Wednesday, July 29, 2020

What happened to the Tea Party?

By William Haupt III | The Center Square

In this June 19, 2013, file photo, Tea Party activists rally in front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington. Photo By J. Scott Applewhite / AP

“This City is what it is because our citizens are what they are.”
– Plato, Motto Tea Party Alliance

The Boston Tea Party in 1773 was more than a mercantile protest by the Sons of Liberty targeting the abusive Tea Act and Townshend Act. Although America strongly opposed the Townshend Act, their rebellion was in response to the continued violation of their rights by the English. As patriots destroyed an entire shipment of East Indian tea that night, they sent a message to the British: They were “mad as hell and refused any future abuse of their natural and God-given rights as free men.”

The Boston Tea Party was one of the most significant events in world history. It was an American resistance movement against the violation of the right to representation during the historic Age of Enlightenment. Enlightenment thinking undermined the authority of the monarchy to exercise total control over the people. It provided the impetus for the revolutions of the 18th century that fostered the principle of the inherent rights of man to self rule. And those rights can’t be violated by anyone.

 Photo: CNBC Radio Show Annotator Rick Santelli

On Feb. 19, 2009, in the wake of numerous government attempts to repair an economy that “it broke itself,” CNBC radio show annotator Rick Santelli set off a powder keg of protests when he told viewers, "We're thinking of having a Chicago Tea Party in July! All you capitalists that want to show up at Lake Michigan, I'm going to start organizing!" 

Within a week, average Americans began forming Tea Party groups around the nation as a result of Santelli's rant. Within months, Tea Party protests consumed America.

“Challenging our leaders is as American as it gets.”
– Rick Santelli

As the President Barack Obama and his liberal Congress continued their assault on the Constitutional and natural God-given rights of average Americans, within two years the Tea Party movement had shifted the entire political equation. Considering Obama had been swept into office with a mandate driven by Black voters to “fundamentally change America.” and given a massive majority in Congress to do it; this proved again that Americans “were as mad as hell and were not going to take abuse any longer.”

The Tea Party movement was a grassroots effort to shrink the federal government to its original Constitutional size. The movement was comprised of groups of concerned citizens who believed America was moving away from its core principles of limited government and democracy. Mark Williams, president of The Tea Party Express, spearheaded opposition to government-run health care and helped Republicans take back the Congress after the passage of Obamacare in 2010.

Tea Partiers were patriotic, religious middle class conservatives. But the left attacked them as right wing extremists. They viewed them as a resistance movement against Obama’s change campaign.

The left and their media condemned them as a race-based patriarchy, angered and outraged over Obama’s ethnicity? Yet over 30 percent of its members were non-white. The left had union members and professional paid agitators disrupt peaceful Tea Party protests against the passage of Obamacare.

Yet after Obama’s second election, the steam quit flowing from the party’s tea pots. They viewed the GOP's Mitt Romney as a booby prize, but felt people would be “mad as hell again” since they lost their health insurance and premiums doubled under Obamacare. But Romney was a wimp compared to media mega messiah Obama, and the Tea Party was left standing at the altar. And membership dwindled as they put their tea pots back in storage. Today, there are few active Tea Party groups in America.

Although many tea partiers came out of hiding claiming responsibility for Trump’s victory, they were most likely drinking cannabis tea. President Trump was elected by the average American who was “mad as hell again” after watching the economy flounder in limbo for four years. They were fed up living under a regime that catered only to identity groups and did nothing for the average American.

From the time Trump threw his hat in the ring, he was castigated by the media and the far left. He is the first president to be impeached before even being elected. He restored America as the leader of the free world. Until the COVID-19 crisis, he had the highest sustained economic growth in history. No other president has had higher minority employment numbers. Yet Trump is tarred and feathered by liberal media and leftists everyday. Why is the Tea Party in hiding when our president needs help the most?

"No matter how good my numbers are, I can’t do anything right.”
– Donald Trump

Ten years after the Tea Party movement began, the House Tea Party Caucus is long gone. So too are almost of all the 87 House Republicans elected in the biggest GOP wave since the 1920s. In a recent telephone survey, Rasmussen found only 8 percent of all voters identify with the Tea Party, and just 10 percent of voters have a favorable opinion of it. Back in 2010, this polling organization found that 39 percent of voters surveyed identified as Tea Party members and 41 percent had a positive opinion of them.

During Trump's first two years, the lack of support from the Tea Party groups cost the GOP control of the House. There was little support from conservative organizations to force House members to actively pursue putting Obamacare out of its misery. There was even less to build a wall to protect America from illegal immigration. Then the GOP lost the House to the socialist left.

“We’ve got lots of lobbyists here. But where's labor, activists, community leaders and voters?”
– Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

The Tea Party was the only faction in the Republican Party that was actually concerned about civil liberties, evidenced by Sen. Rand Paul's efforts to safeguard the Fourth and Fifth Amendments. While the Tea Partiers had a fetish for intransigence over compromise, that would have raised the bar on eventual compromises on policies for the moderates and conservatives. Today, the socialist left is garishly demanding and won’t compromise on anything that doesn’t benefit socialist causes.

Billie Jean King told us, “Victory is fleeting.” Average Americans, not patriotic organizations or Tea Party groups, elected Donald Trump. And most average Americans are not activists or members of organized political groups. They depend on citizen-led political groups to inform and mobilize them when Congress and the president need help with policy and legislation. Yet Tea Parties fell asleep at the wheel of liberty before Trump was elected and can’t be found when he needs their help now.

Obama was chosen by the far left to usher in the era of Democratic Socialism and ration our liberty one new law at a time. They were set to finish the job with Hillary Clinton when Donald Trump flew into Washington on a Leerjet to save us from total self destruction. Yet the Tea Party failed to help him.

“Nobody should ignore the fires around you after a victory, while they still burn.”
 – Rick Santelli

The left is “mad as hell” and the media has helped them beat up Trump and the GOP since he was elected. They are well financed and organized, raging war in precincts and the streets with paid leftist mobs to win the next election. Where is the Tea Party now? If they don’t come out of hiding soon and brew up a potion to rekindle the fires of patriotism, they’ll be nothing more than a line in the first new left history book after next election.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
– Margaret Mead

Contributing Columnist William Haupt III is a retired professional journalist, author, and citizen legislator in California for over 40 years. He got his start working to approve California Proposition 13.