January 31, 2010

Is the Tea Party movement "showing better political judgment than either of the two major political parties"?

Glenn Reynolds seems to think so. Of course, the Tea Party movement doesn't have to do all the things the Republicans and Democrats need to do. It's a lot easier to be appealing when you aren't sitting in any positions of power. It's all free speech and reaction to what other people are doing.

By the way, I wonder how many people think "the Tea Party" is the name of a political party. Right now, you have to refer to "the Tea Party movement" if you want to talk about something more than an individual rally. (I think!) If it actually became a party, would it be the Tea Party Party?

43 comments:

DADvocate said...

The primary objective of the Republican and Democratic parties is self-preservation. Their platforms change to ensure this goal.

Currently, the Tea Party movement isn't as interested in self-preservation as breaking the stranglehold that the insiders of the two major parties have on Washington and having a government that serves the people as it was originally intended. Hopefully, the Tea Party movement can continue on this path and keep self-preservation from being its primary goal.

Treacle said...

they will change their name to something like the "independence party" or something similar. the consultants will demand it.

Robin said...

Now that song, "Don't be tardy to the party" is in my head.

lyssalovelyredhead said...

Our local tea party group has formed a "party" locally, and I'd bet that they are not the only ones doing this locally.

I'm part of the young branch of one of the major parties, locally, and there is a lot of concern that the tea party will branch off and form a third party, splitting the electorate.

Our leadership is really trying to toe the line between "it's a really good thing, people are paying attention, etc" and "this could cause problems if it goes too far."

I realize what I say sounds like "oh, they're just worried about their own self-preservation" (as DADvocate said), but it is more than that (particularly in the young group, I don't think that's as big of an issue). If the electorate is split, anyone who wants to see conservatives in office is in big trouble.

WV: urasion- an abraision, you don't want to know where.

Peter V. Bella said...

The Tea Party movement is part of the new anti-establishment. Some of us remember the anti-establishment. We lived through those times. (Then we grew up.) I would think that people would embrace dissent in this day and age.

In the Sixties the anti-establsihment railed against the powers that be. The establishment then was Democrat- the legislature, the president-LBJ- the Eastern Elitist wealthy and mega-wealthy- most Democrats.

Now, they are not only railing against the Dems, they are going after their own party too. Why all the insults and carrying on? People have a right to seek redress. The Tea Partiers are just using the tactics of the Left. Maybe that is why the are in such a snit of juvenile revulsion.

This is also nothing to sneer at. A number of these so called Tea Partiers are Democrats- dissatisfied with their own party.

Stop and think for one moment. If enough centrist Republican and Democrat voters get together and form a real movement, a powerful third party could emerge.

Remember, many of the leaders of the Democrat Party supported the anti-establishment of the Sixties. They are now in power.

former law student said...

Always easier to kibitz than to accept responsibility. In the words of the greatest mayor ever of the greatest city ever.

"It's easy to criticize. It's easy to find fault. But you tell me what to do. This problem is all over the city. We didn't create these problems. We don't want them. But we are doing what we can. You tell me how to solve them. You give me a program."

sol vason said...

McCain/Feingold and state law makes it absolutely impossible for a third party to place a candidate on the ballot in all 50 states.

The Tea Party movement cannot win at the ballot box. It must rely of the kindness of the 2 official parties.

It is possible that Tea Party movement can use the primary system to place Tea Party loyalists on the ballot as either Republicans or Democrats. But it would be illegal for a mixed group of Tea Party Republicans and Democrats to form a Tea Party Caucus in the House and in the Senate, even if they had a majority, to reorganize these two most august bodies into a legislature that placed America's interests above naked greed and ruthless ambition.

Savannah Place Water Association said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Freeman Hunt said...

They don't need a party. They can just be a voting bloc that sides with fiscal conservatism.

traditionalguy said...

A movement can attract an energised crowd to hear inspiring speakers that are not speaking at traditionally organised groups meetings. Then the inspiring speakers will want to establish a traditional party just like the older one. Human leaders are career, income security and status conscious. Human attenders are not satisfied with the movement's inspiring speakers over and over anymore than they are with seeing the same football game played over and over again. Yet we want some stability with innovation offered to us, like a Mcdonald's restaurant chain with a new burger variation added every so often.

Martha said...

In related news, James O'Keefe is being called the "TeaBugger" which is undoubtedly better than being called a "TeaBagger".

victoria said...

Former law student, you have it right. It is easy to do a cry, cry, cry, we're mad and we're not going to take it anymore, but there is no positive energy to back it up. No move to make solutions, only create more problems.


It is easy to be a Glenn Beck, primping,posturing and criticizing. It is more difficult and requires more brain power to actually think of solutions.

The tea party movement, in my mind, is a tempest in a teapot. (a funny from Vicki)

Vicki from Pasadena

John Lynch said...

It's a Republican movement. I know they like to say they are independent, but if you won't vote for Democrats then you're not.

The Tea Party people support specific Republican candidates over others. That's the mark of a pressure group. Nothing wrong with that, but the rhetoric that this is some sort of independent movement doesn't match up with reality.

Freeman Hunt said...

I think the complaints that these people have no solutions are empty complaints.

They are specifically asking for spending to be cut and taxes to be reduced. They hate taxpayer dollars being used for political bribes. They hated the bailouts and the stimulus packages. They want the government to leave more of the economy alone, and they do not want its reach extended into more of the economy.

They want people to be left alone to solve their own problems and do not want government intervention.

That is a solution.

Freeman Hunt said...

John, I think they would vote for a Democrat if the Democrat happened to be more fiscally conservative than the Republican.

I went to several local Tea Party protests. I've seen the pictures of others. I didn't see any signs advocating for social conservatism or social liberalism. Everything I saw centered on fiscal conservatism.

(That doesn't mean that there were no signs at all about social issues, only that they must have been fairly rare.)

MaggotAtBroad&Wall said...

I think the Tea Partiers represent an emerging ideology, kinda like the Neo-Conservatives did several years ago.

Along that line, I think the Tea Partiers should adopt the term "Neo-Constitutionalists" to describe this "new" ideology.

The phrase implies tradtional patriotism and it's very easy to understand what it is they are about.

John Lynch said...

Freeman Hunt-

I'll believe it when I see it.

The NRA is a successful nonpartisan organization. They will endorse Democrats. Sometimes they will endorse both major party candidates. The Tea Party doesn't act like that, yet. I don't know if it could, since it's not even an organization.

kcom said...

Hey Martha, Retracto the Correction Alpaca would probably take exception to that. As he is currently in the process of pointing out to numerous news organizations, there is no basis for the claim that James O'Keefe was trying to bug anyone.

Freeman Hunt said...

John, it might take a while. First you have to find a race where the Democrat is more fiscally conservative than the Republican...

AJ Lynch said...

TEA = Taxed Enough Already, or in the words of Freeman Hunt, give me Fiscal Conservatism.

Americans can beat the drum with this short but sweet message for another 20-30 years because it is a winning message.

What do the Dems or the Beltway Reps have to beat it? Obama's message seems to be "Washington is the problem so I want to have Washington take over more and more stuff". Do you think Obama really reads what he says?

[Hattip to Mark Steyn for the Obama quote- it is not an exact quote btw].

Pogo said...

"You tell me how to solve them. You give me a program."

Which is exactly th problem, fls. The Statists, whether GOP or Democrat, see a gummint 'program' as the solution to every problem.

The answer, as Freeman Hunt said, is fiscal conservatism. Get gummint much much smaller and the hell outta the way.

LarsPorsena said...

"...It is easy to do a cry, cry, cry, we're mad and we're not going to take it anymore, but there is no positive energy to back it up. No move to make solutions, only create more problems."

The first "solution" is to replace the party in power.

dave in boca said...

Remember, many of the leaders of the Democrat Party supported the anti-establishment of the Sixties. They are now in power.
I did my small part in that anti-establishment binge by working on Gene McCarthy's National Staff in '68. Now I find that my colleagues [John Podesta, e.g.] are now as corrupt and entrenched as the LBJ/JFK crowd was in the Sixties---[Bobby K. was Sen. Joe McCarthy's Chief of Staff, then morphed into a Leftist icon almost instantly]!

Even in my dotage, I'm helping a bit with the Taxed Enough Already Movement.

John Lynch said...

It's not a primal scream, nihilist movement. That's a mischaracterization. There is a coherent program there.

Less spending, less taxes, no more bailouts, no national health care. Just because these are negatives does not meant that they aren't legitimate demands. Why can't Americans say "no?" Was the antiwar movement nihilist?

I'm still not a fan of street protest, but now that this movement seems to be able to win elections it deserves a bit more respect. That's what matters.

Pogo said...

"Even in my dotage, I'm helping a bit with the Taxed Enough Already Movement."

Congrats.


There needs to be a 12 Step program for disaffected statists.

"Hi, I'm Pogo, and I was a utopian collectivist".

All: Hi, Pogo!"

Bob_R said...

The Tea Party Movement is essentially a protest movement. There have been a lot of these in US history - some with more effect than others. It is a way to give a constituency visibility between election cycles. It keeps politicians feet to the fire. It lets those in agreement know they are not alone - providing a feedback loop. It can be against a government action - anti-war, pro-choice, anti-tax. It can be for a government action - abolition, prohibition, anti-abortion. But essentially they are fairly narrow protests of the status quo.

The Tea Party Movement has already had a big effect. No health care bill. No cap and trade. Bet we don't see another round of auto bailouts. They played a role in all of this.

The abolitionist are the only protesters to form a long term political party in the US. Their most likely effect is to give the least statest elements in each party a little more credibility. (Is Jim Webb feeling the itch?)

James H said...

I have never thought the Tea party Movement would become a viable third party

Now though I am not a Tea Party person I welcome this. I think on the whole it is good. People that rant against the two party system miss the point. A Third Party will not cure ills. The problem is lack of involvement at the local level.

Some thoughts.

I am not threatened by this. If the Tea parties can do it then I expect others will form factions to get their people in. WIN WIN and the big winner being Democracy .

The same thing can happen in the DEM party (put in your group)

Republican said...

The tea-tards are not organized enough to be a "movement".

A majority of those wanting to lead, are doing so from a position of turning a quick buck, building a career as a pundit, and so forth.

The idealists have been forced away by the opportunists.

The movement won't happen because it is not going to grow much more than what it is now.

To grow into a third party means competing with the Libertarians, Greens, Constitution, Republican and Democrat Parties.

The leadership of the faux Tea-tard movement are no closer to being conservative than they are liberal.

Ick.

Harsh Pencil said...

It's just dumb politics to start a third party. The major parties have set up huge walls to protect themselves from third parties, while at the same time enacting little or no protection against being taken over from within. Ronal Reagan took over the Republican Party against the wishes of the Republican insiders.

So the obvious optimal strategy for tea partiers is to invade and take over the Republican party and brand themselves as either New Republicans or Tea Party Republicans or anything to differentiate themselves in the eyes of independents from the old republicans.

PJ said...

Republican said...
The tea-tards are not organized enough to be a "movement".


Hi Moby! Thanks, that's such an improvement over
"-baggers." You stay persuasive!

wv: "peche," flopping about

LonewackoDotCom said...

Anyone - such as Reynolds - who tries to say that the "partiers" are just about limited government is trying to fool you: their leaders - such as Reynolds - believe in fringe ideas like objectivism and libertarianism. If you want either of those, there's an organized party for you, and in CA in 2004 it got 0.4% of the vote.

For the facts about the "parties", see my extensive coverage.

And, before anyone follows him off the cliff, see my Glenn Reynolds coverage.

That last link doesn't include two rather curious incidents where comments I left on polls on his site were followed by childish adhoms, both coming from Knoxville including one from his university.

I'm sure Reynolds will help me track down the real commenter!

Beth said...

Reynolds is invested in that movement, from day one. He'll always respond in positive terms.

dick said...

Beth,

Does that mean that he is wrong? Seems to me that what they are advocating makes a lot more sense than Zero's program does.

AJ Lynch said...

Reynolds actually predicted, in a way,the rise of Tea Party type movements in his book, An Army Of Davids.

He has a right to act like he was right because he was.

Celia Hayes said...

I'm involved with a metropolitan tea party organization - besides fiscal responsibility, and being strict constitutionalists - we're pushing for people to be involved politically. Third party is kind of a non-issue: what we're going for is working from the inside and from the ground up. And candidates running for office (many of them for the first or second time) are sitting up and paying attention. We had an open meeting last week, and something like 17 or 18 candidates (or their reps) came to introduce themselves, and talk to potential voters.
It's not spectacular, like a protest event. It's actually kinda boring, and this doesn't show up so much in traditional media.
I'm betting that Scott Brown in Massachusetts is just a foretaste of November, 2010. YMMV, of course

Kirk Parker said...

John Lynch,

I was going to point out the NRA as a model, but you beat me to it.

So instead I'll issue a correction: the NRA does not endorse anyone. Instead, they offer ratings. This is a good system, and it's part of how they maintain their non-partisanship: if both candidates in a race are equally good (or bad) on the issues the NRA cares about, then they'll both have equal ratings from the NRA. Sorry voters, you'll have to make your decision on some other basis in that case.

Peter V. Bella said...

McCain/Feingold and state law makes it absolutely impossible for a third party to place a candidate on the ballot in all 50 states.

Hopefully the SCOTUS will overturn McCain-Feingold, another abomination.

LonewackoDotCom said...

This is your brain on tea. Click the Shrugs link: it gets even worse.

P.S. Before the election, I spent several hours trying to get others interested in Obama's published plan to use kids 12 and under to get votes and I got absolutely no help.

The Counterfactualist said...

Glenn Reynolds may be correct that the Tea Party movement is gaining steam, but he’s wrong if he thinks the Contract From America is a successful grass-roots Army of Davids style effort.

The policy options are slanted toward wrecking Obama’s agenda rather than fiscal responsibility in general. I would like to see a bootom-up libertarian Contract From America that targets bad governance across the board rather than legislation that the Obama administration passed.

And, yes, I am aware you can offer your own suggestions.

The Counterfactualist said...

I went to several local Tea Party protests. I've seen the pictures of others. I didn't see any signs advocating for social conservatism or social liberalism. Everything I saw centered on fiscal conservatism.

This, I think, is great. If the Republican Party were overtaken by libertarians who put aside social issues and focused on fiscal responsibility, American competitiveness, and economic sustainability, we'd have a far better public discourse than we have today.

former law student said...

They are specifically asking for spending to be cut and taxes to be reduced.

Where specifically would they make the cuts?

Please let them not fall back into the old Republican borrow and spend trap -- that every GOP president since Reagan fell into.

former law student said...

libertarians who put aside social issues and focused on fiscal responsibility, American competitiveness, and economic sustainability

Libertarians don't give a fig about American competitiveness. They, like Sarah Palin, have no compunction about investing their money overseas.

Peter V. Bella said...
This comment has been removed by the author.