Poisoned Tea? Well That Depends on Who Serves It…

Tea Party Debt CeilingShould the Tea Party just shut the hell up?

It wasn’t long ago that leftist interests across the land were trying to identify the Tea Party leader, in order to Alinskify said leader.

The left failed.

Try as they might, leftist minions were unable to identify, isolate, vilify, and ostracize any one leader of the Tea Party.

That’s because the Tea Party is not an organized group.  The Tea Party is the modern incarnation of the conservative movement itself, and it is not new.  It is not new at all.

So why ask such a pointed question?  Why would anyone suggest the conservative movement shut the hell up?

Because there are groups that have taken on the Tea Party moniker, but that are not an incarnation of the modern conservative movement.  They are groups that seem only interested in influence.  Party influence, that is.  The kind of influence that the real Tea Party loathes.

This evening two emails hit my inbox almost simultaneously.  The first was from Tea Party Nation, the second from the Tea Party Patriots.  I am a member of both.

Judson Phillips over at Tea Party Nation declared Victory! While Matt Kibbe at Tea Party Patriots said that hell or high water, we must stop the Boehner Plan from passing.  The tone of the emails could not have been more different.

Two self proclaimed “Tea Party” representatives 180 degrees out of phase with one another.

Well, sort of.

Phillips is against any debt ceiling increase, but seems to understand that this is a long fight and it is okay to declare a victory, though the legislation is far from perfect.  He said:

“We can take a moment to congratulate ourselves, but only a moment.  Boehner still wants to raise the debt ceiling by $2.5 trillion.  At least with his plan there are no new taxes, but that does not make it a great plan.”

Kibbe doesnt even offer an “at least” qualifier. He is clear that he thinks the Boehner plan stinks.  Anything other than Cut, Cap and Balance is a non-starter.  The problem, of course, is that CCB is DOA in the Senate, and double dead on Obama’s desk.  The House has already voted on it and passed it.  Beyond that symbolism, what else is there?

Nothing.  Cut Cap and Balance is a nice idea, but in the real world, it’s just a conversation piece.  Not to mention it’s big time constitutional issues.

The Boehner Plan, best I can tell, seeks to cut spending by a total of around $3 Trillion over the next 10 years and increase the debt ceiling by around $1 Trillion.

That’s it.  Nothin’ fancy.  No tax increases.  Just a spending cut for a debt limit increase.

This is a deal we should go after.  It’s a good deal.  Here are the pros and cons…

Pros:

  1. No tax increases of any kind, even those the elite call “loopholes.”
  2. More spending cuts than debt limit increase
  3. At Obama’s spending rate, we’ll be out of borrowing capacity sometime next Spring, so the conversation about his rampant spending will be front and center during the heat of the campaign.
  4. Everybody will be forced to calm the hell down and stop talking about economic armageddon, even if everyone knows that talk was nothing but a ruse anyway.

Cons:

  1. The spending cuts are stupid.  $3 Trillion over 10 years is a joke of the highest order.  Obama raised the debt more than that in the past two years.
  2. The debt limit should be lowered, not raised.  The spending levels Obama has taken us to are of epic proportions.  We should be looking at a baseline pre-TARP. (I wish this was an original thought…thanks, Rush.)

All in all?  I like it.  It calms down the story and puts tremendous political pressure on Obama at an opportune time.

As part of the REAL Tea Party – the conservative movement – I’m here to tell you…this is just the type of position we should be in.

As for the institutionalized Tea Party types?  Well, shut the hell up.

It is not reasonable to take the position:  No.  Hell no.  Never.  No how.  No way. Never.  Ever. Not a chance.

That doesn’t work in reality.

Take a quick look back at Reagan.  Over at Conservative Hideout, there is talk about what it means to be conservative.  I found myself (again) defending Reagan as a shining example of what a conservative leader should be.  One of the commenters had said that Reagan as a true conservative was nothing but mere revisionism.  In response, I wrote:

I don’t think so. Reagan was absolutely sold on conservatism. If you read Reagan’s writing (check out “In His Own Hand”) and also letters between Reagan and William Buckley (see, “The Reagan I Knew”) you’ll find that Reagan was a deeply committed conservative.

But he was also a pragmatist, and it could be argued that he was naive on occasion.

Reagan had a Democrat controlled Congress. To pass ANYthing, he had to overcome massive obstacles. To his credit, he was able to reverse much of the damage that progressives before him had done.

Reagan was suckered once or twice by promises of controlled spending. At the end of the day, he signed budgets that were the best he could get, without dismantling the military. His private writings and letters reflect his angst over having to cut deals in this regard. Several of his public speeches also reflect this. In September of 1987 Reagan was faced with a spend-crazy Congress and a debt ceiling increase. Reagan said:

“This decision is not easy. I have no choice but to sign this bill to guarantee the United States Government’s credit. But I also will not permit Congress to dismantle our national defense, to jeopardize arms reduction, or to increase your taxes. I am determined that will not happen.”

After many such instances, the debt did increase under Reagan, but not because of lack of money, but because of massive spending. As we all know, Reaganomics produced massive new revenues flowing into the Treasury.

Reagan wrote passionately – even after several years in office – about dismantling the Department of Education, and other bureaucracies. His writing reflects real distress in the realization that he would not be able to do such things given the Congress he had to work with.

I think your characterization of Reagan “revisionism” is misguided. When you look deeply at the historical documents and speeches, the real picture shines through, and it is one of passionately held conservative beliefs and a nonstop effort to fight against progressivism.

The point is that we must move the ball down the field. It took over a century for the progressives to turn our Republic into the behemoth that it is. We’ll not reverse all the damage in one vote, in one house of Congress, with a hostile Senate and even more hostile Executive. It will take years of pounding away at the statist insurrection.

It is in the spirit of Reagan that it is time to declare this battle won, and move forward.

When a grass roots organization becomes institutionalized, it loses its spirit. It becomes poisoned. There is Tea that we should not be drinking. Check your supplier carefully.

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