Where is the Tea Party? Yes it got the target right in big government as Cato’s Gene Healy points out in his weekly piece in the DC Examiner. But big government hacks still infect both sides of the aisle. And no one seems free enough to call them out for what they are and deliver the message. The Tea Party needs to set more brushfires of freedom. Healy writes:
Half a decade later, that looks like a classic case of “irrational exuberance.” No doubt there’s a lot to be said for a movement that drives genial establishmentarians like Sen.Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, to paroxysms of rage: “These people are not conservatives!” Hatch howled on NPR in 2012, “they’re radical libertarians and I’m doggone offended by it. I despise these people!” (Doggone!)
Still, I can relate to the fellow at Thursday’s Capitol Hill Tea Party Patriots anniversary event, a former Ron Paul volunteer who volunteered to the Washington Post that he was “so frustrated talking to these neocons,” he needed a pre-noon shot of Jameson.
Early on, Beltway hawks were terrified that the movement would exercise “the scariest kind of influence” on American foreign policy, shrinking defense budgets and ending America’s globocop role. Yet “Tea Party Republicans hold about the same views as non-Tea Party Republicans about America’s role in solving world problems,” according to the Pew Research Center. And when polls show that ”tea party supporters, by a nearly 2-to-1 margin, declared significant cuts to Social Security ‘unacceptable,’” we’re not talking about a particularly “radical” form of libertarianism.
More frustrating still, as Conor Friedersdorf has pointed out, too often, Tea Partiers have been suckers for “some of the most obviously irresponsible charlatans in American life.” If you’re a GOP pol who lacks the chops to become president of the U.S., Michael Brendan Dougherty observes, you may have “enough talent to become President of Conservatism.” The responsibilities are minimal and the speaking fees are sweet.