Tea Partiers are at a crossroads -which way?

April 15, 2010 18:07

That will require Tea Partiers — millions of whom have never before been interested in politics — to get involved in both political parties as volunteers, party officials, candidates for elective office, and campaign donors at every level of government.

Examiner Editorial

Today is April 15 — Tax Day — and thus a suitable occasion to assess the Tea Party movement and its prospects. It’s been an amazing year for a spontaneous movement sparked initially to oppose President Obama’s $789 billion economic stimulus plan, nationalization of General Motors and Chrysler, and conversion of the $700 billion Troubled Assets Relief Program for Wall Street into a permanent government bailout fund. The movement then gathered tremendous momentum last summer and expanded as it became clear Obamacare meant a government takeover of private health care. In recent months, it’s often seemed that Obama and Democratic congressional leaders were purposely taunting Tea Partiers by writing 2,000-plus page bills behind closed doors, mocking parliamentary rules designed to insure fairness, and minimizing corruption charges surrounding business-as-usual politicians like House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel.

As a result, the Tea Party movement has in little more than a year become a fulcrum of the center-right majority of Americans who want lower taxes, less bureaucracy, and more transparency and accountability at all levels of authority. Recent surveys by Rasmussen, Gallup and Pew clearly indicate these views are more popular with the general public than are Obama’s major policies. It has also become clear in recent days that the Tea Party movement consists not just of conservative Republicans, but also encompasses Democrats and, especially, political independents. It appears, as was suggested recently by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, that American politics is dividing into two distinct and hostile camps — the 60 to 70 percent who favor limited government, economic freedom and traditional morality at home and American exceptionalism abroad, versus the 30 to 40 percent who want higher taxes and spending in an American version of the European welfare state, not to mention an apologist foreign policy that bows to emerging world powers like China and anybody else with a gripe against the United States.


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