As the TEA Party transitions from political movement to political party, it must develop a coherent party platform that embodies its conservatism in practical goals that can be communicated to voters as a stark choice from the status quo offered by the Progressive Democrats and their establishment GOP acolytes.
The TEA Party was launched in 2009 in response to a spontaneous outburst by CNBC business editor Rick Santelli from the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange in which he lambasted the Obama administration’s Homeowners Affordability and Stability Plan as promoting bad behavior by bailing out those who knowingly took out high risk mortgages. Santelli expressed the frustration conservatives felt at watching the government being used by the Obama administration to reward political cronyism under the guise of the housing mortgage crisis that previous elected officials had helped create through promotion of their agendas. Santelli’s call for a Chicago Tea Party to protest this situation and the bad legislation arising from it led to creation of the TEA Party movement as conservatives around the country seized on the idea of pouring their frustrations at President Obama’s progressive liberalism into demonstrable protest.
From the start, the TEA Party movement has crystallized around the idea of small, limited government returned to its constitutional roots. TEA Party conservatives have always been appalled at America’s massive government debt which stood at some $9 trillion back in 2009 when Barack Obama took office as president and has ballooned to some $17 trillion today. In only five years, President Obama has almost doubled the national debt with unchecked spending on every hard left progressive initiative imaginable! We have watched President Obama deliberately mishandle the economy through implementation of failed Keynesian economic policies to obstruct any sign of economic recovery from the 2008 recession. The only thing keeping massive inflation in check right now is the high unemployment resulting from this economic strangulation in which most Americans lack the means to purchase much more than the basic necessities.
As the TEA Party movement has grown in popularity and matured as a political force, its natural alignment with the supposedly conservative Republican Party has become strained to the breaking point as the GOP revealed itself to be more in line with the progressive Democrats than with its conservative branding. TEA Party efforts which resulted in the GOP retaking the House of Representatives in 2010 were rewarded by indifference from the party leadership as our concerns were ignored. Conservative warnings to the party leadership in 2012 against rigging the primaries to favor their handpicked moderate candidate Mitt Romney went unheeded as Romney went on to a disastrous defeat at the hands of a sitting president with the worst economic record in American history.
Furthermore, the establishment GOP leadership, taking a page from President Obama, sought to pin their failures in the 2012 election cycle onto the TEA Party. Senate Republican candidates Todd Akin in Missouri and Richard Mourdock in Indiana lost their respective Senate elections against vulnerable Democrats by making gaffes on the abortion issue attempting to answer gotcha questions they both should have known to avoid. Neither was a political novice, but both had received support from various TEA Party groups.
Todd Akin was a six-term Representative looking to defeat Clair McCaskill who had associated herself too closely to President Obama for the comfort of Missourians when his gaffe on a gotcha abortion question was trumpeted loudly by the progressive media propagandists during the closing days of the election to paint him as some sort of goofy extremist unfit for office. Akin captured the GOP nomination by defeating a crowded field as the establishment GOP leadership’s preferred candidate to face McCaskill. Akin was a seasoned candidate whom the establishment felt could easily defeat the vulnerable and weakened McCaskill.
Richard Mourdock was the Indiana State Treasurer when he defeated six-term establishment Republican Senator Richard Lugar in the primaries largely by highlighting the fact that Lugar hadn’t even owned a house in Indiana for decades and was completely out of touch with Indiana voters having moved to Washington, DC long ago. Mourdock, no political neophyte, also succumbed to an abortion gotcha gaffe highlighted by the media to his disadvantage during the election’s closing days. Stunned by the defeat of Lugar, their handpicked candidate, the establishment GOP leadership refused to support Mourdock and left him twisting in the wind after his defensible comments on abortion were taken out of context and used against him.
The 2014 election cycle began with a declaration from the establishment GOP leadership that they were preparing to explicitly defeat TEA Party conservatives in the primaries with Karl Rove directing their effort funded by the big business Chamber of Commerce as part of their war on the TEA Party. No clearer sign could be posted to indicate that the establishment GOP leadership was complicit with the progressive Democrats than to wage war on its conservative base by declaring TEA Party candidates as “unelectable” despite TEA Party wins in Senators Mike Lee of Utah and Ted Cruz of Texas. Florida Senator Marco Rubio was also elected with massive TEA Party support before revealing himself as part of the establishment with his support of the immigration amnesty sought by the progressive Democrats for votes and the establishment Republicans as a favor for their big business supporters seeking cheap imported labor.
The establishment GOP leadership was all too happy to have TEA Party support to help Rubio defeat GOP turncoat and political opportunist Charlie Crist, and capture these other seats under the Republican banner, but they were none too happy to see their handpicked candidates defeated in the primaries even though these weakened candidates stood a good chance of losing anyway. All the TEA Party candidates had done was expose the vulnerabilities Democrats were waiting to exploit in the general election, but the establishment GOP leadership was too intent on its navel gazing to understand this.
Now that the TEA Party has drawn the wrath of both political parties in this election cycle, it is time to get on with the business of forming an actual party that offers voters a clear choice from the portion of the political spectrum currently occupied by the progressive Democrats and their establishment Republican acolytes. The TEA Party stands for the conservative view of limited government adhering to the Constitution, but what does that mean in practical terms voters can understand? A platform espousing the conservatism of the TEA Party must be developed and communicated to voters in clear terms that differentiate TEA Party candidates from their Big Government Party opposition.
One very clear platform plank should be the elimination of the unconstitutional NSA spying on Americans. The slow leak of new revelations contradicting administration admissions and spin on the NSA spying program have greatly alarmed Americans who though they enjoyed constitutional protection from government invasions of privacy. Americans across the political spectrum, from the liberal ACLU to the conservative Cato Institute, are incensed at the breadth of the NSA spying program and its ability to record and track all of our cell phone calls. This is a massive invasion of American privacy now revealed to be used for political purposes by the partisan Obama administration which is already embroiled in a scandal of using the IRS to target conservative groups and the suspicious timing of the Justice Department’s prosecution of conservative filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza for his criticism of the Obama administration in the film 2016: Obama’s America. The Obama administration’s use of the unlimited power of government to target political opposition is a clear violation of the Constitution troubling to a wide swath of Americans and the TEA Party should point out how it has arisen by the growth of government power placed into the hands of those hostile to the American idea.
The American economy is gasping for air under the oppression of progressive regulation in the form of Dodd-Frank and Sarbanes-Oxley, along with numerous other regulations and the implementation of failed Keynesian economic policies. The TEA Party should resolve to immediately eliminate the failed Keynesianism that protects big business corporatism at the expense of small business. First to go should be the disastrous Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. ObamaCare, which is attempting to nationalize the entire private health insurance market so the progressives can further extend government dependence into the middle class. A program of sensible deregulation should be articulated to Americans with explanations of how this deregulation will benefit small business and allow job creation, contrasted with explanations of how progressive regulation has destroyed entrepreneurship and job creation.
Along with deregulation should be a clear plan for real reduction in government spending and an end to the massive printing of money by the Federal Reserve that devalues our currency. The elimination of unnecessary federal agencies and duplicate programs should be a clear priority with clear explanations of how these agencies harm Americans through their power to issue rules binding as law. The TEA Party should resolve to return to Congress its power to create legislation by removing from these federal agencies under the Executive Branch their power to issue binding rules and regulations with the power of law and transform them into advisory agencies which study problems and offer recommendations to Congress. Clear explanations of how an agency like the EPA can issue rules which hamper the energy industry and drive up energy costs with no clear benefit to Americans should accompany this platform plank.
We should resolve to get control of our election system by requiring voter identification at all polling stations throughout the country. The fundamental American right to choose our leaders has been undermined with progressive efforts to steal elections through voter fraud and control of the electoral process. Shadowy progressive figure George Soros launched the Secretaries of State project after George Bush’s narrow 2000 victory, which hinged upon control of the Florida electoral process, to elect progressive secretaries of state sympathetic to the progressive cause and able to sway close elections through their control of state election processes. The TEA Party should emphasize fairness of the electoral process to ensure the vote of each American counts and to ensure the integrity of the election process.
Another platform plank should address America’s decline on the world stage at the hands of the Obama administration’s progressive rubbish that America should be no better than any other country. America stands for freedom and democracy, both noble ideas worth pursuing to guarantee American security and the protection of American interests around the world. This is what makes America greater than other nations in the world and why oppressed peoples look to America for hope in their struggles against totalitarianism. America’s foreign policy needs a drastic overhaul and the jettisoning of the progressive poison currently infecting it. The TEA Party needs to articulate unwavering support of our allies and a clear resolve to eliminate totalitarian oppression wherever it exists.
The transition from political movement to political party requires a great deal of effort to distill the noble ideas of personal freedom, conservatism, and American exceptionalism into practical policies with clear explanations understandable to voters. The opportunity is there as the two parties wallow in the same place on the political spectrum to the frustration of voters seeking a real choice. Americans have become much savvier about the political situation in this country and are aware that the biased media is not giving them the entire story as it slants information to favor its progressive sympathies. They see the establishment GOP leadership abandoning conservatism to war on its conservative base and tacitly support the destructive progressive agenda. Americans see the failure of the progressive movement in the disastrous attempt to nationalize the health insurance market through ObamaCare. Americans also realize that this country is in deep trouble and can ill afford wasting more time struggling with the status quo mentality of the present two parties. This is an historic opportunity to transition a powerful political movement into a viable political party for the sake of saving the American idea and preserving our country.