The Tea Party group is a modern day Paul Revere, starting last year crying out to the nation, “Big Government is Coming, Higher Taxes are Coming” The pundits last year shook their heads in frustration, and furrowed their brows. They harrumphed that President Obama had just passed a tax break going to 90% or so of the country.
(How you do that when only about 48% pay taxes?)
But the Tea Party members were looking at the spending and logically pointing out that it was only a matter of time until the bills would come due. And taxes would be phased to pay for the orgy of government and entitlement growth. Now, every pundit I have heard has said this year will be the lowest tax bill we will see in decades. The government itself has said that the spending is “unsustainable”. What does that mean? We cannot continue to spend money we don’t have to buy things we don’t need. Difficult concept.
So where did the Tea Party go wrong in their conservative views?
The anger and frustration the Tea Party members are feeling comes both from trying to get their elected representatives to listen to them (many for the first time in their lives) and the paucity of choices they are facing to replace those representatives they feel did not listen.
The Republican Party has been unable to capitalize on the feelings of Tea Party members because their own hands are not clean. On the domestic front, a President McCain would have only been marginally better than President Obama. He would have embraced many of the same spending programs President Obama has. He would have done less, and went down the road more slowly, but he would have surely went in the same direction.
So in many important ways the Republicans are not much better than the Democrats.
Look at Mitt Romney. He saddled his stae with an Obama care type healthcare plan. It is far more expensive than the state can afford, and they have the highest interest rates of all the states. He has always been able to be conservative enough or liberal enough to win the next election. In short, he is everything a CINO (Conservative In Name Only) would be aspire to be. He is a straight out of central casting, with not an ounce of sincerety at his command. How could he possibly be taken seriously as a candidate for President with conservative views?
So where DOES someone with conservative views have left to go in the voting booth?
Here are some ideas that I believe will make a difference:
1. Register and vote in the Republican Party Primary. They are not pure, but they at least start from a better place than the Democrats.
2. The primary is the key. Tea Party members can make their conservative views heard and supported far better in a primary, where voter turnout is lower.
3. Defeat CINO’s (Conservatives in name only) wherever you find them, regardless of promises of better actions in the future. A politician that does not act out of core conservative principles MUST be defeated, regardless of incumbency and probably BECAUSE of it.
4. Support conservative candidates with time and money if you have both, but support them however you can, as tirelessly as you can. It’s important!
5. Judge the incumbents by their records, and not their promises for the future. I know I just said that in line 3, but it bears repeating. We cannot fall for glib promises of better behavior in the future. We need to make believers out of both the incumbents we defeat, as well as the new blood we elect.
6. Stay vigilant. We need to be 100% READY to vote out in 2012, anyone we install in 2010 if they don’t keep their word. It’s important to fire the folks who don’t keep their word!
7. Support term limits. I do not see a better way to limit the damage incumbents have done to this country.
As I went about my daily routine this week, I tried to be especially sensitive to folks looking to the government for help. It was amazing how many times I heard folks talking about how the government could, or should, or must, do for people what they should do for themselves. The proud tradition of standing on our own two feet is vanishing from the American culture. Listen for yourself next week and think about what you hear. In my heart of hearts, I believe we have already lost the commonsense conservative values that have made this country great. We have mortgaged our country for a feel good batch of spending that at the end of the day, will handicap ourselves, our children and grandchildren, our country. And most damningly, we have allowed our culture to become infested with an attitude that says the government is here to provide for us.
Can we turn it around?
I KNOW that we CAN, but will we actually muster the will to act and the discipline to keep acting until our goals are met?
This commonsense conservative is hopeful, but not optimistic. Will we all be willing to do our share?
I hope so!