And they Call it a Tea Party

I reemergence of freedom mongering

I was sifting through

Reuters News Service on Twitter today. I have come to do that as a habit for lack of interesting or even poignant questions on Hubpages to consider addressing. I found there, amongst the various tweets, an article giving credit to the Tea Party movement for current election results. I suppose I have heard of the Tea Party movement before but movements come and movements go. I have a habit of letting such things slip until they have survived long enough that they gain a certain amount of legitimacy.

Any Joe or Jane, Jose, Juanita, Janiqua, or Jatwan (hmm I suppose if I left some general names out. Someone will call me a racist one of these days and today maybe the day to test that by trying to be inclusive even if there are enough cultural names that someone is going to get left out sooner or later) who has seen a ballet can tell you that there are quite a few special parties that are at least acknowledged on various ballets even if they do nothing more politically then vie for federal campaign dollars to fund their continued existence.

Imagine my surprise then to find that The Tea Party, let alone any specialized group outside of the main two parties of any kind had actually managed to help their candidate win an election. When I did a little poking around I found that I could breath a sigh of relief. The world hadn't entirely changed while I wasn't looking and the elections that were won were primaries, nothing more. Even so, I had to admit it was impressive to see that seven primaries were decided in the Republican Caucus by voters across the nation and the Tea Party was given credit for the victories. The people that the Tea Party candidates beat weren't republican lightweights either. Most of the people who lost were long time career politicians.

I then wondered if the Tea Party was a single party phenomenon. It didn't take much digging to find out that while the vast majority of the Tea Party are conservatives, this has largely to do with the fact that when the Tea Party started building a platform based on a grass roots web site. The largest portion of the discontented who had a clear idea of what they wanted government to do were conservative or at least people who had ideals which are traditionally Republican stumping points.

The funny and interesting thing is that when the Tea Party took their gripes to congress they got push back from both sides of the isle. Due to another affiliated layman who had a way with words and websites, these gripes actually had a form and definition. The website requested suggestions from various Tea Party visitors on what the platform should be. I was able to pull the final list of ten out of over a thousand initial suggests from Wikipedia for your viewing pleasure.

1. Identify constitutionality of every new law: Require each bill to identify the specific provision of the Constitution that gives Congress the power to do what the bill does. (82.03%)

2. Reject emissions trading: Stop the "cap and trade" administrative approach used to control pollution by providing economic incentives for achieving reductions in the emissions of pollutants. (72.20%)

3. Demand a balanced federal budget: Begin the Constitutional amendment process to require a balanced budget with a two-thirds majority needed for any tax modification. (69.69%)

4. Simplify the tax system: Adopt a simple and fair single-rate tax system by scrapping the internal revenue code and replacing it with one that is no longer than 4,543 words – the length of the original Constitution. (64.9%)

5. Audit federal government agencies for constitutionality: Create a Blue Ribbon taskforce that engages in an audit of federal agencies and programs, assessing their Constitutionality, and identifying duplication, waste, ineffectiveness, and agencies and programs better left for the states or local authorities. (63.37%)

6. Limit annual growth in federal spending: Impose a statutory cap limiting the annual growth in total federal spending to the sum of the inflation rate plus the percentage of population growth. (56.57%)

7. Repeal the health care legislation passed on March 23, 2010: Defund, repeal and replace the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. (56.39%)

8. Pass an 'All-of-the-Above' Energy Policy: Authorize the exploration of additional energy reserves to reduce American dependence on foreign energy sources and reduce regulatory barriers to all other forms of energy creation. (55.5%)

9. Reduce Earmarks: Place a moratorium on all earmarks until the budget is balanced, and then requires a 2/3 majority to pass any earmark. (55.47%)

The percentages after each line item consists of the percentage of people who voted on the platform, which goes by the name "Contract from America," concerning their top ten picks to take to Washington. I am sure if you talk to enough Tea Party members you will get a few suggestions that aren't on this list but then I imagine that once these ten suggestions are complied with in congress the platform may change to include some of the ones that weren't as popular with the Tea Party crowd as these seem to be.

Anyhow, when the "Contract from America" was presented in Washington for signatures, the Democrats didn't like any of the planks of the Contract and refused to sign them and the Republicans decided that the issues raised issues which were too specific for them to want to sign on as a whole. The latter reaction could be translated as either cowardice or a very nebulous way of saying that the sitting Republican Party likes things the way they are as it were.

The Tea Party could have tried to start their own legitimate Caucus at that point. (I use Caucus to avoid the redundancy of saying 'party' a second time and have it mean something completely different) If they had, they might have succeeded but probably not. History would have given them little hope. Instead they decided to work within the two party oligarchy in order to make things happen. So far the only party they have been able to infiltrate has been the Republican Party. As I said before, they managed to knock out seven incumbents and or 'has been' party favorites so far. I am sure they are holding their breath and pushing for the ability to say that they actually put people who are committed to their cause in WashingtonD.C.

I am finding that even with the "Contract from America" on the table, like any party or activist group, they are sheep on the whole and in this case they are some very angry sheep with virulent local leadership and online shepherds. They may have different views separately but as a group they are a force to be reckoned with. Politicians had better reckon with them too. If the Tea Party is successful even in these small arenas and their chosen representatives are true to their word in pushing the "Contract from America," we may see that the movement will spread until its voice (even in the nebulous manner each state and or city promotes the Tea Party) will become the new boss of politics.

As current politics drives very swiftly into the ground people will start looking for any voices that have answers that haven't been tried yet. Right now The Tea Party is acting as the Conservative version of the Liberal Progressive Movement. It will be an interesting day when the Progressives and Tea Party are shouting at each other across the isle in congress. I imagine that it will be a more profound and entrenched fight then anything we have seen in congress since the days when slavery was being argued on the floors of Congress.

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Comments 18 comments

TeaPartyCrasher profile image

TeaPartyCrasher 6 years ago from Camp Hill, PA

You're close, but what you need to realize is that the "Bosses" of the Tea Party are mainly bosses, in the form of corps and the CEO's who see ideas like Cap and Trade and Health Care as threats to the power and their profits.

Jaggedfrost profile image

Jaggedfrost 6 years ago Author

I understand those issues enough to know that you are right in the threats they pose to business, big and small but I also know that we are a society that was built on free enterprise that therefore was built on business which cant always stay small. Jobs and opportunities are made when corporations expand. The more we restrict businesses here the more they go elsewhere. Unemployment is a problem that we made ourselves by the pride that separates those who consider themselves as the little guys and those who make things happen in the business would. The two are linked and the more they separate each other in cause and effect the more things break down and opportunity goes elsewhere.

TeaPartyCrasher profile image

TeaPartyCrasher 6 years ago from Camp Hill, PA


The problem, IMO, is that there's an ever-widening gap between the "Little Guy: and those who make things happen.

Also, as I've said on many of my hubs, the "Tea Party" seems an attempt to divide the "Little Guys" and make it easier for the elites to hold and expand their power.

Jaggedfrost profile image

Jaggedfrost 6 years ago Author

I respect that opinion and even acknowledge that the differences in standing between those who have and those who don't has perhaps become stark in some cases. I do note that the climb becomes easier when you don't have to skip around the world to climb the ladder of success.

Unfortunately there isn't a way to do anything positive for the economy that cant be exploited by those with means. You weren't thinking of pulling a French revolution were you?

TeaPartyCrasher profile image

TeaPartyCrasher 6 years ago from Camp Hill, PA


It sometimes seems that the ladder of success is made of the backs of those who do the work.

As for a solution, reducing the political power of corps would be a good start, IMO. . .

LRCBlogger profile image

LRCBlogger 6 years ago

My opinion is similar to TeaPartyCrasher. I do think the Tea party has some (emphasis on some) valid ideas, however, they do not elect candidates who follow those ideas. Most of the candidates they elect will stomp on them in the coming years if they make it into office (I didn't want to hijack your hub with a lengthy comment but I'll give you plenty of examples if you want).

Also, it does seem to me that the TEA party is also ill informed. This is evidenced by the fact that only 2% of them knew they received a tax break under president Obama while most thought Obama raised their taxes. Further, if you go to a Tea party rally or speak to most of their members, they want to repeal health care because it contains "Death panels," "coverage for illegals," and is a "socialist takeover." Cleary they are not informed on the actual bill.

They are against items that may be in their best interest but as Teapartycrasher said, they are simply being used by the select few in power.

Jaggedfrost profile image

Jaggedfrost 6 years ago Author

Conservatism is as full of ignorant zealots as liberalism is at the furthest extent of ideology. Both of you have valid points as far as people joining a movement more because they are unimaginative and like the general sound of the rhetoric. Those who have turned politics in one sense into a second religion do everyone who actually understands what they believe in a disservice and yes they are easily led.

As for the functional problems with the candidates that the Tea Party has promoted, @LRC, I would love for you to contribute those facts but I ask that you give quotes, dates, vote specifics, things that people reading this can sink their teeth into and verify.

How to fund and direct politics is a bit more of a complex issue. I understand the objection of making Corporate America a focal point for political progress or letting them have a free reign in political influence, having observed many of the corporations around where I live and how corrupt they can be at times. i know of several who's internal practices leave very little confidence that they would do anything beneficial politically speaking for their workers if they could help it.

I must observe, however, that when regular political machines go bad you can't really take them to court. They become a secret society that you are either on the inside or not. Companies, as PAC originators need money to do anything. If you don't like how they see things or can find evidence of abuse you can always take away that which drives them to strive for power.

In the end one must find a place to find a voice and then work one's way up. It doesn't do anyone any good to stand on the outside and criticize how things are done. I would say that if you were a Conservative, finding influence in the Tea Party, as an existing political influence and mechanism must be easier then trying to start something on your own and make it last.

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Hxprof 6 years ago from Clearwater, Florida

I'm a conservative though not in league with the Tea Party; yet, I agree with the objective of the Tea Party, which is a constitutional government, even if many of them are not as informed as they should be regards what that entails.

Unfortunately I believe America has gone way too far to be brought back to constitutional government. Americans have mostly watched for the last 70+ years while our constitution was gutted. Now all of a sudden some have awakened and want to return to that which is all but gone. IMO, they are doomed to fail.

Jaggedfrost profile image

Jaggedfrost 6 years ago Author

@Hxprof I feel your skepticism and it isn't unfounded. Our constitution does hang by a thread but I am not entirely sure that it cant be saved if enough good men and women are found to help over run the old guard. It is a sad day when there aren't enough good men to brave the filthy waters of politics in order to bring such a thing about. I also think that the more unlikely we hold success in such matters to be the more right we become.

TeaPartyCrasher profile image

TeaPartyCrasher 6 years ago from Camp Hill, PA


I did a hub last month on the "Founding Fathers" that ties into a lot of what you and HX, and many of the Tea Party crowd are saying.

Jaggedfrost profile image

Jaggedfrost 6 years ago Author

I will have to read it Crasher. Thank you for your input on this thread. It has added some depth to my single comment article that I probably wouldn't have taken the time to add in further articles on this subject. It has been my habit to get bored with some subjects or at least unwilling to stay on one topic for long. For this reason I sometimes regret some of my reprises on Aspergers Syndrome. If it weren't for the dearth of articles from sufferers who have in some ways overcome their symptoms I wouldn't have.

LRCBlogger profile image

LRCBlogger 6 years ago

Thanks Jagged for inviting some of my thoughts and comments regarding the TEA party candidates working against the people of the TEA party.

1. The most obvious is the Constitution. Many TEA party leaders and members claim that Obama is destroying/changing the constitution. Yet, many TEA party candidates are campaigning on changing the constitution. In Ohio, Steve Stivers, the Republican challenger said he would repeal the 17th ammendment which allows people to vote in their senators. When questioned, he flip flopped and said he made a mistake.

Idaho Tea party candidate Vaughn Ward told a TV audience in Boise that he favored repealing the 17th Amendment.

Tim Bridgewater, whom you might remember was one of the 2 TEA party candidate that ousted ousted Sen. Bob Bennett in the primary, says on his website that he'd support rewriting the constitution to put the power of choosing Senators in the hands of the states.

TEA party says the constitution is sacred and should not be changed, yet they are voting for candidates who can't wait to tear it apart. We are also seeing many examples of TEA party candidates calling for appeal of the 14th ammendment.

2. Mike Lee (R-UT) another Tea party candidate said he wanted taxpayers, rather than BP, to pay for the oil spill because the low liability cap was part of a “set of settled expectations that you give to a business when it decides to make an investment.” He said this directly to the Salt Lake Tribune, a local UT paper. When questioned if this leaves Taxpayers on the hook, Lee said "WELL YEAH, IT PROBABLY DOES"

Don't take my word for it, hear it in his own words:

Lee is calling for taxpayer bailouts for BP. Not something I believe the Tea party believes in.

Tea party candidate from Colorado Ken Buck called the tea party "dumbasses" His exact quote when he thought he was 'off mic'

"Will you tell those dumbasses at the Tea Party to stop asking questions about birth certificates while I'm on the camera," Buck said to the worker while laughing. "God, what am I supposed to do?"

Marco Rubio is another very popular TEA party candidate. I've posted comments on several hubs about the amount of waste and corruption this miami lobbyist as been entangled in. According to the pulitzer prize winning politifact website, Rubio's economic policies economic proposals will add $3.5 trillion to the federal deficit

Jaggedfrost profile image

Jaggedfrost 6 years ago Author

@LRC Those revelations and research are very appropriate. It might be observed that repealing amendments aren't the same as changing the fabric of the constitution and it might be observed that some of the amendments infringe and change the nature of politics in Washington to being closer to a Democracy then a Republic but that being said, movements big enough to go that far in altering the fabric of the constitution in any respect are big enough to make other alterations as well.

With all due respect to this caution I have noticed that Progressive candidates have recently desired to turn incidental laws originating from the white house and liberal states and try to codify those actions as parts of the constitution. It seems that both sides of the isle are gripping edges of the constitution and playing tug of war with it. The question then becomes, what are you and I as well as others who are willing to think clearly on such matters to do in order to support the constitution in all of its complexities just as it is?

broussardleslie profile image

broussardleslie 6 years ago

Thank you for such a thorough analysis of the Tea Party. It was just what I was looking for.

Jaggedfrost profile image

Jaggedfrost 6 years ago Author

You are very welcome broussardleslie. Thanks for stopping by and letting these words help you. I am not an idealist in this respect and take a lot of pleasure at standing at the junction of it when I don't feel the great need to choose other then to do what seems me good at any one given moment.

Maryland 2 years ago

Okay I'm coninvced. Let's put it to action.

Yuki 2 years ago

Hi Coffee n tea,I like the story line very much. Most probably, it's a very enanettiring movie. When you mentioned about how Irena trained Tea to fight back the bully in school, you reminded me Jesus' Sermon on the Mount: When some slaps your right cheek, turn and let that person slap your other cheek. (Matt. 5:39) I really followed His instruction when I was a Christian. But I was a very unhappy person at that time. After giving up the Christian faith a number of years ago, I chose to totally avoid all those people I dislike if I can. (Poor little Tea did not have a choice at the school!) Life is too short and time passes us by quickly. I don't want to waste my time to deal with them if I have a choice. To be honest with you, I have become a happier person since then.BbBb

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