Re-visiting The Tea Party Movement

June 30, 2009

Hopefully we'll be seeing even more Tea Party posts this week as we near July 4th. After seeing this relevant item from Instapundit today, I went to Google Blog Search and found over a million references, with new posts rolling in by the hour. There are over 250 references picked up just within the last twenty-four.

I noted yesterday how any real change in politics must come from the ground up; the Tea Party movement is exactly that type of effort. And America hasn't seen one that wasn't primarily candidate driven in decades.

The dissatisfaction with the direction of our government goes well beyond the mostly partisan variety we see everyday across Right-leaning blogs.

It's important to note, while these demonstrations are significant in and of themselves, they all but definitely represent a deeper dissatisfaction than we are seeing in the streets. It's a tip of the iceberg phenomenon if you will.

While the protests do involve average citizens, it's still comprised of those most willing and able to become directly involved and take to the streets. There are a large number of Americans to still be motivated and engaged. You might call it the Honking Horn effect. As with any street-based protests, you'll always find an even larger number of people who drive, or pass by and demonstrate their support. A continuing effort will eventually bring more and more of them both into the street and eventually to the voting both when that time comes.

Americans are notoriously politically disengaged both between elections and even during elections to a great extent. It depends on how positive, or especially, negative they might feel about a current political trend.

So, as large as the on going Tea Party protests have been and remain, rest assured they are indicative of a much broader trend. Moving through political seasons and on to 2010 and 2012, the Tea Party movement represents We The People's best chance of taking back control of the nation's political direction and processes we have. Americans haven't seen anything quite like it since the Vietnam War.

Topped off by the right candidates in the next one or two election cycles, this is a significant movement with the potential to surprise everyone if we all get involved and play any part we can.

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  1. Rest assured, despite all election results for the past few decades, there are many, many more hardcore, Goin’ Galt, extreme fiscal conservatives than anyone thinks. They just haven’t voted or taken to the streets yet. Just you wait!
    Also, the low-level leaders of the Movement are strategic geniuses. They realize that street protests – rather than something more intellectual involving valid arguments and debate and junk like that – are the way to go. Those ACORN-style protests will be sure to get the attention of the MSM! And, if that doesn’t work, the protesters can play dress-up games or fly a blimp. Blimps are great!
    And, the Beltway leaders of the Movement want what’s best for the U.S. They aren’t just corrupt hacks who support things like massive immigration.
    P.S. The last thing anyone would want to do is to oppose BHO in a smart and effective way, as described at my name’s link.

  2. Harry says:

    The Tea Party movement has an opportunity not seen in years, but who has enough savvy to take advantage of it? In my humble opinion, a winning formula would be financial responsibility, smaller government, social issues left to the communities, and strong defense while limiting government meddling in people’s lives.

  3. hitnrun says:


  4. Mark says:

    Dan…very insightful post.
    In April, just after the tea partiers took to the streets en masse in over 850 locations across the country, Rasmussen released the following polling results:
    “Fifty-one percent (51%) of Americans have a favorable view of the “tea parties” held nationwide last week, including 32% who say their view of the events is Very favorable.
    Thirty-three percent (33%) hold an unfavorable opinion of the tea parties according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey. Fifteen percent (15%) are not sure.”
    Those are incredible numbers. With a total population of over 300 million people in the country, that means the tea party message was resonating with over 150 million Americans at that time. And though I haven’t seen a recent repolling of that issue, all the other numbers would indicate that the tea party movement has only gained in popularity since then.
    The President’s popularity rankings are down, and Congress’ ratings are in the tank. Three-out-of-four Americans (74%) trust their own judgment more than that of the average member of Congress when it comes to economic issues facing the nation.
    The tea parties are all about fiscal responsibility, free markets and limited government. Our government is all about a lack of fiscal responsibility, takeover of free market companies, the takeover of free market health care, takeover of the financial industry, and the ever expanding role and budget of a large federal government. Our current government is the antithesis of the tea party movement…it’s perfect antithesis. It’s no wonder the tea parties are gaining momentum (without politicians, as you so wisely note), and government officials are losing steam (and constituents).
    The tea party movement has pushed social issues aside to be dealt with elsewhere, and is building a large, center of America coalition. While many in the movement disagree on social issues, and on exactly what solutions are needed to the problems of the day, all share the common values of fiscal responsibility, limited government, and free markets. And we’ve put aside our difference to an extent not seen in generations, in order to reign in the insanity now taking place throughout government at all levels.
    Dan…you’re also right that this has huge potential. And the key is in how you closed your post. Everyone who agrees needs to get involved, in whatever small way they can. Individual people really do make the difference.

  5. Foobarista says:

    A few random points:
    1. There needs to be a CREDIBLE strategy for smaller government. Just electing a bunch of new Congresscritters won’t do it, as proven by the recent, un-lamented Republican Congresses. Also, any credible strategy involves painful honesty about the monsters of the budget: Medicare and Social Security.
    2. There may well need to be some constitutional amendments. Few people appear to realize that constitutional amendments don’t require the concurrence of Congress or any Federal-level body; all it takes is getting a significant number of statehouses on board. Some I like:
    o The “Congressional Death Penalty”. Have a “confidence in Congress” referendum every few years. If it fails by more than 60%, the entire Congress is purged and new elections are held. Existing Congresspeople are ineligible to run for 10 years. Yes, this throws out numerous babies with the bathwater, but there needs to be a formal way to make members of Congress accountable to the entire country, which they currently are not. Guys like Murtha are great for their districts, and are guaranteed reelection, and will never be removed by “ethics comittees” – only a national “force majeure” scheme will get rid of them.
    (Note: I don’t like term limits; here in California, they made the Legislature even more dependent on powerful bureaucrats, unions, and other interests as they needed to be “politically reliable” in order to have any chance of advancing to the next level or getting a comfy lobbying job once they were term-limited out. The above is a sort of “permanent parole” for Congress as an institution, which declares to Congresspeople that you’re “limited” if you let Congress becomes institutionally toxic.)
    o Have taxes collected by the states, and take away taxation power from the Federal government. The Feds can bill the states for its services. This would greatly reduce the logic of pork.

  6. ajacksonian says:

    One of the first things to understand is that the Tea Party concept is societal, not political: it involves the idea that we, as individuals and society, are better suited to govern ourselves on local questions than the federal government ever can be. Some of this can be seen in the Paulians, but not entirely… the backlash against the Federal Reserve is only one aspect of the entire mess of the federal government with Fannie, Freddie, Social Security, Medicare and other lovely institutions driving the Nation to insolvency. Social Security, when first analyzed in the 1980’s, was going to drive the Nation insolvent around 2050. Then 2030. Then 2020. Now that is at 2014 and approaching like a freight train. Ditto Medicaire.
    These huge institutions on the federal side are already failing, not too big to fail but in a failure mode as we speak. You don’t need cap & trade or Obamacare to get to insolvency as we have reached that point of no longer being a trustworthy Nation to invest in. Our currency is dropping from view, prices are rising and our insatiable federal appetite for cash, globally, is sucking the global economy under. That started in the early 1990’s and got horrific last year.
    If we trust that representative democracy is a process that reaches a solution then it must BE representative. Currently the US House sits at the same size it was in 1911, but the Nation has more than doubled in population. We are no longer represented as Congress has abused the power to set the size of the house by proportion and, instead, fixed its size. The founders never dreamt of that, although many Anti-Federalists foresaw it. Further the States got cut out of the purse-string business via the amendment process to give the federal government the power of direct and non-proportional taxation. Yet again something that was prohibited as a restraint taken out of the way. The same with Statehouses having their say in the Senate: removed by amendment. Then there was the veto of the National Bank that held up to 1913… and Woodrow Wilson.
    The problem is in the direction of politics against society to convince people the government can do ‘good things’.
    We are insolvent because of that.
    You might want to check out Den Beste’s cache for an article that looks at society… and how it makes politics. Not the other way around:
    Too many want politics to drive society… yet reading Common Sense by Paine and you know that is not how it goes. We have paid dearly in forgetting that… just like the Anti-Federalists warned.

  7. Regarding the third comment, that’s about at the intellectual level I’ve come to expect from the tea partiers. They’re just as glassy-eyed as BHO cultists, but they’re even dumber.
    And, the last time someone left a comment like that, the IP address was located in Knoxville, TN:
    Isn’t there someone relevant to this discussion who lives in Knoxville, TN?

  8. Rob Crawford says:

    Shut up, lonewhacko.
    I say that because I think that if you really had a viable idea, you’d be leading by example rather than spamming everyplace with your demands everyone do things your way.
    You’ve been running the same script for most of a year. No one’s buying. The only impression you’re making is one of a, well, cranky old coot who’s pissed off that people aren’t playing checkers when HE DAMNED WELL WANTS TO PLAY CHECKERS!!!!
    So go and try to lead by example, rather than being that crazy old coot, OK?

  9. Norris Hall says:

    I am just as mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!!!
    Our socialist government is spending money like there was no end
    It’s time to bring and end to the word “public”
    An end to public health care
    An end to public education
    An end to public parks
    An end to public roads
    An end to public libraries
    An end to public police
    An end to public firefighters
    An end to public military
    An end to public politicians
    It’s time to get rid of every socialistic institution in this country and hand it back to the private sector.
    The private sector and market principles can do a better cheaper job than any government entity.
    Show your support. Pull your children out of public schools. Avoid public libraries. Refuse to play in a public park. Don’t ride on public roads. Don’t call a public police if your house is robbed. Or a public firefighter if your house is on fire. And most of all, on election day, refuse to vote for any politician who makes a living as a public servant.
    Stand up for your beliefs!!!