Rand Paul, the most popular 2010 Tea Party favorite for U.S. Senate, has endorsed Big Government socialist Willard Mitt Romney. But, if there has ever been a candidate so representative of the opposite of Tea Party principles, that candidate is Willard Romney.
So, in such an endorsement, one can very well conclude that Rand Paul has betrayed that very Tea Party movement that helped to elect him to the U.S. Senate.
Apparently, Party loyalty supersedes principle here.
All that having been noted, it seems to me that Willard Romney’s lure of Rand Paul is yet another example of the Big Government GOP’s co-opting of the Tea Party movement.
But there are other reasons for the Tea Party’s demise, however, some from outside threats, and some self-inflicted.
Throughout 2009 and 2010 the Tea Party movement held many town hall meetings and events, leading up to the 2010 elections in which many Tea Party-endorsed candidates won. Those many town hall meetings and events specifically addressed out-of-control federal spending excesses, the federal budget deficit and the National Debt, and specifically the dreaded ObamaCare that Obama’s Democrats rammed through and passed in March, 2010.
Some people seem to think that Gov. Scott Walker’s win in Wisconsin’s recall attempt was an indication of the strength of the Tea Party. But that contest was specifically to do with out-of-control state and local public union pay, benefits and pensions. The recall did not address federal government employee unions or federal government issues in general.
Some people believe that the Tea Party movement nationally has mainly been working “behind the scenes,” and focusing on state and local issues.
But, as CNN’s Jack Cafferty had pondered, how many Tea Party town hall meetings and events have there been since the 2010 election? I know there have been some. But I have seen almost no coverage on the usual blogs and in talk radio.
And several times now I have heard radio personality Michael Savage ask the same question, and I heard him speculate that one reason why there has been very little Tea Party activity is because of union intimidation tactics. I heard at least one talk show caller say that at some Tea Party events some people were seen taking photos or videos of the license plates of Tea Party attendees’ cars. Savage has repeated that reference several times.
For some reason this doesn’t surprise me. Some unions are known for using intimidation tactics to get what they want from management or to silence opponents. For example, during a 2009 health care town meeting, a black man who merely was trying to sell buttons and Don’t Tread On Me flags was beaten by three men wearing S.E.I.U. shirts and sent to the hospital (more).
Much of the Democrats’ Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. “ObamaCare,” as well as other Obama Administration-led policies in the past three years such as stimulus packages, were written (or waivers have been allowed) to benefit public employee unions, particularly the services unions. These privileges and extravagances that government redistribution-of-wealth schemes offer to government employees are not from the competitive free market in such industries. If the employers of such workers had to pay such largess out of their own pockets and not depend on their government guns pointed at taxpayers, such extravagances probably would not exist. So it should be of no surprise that the beneficiaries of such extravagances, particularly the public employee unions, who are not pressured by competition and the bottom line, may react negatively when their long-enjoyed excesses might be reduced.
If it is true that people were taking photos or videos of Tea Party event attendees’ license plates, one wonders what exactly they might have done with that information. Could this be another reason why there have been so fewer Tea Party events in these two years since the 2010 elections?
Similarly, the National Labor Relations Board’s newer rules include the right of union bosses to collect from employers the names and address of all employees, against employees’ wishes. What other reason for unions to have that information, particularly of non-union employees, but to phone or visit their homes as a means of intimidating people into joining unions?
I wouldn’t be surprised if Michael Savage might be on to something, regarding those Tea Party events. Savage’s ukulele is proving to be quite helpful.
Another possible cause of Tea Party impotence could be the alleged intimidation and stonewalling by the IRS of Tea Party groups attempting to register as non-profits.
According to U.S. Rep. Tom McClintock, a Tea Party group in his district…
tried to register as a non-profit with the IRS. Despite repeated and numerous inquiries, the IRS stonewalled this group for a year and a half, at which time it demanded thousands of pages of documentation – and gave the group less than three weeks to produce it.
The IRS demanded the names of every participant at every meeting held over the last two years, transcripts of every speech given at those meetings, what positions they had taken on issues, the names of their volunteers and donors, and copies of communications they had with elected officials and on and on.
But the demise of the Tea Party also has self-inflicted causes. Throughout this election cycle, there had been quite a few Republicans campaigning to oppose Premier Obama in November. Unfortunately, many amongst the Tea Party movement were mainly attracted to the GOP socialists, social fascists, the ignorant warmongers and the unprincipled flip-floppers, Gingrich, Santorum, Romney, Bachmann, and Cain.
But the Tea Party apparently steered clear of the only genuine conservative Tea Party advocate of truly limited government, Ron Paul. Why? Partly because of ignorance of history, fear, and the arrogance of “American Exceptionalism,” in my opinion.
Regarding the events leading up to 9/11, millions of self-proclaimed conservatives reacted emotionally to Ron Paul’s suggestion that the 9/11 terrorists’ motivations were to do with an intrusive and trespassing U.S. government and military overseas throughout the 1990s. Many people now obediently and unquestionably believe the propaganda that U.S. government bureaucrats have been spoon-feeding them, especially since 9/11. Unfortunately, when they hear Ron Paul criticizing the government’s foreign interventionism and wars of aggression since 1991, too many people emotionally interpret that as criticizing America. That is because so many people ignorantly conflate the government with the country.
So many people now are brainwashed by their years of government-controlled schooling, they believe in the idea of American Exceptionalism. America is “special,” “privileged,” morally superior over other countries or territories, and therefore is “entitled” to seize foreigners’ natural resources, and occupy foreign lands that U.S. government bureaucrats say should be occupied. Republican debate audiences arrogantly booed Ron Paul’s suggestion of applying the Golden Rule to foreign policy. How dare someone suggest that if we wouldn’t want foreign governments invading and occupying our lands, therefore we shouldn’t be invading and occupying foreigners’ lands. The booers favor moral relativism, apparently.
“We are special, and we have a right to occupy and trespass on other peoples’ territories,” the American Exceptionalists might as well declare.
I liken this American Exceptionalism thing to the demands of the Occupy movement, believe it or not. Many of the Occupiers expressed a self-centered belief that they were “special,” they were “privileged” and “entitled” to have the government compel their neighbors (via involuntary taxation) to fund their health care, their education, etc. They, too, have an ignorance, mainly of economics and ethics. And, while they had a right to protest on public property, the Occupiers seemed to proclaim a right to occupy other people’s private property.
The propagandized and fearful, pro-war, militarist American Exceptionalist wing of the Tea Party movement really do not believe in localism, decentralization, and “small government.” They are nationalists who merge their own personal identities with the State, particularly the centralized Leviathan in DC, and its military. Whatever the post-9/11 DC socialists said, the nationalists believed without question.
Instead of supporting the honest conservative Ron Paul, the Tea Party went with the corrupt central planners who co-opted them two years ago, and they decided to go for the socialist, unprincipled, central planning-lover, flip-flopper Willard Romney, pretending that he will reduce the government’s size and intrusiveness.
But just as with many Obama-supporting Democrats, many conservatives and Republicans just cannot seem to grasp that both parties are two sides of the same Big Government, expansionist, anti-liberty coin.
Small government conservatives still have a blind faith in the GOP, despite its constant betrayals and failures. Reagan expanded government and raised taxes, the 1994 Republican Revolution ended up further expanding the federal government, and George W. Bush might as well have been a Democrat.
Conservatives and Tea Partiers still have “Hope for Change,” but it never happens with the Big Government statist GOP.
As Murray Rothbard wrote, about the Left’s accurate vision of the conservatives:
… first, left-liberals, in power, make a Great Leap Forward toward collectivism; then, when, in the course of the political cycle, four or eight years later, conservatives come to power, they of course are horrified at the very idea of repealing anything; they simply slow down the rate of growth of statism, consolidating the previous gains of the Left, and providing a bit of R&R for the next liberal Great Leap Forward. And if you think about it, you will see that this is precisely what every Republican administration has done since the New Deal.
The GOP’s co-opting the Tea Party, union thugs, Soviet-like IRS intimidation tactics, alignments with militarist Big Government neocons – the Tea Party’s chances of surviving in Soviet Amerika were never very good to begin with. But I would suggest that Rand Paul’s endorsement of Willard may have been the final nail in the Tea Party coffin.
But, given that the State itself, as Rothbard suggested, “is a vast engine of institutionalized crime and aggression, the ‘organization of the political means’ to wealth,” it should be of no surprise that so many groups who depend on the power of the State for their very survival would want to shut down or co-opt a movement whose main goal is to reduce the size and power of the Leviathan that empowers and enriches the State’s beneficiaries.
Scott Lazarowitz is a writer and cartoonist. Please visit his blog.
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