Who owns America today? … Perhaps the greatest threat to … the tea party is that they appear to be arguing a case that, for all practical purposes, has already been settled for the majority of Americans. The America of the Founding Fathers roots – a modest, decentralized, and agrarian nation – is gone, or is at least being pushed to the demographic margins, inhabiting the great red swath of the country’s middle. Politically, the America of today is as much a product of Lyndon Johnson and Franklin Delano Roosevelt as James Madison and Thomas Jefferson – of the sprawling government programs of Medicaid and Social Security as much as the Second Amendment and its provision for nongovernment militias. Though he was speaking of … the Civil Rights Act specifically, Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele’s comment Sunday morning on “Fox News Sunday” appears to be broadly relevant to the tea party as a viable political movement: “The philosophy was misplaced in these times,” he said. “The philosophy got in the way of reality.” – Christian Science Monitor
Dominant Social Theme: It’s ovah! The blue states have won. Federal government activism is gloriously ascendant.
Free-Market Analysis: Working closely together, we Bell staffers have developed a most un-libertarian, hive-like mentality. These days, buzzing in our brains are recollections, often, of the compelling Claudius books by Robert Graves. What comes to mind, however, is not so much the pomp and decrepitude that Graves brought to life as the books’ over-riding, semi-tragic perspective that the Republic was gone and could not be brought back.
Indeed, the theme of Roman republicanism-now-lost hangs over these books and in our humble opinion lifts them into the realm of great art. Not only does Graves have an apparently thorough grasp of ancient times, but he is able to bring these times to life and to inhabit them with living, breathing creatures who are often among the most maleficent and fascinating since Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, wrote his great character-driven plays (Hamlet, Othello, Macbeth, etc.).
AP Rand Paul
There wasn’t much suspense, but the reality is no less jarring: Ron Paul’s son, a 47-year-old ophthalmologist with no previous political experience, is the Republican nominee for Senate in Kentucky — and he’s in good position to win the seat in the fall.
For months, Paul enjoyed double-digit polling leads over Trey Grayson, Kentucky’s secretary of state and the handpicked choice of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, his dominance impervious to the GOP establishment’s effort to portray him as a risky general election candidate. Paul also withstood a concerted effort by his father’s neoconservative enemies to delegitimize his candidacy; Rudy Giuliani and Dick Cheney were among those who sided with Grayson.
When the results began streaming in shortly after 7 P.M. on the East Coast, it was clear a Paul landslide was in the offing.
Many will credit Paul’s triumph to the Tea Party movement, which he embraced wholeheartedly. There is something to this; after all, many original Tea Party activists are veterans of Ron Paul’s 2008 presidential campaign. But as it has grown, the Tea Party movement has become virtually indistinguishable from the Republican Party base. This makes Paul’s achievement that much more remarkable: In racking up such an enormous margin, he managed to unite factions of the GOP that don’t frequently see eye-to-eye.
With Paul as the GOP nominee, national Democrats will now talk up the Kentucky race as a chance for a pick-up this fall — especially if the Democratic establishment’s preferred candidate, state Attorney General Jack Conway, wins his primary. (Early returns showed Conway, who had trailed Lt. Gov. Dan Mongiardo for most of the campaign before pulling into a statistical tie in the final week, leading.) The logic is simple: With his libertarian economic views (and family name), Paul will be easy to caricature as a quirky extremist.
That’s the theory, at least. But Paul may be harder than Democrats believe to knock off. For one thing, he’s a far more charismatic and savvy communicator than his father — not quite as easy to caricature as a quack. Moreover, the political playing field in Kentucky in 2010 isn’t exactly level. The state has conservative leanings to begin with. Add in the fact that midterm elections almost always boost the out-of-power party; the fact that Barack Obama has never really caught on in the state; and the fact that his popularity in Kentucky has been further ravaged by the economy — suddenly, a Paul victory in November hardly seems improbable.
Certainly not as improbable as his victory tonight seemed a year ago.
by sherry mann
“This tea party movement can be a healthy thing if they are making us justify every dollar of taxes we raise and every dollar of money we’ve spent, but when you get mad, sometimes you end up producing the exact opposite result of what you say you are for.”
Bill Clinton on the anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing.
Can that really be true? Let’s look at a few examples:
War on Drugs
The “War on Drugs” was a term was first used by President Richard Nixon in 1969. Since then, the initiative has had countless laws, initiatives and policies have gone into effect which were supposed to discourage the production, distribution, and consumption of everything from pot to heroine. According to Wikipedia:
- In 1970, the Nixon administration implemented the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970.
- In 1973, the Drug Enforcement Agency was created to replace the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs.
- In 1988 Ronald Reagan created the Office of National Drug Control Policy for central coordination of drug-related legislative, security, diplomatic, research and health policy throughout the government. The director of ONDCP is commonly known as the Drug Czar. The position was raised to cabinet-level status by Bill Clinton in 1993.
Obviously, the drug war saves lives by reducing murders.
by Joe Wolverton, II
hat tip: The New American
On a cold night in December 1773, some three years after passage of the Tea Act by the British Parliament, colonists were fed up with the British crown’s haughty disregard of their rights as Englishmen, and they dumped 342 chests of the iconic British beverage into Boston Harbor, becoming icons themselves. The protesters (estimates range from as few as 30 to as many as 130) refused finally to be placated by repeated promises of change and reform and, rather than wait for legislative response, they exercised the Lockean right of “self-defense” and boldly resisted the alienation of their God-given liberty.
Modern Americans know something of that level of frustration. It’s been just over a year since Barack Obama was elected President of the United States and the Democratic Party assumed majority control of both houses of Congress. In that short time, there has emerged a vociferous band within the electorate who, like their tea-tossing forebears, feel they have been precluded from participating in the direction the ship of state will sail, and they have decided to protest the insupportable behavior of a government that habitually oversteps its constitutional boundaries. Fed up and fired up, they have chosen to exercise their constitutional prerogative of peaceful assembly, hence the Tea Party Movement.
“If you are in the hip pocket of any political party, prepare to be sat on.” ~ Gary North
Political victory in the United States is best defined as follows:
Getting your political agenda enacted into law, enforced by the Executive branch, and upheld by the courts.
A definition of political victory that ignores any of these criteria is part of a shell game: getting people elected for their careers’ sake, not your agenda.
To achieve this three-part victory, you must be part of a voting bloc that has the power to impose sanctions: positive and negative.
Establishment politicians understand this. They respect it. They have learned to exploit it. They tell their constituents: “You can win through me if you supply the votes to enable me to win (positive sanction) at the expense of my opponent (negative sanction).” This is the politics of the shell game, what I call the Punch and Judy show.
The correct definition of the power to impose political sanctions is this:
Sufficient votes to deliberately keep your party’s candidate from winning in November if he waffles, and sufficient votes to elect his replacement two years later.
There is a corollary:
The willingness to run a post-nomination independent candidate against an incumbent member of your party if he has waffled during his most recent term in office.
Any voting bloc that has this ability will not be in any party’s hip pocket.
Conclusion: a fundamental strategy for political success is to get the rival wing of your party into the party’s hip pocket.
In modern American history, we saw this strategy applied by the Eastern Republican Establishment’s refusal to support Goldwater in 1964. They ran Governor Scranton as a last-ditch effort to keep Goldwater from getting the nomination. When that failed, they literally walked out of the convention.
Johnson won in 1964. He did not run in 1968. Nixon defeated Humphrey, and the Republican Establishment took over the White House in 1969. They were willing to go down to defeat in 1964 in order to ruin the Goldwater wing of the party. They were wise to do this.
By Adam de Angeli
Hat tip: Campaign for Liberty
An enormous body of new activists and groups with the moniker “Tea Party” have mobilized since the Obama administration took power. While the “tea party” meme originated from the $6 million money bomb phenomenon of Ron Paul’s grassroots, the “Tea Party movement” is a beast of its own. It was popularized by Fox News coverage, and—surprise!—is now largely infiltrated by GOP-affiliated groups.
If the victories in 2010 are for the GOP alone, the movement will have lost. One need only look to the origin of the problem: big-government Republicans drove the grassroots into apathy. Conservatives couldn’t get excited for the once-pro-choice governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney, who signed a state-level version of ObamaCare into law, or the gun-grabbing John McCain. They stayed home. They didn’t vote, they didn’t mobilize, and they handed the election over to Obama and the Democrats.
That would be a tragedy, except the Republicans needed to learn a lesson.
If a GOP sweep in 2010 means a new breed of John McCains, Mitt Romneys, and Lindsey Grahams in office, we will be back where we started. We will be worse off, not better. Congress will still be over-run with statists spending us into oblivion, but, just as in 2005, there will be no serious opposition from the Right. There will be nowhere to go, but to wait for the Democrats to return to power. And the cycle will go on. And on, and on, until there is no money left to spend.
This is why the Tea Party movement cannot, must not, be herded into the “any Republican over any Democrat” mentality.
Hat tip: Liberty Maven
March 4, 2010
The wave of “Tea Party” activism and renewed interest in the Constitution in the wake of the 2008 elections has mostly been fueled by a rightfully-deserved fear of the tyranny and reckless disregard for the rule of law that the current administration has displayed. Attend a local Tea Party event and you’ll likely encounter healthy, much-needed discussions on the 10th Amendment rights of the state, the protection of the inherent rights of the individual via the 1st and 2nd Amendments, the unconstitutionality of wasteful federal programs, and even once-fringe talking points such as repealing the 17th Amendment.
Quite often, however, the Constitution is lost on many when the topic of discussion turns to foreign policy and the so-called “War on Terror.” At a recent GOP primary debate that I attended (sponsored by the local Tea Party), several candidates were asked about national security, the role of America’s foreign policy, and what to do about the rising threat of Iran. Despite drooling over their love of the Constitution for the rest of the evening, the candidates didn’t mention the founding document once in their responses to these issues. One of the candidates, in fact, could be quoted as saying “If Israel bombed Iran, I’d slap them on the back and buy them a drink.” Several other candidates pledged their allegiance to defending Israel at all costs. Another candidate responded that the goal of American foreign policy should be to “help nations” and to “pressure nations that do not comply.” All of these statements drew more cheers than boos from the crowd.
From whence springs this disconnect between so-called “constitutionalists” and their eagerness to abandon all mention of the Constitution as it relates to our world empire? Since the GOP establishment takeover of the national Tea Party – seems funny that the rugged individualism that the Tea Party movement represents would even have a national organization, doesn’t it? – it seems that most of the Tea Parties have devolved into throngs of Republican dissenters who only take issue when “the other guy” is the one shredding the Constitution, while using the Amendments, clauses, and Founders’ quotes that support their agenda.
Richard Mack is interviewed regarding the Tea Party movement. He responds with a call to return to constitutional values, all but forgotten by our federal government.