During the run-up to November’s 2010 election, I attended some local tea party meetings and spoke to the Winona Tea Party Patriots and to the Rochester Tea Party group. I expressed my conviction that our current government spending is now unconscionable and the amount of our national debt threatens to bring fiscal collapse upon this great nation.
Speaking and mingling with these “Tea Partiers” (at least the variety that inhabits Southeastern Minnesota) made me conclude that they are unanimously united in two convictions. First, they contend that government is way too big in both spending and regulation. Second, they assert that capitalism and free markets are a prerequisite to assure the prosperity of our society. Based on the sound economics of the above points, I was delighted to speak to them.
As the election campaigns developed around the country it became apparent that Tea Partiers didn’t like “establishment” Republicans. These establishment Republicans have been big spenders in their own right; they were never really serious about a smaller Federal government. Frankly, they were not to be trusted and several Tea Partiers defeated incumbent Republicans in the primary elections, going on to be elected to the US Congress. These Tea Party Republicans are not going to sit back and settle for reducing the “growth” of government; they want to reverse that growth and make real declines in government spending.
On FOX news this week a gentleman was interviewed who was a part of a group called “Tea Party Nation”. This man was adamant that in addition to its economic agenda, the Tea Party Movement needs to push a “conservative” social agenda such as opposition to gay marriage, support of pro-life, and exclusion of gays from the military. He even spoke about opposition to the mosque at ground zero as part of the Tea Party platform.
In my opinion if the Tea Party moves from its economic agenda (pro capitalism, small government) and begins to embrace a conservative social agenda, this will be the end of the Tea Party. There are plenty of libertarians, independent, and democratic voters who realize that it is high time that we reign in the size of government. They voted for limited government in the last election. They will not support a Tea Party with a conservative social agenda. That group already exists; it is called the Republican Party and they can’t be trusted with our wallets.
The good news is that this so-called Tea Party Nation (www.teapartynation.com) doesn’t speak for real Tea Partiers. Real Tea Partiers have no leader and no one speaks for them; they are rank and file Americans from all walks of life who want the government out of their pocket and out of their bedrooms. For their own sake, Tea Partiers need to stick to their economic agenda and fight the social agenda with educated discourse, not with government force.
Note: When visiting “Tea Party Nation” at the above website, nearly every link on their home page required that I enter my email address and password. Sorry TPN, this isn’t going to happen. My email address is none of your business. Your website smacks of rigor and control…kind of like the government that you supposedly disdain.