A Tea Party Declaration of Independence

A Tea Party Declaration of Independence

~ by Lee Cary

The Tea Party will not be perceived as, nor in reality become, a thoroughly authentic movement until it declares its independence from the Republican Party.  And then demonstrates it.

Three-four million Republicans didn’t visit their assigned polling place November.  And, as the autopsy of the Romney campaign winds down, all explanations for Romney’s defeat must face this fact:

Millions of Republican voters didn’t deem his candidacy worthy of their vote.


We can blame low-information Obama voters (an exercise in futility); a feckless Romney campaign that played softball in a hardball league (a 2008-like train wreck that spanned months); a Fourth Estate that is a loyal adjunct of the Obama Administration (so what’s new?); voter fraud (gee, that’s totally unexpected); and lay some blame on the Republican Governor of New Jersey (who once said that the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street had a lot in common).

For its part, the Republican Establishment now blames the quality of candidates supported by the Tea Party movement, implying that the Tea Party shares responsibility for their loss in November.

But that doesn’t explain the reality of millions of Republicans not voting.

In the room of excuses, those millions are the big elephant.

Elsewhere, in the halls where the big political pachyderms gather, it’s been decided to delineate a separation between the Party and that movement that began February 19, 2009, on the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, when CNBC Business News Network editor Rick Santelli described the government’s plan to refinance mortgages as “promoting bad behavior” and suggested holding a Chicago Tea Party in July.

Today, at the terminus of the initially ill-advised strategy to keep a cautious and cordial distance between the G.O.P. and the Tea Party – whose members and supporters were largely rank-and-file Republican voters – the pachyderms have decided to eat their own, again.

Another Republican circular firing squad added to a long list of precedents.

Had the professional operatives, consultants and politicians of the G.O.P. chosen, back in 2009, to tact into the wind of offering encouragement, and when the liberal media viciously attacked Tea Party people, voiced their full-throated support for the movement, who knows where we’d be today?

It’s too late now.

Now the G.O.P. Establishment clearly perceives the Tea Party movement as a liability going forward.

(One wonders: Had Obama lost the election, would the Democrats be blaming it on the Occupy Wall Street people?)

Meanwhile, how the movement perceives itself these days isn’t clear.

Did it reach its nadir on Election Day in November 2010, and die in 2012?

So what comes next? Perhaps this:

It’s time the Tea Party movement re-commits to its principles, and de-commits to being an ex-officio, auxiliary function of the Grand Old Party…for love of country.

Excerpts from George Washington’s Farewell Address 1796:

“The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of public liberty…


Without looking forward to an extremity of this kind (which nevertheless ought not to be entirely out of sight), the common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it…


There is an opinion that parties in free countries are useful checks upon the administration of the government and serve to keep alive the spirit of liberty. This within certain limits is probably true; and in governments of a monarchical cast, patriotism may look with indulgence, if not with favor, upon the spirit of party. But in those of the popular character, in governments purely elective, it is a spirit not to be encouraged. From their natural tendency, it is certain there will always be enough of that spirit for every salutary purpose. And there being constant danger of excess, the effort ought to be by force of public opinion, to mitigate and assuage it. A fire not to be quenched, it demands a uniform vigilance to prevent its bursting into a flame, lest, instead of warming, it should consume.”