Tea Party

My Thoughts On The Tea Party Movement

During much of the course of this year, I’ve been asked by many friends and acquaintances what my thoughts are regarding the Tea Party movement. At first, I didn’t have much of an opinion because I didn’t know much about it. However, as 2010 has moved on–so has the Tea Party movement.

It is almost daily now that we see some news media outlet doing some kind of story about the Tea Party. Whether it’s a story about a Tea Party candidate or a story about the movement itself, we just can’t get away from its popularity.

It is certainly a curious movement with names like Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck having thrust themselves into de-facto leadership roles. The Tea Party movement is passionate, thoughtful, colorful, and often entertaining. While many of us now know so much about the Tea Party, there is still so much we do not know.

In particular, we have seen the effectiveness of this movement across the nation in many of the Republican Primary Elections. Sarah Palin backed Tea Party Candidates have won a great number of primary elections across America, and Tea Party backed candidates have also shown the ability to oust the establishment. However, what we still do not know is how these Tea Party Candidates will fare in the November elections.

General Elections are nothing like primaries–folks on both sides often run toward the center on ideological issues. Having said that, the Independent vote will be crucial this year and if a candidate is unable to court this constituency they’ll be in a lot of trouble! With all the important issues facing Americans right now, speaking about real solutions and presenting a plan may be the difference between winning and losing. In addition, a lot of the races across the country will be decided by overall turn-out. If Democrats can rally their base in some of the close races they’ll pull off some wins–if Republicans can energize their supporters and put a great get-out-the-vote effort on; they have a chance.

As a Republican, I can tell you that much of what the Tea Party stands for I support. As an American I love seeing a new breed of citizen become involved in our political process. As a realist however, I wonder if this movement will in the end accomplish what’s its set out to do…whatever that may be? If you read the many Tea Party websites you’ll see things like…“uphold the Constitution, speak out, stop excessive government spending, return government to the people, etc.”

What I find interesting about the movement is that it’s  generated a huge number of supporters–into the many millions! What they haven’t done is come even close to equaling the numbers of dedicated Republicans and Democrats in this nation. I know Republicans and Democrats that both believe in protecting the Constitution of the United States and making government more efficient. Many of these folks are not members of the Tea Party movement, but still serve to make America a better place to live, work, and raise their families.

In Nevada, we have over 16 independent Tea Party organizations. Many of which have no direct communication with each other–in fact, some of these groups are backing different candidates in legislative and judicial races. If not for websites and social media, you wouldn’t even know some of these groups were linked to the Tea Party. In my opinion what’s most disturbing about the movement is that it lacks a leader. Often we are hearing from multiple individuals that speak in conflict with each other on issues linked to the Tea Party cause.

There are some who argue that the Tea Party represents the little guy, the disenfranchised citizen who just wants the old guard out. It’s true that this grassroots organization has brought some new folks into the political mold–people who have never been involved in politics before. However, what I fear as a Republican is a high jacking of our party! I’m one of those Republicans who believes that we as a party can represent all Americans. I believe that we need to be the party of Lincoln and Ronald Reagan. I believe that we must have a big tent and welcome all Americans regardless of race, religion, or gender into the Republican Party.

Only time will tell how effective this Tea Party movement will be. In November we’ll have an answer and history will be made one way or the other. I can only hope as an American and citizen who cares deeply about this nation that folks make the right decision when they go into the ballot box. The status quo isn’t getting the job done anymore, and we face too many challenges to not put the right individuals into public office.

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Monday, September 20th, 2010 Politics No Comments
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