Reagan's Heirs: The Tea Party - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Reagan’s Heirs: The Tea Party

Julian Bond was succinct: “Obama is to the Tea Party as the moon is to werewolves.” So bayed the ex-NAACP chairman about the Tea Party a while back. The Sarasota Herald Tribune began its reporting on Bond’s speech this way:

Civil rights icon Julian Bond lashed out at Republicans and the Tea Party movement during a speech here Sunday night, comparing them to the southern Confederacy and declaring both a threat to the gains made by blacks since the 1960s.

It might be said more accurately that the Tea Party, just as was once true of Ronald Reagan, is to the Left as the moon is to werewolves. It has elicited one long howl of lies, reminding vividly that the dependency on untruth is a characteristic of the Left.

And what is it specifically that the Tea Party, which celebrates its fifth anniversary this week, represents that causes all this leftist baying?

Here at the site of the Tea Party Patriots is what has Mr. Bond foaming:

The Tea Party movement spontaneously formed in 2009 from the reaction of the American people to fiscally irresponsible actions of the federal government, misguided “stimulus” spending, bailouts and takeovers of private industry. Within the first few weeks of the movement, Tea Party Patriots formed to support the millions of Americans seeking to improve our great nation through renewed support for fiscal responsibility, constitutionally limited government, and free market economic policies.

Say again? The Tea Party’s reason for being is to support “fiscal responsibility, constitutionally limited government and free market economic policies” — and this makes it racist? And worse? Where have we heard this before?

If you guessed the Reagan era you would be right. Yes indeed, Ronald Reagan was accused of racism — among all manner of other things — for supporting exactly what the Tea Party supports: fiscal responsibility, constitutionally limited government, and free market economic policies.

As the Tea Party prepares to celebrate its fifth anniversary, it’s exactly the moment to note that this is a group of Americans who in fact can lay legitimate claim to being called “Reagan’s Heirs” — the ideological descendants of the ideas identified with the man Americans rank as the nation’s greatest president.

The Tea Party is nothing more threatening than groups of like-minded Americans who are deeply concerned their country is being run off the fiscal cliff.

It is telling that something as mundanely obvious as fiscal responsibility and support for the free market draws such racial poison from the always racially venomous Mr. Bond. It is also a reminder of just why Reagan himself was pilloried for believing exactly the same things as the Tea Party. So much so in fact that Ronald Reagan could easily be called the father of the Tea Party. The fact of the matter is that fiscal responsibility, constitutionally limited government, and free market economic policies — tax cuts — are being re-labeled with the Big Lie because they are threats to statism and the progressive utopia. And the potent nature of the Tea Party has meant that everything from the Big Lie to the IRS would be used to not simply redefine it but try and destroy it.

Rush Limbaugh frequently points out that one can tell who it is that liberals most fear by the relentless nature of the attacks on the target. This is, to say the least, decidedly true about the Tea Party. From the moment these groups came to life in early 2009 — and it is to be reminded they came to life as much in reaction to the Bush bailouts of Wall Street as to the Obama stimulus and Obamacare — they have drawn ferocious attacks from the Left, as the Big Lie cited above from Julian Bond demonstrates.


Here the Tea Party is attacked thusly:

All the Tea Party represents is repackaged fascism. The message is the same: real Americans instead of real Germans and familiar enemies, like Muslims instead of Jews (they share a hatred of gays); out-of-control paranoia and conspiracy theories like stabs in the back and betrayal; the view of women (real American — aka white women) as breeders of a master race; and a mission from God to restore the nation’s greatness. 

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee sent out a fundraising appeal that included the sentence, “At one Tea Party rally this week, mobs chanted ‘Waterboard Obama, Waterboard Hillary!’ At another, radicals waved signs with Nazi symbols.” Florida Democrat Congressman Alan Grayson, too, can always be relied on to play the propagandist role. As seen here, ABC News headlined Grayson’s take on the Tea Party this way: “Florida Congressman Compares Tea Party to Ku Klux Klan.” There’s this sticker that proclaims: “Tea Party” sounds so much nicer than “Mob of Racists and Homophobes” And then there was that NPR executive who was caught on tape, as headlined this way by the Washington Post: “NPR exec calls tea party members racist, xenophobic in secretly recorded video.”

So. Got all that? Americans who support “fiscal responsibility, constitutionally limited government, and free market economic policies” — just like Ronald Reagan — are fascists, Nazis, Ku Kluxers, racists, homophobes, and xenophobes. You can’t make it up. But there is something curious going on here in all this business of attacking the Tea Party.

Remember this? As reported in the Weekly Standard? The headline: “Obama on Occupy Wall Street: ‘We Are on Their Side'”

Yes, that’s right. President Obama was on the side of Occupy Wall Street. Said the president of the United States: 

The most important thing we can do right now is those of us in leadership letting people know that we understand their struggles and we are on their side…

So too was Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid invoking Occupy, while House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi waxed enthusiastic, as ABC headlined this way: “Pelosi Supports Occupy Wall Street Movement.” And who else was on the side of Occupy Wall Street with President Obama, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, and all those other liberals? Are you surprised that, among those lavishing praise on all those leftists in Occupy Wall Street was, yes indeed, the ex-Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan? David Duke enthusiastically supported Occupy, as in this charming statement

I cheer the men and women on the streets condemning the international banks that hold America financially hostage. These Wall Street banks are not the product of free enterprise; they are the product of crime….(New York) is the vipers’ nest of the Zionist-dominated globalist media… Finally Americans are rising up and it feels great!

Recalling that the National Socialists of 1930s Germany — the Nazis — were, as their name stated, in fact socialists, it should come as no surprise that the American Nazi Party sided with the Left since Nazis were and remain on the Left. Proclaimed the Nazi leader of the movement praised by Obama, Reid, and Pelosi, and adored by the American Left (capitalization provided by the Nazis themselves):

What is really MISSING — is the “MOVEMENT” from these popular protests — its time to pull WN heads out of their collective ass’s, and JOIN IN the attack on Judeo-Capitalism. What do you suggest? That WN Working Class White people DEFEND the Judeo-Capitalists? IF the “movement” wasn’t so PATHETIC it would be OUT THERE — LEADING these protests! The fact that its these “lefties” as you call them, who are picking up the ball and running with it — only shows how much more in tune THEY are with the fed up masses of White Workers, than the fossilized, reactionary “right-wing”. WHO holds the WEALTH and POWER in this country — the JUDEO-CAPITALISTS. WHO is therefore the #1 ENEMY who makes all this filth happen — the JUDEO-CAPITALISTS. WHO therefore do WN need to FIGHT? My heart is right there with these people, perhaps someday the “movement” will SHOW the same COURAGE and DEDICATION that these people OUT THERE FIGHTING are SHOWING! 

The Communist Party USA calls the Tea Party the GOP’s “attack dogs.” Did I mention that the CPUSA was also a big supporter of Occupy Wall Street? Headlining on their site: “Solidarity with ‘Occupy Wall Street.'”

So what do we have here?

What we have here are leftists who are literally taking the side of Nazis, Communists, and racists in supporting Occupy Wall Street — while accusing the Tea Party of being racist, fascist, Nazis, Klan supporters, and all the rest. And what is it that the Tea Party supports? As aforementioned: “fiscal responsibility, constitutionally limited government, and free market economic policies.”

You can’t make it up. With this in mind, is it any wonder there has been such a massive Big Lie attack on the Tea Party by the Left? Including everyone from the president to Harry Reid to Nancy Pelosi to all those race card players over at MSNBC?

It is worth recalling here that the same kind of Big Lie attacks were — and still are — directed at Reagan. Only a month ago, the left-wingers at Salon ran this jewel that was headlined: “The racism at the heart of the Reagan presidency: How Ronald Reagan used coded racial appeals to galvanize white voters and gut the middle class.” Here a site billing itself as “San Francisco’s Alternative Online Daily” headlining at Reagan’s death: “Lest We Forget, Reagan Honored Nazis.” And as noted over at the American Conservative: “Twin the words, ‘Reagan, fascism’ in Google and 1,800,000 references pop up.”

As the Tea Party prepares to celebrate its fifth anniversary this Thursday, co-founder Jenny Beth Martin has gathered an all-star cast of celebrants that includes: Senators Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, and Rand Paul; Reps. Michele Bachmann, Louie Gohmert, Jim Jordan, Steve King, Jim Bridenstine, Mark Meadows, and Matt Salmon; Catherine Engelbrecht, the Founder of King Street Patriots and IRS target, plus Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, Reagan biographer Craig Shirley, and Breitbart Chairman Steve Bannon.

They will be celebrating a remarkable national movement that in turn is famous for celebrating exactly the values that were so closely identified with Ronald Reagan. That, in fact, is why the ferocious nature of the attacks on the Tea Party — why the need of the Big Lie that casts the Tea Party not only as something it is not. The Big Lie — of connections to racism, Nazis, the Klan, and all the rest is in fact literally true of those who hurl these attacks at the Tea Party.

There’s nothing new here. Once the target was Ronald Reagan. Now the target is the Tea Party. Some things never change. And were he here, one suspects that Ronald Reagan himself would have loved to show up at the Tea Party five-year anniversary to salute the Tea Party for what it really is. Ronald Reagan’s heirs.

Jeffrey Lord
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Jeffrey Lord, a contributing editor to The American Spectator, is a former aide to Ronald Reagan and Jack Kemp. An author and former CNN commentator, he writes from Pennsylvania at His new book, Swamp Wars: Donald Trump and The New American Populism vs. The Old Order, is now out from Bombardier Books.
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