I'm afraid the new Tea Party movement is a hybrid comprised of
- the powerful force of frustrated Americans who are tired of politics as usual in Washington
- political opportunists, neo-conservatives & career politicians who see these frustrated Americans as a free ticket to political power.
First let me say, I am one of those fed up Americans. I have followed the real roots of the Tea party since it began to gain traction a couple of years ago to its current state. I have seen the principles on which it is founded begin to resonate with the people as many as ten years ago. I want the Tea Party to be a legitimate representation of this, and to exemplify the incredible grass roots movement I have seen break out across the country since some time in 2007. Unfortunately, the only real tea party candidates who truly represent these ideals are not getting the exposure they need to win their races, or are having a tough time sealing the victory, unlike these new "tea party" candidates like Christine O'Donnell in Delaware and Joe Miller in Alaska. I am afraid these candidates are a compromise given to the people by the powers that be in order to calm the rough seas the GOP find themselves in. I'm afraid they may be designed to help the people feel as though they finally have a say in their government only to give them some of what they want while continuing the endless printing of money and distraction of tireless war. These are the principles neo-conservatives hold closest to their hearts.
Who Started the REAL Tea Party?
The Tea Party we see today is a hijacked version of the true Tea Party. To distinguish the two, I will refer to the movement of the real grassroots (the movement I myself identify with) as the Liberty Movement, and the current more mainstream movement as the Tea Party.
For a long time now, the Liberty movement has been festering like a south Atlantic low pressure system in hurricane season. George W. Bush was elected on a platform for non interventionism and no nation building in 2000. Cutting taxes, getting the government out of our hair, these were all things Bush campaigned on. Unfortunately, as we know, he did not follow through on these things (nation building wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, massive stimulus spending, erosion of civil liberties through the patriot act). We got more of the same. Politicians telling us what they knew we wanted to hear:
The Liberty Movement began to take real form during the race for President in 2008 with the grassroots following that swelled up underneath Texas congressman Ron Paul. The grass roots tidal wave was so strong that his supporters (not his official campaign) organized mass donations in large collectives called money bombs. On Dec 16th 2007 Ron Paul's campaign received an astounding $6 million and change ENTIRELY FROM THE GRASS ROOTS. To this day it is the largest single day haul from any campaign. They also rented a blimp that flew up and down the East coast, something that also had never been done in a presidential campaign, and something that was not organized by the campaign itself but by the grass roots supporters alone. This of course is impressive, but the incredible part is that this was done without the large donations from special interest groups and big corporations that the mainstream media's favorite candidates were receiving at the time. Possibly even more incredible is the fact that this was orchestrated at a time when Dr. Paul's campaign was entirely drowned out by a complete media blackout. In fact, even though Paul:
- defeated some front-runners in early primaries
- crushed every presidential internet poll
- earned record breaking support from individuals across the country (even though it was reported as just over 4 million in 24 hours instead of 6 million total)
- won numerous text polls hosted by the national media (which they publicly marginalized)
- and was by far the favorite of major information hubs like Youtube, Digg, and other community based websites
he was minimized by the media at every pass and received a fraction of a percentage of the media coverage given to their favorite candidates, and was not invited to some of the most important Republican primary debates like the one hosted by Fox News in New Hampshire in 2008
Naturally, his supporters became furious and vowed to continue fighting for the sake of the liberty message. When the time came for Paul to back out of the race he realized a movement had begun, and that he should stay involved and continue to stoke the fire that his campaign had started in America. He created the Campaign for Liberty, a political action committee designed to help his grass roots supporters to continue their mission of pushing for Limited government, less taxes, less spending, sound money, less regulation and government intervention in the affairs of Americans, strong national defense without engaging in entangling alliances and unending undeclared wars, and strict protection of our civil liberties granted by the constitution. These are the principles Paul has stood for since he was first elected to congress in 1978. These are the principles at the foundation of the Liberty movement, and they are also the principles adopted in part by the Tea Party in an effort to lure an existing grass roots movement into the fold of a few players seeking to advance their own political power.
The first Tea Parties began to organize. The grass roots recognized the similarities in their principles and began to accept the Tea Party as a route to further the liberty message. Some of the grass roots favorites began to attend Tea Parties. They would speak at these events and naturally the amount of skepticism held by the original grass roots members of the Liberty movement faded. At times, their differences would flare up, but mostly the Tea Party organizers stayed quiet on the topics that would discourage their new found grass roots members and chose instead to focus on their similarities.
Suddenly, the folks who bankrolled many of the tea party events began to fund new Tea Party candidates who were unknowns to the grass roots. When the mainstream media started to announce big upsets in the senate races and the uprising of the Tea Party, the grassroots communities that remained from Ron Paul's presidential campaign and worked tirelessly supporting their own liberty candidates were a bit confused. How is it that they have never heard of Christine O'Donnell?
How were they unfamiliar with Joe Miller?
It is simply because these are results of the 'Establishment' version of the Liberty movement, dubbed the Tea Party. The strategic hijacking had brought the Liberty movement grass roots into the fold and had tricked them into gaining attention for candidates that didn't necessarily agree with many of the core principles Ron Paul had ran on in 2008.
The difference between the two groups are not subtle so far, but with any luck the principles of the Liberty movement will overshadow those of the current Tea Party candidates who seem to be making it into the house and senate. The Tea Party seems more accepting of pre-emptive war under the banner of "National Defense". They generally support the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and are open to war with Iran (or if they do not support these wars they certainly don't say so publicly).
These new Tea Party candidates tend to be very scant on details. Their websites and interviews proudly boast the easy things like "shrink government" and "cut taxes" but the devil is in the details... details that don't seem to be available to the tea party voters. The modern Tea Party candidates say they would like to cut taxes and shrink government, but they can never seem to articulate what departments would be cut, or where the shrinkage would occur. This has never been a problem for the Liberty movement. They have always been very specific in discussing the details of government waste and what departments we need to rid ourselves of. You certainly never hear them say "End the Fed", which has become a thunderous mantra of the Liberty movement grass roots. You will not hear them question any specific establishment. Instead the message is generalized and vague. To me, these are bright red flags.
The true liberty candidates are having a much tougher time, probably because that establishment money isn't flowing in like it is for the Tea Party candidates who are virtually unknown to the original grass roots community. There have been many grass roots candidates endorsed by Ron Paul. John Dennis is running against Nancy Pelosi in California. This race has had lots of attention from the grass roots because Dennis is a true Liberty candidate completely in line with the Ron Paul principles established during his campaign. Dennis, running in a large state like California, however has not receive anywhere near the campaign contributions that O'Donnell did, and that has everything to do with where the money is coming from. For John Dennis it is coming almost entirely from the grass roots Liberty movement. For O'Donnell it is coming from the wealthy hijackers looking to absorb the liberty movement into the Establishment GOP. Peter Schiff was running in the Connecticut Senate race and was beaten down by a WWE (Wrestling) Executive with boat loads of cash. Again a true Liberty candidate with tons of grass roots support, but just not enough money to make it all the way. Rand Paul having the most name recognition of any Liberty candidate so far managed to win his primary and he may just make it into the Senate, but even Paul has had to face a real uphill battle against Establishment candidates. Other true Liberty candidates include Jake Towne, Clint Didier, and B.J. Lawson, none of which have raised money like O'Donnell has. It goes to show you what kind of power is wielded by the tag team effort of the establishment GOP and the mainstream media.
I'm not saying that this movement as a whole is a horrible thing. I'm saying that we need to be very careful about unwittingly compromising our principles under the "safety" of the tea party flag. Ron Paul himself sums it up quite well:
Who is trying to ride the Liberty Coat Tails?
The candidates being elected under the Tea Party banner are only a small piece of the hijacked pie. The true orchestrators behind the hijack of one of the most revolutionary movements in American history to my knowledge are Dick Armey & Freedomworks, Newt Gingritch, Sarah Palin, and possibly even Mike Huckabee. Weather or not these people are planning a grand absorption of a strong political movement, they are certainly wide eyed with enthusiasm about the possibility of using the fired up masses to their advantage.
Which political philosophy will win in the end?
We have a Libertarian leaning movement that was born from the Ron Paul revolution and those neo-conservatives of the Washington Republican "brand" meeting in the middle to topple the existing Democratic leadership. The question remains, which philosophy will last in the long run and what will the confused mixture that is the Tea Party emerge as in its final form? Will we have a Republican party that returns to its roots of limited government and fiscal responsibility as well as being responsible international citizens? or will be continue the war mongering and quantitative easing loved so dearly by the neo-conservative republican establishment?
Thanks to the internet's role in politics I think the people are awake now, and I do not think we will be fooled. We are no longer forced to listen to what big media wants us to hear. We are no longer limited in what information we receive.
If you want to know what is happening with the true liberty movement, read The Daily Paul. Remember who Fox News is. Remember who MSNBC is. Remember who CNN is. Also Russia Today, BBC, and every other big media outlet. Take them with a grain of salt. Keep an open mind. Research on YouTube. Research on Wikipedia. Research on Wikileaks. Research on Google. Search for your questions and find your own answers.