I don’t know what to think about this Tea Party movement. The most rabid will tell you it’s about fiscal conservatism, about the government spending us all into the poor house for decades to come. Hey, that part might actually be true. But if that’s the main concern, you’d think the movement would have found traction a couple of years ago, instead of immediately following the election of a Democratic president.
No sane person could accuse Barack Obama of putting the nation in the situation it’s in, but that’s what they’re doing. Of course, they’re not crazy. They know a couple of ruinous wars, and a round or two of gratuitous tax cuts, and the virtual absence of bank regulations aren’t Obama’s fault. They know that nobody’s taxes have gone up this year, and that nobody but soldiers have sacrificed for our wars. I suspect it’s not really about fiscal conservatism; I suspect the Tea Party movement is mostly just cynical gamesmanship, funded by entrenched interests and abetted by those too dumb to know better. It’s about denying a president any claim to success, and, God willing, humiliating him mightily in the process.
They call this a grass-roots movement. I wonder. It’s a movement that’s able to pay Sarah Palin 100 grand to bewilder her listeners for 45 minutes — most of whom, for all their fiscal conservatism, will have ponied up $349 for the privilege. If that’s grass roots, those roots are very well-fertilized.
Look, I was raised in a very conservative family. None of us ever went on welfare, or received unemployment when some of us might have been eligible. I get the whole fiscal conservatism thing. But let’s be realistic about this. Obama, unless he murders someone in a drunken rage, is probably going to be president until 2016. Any movement that is devoted to denying him any claim to solving any of the nation’s problems for the next six years — well, that movement is anti-American. And it will leave us all worse off. The red-state, blue-state model is obsolete.
So: Ye disingenous Tea Partiers, spare me the revolutionary zeal. You don’t want revolution; you want the status quo. You want the triumph of incoherent ideology over progress. If they were paying me $100,000 to speak, I’d tell you this: Take the higher road. Oppose where it’s necessary, but don’t let profiteering politicians make this a war of Republicans vs. Democrats. Think for yourselves. And for God’s sake, don’t pay Sarah Palin $349 for the privilege of listening to her. She should be paying you.