I know a lot of people admire the popular movement in this country that is called the Tea Party. Even those who would disagree with their ideology often find it amazing what they’ve been able to accomplish outside the normal political structure. Imagine what the left might accomplish with such popular uprising.
We should always appreciate when people participate in the political process. That said, after hearing more and more news about the extreme views of the Tea Party, I’m inviting anyone still sane to rethink this thing. That isn’t to say anyone who identifies themselves with the movement has these extreme views. Sometimes it’s the organizers who are the radicals. Sometimes it’s the spokespeople or even the candidates themselves.
The Republicans and the Democrats have agreed and accomplished a lot together over the years. After all, Obama’s Healthcare plan was modeled after ideas first introduced by Richard Nixon, later Newt Gingrich, and even Nevada Republicans’ favorite Mitt Romney. Today, because so many people are mad about a bad economy and are blaming it on the man who came into office after we hit rock bottom, there is this Tea Party uprising. Now, this private market healthcare reform is being called communism.
Before today, Republicans and Democrats agreed that segregation was bad for this country and for Raleigh North Carolina’s schools. Both parties on that school board maintained a system that mixed up race and economic background in their school district…that is until today. I am very sad to inform you, if you did not already read, that a Tea Party backed school board is now deciding to re-segregate that county.
Then you have Maine’s Tea Party Governor saying he’ll skip Martin Luther King Day celebrations. When the NAACP voiced their concerns, he responded “they can kiss my butt.” How good it must be to be king (no pun intended).
As it were, the Tea Party may be on its way out. Similar popular uprisings have faded away time and time again in this nation’s history. There are fascinating reasons behind this phenomenon, and also some strong indicators for where a movement is along the ascending and descending wave. All indicators point toward descending.
When weariness of a movement begins, a defensive posture takes hold in the movement. Much has been made about all the extreme rhetoric over the past year associated with the violent attack of a congresswoman in Arizona (See Nevada Progressive). Now the movement is taking heat for its divisive banter.
Sarah Palin and Sharron Angle have both taken dramatically defensive postures after the shooting of Congresswoman Gifford by a deranged anti-government youth. It may or may not have had anything to do with Tea Party rhetoric. Either way, the defensiveness is telling for the movement’s momentum and perceived legitimacy.
Yet we are seeing the formation of Tea Party caucuses in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate. With the likes of Michelle Bachmann and Rand Paul in these chambers, mainstream Republicans are seeing the light and staying away.
Here in Nevada, Bill Raggio, the most prominent Republican leader over the past 25 years at the legislature just resigned. As I learned fromthis morning, Raggio is nervous about the Tea Party’s influence.
“I think the present leadership of the Republican Party is a little too radical and has been taken over by what I think is a radical element,” the Reno lawmaker said, one day before he retires from the Senate seat he has held since 1972. “The party has to reshape itself or it won’t win general elections down the road.”
Raggio sees the danger the Tea Party is to its own cause. Raggio doesn’t want the message of responsible government diluted by radical and often hateful extremism. There is dissent within the GOP, and certainly from the center and left. The Tea Party’s days are numbered. How much damage can they do in the meantime? To be continued.