Saturday, February 06, 2010

Tea For One

The consistent principles of conservativism have never been too popular among many of the more established of American politicians. One such politician had this to say several years ago about those who had the nerve to attempt to keep him in line.

"I'll just say this about the so-called porkbusters. I'm getting damn tired of hearing from them. They have been nothing but trouble ever since Katrina."
At the time of his comments, the offended politician had already served in Washington for more than thirty years--a time period that he felt had stamped him with wisdom far exceeding that possessed by those who actually pay the taxes.

Another long time politician of the era said there was simply no fat to cut in that year's budget; a budget that at the time was expected to produce a $331 billion deficit.

Of course, now only a few years later, we measure our deficits in the trillions, our debts in the tens of trillions, and our unfunded obligations at over 100 trillion. One wonders if there is still no fat to cut.

The Tea Party movement, at least that part of it that motivated me to travel several hours to chant in unison with thousands of others fed up taxpayers last April 15, was born of the frustration that no one was listening to me.

It was not just progressive minded democrats who had abandoned the tenets of fiscal sanity, but also much of the Republican Party that, as you are probably aware, was the party to which the aforementioned politicians belonged to.

When the 2008 presidential election came along, the Republican Party chose as its candidate a lukewarm centrist. It wasn't until Sarah Palin graced the ticket that many people (including myself) even had the stomach to vote for the Republican ticket. I had no horse in the race.

The first national Tea Party convention is taking place as we speak, and I cannot help but fear for the movement itself as establishment politicians try to attach themselves to its fury. This is a movement that has to transcend political parties for the sake of its survival. It cannot judge its candidate by the letter behind the name, and it cannot ever settle for a candidate today because that same candidate embraced a conservative policy three terms ago.

To be a candidate endorsed by the Tea Party has to mean nothing more than you can count on the movement supporting you until the second you stray from your principles. One nanosecond after you betray fiscal sanity your ass is out in the street. No exceptions.

Some years ago, republican members of Congress signed what was called a Contract With America. For a few years republicans adhered to its principles. Times changed though, and by the time that George W. Bush was elected president, republicans had joined democrats in spending other peoples money with a glee usually reserved for a preschool birthday party. It didn't help that Mr. Bush misplaced his veto pen through the first several years of his administration.

As the old saying goes...fool me once and shame on you. Fool me twice and shame on me. I've been shamed over and over again by placing my trust in parties rather than individuals, and by placing my trust in individuals who took my trust for granted.

That will happen no more.

Tread lightly.

No comments: