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From a 1990s tax revolt in New Jersey.
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Tea Party activists who view HANJ as a localized precedent for their own efforts might then reasonably conclude that should maintain a mostly libertarian outlook that connects with widespread concerns about government overreach and excessive federal spending in particular. This way they can attract more Americans into the fold who have very different ideas on social and cultural issues.
Budzash does see a historical connection between HANJ and the Tea Party.
“Politicians seem to forget we are a nation born from a Tax Revolt,” he wrote. “They spend, tax, bond, and waste money with no thought to the future of the USA. HANJ members were fed up with high taxes just as most Tea Party members are today. I was born on Dec. 16, the date of the original Tea Party, and I see the membership of today’s Tea Party as very similar to our own in HANJ. We were over taxed, over regulated U.S. citizens from all walks of live. You cannot easily define the Tea Party or HANJ because in both instances you had a blend of people from all walks of life. We just want to be able to afford to live and we want government under control and to do its job without bankrupting us. We want politicians to represent us NOT banks or big business or any interest group. They are employed by the taxpayers NOT a foreign government or a business to do what we want, NOT what you are bribed to do.”
Although he remains a committed Republican, LaRossa, the former state senator, also sees flaws in both major parties and advises office holders to remain mindful of constituent concerns that will sometimes diverge from the preferences of legislative leaders.
“I think the worst government takes place when you have one party in control of everything,” LaRossa said. “We had Republicans in control of the governor’s office, the assembly and the state senate. We had some solid achievements in those first few years and I think we can be proud of those initial policy changes. But you do lose a critical element with one party control, which I refer to as positive friction. You lose that dissenting voice and everyone is expected to salute when something gets run up the flag pole by your party. I use to get a lot of criticism when I would oppose the Whitman administration. People would ask why I was against my own governor and I would say the last time I checked she doesn’t live in my district and my responsibility is to the 250,000 people who put me into office.”
After a long run of “bozo governors” in N.J., Budzash does see potential in Chris Christie and even presidential possibilities if he addresses property taxes. Rick Manning, a Second Amendment activist, who now serves as the communications director for Americans for Limited Government in Washington, D.C., also sees cause for encouragement in the early actions Gov. Christie has taken. But he cautions against the idea that a narrow focus on fiscal questions will enable the Tea Party to persist without the involvement of other small government activists. Manning served as the National Rifle Association (NRA) lobbyist/liaison in N.J. when HANJ was active. The Coalition of New Jersey Sportsman made common cause with HANJ and helped fuel the anti-tax revolt, Manning explained. While economic concerns may be front and center at the moment, libertarians should be receptive to the contributions of other activists who prioritize specific constitutional matters and are just as committed to the idea of restraining federal power.
“The key lesson out of the successful HANJ fight is that everyone who supports limited government can win when we all band together, but when we fight, everyone loses,” he said.
As Gov. Christie’s reform efforts continue to gain the attention of Tea Party activists across the nation, they should remain mindful of fact that his support extends well beyond the boundaries of his own party. Beleaguered taxpayers are revolting against entrenched teachers unions and a highly activist state Supreme Court because they admire Christie personally and recognize N.J. is out of money. They are not suddenly in love with Republicans. Grant, the radio pioneer who became too close to the GOP, would likely agree.
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?
H/T to National Review Online