Sunday, April 18, 2010

Tea-party movement at a crossroads ~ By Tom Tancredo

In his column today, Tom emphasizes the need for unity AND patience. He's right on when he says that it could take a generation to reverse the progressive direction that this country has taken over the last generation or two. It won't happen with just one election this November, nor even the 2012 election when we get to pick a President, assuming that there will be an election (just sayin'...)..

Let's hope that we can keep the Tea Party Movement going, and we can only do that by staying united in our determination to restore our Constitutional government; you know, the one our wise founding fathers gave us. We haven't done the best at keeping it, though, so let's get back on the right page, play our music from the same song, and at least do a better job at educating and guiding our children on how to do the same.

Activists are right to look for political candidates who are committed to constitutional limits on government power, and they are right to wage primary battles on behalf of those candidates. But after the primary battles are over, they would make a huge mistake to invest energy and support behind third-party candidates who have no chance of winning. That can only split conservative votes and elect liberals.

The tea-party movement must adhere to its principles while avoiding kamikaze behavior that dissipates its energies and its can-do optimism. The Republican Party can be the vehicle for this restoration, but only if it welcomes and embraces the patriotism and constitutional pillars of the tea-party movement.
By Tom Tancredo

Posted: April 17, 2010 ~ 1:00 am Eastern

© 2010

The tea-party movement is now one year old, and the left wing of American politics is perplexed. Why don't these people appreciate what Obama has done for them? Obama himself appears detached and unconcerned when he tries to belittle the protesters: "They should be thanking me for lowering their taxes." Really?

In the mainstream media, the coverage of the rallies has been a mixture of bafflement, sarcasm and slander. Lazy journalism mingles easily with liberal bias to yield sloppy reporting of the message behind the rallies.

Yet the main obstacle to the tea-party movement achieving real success – that is, achieving their ambitious goals – is not the media critics or the Obama apologists. The main obstacles to success lie in the challenges within the tea-party movement itself.

The tea-party movement encompass not only the three or four national groups that use that name and attempt to organize and coordinate rallies. The movement includes the 9-12 Project and a dozen similar state-based groups that participate in the rallies and have a broad agenda derived from patriotic values. In many ways, the 9-12 Project has provided the guiding principle of the movement in its emphasis on following the Constitution – the Constitution of the founders, not the "evolving document" of liberal judges.

First, let's recognize that the ambitious goals of the tea-party movement cannot be achieved in one election cycle, no matter how favorable the celestial winds. Liberal progressives did not capture the levers of power in American government in one election, and it will take at least a full generation to reverse the damage done to constitutional government over the past 50 years.

Tea-party activists do not "hate government"; they hate the misuse of government to steal from Peter to benefit Paul. The founders understood that government is a necessary evil, a necessary tool to preserve our lives and liberties in a dangerous world. When government becomes the master by abandoning all restraint and limits, as "progressives" desire, the people must remind government of its limited role and restore constitutional rule.

We face a battle over Obama's next Supreme Court nomination. That battle is important, but we must look beyond it as well. The entire federal court system is stacked with activist judges put there by presidents of both parties. Will a future Republican president appoint conservative jurists like Roberts and Alito or liberals like the Ford-appointed John Paul Stevens and the Bush-appointed David Souter?

To the tea-party activists, the appointments battles are not over who gets to make the appointment, its over what kind of person gets appointed. The tea-party movement is absolutely dead-on right to insist that having an "R" beside your name is not a sufficient qualification for earning their vote or stewardship of the Constitution.

So, the important question in evaluating the tea-party movement is not the size of the crowd at the April rallies but whether the many organizations that make up the tea-party movement are laying the solid foundation needed for long-term impact and success.

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