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A general principle that deserves to find a place in the textbooks.
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“The less support a group has for its agenda in the general population, the more intent it will be on centralizing authority so that its limited leverage will have the largest impact.”
Where does the Tea Party fit into this? Very simple. The Tea Party is made up of people who have no special interests but only a general interest in moving decision-making out of Washington so they can go back to living normal lives. They are the antithesis of all the hundreds and thousands of special interests that have migrated to Washington over the past half-century. Their only interest is not to be bothered by Washington and not to have federal bureaucrats interfering with their lives.
All the Tea Party people I have ever met have been ordinary people who are already successful at something else. These are not people you usually meet in politics. What you almost always encounter are political junkies, hooked on elections, wedded to policy-wonking or crusading for their particular vision of the world. Tea Party activists are just the opposite. They already have careers as insurance agents, software engineers, furniture salesmen or small business owners. They never had any concern for politics — or time for it — until they realized Washington was taking nearly half their income and using it to drive the country toward national bankruptcy. That’s when they decided to get involved.
All the statistics bear this out. Tea Party members are more successful than the general run of the population. They are more educated and have more income. They have very little political experience and no interest in expanding the government. They are “anti-politicians.” This reverses a long tradition in American history going back to the early days of the Republic when Alexis de Tocqueville wrote, “In America there are so many ways of making a living that a man doesn’t usually enter politics until he has failed at everything else.”
Can such a movement succeed? Sadly, the career path of such reform efforts is drearily familiar. Time and time again, reformers from both parties have won election by preaching the virtues of small government, only to resume their place at the table and begin carving out their same portion. This has happened over and over.
Yet this time it feels different. The Tea Party is steeped in the traditions of the Founding Fathers and the American Revolution. One of the most powerful myths of that era was of George Washington as Cincinnatus, the Roman farmer who abandoned his fields to lead a successful defense of his country, then renounced his authority and returned to his plow only sixteen days later.
Can Tea Partiers save the Republic from bankruptcy and then return to their fields to resume their regular occupations? If they do the job right, they will find their ordinary lives waiting for them when they get back.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?