Monday, February 8, 2010

Tea Partiers Should Be Weary of the GOP

The Tea Party movement needs the Republican Party like one needs a shotgun blast to the head. It is that plain and simple.

I say this as someone who has interned for the state GOP and has served in a number of leadership positions in the local party for over 7 years (The entire time I refused to walk a party line--even voting Libertarian in 2008). Needless to say, the party system is geared toward compromise of principles and the creation of governance problems.

The Republican Party, in its current practice, is not committed to liberty, smaller government, or the Constitution. Rather, it is committed to electoral victory regardless of principle. Look no further than the election of Massachusetts liberal Scott Brown for proof. If the Tea Party is truly committed to limited constitutional government, they do not need a partner in the GOP that is not.

Sadly, the very GOP establishment that has forsaken the Constitution and got us into our current mess is now attempting to wed itself with the Tea Party movement--quite successfully I might add. Moreover, I believe that the Tea Party movement represents more than just Republicans; it is made up of a number of dissatisfied voters from a number of different backgrounds. But if there is not a concerted effort to fight this partisan influence and stand firm on principle, the Tea Party will fail.

Now is not the time for compromise in order to win elections. Electing more of the same will not reverse the tides; it'll merely provide us with a fresh set of actors.

Sarah Palin's speech at the Tea Party Convention showed that her concern is with furthering Republican politics and her own ambition, not with restoration of liberty in our republic. All this occured while thousands cheered on. Sadly, it appears the Tea Party movement is blind to this move toward co-optation. If the Tea Party wants to merely act as a midterm Republican Convention, then that avenue is open. But if it wants to bring back constitutional government, then it must distance itself from candidates and a party that will not advance liberty. Don't look to the parties as the power structure to be obeyed. Rather, force the parties to look to the grassroots as those with the power and listen to the voice of the people.

If the Tea Party movement refuses to stand on principle and instead caves into the GOP, the party structure will have the upper hand, knowing that they can continue to field neocons and other liberals while counting on the Tea Party's support. May it not be so.

I have seen these co-optation attempts with my own eyes, and I don't like it. This is one Tea Party that needs to keep a close eye on the guest list because to pick party over principle one would have to be as mad as a hatter.

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