Those Loony, Kooky Tea Partiers
Likely to send local tea party haters to the floor, foaming at the mouth and writhing about in spasms of mortal anguish, tea party candidates are racking up election wins across the country.
While it is still too early to tell what the final outcome of this movement will be, it's been particularly fascinating to watch everyday, ordinary Americans run for office and unseat political dinosaurs and other established incumbents of both parties.
So what do winning candidates like Christine (The Witch) O'Donnell of Delaware, Joe Miller of Alaska, Rick Perry of Texas, Nikki Haley of South Carolina and Todd Emmer of Minnesota have in common? Well for one thing, they were all endorsed by political mega-star Sarah Palin.
Palin has endorsed 37 candidates for office. The above have tea party ties, but others are establishment candidates. Of the 37 Palin picks, 26 won their races. And 14 of those winners are in some way connected to the tea party.
The basic gist of the party is aimed at big government. But what exactly is the platform?
With a little Internet cruising, I quickly found that the movement is more about political doctrine than party politics, and as yet, it's not entirely cohesive. Among the groups are the Tea Party Express, which rode around on bus tours, the Nationwide Tea Party Coalition, the Tea Party Nation, and the Tea Party Patriots, which claims the title of "Official Home of the Tea Party Movement."
This last group had the most visible and easily accessed mission statement and description of their core values. They are these:
Fiscal Responsibility: Fiscal responsibility by government honors and respects the freedom of the individual to spend the money that is the fruit of their own labor. A constitutionally limited government, designed to protect the blessings of liberty, must be fiscally responsible or it must subject its citizenry to high levels of taxation that unjustly restrict the liberty our Constitution was designed to protect.
Such runaway deficit spending as we now see in Washington, D.C., compels us to take action as the increasing national debt is a grave threat to our national sovereignty and the personal and economic liberty of future generations.
Constitutionally Limited Government: We, the members of the Tea Party Patriots, are inspired by our founding documents and regard the Constitution of the United States to be the supreme law of the land. We believe that it is possible to know the original intent of the government our founders set forth and stand in support of that intent.
Like the founders, we support states' rights for those powers not expressly stated in the Constitution. As the government is of the people, by the people and for the people, in all other matters we support the personal liberty of the individual, within the rule of law.
Free Markets: A free market is the economic consequence of personal liberty. The founders believed that personal and economic freedom were indivisible, as do we. Our current government's interference distorts the free market and inhibits the pursuit of individual and economic liberty.
Therefore, we support a return to the free market principles on which this nation was founded and oppose government intervention into the operations of private business.
It's no wonder Democrats and the secular progressive left are riled up. The tea party platform is in direct opposition to the tax-and-spend policies that keep the country in a jobless recovery, while at the same time exploding our national debt.
The tea party message threatens the status quo of business-as-usual Washington politics and calls on both parties for a return to individual primacy and action over government-produced ideas, rights and laws which necessarily must overburden the public with taxation.
Anything but kooks and loons, members of this movement appear poised to overhaul American politics as we know it. Why? Because the contenders in the fight are once again the people versus big government, and the same principles our founders used to forge this great nation are at issue.
It's one thing to disagree with them. To demean these citizen defenders of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights is to risk political suicide. Primary elections have already proved this.
Geoff Cutler is owner of Cutler Tree LLC in Southern Pines and is a regular contributor to The Pilot and PineStraw magazine. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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