The tea party is not a political party. It’s more of a description of a loose-knit movement of people fed up with government as usual. For sure it seems to spout so-called conservative values, but I imagine a lot of its followers do not necessarily agree with each other on details and, in fact, do not think in details.
But they see the current government as ineffective, or perhaps too effective when it tries to micro-manage human behavior and the conduct of private business.
The economy is in a shambles, taxes are too high (even if we are told they have come down), the national debt spirals further and further out of control even as the public is made to feel shamed because of its profligate ways with the credit cards and mortgages and other forms of borrowing.
The sad part is that the tea party has no plan. Even if it got a whole new slate into office it would likely soon see that the new slate will not have the answers and will not be able to agree with each other.
The tea party will also find that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely — and did I get that right?
But tea party standard bearer and Republican Kentucky U.S. Senate candidate Rand Paul — the real maverick it turns out — with his libertarian-type ideas is at least a breath of fresh air, even if some of what he comes up with sounds a bit outrageous.
Maybe if we put the libertarians in charge we could start all over again.
In an article I read in the Saturday Wall Street Journal, Paul was quoted as saying that the country essentially moved to the socialist way of doing things after 1937 (FDR era). But that same article quoted a spokesman for the libertarian Cato Institute as saying people, to include modern libertarians, have come to take some form of government environmental (water) and consumer safety (children’s toys) protections and civil rights for granted and would not want to return to the pre-1937 world. What professors (on the right and left) argue and how people really live or want to live are two different things.
So even if the electorate were to follow Paul’s libertarianism, they might eventually realize they did not all grow up to be doctors living off the bills their patients pay via Medicare (the dreaded socialism). They might decide they need things from government and they would throw out the libertarians or ultra conservatives.
Personally I like middle of the road with a dose of libertarianism, particularly when it comes to personal freedom.
But no one seems to get excited by middle of the road. I think New York times columnist David Brooks said something like moderates have failed to have their own agenda so they’ve forced themselves into siding with the right or left. (That’s why there is no such thing as a Republican moderate. The last one (Arlen Specter) turned Democrat and got canned.
I don‘t know if we‘ve had a liberal president since Franklin Roosevelt — well I guess LBJ with his Great Society welfare programs — but Barack Obama will do for now, even though he seems in so many ways to be centrist. I’m not sure we’ve had a true conservative either. Ronald Reagan is said to have been (but not really), and the Bushes tried to be (but I don’t think it was really in their hearts).
But those whom I said were not really conservative voted or worked against a lot of liberal stuff just so they wouldn’t be tagged liberal (something akin to being called communist or socialist).
But once the electorate has had its fill of what it perceives as liberalism and then goes to the opposite extreme and finds that does not work either, the only thing left will be middle of the road.
Was Republican President Dwight Eisenhower middle of the road? Let’s go back to the 50s (unless you are black, or homosexual, or a woman who wants working at the kitchen stove to be an option rather than a foregone conclusion).
But seriously. We need an Eisenhower-like figure at the top and maybe even going down the ladder too. Maybe I mean centrist or maybe I mean statesmanlike or maybe I just mean people who are not too obviously full of themselves and not just out for fame or fortune or just to do the bidding of elite cronies (Reagan? the Bushes?), but who are leaders nonetheless.
I heard Rand Paul say in an interview that he was not really the libertarian his Dad is, but from what I have heard him say he seems to believe is some form of libertarianism. And his dad, Ron Paul, although officially a Republican, is Mr. Libertarian.
I’m fascinated with libertarians because while being conservative is fiscal matters and matters of private property, unlike conventional American conservatives, they don’t want to regulate personal behavior and fight foreign wars. But the way Rand Paul reads it, they don’t want government to bug BP for ruining the ecosystem and causing economic havoc. And he also thinks a private business should be able to discriminate. Actually I could see his point to a degree on that one. If I ran, say, a restaurant and I felt a person or persons might cause trouble or upset my regular clientele, I might want to discriminate. But it is not practical in a free society as most envision it today to carry on that way. And I recall that a good number of Republicans voted against the 1964 Civil Rights bill (yes, I realize Rand Paul seems to say he supports the act — just not its outcome??). The Party of Lincoln (Republican) who freed the slaves had found it politically expedient by the 1960s to side with those who wanted a right to not serve blacks (or negroes as they called them then).
But as usual, I digress.
To the extent I have regular followers of this blog, a guilty conscience compels me to admit I failed to use or heed my spell check and mangled the word ophthalmologist in a recent post. Hopefully I’ll remember how to spell that word from now on, or at least to look it up.
Since the tea party is not a formal organization (although I guess there are some formalized local groups here and there) I’m having a hard time figuring out whether to capitalize it as a proper noun, as in Tea Party, or lower case it as a common noun, as in tea party. I would think the tea party movement would be lower case, but if it becomes a formal organization or some type of recognized political force (which it might be) it would be Tea Party — what do you think?