The Tea Party meets the Republican Party

February 8, 2010

BY MATT KOKKONEN

The modern Tea Party movement hearkens back to the efforts of the Sons of Liberty more than 230 years ago. In 1773, the earlier patriots boarded the vessels of the East India Company and tossed tea overboard to protest high taxes imposed by the British Crown upon the American colonies.

Today, millions of Americans are fed up with the ever-expanding power of the central government in Washington, D.C. They have organized themselves into ‘Tea Parties” from coast-to-coast to protest out-of-control government spending, ever-increasing taxes, and a skyrocketing national debt. They are demanding an end to wasteful government programs, to the progressive debasement of the currency through inflation, and to the endless string of government “bailouts” of everything from Wall Street bankers to Detroit automobile manufacturers, all using taxpayer money. The TARP bailout of 2008 was probably the catalyst for the rebirth of the Tea Party movement. TARP represented a colossal, unprecedented transfer of wealth from hard-working, productive Americans to Wall Street investment bankers giving themselves million dollar bonuses as a reward for their disastrous financial decisions which drove the U.S. economy to the point of near-collapse.

The Obama administration does not see one sector of the American economy which should not be ripe for government management and takeover. It has little or no respect for the free market or the U.S. Constitution. The brazen attempt to nationalize one-sixth of the U.S. economy through the health care proposal has only stimulated the Tea Party movement and brought additional Americans to its ranks. Obama’s pork-laden “stimulus” package which claims to have created jobs in congressional districts which don’t even exist has further fueled the growth of the movement as has “cap and trade” which threatens to bankrupt American industry and send utility bills into the stratosphere. The recent Republican victories in Virginia, New Jersey and especially overwhelmingly

Democratic Massachusetts can be at least partially attributed to the growing  Tea Party movement and voters who reflect the philosophy of the movement

“Tea Party” voters are not agents of the Republican Party, as some on the left allege. Nor are they paid stooges of the giant insurance companies or any other corporate entity. In reality, the “Tea Party” movement is neither Republican or Democrat. It is bi-partisan and non-partisan. It boasts a powerful libertarian strain. It rejects the Big Government agenda of both Democrats and Republicans. It is distrustful of the professional politicians in both major parties as it sees both parties as largely dominated by special interests. It has little sympathy for mega-corporations who feed at the government trough. Instead, “Tea Party” voters are Americans who want the restoration of limited Constitutional government. They embrace the vision of the Founders who saw a powerful central government as the chief enemy of the people’s liberties. They seek nothing more and nothing less than limiting the central government in Washington to its original, limited functions under the Constitution and the restoration of all those powers not delegated to the central government to the states or the people, per the Tenth Amendment. They are suspicious of central banking, favor sound money, and take to heart George Washington’s warnings about foreign intervention and President Eisenhower’s warnings about the “military-industrial” complex.

The Republican Party may be the current beneficiary of the “Tea Party” phenomenon, but the GOP can not take the “Tea Party” voters for granted. They must understand that should Republicans betray the fundamental principles of limited government and individual freedom which they claim to embrace, they will be targets of the “Tea Party” voters in the next election.

In 1960, a great Senator from Arizona named Barry Goldwater authored a book called “Conscience of a Conservative” which became the Bible of the modern-day conservative movement. On page 23, Goldwater writes: “I have little interest in streamlining government or in making it more efficient, for I mean to reduce its size. I do not undertake to promote welfare, for I propose to extend freedom. My aim is not to pass laws, but to repeal them. It is not to inaugurate new programs, but to cancel old ones that do violence to the Constitution, or that have failed in their purpose, or that impose on the people an unwarranted financial burden. I will not attempt to discover whether legislation is ‘needed’ before I have first determined whether it is constitutionally permissible. And if I should later be attacked for neglecting my constituents’ ‘interests,’ I shall reply that I was informed their main interest is liberty and that in that cause I am doing the very best I can.”

To date, no better summary of conservative principles has ever been articulated.

The Republican Party is well-advised to embrace the “Tea Party” movement with enthusiasm and energy, recognizing that the movement can offer the GOP a much-needed opportunity to see where the Party has departed from the path of Goldwater and Reagan in recent years and how to restore its authentic heritage of being the party of small government.

Matt Kokkonen is a San Luis Obispo financial planner and political activist.


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21 Comments

  1. Paperboys says:

    I have to agree with David B. the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan must be ended ASAP. We shouldn’t have gone into Iraq in the first place, but I have a theory as to why Bush-Cheney did it. Muslim terrorism is not a country, it’s a movement. Afghanistan was good because we knew Bin Laden was there being protected by the Taliban.
    We had no real justification for attacking Iraq, so they made up this phony baloney about WMDs and sold Congress, the UN and the American people on it.
    That doesn’t explain the why of it all. terrorism is a movement with its believers scattered throughout the globe in every country on earth. They gather to train in a paramilitary style, learning to make bombs, fire weapons and more, then when the training is over they disappear into nooks and crannies all over the world — hiding in plain sight. It would be impossible to root them out, you’d have to invade every country in the world.
    So I believe Cheney and Bush devised a scheme to root them out. Now, no one is going to fight over Afghanistan, it’s just not worth it. But Iraq is one of the wealthiest countries in the world (oil and the Tigris Euphrates river valley-Agriculture) and it IS worth fighting over.
    I believe Bush-Cheney invaded Iraq to create a battlefield that would entice the terrorists to come out of their hideouts and fight. I believe they threw Saddam and the Iraqi people under the bus because that’s the only way they could root out the terrorists. Create a battlefield and entice them to come to you, then you kill them.
    But the time has come to end this. They killed 3,000 of us on 9/11 and we’re responsible for the deaths of more than 100,000 of them. Let’s call it a day and bring our troops home and end this craziness.

    (3) 3 Total Votes - 3 up - 0 down
  2. mkaney says:

    Hat tip to David Broadwater.

    The Tea Party movement represents that segment of the Republican party that calls themselves “Christian Conservatives.” It is in NO WAY libertarian, nor does it make any principles stances on liberty. When Democrats think of Republicans and evil, greedy, racist people, it is because of THESE people. Make no mistake, these people are not seeking an end to big government, as long as they are the ones in control of it, and this is a clear effort by the Republican party to keep its base in line

    There is a good reason Ron Paul has stepped away from any connection to this group of people. And after reading this opinion page, I have a clear sense of what drives Mr. Kokkonen, who I have occasionally agreed with in the past.

    (-1) 21 Total Votes - 10 up - 11 down
    • solarheater says:

      Funny thing. Democrats have always led the crowd of evil, greedy, racist people with the republicans playing catch up. Republicans are gaining ground. How can anyone who loves our country stand with any of these scoundrels? To prosper we must have freedom. Those lovers of the ways of europe go to that place you admire. This is the land of the free not the French, English, or any other socialist haven.

      (-3) 11 Total Votes - 4 up - 7 down
    • Cindy says:

      and a Bonnet tip to David Broadwater to. His post say’s it exactly like it is, IMO.

      (0) 4 Total Votes - 2 up - 2 down
      • Cindy says:

        OOpps this was supposed to be connected to mkaney’s post.

        (0) 0 Total Votes - 0 up - 0 down
    • rferris says:

      mkaney hasn’t a clue as to the tea party movement, must get his brain filled at msnbc. ” Tea party” has a significant libertarian component. To say that a movement that seeks to return government to the constitutional role of limited government has no libertarian support means you also have no clue as to what libertarians value.
      Lots of unfounded radical hate speech towards people he neither understands nor correctly identifies.
      I have no scence of what drives mkanay except hatred of those not like himself…..

      (-1) 5 Total Votes - 2 up - 3 down
      • mkaney says:

        I’m sorry, did you watch the Tea Party Convention the other day on CSPAN? I did, and what I heard was the same old tired pro-war, anti-“RINO”, anti-Democrat, pro-security state mentality that I heard before.

        The fact is that a lot of people calling themselves Libertarian these days are proving to champions of big government. I am a paleoconservative, “Anti-State, Anti-War, Pro-Market.”
        If you want to understand where my perspective comes from, check out lewrockwell.com and in time you may learn that my generalizations and identification are more accurate that you assume.

        (0) 4 Total Votes - 2 up - 2 down
        • rferris says:

          Most folks realize that what the media shows us is what they wish us to see….CSRAN is no friend of tea parties and I would expect their coverage to reflect this. What I see and read of the tea parties reflect primarily a desire to return to our constitutional roots of a government of limited and enumerated powers.
          I mainly see folks who are anti run away big government spending and against the continuous encroachments in our freedom and liberties in the name of “helping others” , kinda like “were from the government and we are here to help….” word that send fear into most Americans. Loving your country and fearing your government is becoming a more reasonable position all the time. I checked out Lewrockwell.com, it looked like an informative site, however I see the tea partiers as a group who on the whole would also like the site….

          (-1) 3 Total Votes - 1 up - 2 down
  3. Vagabond says:

    When o when, is someone going to set the R/W whackaloosers straight about the Boston Tea Party?
    Matt, go get a history book, the Boston Tea Party was not about “Taxation without representation”
    It was about government (England) supported MONOPOLY (East India Company)
    A more correct “Tea Party” would be the local resistance to Wall Mart or Big Oil or the Medi-Pharma/ lobby hold on our legislators.
    My favorite Tea Party quote: “Keep Government Hands off my Medicare!”
    One good thing about the “Tea Party” is that it keeps the likes of Sarah Palin and her ilk in one spot so we can keep an eye on em.

    (5) 17 Total Votes - 11 up - 6 down
    • solarheater says:

      Thought vagabonds liked the freedom of movement. Do you hang out at the socialist dumster waiting for handouts?

      (-9) 13 Total Votes - 2 up - 11 down
      • Vagabond says:

        Wonder what George thinks of this post?
        Advancing the dialog?
        Or just making retarded insults.

        (2) 4 Total Votes - 3 up - 1 down
        • Moderator says:

          Wonder what George thinks of this post?
          I only get one thumbs down, just like everyone else.
          That said; The most radical socialist statement of the ages is
          “we the people of the united states, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this constitution for the united states of america.
          Due to the toxic ideologies spoon fed the nation after WW2 we have forgotten what these words mean, to the point that we can successfully engage in corporate wars of profit, but no longer can take care of ourselves.
          Sometimes I cringe with embarrassment when I read some of the comments here.
          If the current economic status quo continues we are all going to be living down at the dumpster, squabbling for scraps of disCREDITed
          trickle down. teabagger: the posterior of the national joke.

          (3) 11 Total Votes - 7 up - 4 down
          • rferris says:

            If you would read the federalist papers you could learn what the founders meant by general welfare….The meant that unless every American received a potentially equal utility from the federal government then the fed is not to be involved. Most of what the fed does fail this test.
            It means the opposite of what most progressives wish it means and they have been at work a long time trying to distort and enlarge this one statement until it replaces all the other words in the constitution.
            lastly using offensive terms like “teabagger” instead of tea partier shows the writer has no more class than he has knowledge of economics,politics or history…….

            (-2) 10 Total Votes - 4 up - 6 down
  4. yodaiam says:

    The “tea party” concept can be a good one.
    Public involvement needs to be 100% and that is the only way there will ever be a difference made. The biggest majority of the public is working and can not find the time to write or state protests by whatever means. The politicians have us by the short hairs.
    I know I don’t do enough no matter to show my anger and discust for all the corrupt politicians across the board where ever they are.
    How about the rest of you?

    (6) 8 Total Votes - 7 up - 1 down
    • solarheater says:

      Guilty! I am changing that. Thank You

      (0) 2 Total Votes - 1 up - 1 down
  5. davidbroadwater says:

    Matt Kokkonen is a deceitful and duplicitous hypocrite. He invokes the U.S. Constitution five times (twice though Goldwater) and Washington’s and Eisenhower’s admonitions against foreign entanglements and the military-industrial complex. He omits the fact that he was an avid advocate for the Iraq invasion, showing up at every anti-war demonstration in San Luis Obispo carrying pro-war signs. The invasion of Iraq was a violation of the Constitution, specifically Article 1, Section 8 that grants the power to declare war exclusively to Congress (not the President); and Article 6, which makes all treaties (such as the one against unprovoked, aggressive wars) the supreme law of the land. While Kokkonen likes to use the “Sons of Liberty” and the “Founders” for his political purposes, he completely rejects their principles forged in fighting off a monarchy and establishing the rule of law. Kokkonen’s pro-Iraq-war demonstrations show he’s willing to shred the Constitution and turn his back on our Founders and leaders like Washington and Eisenhower.
    Kokkonen says he stands with the Tea Partiers against a “skyrocketing national debt” and “wasteful government programs” because of their “powerful libertarian strain”, yet neglects to mention that the nation’s premier libertarian organization (the Cato Institute) was adamantly opposed to the invasion of Iraq. To date, the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan have cost American taxpayers over $1 TRILLION (Iraq $747.3 billion + Afghanistan to $299 billion – http://www.nationalpriorities.org/2009/1/11/Cost-of-war-tallies-through-FY2010). As the Texas libertarian congressman Ron Paul points out, we’re rapidly going broke financing these unconstitutional and illegal invasions, but Kokkonen is eager to drive us right off the cliff into bankruptcy. He’s certainly no “conservative”, as he would have readers and voters believe.
    Kokkonen extols the virtues of the “Tea Party movement”, but omits any mention of the disgusting dangerous positions of the keynote speakers at the Tea Party convention in Nashville.
    Ex-congressman Tom Tancredo kicked off the convention on 2-4-10 with his keynote speech calling for reinstitution of “a civics, literacy test before people can vote in this country”, the technique used by southern whites to keep black people from voting, saying, “This is our country… Let’s take it back”. This racist call to return to the bigoted days of Jim Crow, systematically exterminating non-whites’ right to vote, was received by the cheers and applause of the Tea Partiers present. Apparently, to the “Tea Party movement”, taking back “our country” is for “Whites Only”.
    During her interview on 2-7-10 by Faux News at the Tea Party convention, Sarah Palin, another keynote speaker, said that playing “the war card” by declaring “war on Iran” would give President Obama a political advantage. Palin and her Tea Party comrades think engaging in more wars against oil-rich Muslim people is a path to political power.
    This is the type of “leader” the “Tea Party movement” puts on its stage to broadcast what it stands for – a return to the dark ages dominated by the Ku Klux Klan before the civil rights movement and waging more destructive and deadly wars while driving our country to financial ruin. These are the types of people Kokkonen says the Republican Party should embrace to return to our fundamental “conservative” values – marching off the cliff as a racist, war-mongering and crumbling empire…
    David Broadwater

    (8) 28 Total Votes - 18 up - 10 down
    • solarheater says:

      Some of what you write is true. Eighteen months in Vietnam taught me the folly of sending citizens to make profits for democrats and republicans. As in any large movement to correct wrongs the people who rise to the top will do anything to maintain the limelight. The movement has a use even when flawed. Our country and our freedom are disapearing. Power hungry fasists have a hold on both main parties. I hunger for the freedom of my ancestors. The Tea Party and the U.S.A. has a need for a leader that puts freedom of the citizens first.
      Why do the dems and left hate Sara Palin so much? Extreme rhetoric is a turn off for most people. Let her cook her own goose. The steam you blow off keeps her engine running.

      (0) 4 Total Votes - 2 up - 2 down
  6. medoffed says:

    The recent supreme court decision will level the playing field against unions, special interest groups, PACs and others who hide behind unidentified unrecognized political interest. With the rapid proliferation of the Internet, it will be much more difficult to hide who contributes to what party and politician. At least this way, corporations will not be setting up phony fronts to hide their real interest and that goes for the unions.As it stands now, with each passing year the federal government takes in more funds that automatically perpetuates the problem. They must hire more people, who in turn want to have the Federal, State and local Governments to grow, therefore to secure their own jobs and retirements. This site published plenty of those examples why every Government is too big and counter-productive to the public’s interest. As it is now, State of California will have to declare insolvency and reduce cost with renegotiating contracts and retirement benefits. TEA parties are great if their efforts can be translated into real action. Let’s see who will step forward t arry the torch that this State and Country needs. 

    (1) 21 Total Votes - 11 up - 10 down
    • solarheater says:

      I agree with most of what you say. We need the leader to step forward. Corporations and unions did not bring our country to this level. Massive welfare and the work place erosion caused by the tidal wave of immigration is a major problem. The tax base, school system, medical system all put huge strains on the whole country. Our country adds law after redundant law and tax on tax, the citizen is overwhelmed. Freedom is the only answer. Let us, the workers on all levels, do our jobs. We can prosper without the government sticking its nose into every facet of our life.

      (1) 7 Total Votes - 4 up - 3 down
  7. bobfromsanluis says:

    Matt: The “problem” that plagues both political parties is the overwhelming influence of money, which, thanks to the recent Supreme Court decision regarding the spending money as the same as free speech, is only going to get worse. Do the members of the Tea Party denounce this recent SCOTUS decision as being bad for democracy? If so, please step and say so; if not, shut up and sit down- nothing else you have to say matters at all. The only way anything in Washington is going to change is from the bottom up, just as the Tea Party is attempting to do; without a change in how the money comes in, NOTHING else matters.

    (10) 26 Total Votes - 18 up - 8 down

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