I have always said that the Tea Party was something of a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde kind of thing. After all, when the Tea Party movement began it appealed to what I think was a broad cross-section of everyday Americans all over the country. What was not to like? People finally decided that enough was enough and they wanted their voices to be heard by deaf politicians in Washington DC! As such I don't think that the original intent of the Tea Party was wrong. Somehow though, the populist movement never fully developed into what it could (or should) have become.
Maybe that is why the Democrats had written off so many of the regional movements as nothing more than the usual discontent that they have heard before. Republicans, especially those on the extreme fringes, sensed an opportunity and seized it and even wound up reshaping its core. So from a tactical standpoint, I must admit that it was pretty amazing how quickly these regional movements were quickly consolidated into the force that they seem to have become.
Still, if the intent of the "original" Tea Party Movement was to take back government for the Average American (a.k.a. the Little Guy), then the current Tea Party version falls way short of that ideal. Then again, I suppose that the reason the GOP hijacked the Tea Party in the first place was to avoid doing so. But I do believe that the original movement was far more inclusive and would have succeeded. But what the heck, a lot of people wised-up and walked away when it became clear what the agenda was. it is a shame, though, because Average Americans were now shut out from the very movement they had helped spark.
You know, it was not an accident that the Tea Party candidates presented themselves as being populist during the run-up to the 2010 Midterms. However, there is not a single candidate who won among them that could ever be considered as being a champion of the average person. Especially when you start looking at their finances and/or political alliances. Personally, I believe that anyone who supports the Tea Party - has in effect made a choice to support the same old stale policies that the GOP have given us for decades, except perhaps more radical. Let's face it - Republicanism is not about being populist, it is about protecting wealth.
But since the Tea Party has chosen to identify itself with a very important event in American History, it may just be the ideal time to call them out on what that meant. I mean, what was the Boston Tea Party all about anyhow? Wasn't the Boston Tea Party about the Colonists opposing a corrupt British Monarchy who was protecting business interests instead of the colonists? Few historians could dispute the fact that the East India Tea Company was one of the largest companies in the world at that time and that they exerted a considerable amount of influence over the Monarchy. So you see - it was the the East India Tea Company who convinced the British Crown that a Tea Tax on the colonists was somehow in Britain's best interests. Naturally, the colonists saw it for what it was - "corporate greed!"
In spite of that popular uprising contributing to the American Revolution and ending the tyrannical grip upon us - little has changed throughout our history. Greed is an all-powerful thing, you know? Industrialists and robber barons have run roughshod over everyday folks ever since. The classic struggle of the poor against the rich is, it seems, a never-ending battle.
However, as I reflect back on the 2010 Mid-Term elections, it angers me that the deception becomes more and more nefarious. Tea Party Candidate or GOP Candidate? No difference. They are one and the same with the only exception being one group is more fanatical than the other. But don't think the Democrats are off the hook either, because they aren't. Both sides of the aisle have prostituted themselves to Corporate America and their unending greed.
If we are to judge though, Tea party candidates have made a habit of shooting off their collective mouths as being something that they aren't. The candidates who were elected under the Tea Party banner promised us all that they would go back to Washington and do the peoples work. Unfortunately, those promises have not materialized. Instead, we have been given a higher level of angst and gridlock. I do not consider their actions, thus far, as giving us government "of and for the people."
Clearly, the Tea Party Caucus is hell bent on perpetuating the GOP Status Quo. Although I am not in favor of more taxes, we must be smart enough to know that if we are to get out of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression - we need more revenues. But, instead of sitting down at the table of compromise and considering common sense tax increases for the wealthiest Americans and Corporations, they continue to steadfastly refuse. Their argument constantly centers on not punishing the job creators - yet no significant jobs have been created nor are they on the horizon.
The fact that Grover Norquist has been able to extract an "iron-clad, ideologue pledge of no tax increases," from some 200 or so lawmakers, should tell Americans everything they need to know about the Tea Party agenda. Maybe it is time to take that seriously? I am not sure how you all feel about Grover Norquist, but this is a man who has never had to worry a day in his life about earning a living. I guess it is tough being born with a silver spoon in your mouth and inheriting the Poleroid fortune. But hey - I get it. However, by ensuring opposition to taxation across-the-board, Norquist and his ATR Lobby just perpetuates the widening gap between the country's rich and poor.
Even though Grover Norquist is considered the architect of this "No Tax Pledge," he isn't the only one who strongly advocates it. The Tea Party has the support of many other wealthy people. You know, people like Dick Armey and the Koch Brothers? I am sure most of you would agree with me that not one of them would ever be confused with ever being "protectors of the little guy." And that goes for the rest of the Tea Party Caucus too.
Sadly, the three front-running GOP declared candidates for president are all embracing the "screw the Average Joe" mantra. Naturally, the most hypocritical of the three is Michele Bachmann, who has been one of the most vocal when it comes to government bailouts and subsidies, but evidently doesn't mind so much when she pockets them. Thankfully she has fallen to third in the latest polls, but don't kid yourselves - Rick Perry and Mitt Romney can't be considered being friends of the people either.
Now, I don't know if we have enough time for a Moderate candidate to emerge and change the GOP dynamics for 2012, but I am still hoping for a miracle. As it stands I couldn't vote for any of the Tea Party supported or Mainstream GOP front-runners. I also know this much - if Americans buy any of the garbage these three are selling - then they will be clearly ignoring their history lessons.
And if that's the case - then shame on them.