The TEA Party has been declared dead many times. But it’s not dead. It has just changed its form. Its members were really what they used to call the “Silent Majority”.
The TEA Party we knew in 2010 is no longer. It had no structure and no statement of purpose. Its unifying idea was repugnance for Obama’s “fundamental transformation of America” represented by Obamacare. The Silent Majority saw that as akin to communism and that was enough to get them out the door and into the streets.
Many tried to take advantage of that enthusiasm and tried to declare leadership and some tried to use it to raise money. There were as many sub-causes as there were splinter TEA Parties in cities and towns throughout the country. At the local level radicals were attracted to the small groups and their aggressive and often combative temperament conflicted with the nature of the Silent Majority. The radicals became the media’s face of the TEA Party and were paraded front and center in a concerted effort to smear the Silent Majority. The folks went back home, closed their doors and shook their heads in disgust at the injustice and the lies.
And then came The Donald. Suddenly there was a leader with lots of ideas they liked and the Silent Majority was back.
And The Donald was elected president.
Now all the people that hated the TEA Party; the establishment, the Democrats, the RINOs, and especially the media hate Trump with the same or even greater fervor and for the same reasons. Their gravy train is threatened.
Make no mistake about it; the TEA Party is not dead. Some like to say that Trump killed the TEA Party. No . . . Trump is the TEA Party. Republicans take note.
The Tea Party, RIP
From Townhall: By Jeff Jacoby, Feb 15, 2018
I ADMIRED the Tea Party. I regarded it as the most impressive American grassroots political movement in my adult life. I cheered its rise to influence in 2009 and 2010, applauded its focus on curbing government’s exploding budgets and trillion-dollar deficits, and shared its opposition to the massive overreach of the Affordable Care Act. I defended it against scurrilous attacks from unhinged liberals, who demonized its members as segregationists, terrorists, and arsonists.
And now I mourn its demise.
To be honest, the Tea Party has been a dead letter for a while. Its political high-water mark came in the 2010 midterm elections, when Republicans picked up 63 US House seats in a sweeping landslide. Its greatest policy achievement was the “sequestration” agreementand Budget Control Act of 2011, when President Obama was compelled to accept across-the-board reductions in discretionary spending in exchange for getting Congress to approve an increase in the federal debt limit.
Alas, party politics proved fatal to the movement. “Inertia pulled us toward partisanship,” writes Matt Kibbe, an early Tea Party organizer, “and over time there was growing pressure to support the party, not our principles.” Consequently, not much remained of the Tea Party afflatus after Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign of 2012, and what little vitality it had left was completely drained by Donald Trump’s hostile takeover of the Republican Party four years later. “Under Trump,” Kibbe concedes sadly, “the Tea Party original agenda of freedom and fiscal responsibility has been replaced with a populist nationalism that doesn’t particularly prize spending restraint.”
If there were any lingering doubt on that score, it was wiped out by last week’s bipartisan budget binge — a $400 billion debauchof new spending that makes a mockery of everything Republicans have ever said about the need for fiscal discipline and how they’re the party to impose it. This wasn’t a budget forced on a GOP bargaining from a position of weakness; it was a deal embraced by the party that controls both houses of Congress and the White House. And that was before Trump sent Capitol Hill a budget blueprint for 2019 that proposes to spend another $200 billion on public works.
What an abomination.
When Obama was president, Republicans — spurred by Tea Party activists demanding more individual freedom and fiscal integrity — loudly sang the praises of balanced budgets and smaller deficits.
“We have a debt crisis staring us in the face,” Paul Ryan told “Meet the Press” in 2011, when he was the House Budget Committee chairman. “The problem we have is spending, not taxes. We’ve got to get our spending under control because that’s the root cause of our problem.” In those days, Ryan was a Tea Party hero. Back then, Democrats venomously denounced him for warning that the giant entitlement programs were devouring the federal budget and had to be reined in.
Now Ryan is just another profligate GOP spender, one in a long line of Republican deficit hawks whose squawk, impressively fierce, turned out to be mostly for show.
It’s an old scam, and many earnest voters always fall for it. Those Tea Party rallies in 2009 and 2010 were electric with grassroots enthusiasm; when voters surged to the polls to elect Republican candidates, they believed they were empowering a party that agreed government was too costly and overbearing. Fifteen years earlier, voters had believed the same thing. In 1994, Newt Gingrich and his band of GOP insurgents swept to power behind their “Contract with America,” vowing an end to “government that is too big, too intrusive, and too easy with the public’s money.” Yet then as now, the spirit of reform didn’t stand a chance. Government got bigger. Insurgents were coopted. And Republicans forfeited their moral authority.
America is drowning in red ink, and the national debt — $20.5 trillion and rising by the week — is an onrushing calamity. The Tea Party really cared about that threat and for one brief, shining moment, so did the Republican Party. But the moment passed, and power corrupted.