opposite as the GOP - they want to minimize social issues at the national level (to the extent they can), and a return to honest to goodness fiscal conservatism. The GOP continues to scramble to be the party that accommodates this movement.

If the Tea Party decides to centralize more and become a legitimate political party, I think it has a decent chance, largely because its core tenets appeal so much to the middle and the middle class. For all the overheated rhetoric, the Tea Party has plenty of room for centrists. The Tea Party is smart to recognize “big tent”, coalitional politics, and if it stays that way, there will be ripe opportunities, as the Democratic Party becomes increasingly urban, left-oriented, statist and condescending to the very “working class” folks it claims to represent (another thread in and of itself, the Democratic Party’s outright hatred of the rubes it claims to be the champion of) - basically Social Democrats.

The Democratic Party is getting narrower and narrower, the bait-and-switch election in 2008 notwithstanding. Because of litmus test social issues, the GOP has narrowed some too. The Tea Party has a chance.

But, the Tea Party has to get rid of the moonbats - the Birchers, the racists, the anarchists, the wannabe revolutionaries…basically the fringe - because while a “big tent” is necessary to win in national politics, the smart, center-right middle class won’t share space with the crazies, radicals, and airheads.

The Tea Party can only survive if it strangles this fringe element in its cradle. Despite the whining of the Left, the Tea Part isn’t guilty of accommodating the fringe. But if it gets serious as a movement, it will have to define itself also by what it is not, else the entire movement will be sandbagged by its refusal to cut the dead and disgusting weight of fringe idiots.

There’s a similar movement beginning called the Coffee Party (no I’m not making this up) that seems to address some of the social movements that the Tea Party apparently has placed on the back burner. I think the only way either party will move forward and be a permanent viable force in '12 would be if the Tea and Coffee Party’s pragmatic, centrist elements were to combine.

The left and the right have moved farther and farther apart as neither side wants to be seen as having any relation to the other. As a result, it’s the far left and far right that are having a bigger and bigger impact on the policies of the Dems and Repubs. Fiscal conservatives have become more and more disillusioned with the religious right movement within the GOP that essentially forced McCain to nominate a dunce like Palin as his running mate. Without her to placate the far right, the moderate McCain would have alienated the hard-line righties in his own party.

On the left, there seem to be more and more Dems who are appalled at this “bailout” culture and mad spending spree the far left has helped create. As the Dems move farther left, there will continue to be more Congressmen/women abandoning the Party in order to maintain some sort of centrist philosophy.

The only way the Tea Party or the Coffee Party will survive beyond the next couple of years is if they ignore the fringe elements at the far reaches of the political spectrum and begin to represent the center, which means a party that will represent fiscal conservatism AND social liberalism. The two can be had at the same time, but not by a party that will lend credibility to the far left or far right.

What’s going on in this country (and it’s magnified to a certain extent on this forum) is that there are more and more politicians who refuse to accept that the opposing political party can ever be right on various issues. But we all know in our darker moments that conservatives AND liberals are never right on every single issue, but neither side will ever admit the other may be correct sometimes. This leaves the people whose political views are all over the “spectrum” feeling alienated.

For instance, I support some sort of universal healthcare, so people label me a liberal. But I also am opposed to virtually every other fiscal policy of the Obama administration. So now this makes me a conservative in the eyes of many. So who best represents my political beliefs? The moderate Republicans AND the moderate Democrats who can go from one side of the fence to the other from issue to issue. But these sort of politicians are becoming far too rare. To maintain political office, they are increasingly being forced to take sides on that fence and not cross, at the detriment to us all.

I predict they will be around until they get rid of that Socialist and everything goes back to normal :slight_smile: Where we spend more money on wars but still manage to cut taxes , best way i can see to balance a budget:)

Great insights, guys.

Keep it coming!

Mufasa

I especially relate to this, DB:

“…What’s going on in this country (and it’s magnified to a certain extent on this forum) is that there are more and more politicians who refuse to accept that the opposing political party can ever be right on various issues. But we all know in our darker moments that conservatives AND liberals are never right on every single issue, but neither side will ever admit the other may be correct sometimes. This leaves the people whose political views are all over the “spectrum” feeling alienated…”

Mufasa

They just passed this bill, this party is about to grow very fast.

Once those taxes hit America is heading straight into the greatest depression. The tea party is going to go very far.

[quote]Mufasa wrote:
I especially relate to this, DB:

“…What’s going on in this country (and it’s magnified to a certain extent on this forum) is that there are more and more politicians who refuse to accept that the opposing political party can ever be right on various issues. But we all know in our darker moments that conservatives AND liberals are never right on every single issue, but neither side will ever admit the other may be correct sometimes. This leaves the people whose political views are all over the “spectrum” feeling alienated…”

Mufasa
[/quote]

I hate to refer to political beliefs as lying along some linear spectrum, but that seems to be the case here. Draw a line on a piece of paper and mark off the left side as liberal and the right side of the line as conservative. Actually, think of it as a venn diagram, with a blue circle on the left and a red one on the right. In today’s political climate, they don’t overlap at all, and the politicians who place themselves in some rogue circle in the middle that might cross into both circles are labeled as wolves in sheep’s clothing by both sides.

But the reality is that most Americans have beliefs that lie in that “rogue” circle in the middle. But the two old parties increasingly only listen to the “fringe” elements who refuse to let their beliefs leave the blue or red circle.

THIS is the problem with this country. It’s the people as much as the politicians. People who pointed to Bush/Cheney as the epitome of evil or those who continuously refer to every single thing Obama does as “communist” or “socialist” are what’s polarizing the nation right into oblivion. Sure, there are politicians who take advantage of this on both sides, but only because the strictly red/blue circle crowd allows them to.

If the Tea Party gives the racists/wackos in their midst any credibility whatsoever, if they don’t openly condemn these people and distance themselves from them as much as possible, they’ll just end up as another circle in the diagram that doesn’t overlap with any of the other circles. The same goes for the Coffee Party and the fringe elements in their midst, whomever they may be. When I hear someone on this forum say something like “all liberals are this” or “all conservatives are that”, in my mind they simply have zero credibility. The same goes for people who label me as either liberal or conservative based on one or two viewpoints I may have.

In fact, the current political climate reminds me of a venn diagram my sister emailed me the other day…

[quote]John S. wrote:
They just passed this bill, this party is about to grow very fast.

Once those taxes hit America is heading straight into the greatest depression. The tea party isn’t going anywhere.[/quote]
And that would mean what exactly? Throwing an undersized life preserver to a floating face down corpse? The once great United States is being transformed into another despotic communist wasteland… as promised.

[quote]Tiribulus wrote:

[quote]John S. wrote:
They just passed this bill, this party is about to grow very fast.

Once those taxes hit America is heading straight into the greatest depression. The tea party isn’t going anywhere.[/quote]
And that would mean what exactly? Throwing an undersized life preserver to a floating face down corpse? The once great United States is being transformed into another despotic communist wasteland… as promised.[/quote]

Listen, once the Republicans take control again and nothing changes people will look to a third party. We are about to witness Atlas shrug.

I personally would like the Tea Party to keep its primary goal, namely smaller government and fiscal responsibility, and be a watch dog of both Republicans and Democrats when they step out of line. I think the majority of Americans would at least like to see sensible spending out of Washington, and let the Reps/Dems continue to duke it out over other issues (foreign policy, social issues, etc). This way the Tea Party is not a “real” party in the sense of running candidates for office, but a stark reminder that we need to get our checkbook in order, as I think that is the biggest threat to our country.

[quote]DBCooper wrote:
<<< But the two old parties increasingly only listen to the “fringe” elements who refuse to let their beliefs leave the blue or red circle. >>>[/quote]
This is a total post modern rewrite and keenly illustrative of the macro shift of the entire political “spectrum”.

Both circles are on the left and overlap quite a bit. The Dems circle is further left as a whole, but viewing the 2010 Republican party as “right wing” is entirely relative and only possible because it IS now 2010. Todays GOP would have been consistently to the left of the Democrat party of 50 years ago.

[quote]Tiribulus wrote:

[quote]DBCooper wrote:
<<< But the two old parties increasingly only listen to the “fringe” elements who refuse to let their beliefs leave the blue or red circle. >>>[/quote]
This is a total post modern rewrite and keenly illustrative of the macro shift of the entire political “spectrum”.

Both circles are on the left and overlap quite a bit. The Dems circle is further left as a whole, but viewing the 2010 Republican party as “right wing” is entirely relative and only possible because it IS now 2010. Todays GOP would have been consistently to the left of the Democrat party of 50 years ago.[/quote]

Regardless of where the circles/spectrum or whatever the hell we decide to call it lies in relation to 50 years ago, the point is that TODAY the circles arguably don’t overlap. If they do at all, they’re drifting apart from each other faster and faster and it leaves those who would firmly straddle the overlap completely alienated.

[quote]John S. wrote:

[quote]Tiribulus wrote:

[quote]John S. wrote:
They just passed this bill, this party is about to grow very fast.

Once those taxes hit America is heading straight into the greatest depression. The tea party isn’t going anywhere.[/quote]
And that would mean what exactly? Throwing an undersized life preserver to a floating face down corpse? The once great United States is being transformed into another despotic communist wasteland… as promised.[/quote]

Listen, once the Republicans take control again and nothing changes people will look to a third party. We are about to witness Atlas shrug.[/quote]
I appreciate your enthusiasm, but it would take several presidential election cycles with unprecedented sustained and concentrated support at a bare minimum for a third party to make even a minimal dent. By then they’ll have hooked a very large group of pathetic weaklings on yet another massive loot and payoff program removing any possibility of ever ridding ourselves of their chains.

Just like social security, medicare, medicaid, etc. Next come all the new taxes to pay for this which will further kill jobs and the economy which will further fuel the debt.

We haven’t even talked about the takeover of student loans in this bill. Obama will likely appoint at least one more leftist America hating supreme court justice tipping the court and there is no appeal for anything. Face it man. The marxist dream is coming true. They are destroying the United States without firing a shot.

[quote]DBCooper wrote:

[quote]Tiribulus wrote:

[quote]DBCooper wrote:
<<< But the two old parties increasingly only listen to the “fringe” elements who refuse to let their beliefs leave the blue or red circle. >>>[/quote]
This is a total post modern rewrite and keenly illustrative of the macro shift of the entire political “spectrum”.

Both circles are on the left and overlap quite a bit. The Dems circle is further left as a whole, but viewing the 2010 Republican party as “right wing” is entirely relative and only possible because it IS now 2010. Todays GOP would have been consistently to the left of the Democrat party of 50 years ago.[/quote]

Regardless of where the circles/spectrum or whatever the hell we decide to call it lies in relation to 50 years ago, the point is that TODAY the circles arguably don’t overlap. If they do at all, they’re drifting apart from each other faster and faster and it leaves those who would firmly straddle the overlap completely alienated.[/quote]
The point is TODAY, neither party is even close to the trajectory set out at this nation’s founding with the Democrats displaying themselves as rank enemies of that vision. I couldn’t care less how alienated a horde of convictionless intellectually inconsistent so called moderates fancy themselves. Those brain dead weaklings, who tragically decide every election, are the reason we have Nancy Pelosi at this moment citing the founders in support of this destruction of my children’s future.

[quote]Tiribulus wrote:

[quote]DBCooper wrote:

[quote]Tiribulus wrote:

[quote]DBCooper wrote:
<<< But the two old parties increasingly only listen to the “fringe” elements who refuse to let their beliefs leave the blue or red circle. >>>[/quote]
This is a total post modern rewrite and keenly illustrative of the macro shift of the entire political “spectrum”.

Both circles are on the left and overlap quite a bit. The Dems circle is further left as a whole, but viewing the 2010 Republican party as “right wing” is entirely relative and only possible because it IS now 2010. Todays GOP would have been consistently to the left of the Democrat party of 50 years ago.[/quote]

Regardless of where the circles/spectrum or whatever the hell we decide to call it lies in relation to 50 years ago, the point is that TODAY the circles arguably don’t overlap. If they do at all, they’re drifting apart from each other faster and faster and it leaves those who would firmly straddle the overlap completely alienated.[/quote]
The point is TODAY, neither party is even close to the trajectory set out at this nation’s founding with the Democrats displaying themselves as rank enemies of that vision. I couldn’t care less how alienated a horde of convictionless intellectually inconsistent so called moderates fancy themselves. Those brain dead weaklings, who tragically decide every election, are the reason we have Nancy Pelosi at this moment citing the founders in support of this destruction of my children’s future.

[/quote]

Sure, but you know what? It’s completely asinine to point to some trajectory conceived of by people in 1776. I believe in the Constitution and all it stands for, but the way this govt and this country works should be much more organic.

Look around: we don’t do ANYTHING now the same way we did it 230+ years ago, except for the way our govt works. People who point to Thomas Jefferson or Alexander Hamilton as some sort of guiding force for our country today are living in the distant past. There is no way that the Founding Fathers could have ever conceived of a society like the one in which we live today.

I mean, here in Cal. we have two Senators who represent something like 15 million people apiece, but in Rhode Island where the population is roughly the same as Santa Clara County, they get two Senators also.

To point to people in the “middle” as spineless freaks or whatever is ridiculous. The bottom line is that most people reside in that middle ground. Politics isn’t football: it’s okay to pull for things on one side of the aisle and pull for other things on the other side. It’s not like rooting for the 49ers AND the Raiders at the same time.

My loyalty lies with myself and the American people, not some arcane system where words like “liberalism” or “conservatism” are paramount. Those braindead weaklings you refer to are those who continually challenge themselves and their beliefs by refusing to be pigeonholed into a corner by labels like “liberal” or “conservative” and think for themselves, rather than let those labels frame their beliefs for them.

It’s the people at the edges of the spectrum that we can thank for a vicious bitch like Pelosi or a thug like Cheney.

No Tirib, stop with the fear-mongering. Stop using mathematical certainty. I would rather you believe that everything shall be handed to you, all the while being not only free, but will reduce the deficit. They are going to eliminate the waste, fraud, and abuse (something he should have done before he passed this bullshit bill).

You will all be delivered by the Chosen One. He knows what’s best for you.

Trib, if things get to much worse we are going to see a revolt. Add some massive inflation, perhaps hyperinflation into the mix and you got a full on revolt about to happen. Like I said Atlas is getting set to shrug.