News & Analysis
The Tea Party is Process, Not an Episode
Sen. Brown: Forget ‘itty-bitty' R at end of name ... U.S. Sen. Scott Brown (left) said this morning he'll take part in the bipartisan seating at President Obama's State of the Union address, urging that people need to move past the "itty-bitty letter" signifying he's a Republican at the end of his name. "I'll sit where ever they put me. I don't care," Brown said at the Martin Luther King Jr. breakfast in Boston. "That's the type of attitude we need to have not only in Washington but here in our local political system where people need to forget about the little itty-bitty letter behind my name and other people's names and just kind of get going and get our jobs going and do what's best for this state and this country." U.S. Sen. Mark Udall (D-Col.) suggested senators sit together for Obama's annual address on Jan. 25 as a symbolic act to tamp down the bitter political fighting between the two parties. – Boston Herald
Dominant Social Theme: Can't we all just get along?
Free-Market Analysis: Senator Scott Brown soared like a comet in the US political firmament. He was the unexpected Republican victor in a contest for the "Kennedy" seat in Massachusetts after famous Senator Ted Kennedy passed on due to a brain tumor. Brown paid homage to Tea Party support but once in Washington he declared himself his own man and has been pursuing his own vision of the office ever since (see article excerpt above).
This points out a larger difficulty from the perspective of those who are hoping to prune the American Leviathan: Politicians are under no obligation to honor their campaign promises, or, in fact, any of their rhetoric. They can always claim – once they are elected – that the realities of governing make some of their more radical stances impractical.
The new American Congress features a sizeable Republican majority in the House, and the 70 or so new members were elected in large part based on disgust with the over-legislating of the previous Congress. Many of these members were apparently choices of the American Tea Party movement and benefited from enthusiastic support of those who want to shrink the federal government.
Scott Brown's campaign benefitted from Tea Party donations from across the country, and expectations that he would that he would reduce the scope and ambition of government. But once in the Senate, he has simply asserted that the Republican/Democratic divide is not necessarily an obstacle for him. In fact, he proved it by voting for both the Wall Street reform bill and controversial health care legislation that further nationalized medical treatment.
The next controversial piece of legislation in Congress will deal with increasing the nation's debt limit. One would suppose that the Republican party, including those newly elected in the House and Senate, would be opposed to increasing the amount the nation can borrow once again. But this does not seem to be the case, as noted yesterday in an article posted at World Net Daily by editor Joseph Farrah:
Why you can't trust 'fiscal conservatives' ... I'm beginning to believe the term "fiscal conservative" is an oxymoron. As long as I have been reporting and commenting on politics (which is a long, long time), I have noticed that those promoting themselves as "fiscal conservatives" are always among the first to call for retreat on economic issues. Ever since I became conscious of the term "fiscal conservative," I've seen this phenomenon. And I'm seeing it today more than ever – on steroids, as they say.
Let me give you an example. There is a quiet movement afoot ... Certain movers and shakers inside the Beltway – "fiscal conservatives" all – are actively promoting the idea to Republican lawmakers that they should increase the debt limit, as Barack Obama and the Democrats will be requesting. The rationale they give is the following: "We'll tie big cuts in the budget to raising the debt limit."
They'll say this like it's a new idea, when, in fact, it's a very old idea that has never worked in the past. Quite simply, the steep budget cuts never come – and we continue to add an ever-increasing mountain of debt ... Who is promoting such wacky ideas? Who are these unnamed con-conspirators? Who are the "fiscal conservatives" about to betray fiscal conservatism once again?
Farah provides three examples of his thesis. The first, he writes, is Grover Norquist, the president of Americans for Tax Reform. Norquist, an influential lobbyist, has already called FOR raising the debt ceiling. This is not a fiscally conservative position. He cites Dick Morris, whom he describes as "Fox News' favorite expert on everything political." Morris, he claims, holds views similar to Norquist's and the two men, Farrah reports, are doing a sort of "road show" together, meeting with various conservatives to try to convince them of the merits of their position.
Finally, there is Republican Sen. Rand Paul, son of the famous libertarian Congressman Ron Paul (R-Tex). Rand Paul, too, is willing to vote for raising the debt limit in return for a commitment to move the nation toward a balanced budget.
We have had our doubts regarding Rand Paul from nearly the beginning of his campaign. On a number of free-market issues he seemed either wobbly or non-committal and we wrote several articles about his campaign and his positions as follows:
Our fears regarding Rand Paul seem to be confirmed by his recent efforts to set up a Tea Party caucus in the US Senate. The caucus is to hold its first meeting on January 27 and Rand Paul's effort is being replicated in the House by the outspoken Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.). The trouble with a Tea Party caucus, of course, is that it tends to concretize what cannot easily be reduced to pat, political positions. The Tea Party movement is an inchoate one that emphasizes significant government reduction, especially at the federal level. Policy positions and political horse-trading may not produce the kind of fundamental change that many Americans seem to want.
There are of course several Tea Parties in the US; it began as a libertarian movement in response to Ron Paul's presidential candicacy and was both anti-war and anti- socialist. But over time, power brokers have realigned the message, turning the Tea Party message into something more palatable to the mainstream Republican party. Version 2.0 of the Tea Party is "patriotic,' even pro-war and far more practical when it comes to the kinds of down-sizing that can be accomplished as regards the federal government.
Yes, the powers-that-be have already tried their best to solidify the positions of various Tea Party movements in order to control their supporters' aspirations. Ultimately, however, turning the spontaneous eruption of the Tea Party into a subsidiary of the American Right is probably not going to work very well. Politicians with even as pure a pedigree as libertarian-conservative Rand Paul are apt to get swept up in Washington's seductive atmosphere and end up accommodating business as usual; meanwhile the anger that supported the movement initially remains and is not addressed at a fundamental level.
The anti-government sentiment that grips America currently has been building for decades and has been further facilitated by the truth-telling of the Internet, which was midwife to the Tea Party movement. While the media currently treats the Tea Party as a political entity, it is not. It is an angry sentiment that is borne of the failures of the domestic US economy (see other article, this issue), the burden of 1,000 overseas mllitary bases and an increasingly clear understanding of the central-banking mechanics of modern America.
Conclusion: Like the Internet itself, the Tea Party is a process not an episode. Trying to capture its dynamics in a caucus or a formal movement is like trying to catch lightning in a bottle. But in our view its incandescence will only burn more brightly unless the underlying issues that fuel it are addressed. A caucus is beside the point.
Posted by Don The RkyMtn Gnome on 01/19/11 01:39 AM
I would thank the "Honorable" Senator Brown for preemptive betrayal of the Tea Party, only he didn't have the Tea Party's best interest in mind when he did it. Brown encourages growth of alternative political parties by exposing the existential Hegelian Dialectic hazards of America's two party system.
Posted by EDD on 01/19/11 07:28 AM
Well put, two party system, steering committee, and like a flat tire (on front end of American cars drivers side), always pulling to the left.
Posted by Edward Parise on 01/19/11 08:14 AM
I sent that deceitful, phony itty-bitty (R) Brown money during his campaign. I want my money back, dammit! Is he somehow related to Rodney King of LA fame---you know, "Why can't we all just get along"?
Reply from The Daily Bell
Posted by Iddy on 01/19/11 08:24 AM
Further consolidation into one party is the goal.
Aww.. it's nice that the red and blue wanna sit together for the big dance.
What a testimony...to forced integration.
The thugs can come and sweep you off the street but make sure you talk nice;)
I also see now after the shooting in Arizona the talk is now how are we gonna go out in the street and force people into "therapy".
Oh boy I can see it now, finally I can call the "authorities' on the kooky neighbor.
Posted by Bluebird on 01/19/11 08:43 AM
Keep up the good work Daily Bell. You do such an excellent job analyzing these issues.
I am not part of any group. I registered Independent so I could vote on one thing-to get rid of the murderers who support abortion.These representatives all say what the public wants to hear, but most of them are only interested in putting their hand in the till.
I have long believed that the issues that come up are instigated by the PE. When the PE has their eye on another war, they allow GOP to prevail. When they want more socialists programs, they put Dems on top. All else is just hot air.
The Tea Party may have started out in truth with angry Americans, but it has become just another controlling issue, like the anger over the mosque which all of a sudden died, etc. The health care repeal noise is just trying to make it look like they are doing something for us. Of course it will amount to zero. Bags of wind-all of them.
I look forward to total collapse. Perhaps then we may become free of some of these dictators. At least their naked faces will be shining for what they really are.
As for me, I am going to try to wean myself off of the addiction I have developed for your truth telling. I will quit reading news reports also. It has become too depressing. With my son's leukemia taking a turn for the worse and my mother on her deathbed, I just can't deal with it any more. I need a break. Keep shining the light! I love you elves and fellow feedbackers!
Reply from The Daily Bell
Sorry to hear. Please don't give up.
Posted by John Danforth on 01/19/11 09:44 AM
I think the Daily Bell is correct.
A lot of people thought the Tea Party was a way to throw out Democrats. Or a way to get Republicans 'in power'. The news media is unanimous in framing everything this way, gleefully taking potshots at the 'other side' with the expectation of 'business as usual'.
What they are going to learn is that the Tea Party is a seething cauldron of white-hot anger at a system that destroys their ability to live. If the 'Tea Party' candidates give in on the debt issue, the anger will be multiplied ten-fold.
Having twice swindled peoples' trust, that will be the end of credibility for the Leviathan system and the meme of justice via the ballot box. What will come next? Widespread refusal to comply, starving the beast?
These people are walking, breathing manifestations of the underlying issues spelled out in Spooner's thesis here;
Click to view link
Sorry to be repetitive, the link is posted again for the last time in case anyone missed it the first few times. It's a Must Read.
P.S. @Bluebird, it saddens me to hear of your trouble. Use your strength where it is needed, and gain it from where you can. Know that you have allies here who return your love, and who wish there were a way to comfort you but can only offer understanding and encouragement.
Posted by Robin OC on 01/19/11 10:04 AM
That itty-bitty letter is what's telling you what the people want. You are supposed to do what the people want, not make decisions on your own about what is best for the country. That is what Nancy Pelosi thinks, and she is now elsewhere. Where are the impeachment papers?
Posted by Joel Jacobson on 01/19/11 10:09 AM
Scott Brown is a politician, and lest you not forget, a politicians ONLY job is to ramain a politician. ALL of them, no matter what party, are out for themselves. They could care less about us. The only thing the Nov. elections changed is that there is a new group of crooks, cheats and liars in Washinton, DC.
I live in "Assachusetts", and voted for him, because his opponent was a Nobama robot. So what difference has the election made? None that I can see. Brown is just another political hack, out for himself. So if voting brings no change, why even vote?
Posted by Don The RkyMtn Gnome on 01/19/11 10:31 AM
Ecckes 1:18 For in much wisdom is much grief, And he who increases knowledge increases sorrow.
"Deceit: This is a new one. The first casualty of war is truth. Lies, deceptions and misinformation abound in a war situation. Whether we like it or not, we are all involved in a war between government fiat currency and sound money. Governments will not willingly give up their right to create new fiat money. We must expect Governments to fight the introduction of sound money with whatever tools they have, which will include propaganda and misinformation. " Alf Field"
Government deceit constantly attacks my peace of mind. Unfortunately, my need to mitigate my conditioning trumps my need for peace of mind. My remedy includes learning the discipline of detachment, playing the part of the unassimilated Hebrew.
In the end, family always trumps philosophy, even for me. May G-d watch over your son and mother and grant them both a speedy recovery.
Posted by Stateofyou! on 01/19/11 11:03 AM
People should'nt be going'Oooohh there'll be Chaos with 'No government'(translated:mind-control). They are the absolute fomenters of 'it'.Local justice would prevail to-O.We do'nt need people getting huge sums for changing goal-posts & coloring the Law.Dismantle all Soul-destroyer corporations.Hands outta busnesses' & let them prosper & multiply & flourish.Anybody working in the armanents industry should be paid to Stop.
Here in Ireland the sheeple are still oblivious & like bunnies in headlights. Can anybody tell me the difference in holding up a bank(with no injuries of course) & just plundering it when you control it.
They lock the poor here up for a six-pack of unpaid @ checkout beer.No sitting down & having a smoke & a think neither-Christ they might relax & begin to reflect!! Banned & nothing to do with Health concern.The poor starting to murder each other now over poor housing & Debt & the Laws been changed as a result..
no Juries,wiretaps everywhere,text-snooping ,bugs up your very-arse,billions of laws ,no-warrant sacking of property, & brain obliterating fear spreading controlled media. The whole thing needs to come down & paradoxically they are doing 'just that'.I liked what i saw on Tunisias streets;we need bit of that Spirit though Catchh22 @ same time as they 'want us to'.Thanks DB..we'd be lost without you ;)
Posted by Don The RkyMtn Gnome on 01/19/11 11:05 AM
Forget about repetition, Spooner's classic rant never gets old. At least not with me. :)
Posted by Peter on 01/19/11 11:39 AM
In my view, Rand's actions are sensible. If you do not have a group of people backing you failure is almost guaranteed. Tea Party Caucus might be the instrument for providing that support and backing. Ron Paul has been in Congress for 35 yrs, yet became visible and effective only after organizing support groups in 2007. Why giving up chance of success?
Posted by James B on 01/19/11 11:52 AM
I, as a Tea Party member, suggest senator, that you enjoy your position in the Senate. I do believe it will be short. Betrayal is the most dangerous stance a politician could take-part in. You have revealed your true loyalties and they are not with the American people whom made it posssible for you to be a U.S. Senator. Thank God for elections.
Posted by Ryan on 01/19/11 12:09 PM
The Symbolic Debt Ceiling by Gary North
Click to view link
Posted by James on 01/19/11 12:47 PM
You unfortunates who supported Scott Brown have my condolences. You are not alone. Hell, I voted for Sarah Palin in the Alaska Republican primary to unseat a governor, and then in the general election for governor. I have regretted it more every day since. I know, we must have been giddy, caught up in the rhetoric. Subsequent reality reinforces the idea that politicians will tell any lie (no matter how clumsy) to get in power and stay there. I appreciate the fact that the only state where Palin is less popular than Alaska is Massachusetts.
Posted by REEGJE on 01/19/11 01:13 PM
America has many many problems and one of them is the blame game. Instead of rolling up the sleeves and solve what is wrong, they endlessy debate, who was at fault. And in the meantime the country is going down the drain.
Please check out what this TBTF Pirate of Wall Street is doing
Click to view link
Posted by Reegje on 01/19/11 01:19 PM
Bluebird: I feel the same way, let the whole thing come crashing down.
Posted by Dogwood on 01/19/11 01:19 PM
Just because a few grandmothers of servicemen support our wars, and just because a few politicians turn tail; what does that have to do with a *movement*?
Reply from The Daily Bell
Turn tail? You mean cowardly politicians who do not support the bombing and shooting of women and children in Afghanistan and Pakistan?
Posted by Raymond Simons on 01/19/11 02:10 PM
The Honorable Rand Paul is not attempting to "catch lightning in a bottle" as you so erroneously report. Rather he is making a sincere attempt to gather like minded senators into a sub group of the
U. S. Senate. By doing so they can share experiences and ideas as to how to be the most effective they can possibly be. In other words: Senator Paul is attempting to form them into "The Point of a Spear."
They can't possible win all the battles but as a spear point they can most certainly make changes. A lesson I learned long ago is that one cannot ever completely control any situation but one can always influence every situation to some extent. Senator Paul is simply doing his best to enlarge this influence. In your feeble attempt to discredit the man you support the very enemies of free enterprise you allegedly oppose.
Reply from The Daily Bell
And yet we publish his father's articles. In fact, we have known his father for 20 years. His father came to libertarianism via Rothbard and Rockwell at a time when perhaps 100 people in the country understood human action and free-market thinking.
The father is a true scholar in our opinion, or was. His point of view bubbled up from a soul that resented the manipulations of a banking elite - of all elites, clearly and without compromise. He even ran for president on the Libertarian ticket.
We are not sure what Rand Paul is but thus far we can state clearly he is no Ron Paul.
Posted by John Danforth on 01/19/11 02:23 PM
If Rand Paul votes to increase the debt ceiling, he is toast.
There can be no clearer issue on which to judge betrayal. He was sent there to stop it. Congress is the only branch of government that can stop it. It needs to be stopped now, not equivocated on. Any compromise now hands the statists a triumphant victory and assures a much, much more painful collapse later.
Once he shows his weakness, the victors will gleefully defile him in public and dance in the end zone on every cable channel for weeks over it.
We don't want him to expand his influence. We want him to vote "Hell No!".