Beltway media shoe-gazer EJ Dionne is pushing an incoherent (and unintentionally humorous) theory that the Tea Party movement has joined Osama bin Laden as a casualty under the Obama administration.
Most political analysts will confirm not only was Mr. Dionne wrong, but that 2010 was the year the Tea Party movement brought about the biggest political shift in America in 62 years. Mr. Dionne failed to notice the single biggest political shift in his lifetime, just like he’s failing to notice the tremendous effect the Tea Party movement is having across America in the 2012 elections.
Mr. Dionne and some of his colleagues in the media have missed the point that the Tea Party movement is about something bigger than winning the next election; it is about winning the hearts and minds of like-minded Americans who know this country is headed in the wrong direction. Four years of an Administration that has taken us to a $16 trillion dollar deficit and more--borrowing from China--and a federal government oblivious to an economic disaster ahead has awakened hundreds of thousands of Americans to act.
There have been political wins, too. The Tea Party movement trumped beltway opinion and beat back the Wisconsin recall election--this year--and the Tea Party fundamentally transformed the debate around Obamacare to the point where more Americans agree with the Tea Party position on Obamacare than with President Obama and his loyal court stenographers.
The Tea Party movement has only existed for three years. Three years in which the Tea Party movement has weathered massive and sustained attacks from the left, from the media, and from the White House--and yet we’re still here, and growing in numbers.
Unnoticed by Beltway media pundits, the Tea Party is active at every level of the political process. Our 3500 local coordinators report of interest at every level of process from city council to U.S. Senate, where we’ve seen people like Ted Cruz overcome the odds and the political machine to win at the ballot box.
History tells us that political movements don’t take over a country overnight, but from what we know about the mood of the country (Mr. Dionne might want to get outside of the Beltway) the fundamental principles of our organization, Tea Party Patriots, and others are gaining support from Americans.
On Obamacare alone, the majority of the American people are with the Tea Party. The majority of Americans reject the assault on free markets that is Obamacare, and believe in their hearts that freedom is better than more government control.
How do the presidential candidates stack up? Mitt Romney calls America’s free market system “one of the greatest forces for progress in human history,” while President Obama assaults and demonizes free markets with his policies and his rhetoric, saying America’s free market system “doesn’t work” and “has never worked.” Sure, he pays lip service to the “genius of America is the free enterprise system,” but his actions--throughout his entire presidency--speak louder than his “election-time” words. And the fact that he even feels the need to pay lip service to America’s free markets (while assaulting them with his deeds) shows the power of the Tea Party to shape and shift the national debate.
Sadly, we have failed to change the President’s behavior. President Obama has overspent more than a trillion dollars each year of his presidency, and added $5 trillion to America’s debt--a national debt that is now a record-high $16 trillion, which is bigger than the entire US economy.
As for Mitt Romney, the Tea Party is not responsible for his fiscally responsible stance and policies, but we did have an effect on his rhetorical shift from numbers-crunching technocrat to “philosopher-in-chief” on fiscal responsibility. Instead of boring people with numbers and stats, lately he seems to be speaking the language of the Tea Party, saying the deficit is “not just an economic issue. I think it's a moral issue. I think it's, frankly, not moral for my generation to keep spending massively more than we take in, knowing those burdens are going to be passed on to the next generation. And they're going to be paying the interest and the principle all their lives. And the amount of debt we're adding, at a trillion a year, is simply not moral.”
Tea Partiers have elevated the question of the proper role of government to the forefront of America’s national debate--to the point where, during America’s first national presidential debate, both candidates were asked about the proper “role of government.”
Mitt Romney turned around and pointed to the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence on the backdrop, and said; “The role of government is to promote and protect the principles of those documents.” He then launched into a full-throated championing of “life and liberty,” and said that Americans are “endowed by our Creator with our rights.” But he didn’t stop there. He said: “we also believe in maintaining for individuals the right to pursue their dreams, and not to have the government substitute itself for the rights of free individuals. And what we're seeing right now is, in my view, a--a trickle-down government approach which has government thinking it can do a better job than free people pursuing their dreams.”
Sounds like he’s singing from the Tea Party songbook.
President Obama does not sing from the Tea Party songbook--not during the debates, and not during his presidency. He began his presidency by saying that “only government” can fix our economy, and then he went on to test his big-government theory at the expense of American families. He said to entrepreneurs “you didn’t build that” without the help of big-government, and when he was asked at the first presidential debate about his view on the role of government, President Obama launched into a long, leftist list of all the great things big government can do; from security to railroads to land grants, science, colleges, high school and job training. He finished it all off by saying that big-government “doesn't restrict people's freedom; that enhances it.” George Orwell, creator of “newspeak” in the classic book 1984, is either smiling or spinning in his grave.
So, if the Tea Party is dead, then why are both presidential candidates debating our issues--issues that are shaping the national debate in America’s 2012 campaign?
Despite Dionne’s dire (and erroneous) predictions, nothing has changed since 2010. The Tea Party is still alive and well and shaping the national debate and still having a huge impact on a national election.