News & Analysis
Is the Tea Party Waning?
The political class first sat up and paid real attention to the tea-party movement two years ago, when its acolytes in Utah ended the career of Bob Bennett, a venerable Republican senator, by denying him the party's nomination for his re- election bid. If Bob Bennett is not conservative enough, incredulous congressmen asked, who is? One person assumed to have dwelt long and hard on that question is the other, even more venerable Republican senator from Utah, Orrin Hatch, who has been in office since 1977. – The Economist
Dominant Social Theme: It's over now. Let business-as-usual begin.
Free-Market Analysis: This article from the Economist – a full-fledged mainstream mouthpiece – predicts, hopefully, the demise of the Tea Party movement in the US.
But those who run the Economist and hope for world government should be careful of what they wish for. The Tea Party movement was born of frustration with the current system and the idea that it is subsiding is probably a bit off the mark.
This is probably part of a larger dominant social theme – a kind of lulling meme – that as the recession eases in the West, frustrations are lessened and "normal" life resumes. The mechanisms of democratic life prove resilient: The system works.
The article uses Orrin Hatch as an example of this putative return to normalcy. But using a federal senator as an example of any kind of populist trend may not be especially judicious. It assumes that average folks still make their frustrations known through state-mandated channels. Is this true? Here's some more from the article:
On Saturday Mr Hatch survived the test that undid Mr Bennett: he won a ballot for the nomination at the state's Republican convention. Thanks to the local party's complicated procedures, he still has to face a tea-party backed challenger in a primary, to be held in June.
But he has reason to be confident: he came within a whisker of avoiding the primary, falling just 132 votes short of the 60% threshold required to secure the nomination at the convention. Assuming that the primary electorate is less conservative than the die-hard lot who attend the convention, and given Mr Hatch's edge in fund- raising, he will probably prevail in the primary too. And what with Utah's strongly Republican slant, winning the primary more-or-less guarantees re-election.
This muddled outcome puts America's pundits in a quandary. Had Mr Hatch gone down to defeat, the tea party would have been declared alive and well; had Mr Hatch sailed to victory, it would have been declared moribund. Clearly, it is not as potent and unpredictable a force as it was in 2010. Yet Mr Hatch, already towards the tanniny end of the Republican spectrum, has survived thus far by significantly strengthening the brew he serves his constituents. His lifetime rating from the Club for Growth, a conservative pressure group, is 78%—but in 2010 and 2011, he scored 100% and 99% respectively.
Mr Hatch is not the only Republican grandee to have jumped nimbly rightwards. Dick Lugar, an equally venerable (he and Mr Hatch joined the Senate on the same day) and even more embattled Republican senator from Indiana, is breathing an unaccustomed amount of fire these days. Even Olympia Snowe, a moderate Republican senator from Maine who recently declared herself so disgusted with the polarisation of Congress that she is not running for re-election this year, has been inching to the right since 2010.
In typical Economist fashion, this analysis seems to miss the point in our humble view. It is true that the formal Tea Party has been co-opted by Washington GOP bigwigs. But that does not mean that the underlying causation has gone away.
To posit this, one would also need to postulate that people believe the "recession" is really over and that the US as a whole is on a firm foundation. This is questionable, to say the least ...
Libertarian and GOP Congressman Ron Paul, now running for President, perhaps provides us with a better gauge of what's going on in the US. He is producing large crowds wherever he goes, usually younger crowds, as well. His message resonates.
And what message is that? It is a message of freedom and personal responsibility. And it is an anti-war message, as well. Ron Paul stands against Leviathan and wants to bring fiscal solvency back to the republic.
Whether this is practical or not is certainly questionable. But to imply, as the Economist seems to, that the underlying concerns that caused the Tea Party to form in the first place is likely far from reality.
The frustrations and concern that formed the Tea Party are probably in no way assuaged. If the Tea Party is failing as an organized institution, the elites who have helped diminish it might want to remain vigilant.
Conclusion: As these concerns are not alleviated, they may appear elsewhere in other and less controllable forms.
Posted by Bluebird on 04/25/12 03:37 PM
Don't count Ron Paul out just yet. Reports on the Daily Paul say he is gaining delegates that MSM are not reporting. Just because Romney is declared the winner does not make it so. Please don't give up! If the Tea Party needs leadership, become a leader. The "established GOP" is what has taken over the TP, it seems to me. But then I never was part of it, but did share their views.
Posted by Frank on 04/25/12 03:21 PM
As a Tea Party member, I have to agree that at least for this election cycle, the effectiveness of the Tea Party has significantly dissipated... although it will still have some marginal effect. Why? Well, when the Tea Party leaders fail to help unify their members behind the only candidate in either major Party that supports 100% the 3 main Tea Party principles (limited government, fiscal responsibility & free markets... i.e. Ron Paul) it leads to a fractured Tea Party vote & failure is predictable. I realize, the Tea Party is a bottom's up, grassroots organization... but it does need some guidance by the leadership to unify it's strength. Otherwise it's strength is squandered in many different directions and becomes effectively useless in pushing for needed change in government. The corrupt Establishment GOP succeeded once again in pushing down our throats a basically unacceptable RINO candidate to the majority of conservative voters. I expect many conservative voters will either stay home & not vote, or like me vote instead 3rd Party out of protest to RINO Romney. Bottom line: either the GOP reforms itself into a small government, Constitution-loving political party that will soon balance the budget & restore our freedoms or it deserves to go the way of the Whigs & make room for a decent alternative political party to the socialist Democrats. Also: the Tea Party needs better, more unifying leadership.
Posted by gargub on 04/25/12 02:21 PM
As a Utah recovering neocon turned libertarian, having helped remove Bennett and Cannon from office over the last 8 years, I say this article is right on.
I'll add one thing to it. 78% of Latter Day Saints, a majority of Utah citizens, are bent for leather to get Romney elected. Hatch and Romney together on this one may retain Hatch. Both serve the same toxic punch that has even overcome Congressman Chaffetz, unfortunately, as he has joined their team. He was one who helped take our other two clowns out.
From the perspective of tea partyers dissappointed with the results of so many tea party legislators failure to inhibit tyranny the TP division is one of turning back to the establishment and supporting the "secret combination" or supporting men like Ron Paul who will stand by the Constitution and laws of God to crush tyranny and preserve freedom.
It is very unfortunate that the majority of Utah citizens have chosen poorly according to the plain and simple teachings of their Prophets regarding "The Proper Role Of Government" and "The responsibility of every member to diligently seek out and sustain only those with a lifetime of obedience to Gods Law and the Constitution".
As a former Republican delegate I believe the Utah County Republican party corruption and tactics are quite like that of Washington DC.
I will continue to pray for the Saints "awakening to our awaful situation" as they have been commanded to do by every Prophet and scripture for the last few thousand years. This is their third and final opportunity to do so.
Posted by GWBramhall on 04/25/12 01:36 PM
Sorry, victorbarney, but you obviously don't know what it's
like for your horse to have a burr under its saddle, It's
sorta like having a pebble in your shoe that won't stop
hurting until it is removed. So let it be with the Tea
Party. Even if they are not organized and command the
stage as aa active party, their issues remain and they
know the harm that has been done and that inaction is not
a choice if they want to save their country.
Posted by GWBramhall on 04/25/12 01:25 PM
I am hopeful that the Tea Party will rise again as the
election season advances and they prove effective once more
in galvanizing this conservative leaning country to another
rout of the progressive, class warfare mob that has been
renting space in our capital for all too long.
Posted by philitarian on 04/25/12 12:50 PM
Interesting how all the old boys come together at the same time for these memes.
Click to view link
Thanks DB for giving me the thinking tools on how to spot these as they appear across the MSM.
Posted by victorbarney on 04/25/12 12:16 PM
Sorry America, but the Tea Party is a concept long over and basically was all hype led by men in the first place. Men really have less power in world events than even our slaves did here during slavery! Our school systems have been marxist in manifestation since Thomas Dewey and although not great, it surely trained u.s. to be marxist(Anti-Christ) in our ideology really well. That is especially true of our gatherer's(women by their biology & blacks by a combination of biology and choice. Afterall, it still is Lucifer's world, isn't it? Again, just saying... Please also remember I'm speaking about averages not specifics, but women and blacks do make up over 70% of our population. I call that a SUPER-MAJORITY, wouldn't you?