Is the Tea Party the New “Establishment”?

Richmond Tea Party April 15 2009

Commenters at Hot Air are bashing an article originally posted at Foxnews that asks: With Cruz victory in Texas, is the Tea Party the New Establishment?

It’s a question I’ve alluded to in previous postings.

From what I’ve seen, in many cases the answer is yes — yes, if your definition of establishment is political players who control the behind the scenes workings that manipulate who and what we end up voting for.

Candidates come and go but it is the consultants, media strategists, attorneys and lobbyists who provide the grease and wherewithal for a candidate to win a big race. The people who run the campaigns are closely tied to the larger organizations like Heritage Foundation, AFA, NRA etc., and they move from campaign to campaign, candidate to candidate.

Unfortunately, to win the big races, like US Senate, it takes experience to navigate the maze of required filings and arcane fundraising rules, and true ‘tea party’ candidates – true Mr. Smith Goes to Washington political novices – are so far behind the curve that if they have any chance at all to win they find themselves at the mercy of the same old snakes in the grass who have been responsible for the elections of some of the worst political offenders.

Basically, it’s simply the same old tug of war between the same players, some of them work for moderates and some for conservatives. It is as old as the hills. It’s just that today, Moderates are now called RINOs and Conservatives are called Tea Party.

The Tea Party movement didn’t start OUT this way though….this is just how it has ended up.

But — in the down ballot races where the grassroots is truly a factor, where there isn’t money to buy TV ad time, and plaster the highway with signs, that is where the real tea party comes in. And that is why many local tea party leaders understand that the way to really change how things are done is to load up the town councils, the precinct chairs, the state legislatures etc, give some novices a chance to see how to get things done, get the experience to start winning races at the national level.

Some people are going to say I’m totally off base because, look at Jim DeMint, look at Rand Paul, look at Michele Bachmann…but these people didn’t rise up in politics through the tea party movement. They were conservatives or in the case of Paul, libertarians who were not weaned politically by the Tea Party Express or what have you in 2009.

It’s a pretty deep topic for conversation, actually.

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23 Comments on “Is the Tea Party the New “Establishment”?”

  1. John Boddie Says:

    Sara -

    This is a thought-provoking post, and I think you’ve touched on several points that have a significant bearing on where we move as a democracy.

    First – what is the Tea Party? Originally, it appeared to be a group of people concerned about the fiscal insanity that the federal (and state, and local) government apparatus seems to subscribe to.

    Now it is presented as primarily a group of social conservatives who are angry with a broad spectrum of policies and who provide conflict and entertainment for a media that has a penchant for conflict and an aversion to actual information.

    It has become an appendage of the Republican Party. Bachmann, DeMint, Armey and others have become “spokespeople” because the “infotainment” industry who professes to “keep us informed” doesn’t have the intellectual self-discipline to deal with a movement which, like the original patriots, relies on the fact that leaders will emerge as they are needed. Instead of a Harry “Lighthorse” Lee, who commits his freedom and holdings to an idea, we have a Jaime Radke (or a Michelle Bachmann), who seeks the spotlight for her own enrichment.

    I would have thought that the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street would find common ground. They didn’t, and that’s due (in my opinion) to the fact that each was defined by others in a way that prevented any consideration of the common interests they shared. Each movement came to believe that the other movement shared none of their values, not because they looked at the problems, but because they looked at disparate social beliefs. If you are looking for fiscal sanity, do you really care if someone else with the same goal supports same-sex marriage? Apparently, today’s tea party does.

    The Tea Party has become a magnet for disaffection. “I’m ticked off” is an understandable sentiment, but it looks to the past, not the future. Without a plan for the future, the Tea Party becomes little more than the equivalent of the “Know Nothings” of the early 20th century.


    • Sara for America Says:

      RE: your last paragraph. Would you say the same for the Occupy Movement?


      • John Boddie Says:

        Only to a limited extent. The “Occupy Movement” remained a protest and never coalesced into a political force.


        • Sara for America Says:

          I have zero respect for the Occupy Movement. No apologies. Any movement that thinks pooping on police cars is a form of brilliant protest is worthless. Rape, rats and filth in the occupy camps — is that their vision for America? No thanks.


          • John Boddie Says:

            As I said – it’s the perceived social aspects, not the underlying fiscal objectives, that kept the two groups apart. As with the Tea Party – the media’s fascination with the idiots on the fringe is presented as representative of the group as a whole.

          • Sara for America Says:

            If Van Jones was the ‘mastermind’ behind the Occupy movement, I would tend to think of it as a fringe movement. America is not socialist. The Tea Party simply wants to return to principles that the country was founded upon. Van Jones – and the Occupy movement – wants to radically change the fundamentals. There really isn’t that much in common between the two groups. Just because the San Francisco 49ers and the Dallas Cowboys both root against the Giants does not mean they are on the same team. I don’t understand why people see the two groups working together because their solutions are completely disparate.

  2. John Boddie Says:

    Sorry – the “Know Nothings” dated from the 1850′s.


  3. John Boddie Says:

    At some point, you’ll need to put some parameters around your use of “socialist.” Otherwise, your use of the term becomes meaningless.

    Every non-totalitarian society is socialist to the extent that the individuals who make up the society give up some of their freedoms and resources to the government. In some cases, the government owns the means of production – for example the Veteran’s Administration directly owns hospitals and employs doctors, nurses and other staff. This is a socialist endeavor in every sense of the word.

    The person who wants to open a dry-cleaning establishment must invest money in controlling the waste products that are produced because he or she is subject to laws that are designed to protect the community where the establishment is located. Do you classify this as “socialism?”

    You and I live with “socialism” every day, and in many ways, we benefit from it.


    • Sara for America Says:

      Come on. There is a difference between giving up resources because you have a say in it, and someone else forcing you to do it unwillingly.

      Frankly, I think there is something inherently wrong with the concept of non property owners voting to force property owners to pay higher taxes.

      “Socialists” — who believe in redistributing the wealth to make a more “just” and “equal” and “fair” society – see nothing wrong in forcing someone else to share the rewards of their labor.


      • John Boddie Says:

        OK, you’re using “socialists” to describe what we used to call “communists.”

        By “having a say”, do you mean something more than voting? If so, what?


  4. John Boddie Says:

    If Van Jones is the “mastermind” behind the “Occupy” movement, then Dick Armey is the founding father of the Tea Party.


  5. Sara for America Says:

    Socialist communist — heck, all of them have found a home in the Obama admin. If you are looking for someone to bash capitalism, well, you needn’t look any further.

    I’ll reiterate. My opinion is that voting rights to increase property taxes for property owners should be restricted to property owners. This is not the same as voting for a person who might then want to increase taxes — but specific referenda with regard to property taxes. Given where we are today, why wouldn’t someone who wants better services from the government vote to increase taxes when it’s no skin off their back?

    Occupy was an orchestrated movement in response to the tea party. True. Fact. Sure, there were some anarchists involved (I know of one, personally), but the media, the initial groundswell had Van Jones et al written all over it.


  6. John Boddie Says:

    Yeah. That’s a return to original principles. Only property owners get to vote.


    • Sara for America Says:

      You’re miscategorizing and you know it. There’s a difference between what I’m advocating and what you are saying I’m advocating. I was clear that you didn’t have to own property to vote for candidates.

      If things keep going the way they are heading, government will own the property and we will rent from them anyway.

      Interestingly, we are renting right now while we look for land to build on. We were homeowners prior for 20+ years. Seems to me kind of strange to be able to vote in a referendum that would increase property tax rates for those who own homes by 2.5 cents per 100, and then I might not even live here afterwards. Does that seem “fair”? Not to me it doesn’t.


      • John Boddie Says:

        Re: “I’ll reiterate. My opinion is that voting rights to increase property taxes for property owners should be restricted to property owners.”
        ” I was clear that you didn’t have to own property to vote for candidates.”

        When you vote for a candidate who is going to represent you in budget deliberations, whether it’s a candidate for school board or county council, does that have a bearing on property taxes?


        • Sara for America Says:

          Sure. Of course it does.

          So go ahead… take your position that non property owners should DIRECTLY vote on tax referenda that would increase taxes for property owners. I’ll keep mine. Meanwhile, the spending keeps growing, and growing, and growin…


          • John Boddie Says:

            I don’t recall ever voting directly on property tax rates. I certainly don’t do it here in Westmoreland County. Is this something you do in Texas?

            Are tax rates different for commercial, residential and agricultural property? Do people get to vote for specific rates only?

            How does this work down there?

            If your policemen and teachers are paid from property tax revenues, are you going to freeze (or cut) their pay to hold your taxes down?

          • Sara for America Says:

            You’ve never voted for a bond referendum that would increase your property taxes???? Seriously?

            Oh and here we go again with the standard progressive groupthink. If we don’t raise taxes, the policemen and teachers won’t get paid!!!! That’s right. Typical. No progressive would ever think to cut layers of bureaucrats, only the front lines. Just to prove a point, of course.

  7. John Boddie Says:

    Seriously – I’ve never voted for a bond issue that would increase my property taxes. There would be budget hearings where the public could (and did) comment on school construction financing, but there was no direct referendum. Likewise, local police, fire and rescue allocations, and municipal construction were incorporated into the budgets but not presented as referendums.

    The issue with teachers and police is that their salaries can be expected to rise over time. Revenues need to rise in order to pay them. The money available from eliminating “layers of bureaucrats” isn’t sufficient to cover the wage increases.


    • Sara for America Says:

      Well, clearly, you aren’t the norm. I worked for a law firm doing public finance transactions. Counties all over the country do bond referendums — only all of the time. Google: property tax bond referendum

      Regardless, getting back to the original issue — the Tea Party is not anti-government. It is anti-bad government. Big government is hopelessly bad government, because it opens doors for corruption, favors, cronyism. Occupiers tend to want to increase the size of government in order to supposedly make things more fair. There really is no place for compromise.


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