Note: The following post is one in a series of 5 we’ll be running this week by friend of the blog Greg Mild. Greg is an educator in Columbus and has agreed to let us publish these as guest posts this week. We think you’ll find them informative and hope they provoke some good discussion as well.
I actually have an old friend who will still talk politics with me. We don’t see each other very often, and I think we both try to avoid it at first, but one of us inevitably opens the door for the conversation to begin. While I would classify Steve as a moderate Republican, he describes himself as and Independent. I would self-identify a moderate Democrat moving left, while Steve would probably label me as someone who needs a better filter between my brain and my mouth. I have little factual evidence to challenge him on this.
So imagine our surprise when, while discussing Senate Bill 5, we simultaneously expressed confusion over the Tea Party’s strong support. We were at a loss as to how the “small government” Tea Party rationalizes the concept of the state diminishing the authority of local governments as included in the legislation. Steve and I agreed that the bargaining restrictions contained in the bill amounted to the state exerting control over local areas; an exercise in the concept of “big government” control.
It was then that I determined that I needed to find out more about the Tea Party. I needed to understand what the rationale was behind these decisions. If I was going to be able to engage Tea Partiers in discussions, I needed to find out what they believe in and what their goals are. I went straight to the source. The Tea Party Patriots, the “Official Home of the Tea Party Movement” and FreedomWorks, “Founded in 1984, and headquartered in Washington, DC, with hundreds of thousands of grassroots volunteers nationwide.”
From what I have read, I don’t think the Tea Party members I’ve encountered in Ohio actually know what they believe. In this series of posts, I’ll be providing background on the Tea Party and exploring the many ways their groups regularly abandon their state core beliefs in order to support partisan Republican activities. Today we’ll review some background research as a basis for further exploration into the hypocrisy that is the “Tea Party”.
Tea Party Beliefs
FreedomWorks Mission: “FreedomWorks fights for lower taxes, less government and more economic freedom for all Americans.”
Chairman Dick Armey: “What should be your guide? The Constitution.”
Government is too big and spends too much of our money. A strong and vibrant free market economy – free from burdensome taxation and regulation – offers the best hope for creating opportunity and improving the quality of life for every American.
The Flat Tax
The current tax code is a 60,000-page catalog of favors for special interests and a chamber of horrors for the rest of America. We want to scrap our confusing, unfair tax code and replace it with a simple flat tax of one low rate with no deductions or special interest loopholes. We also want lower taxes at the federal, state, and local levels.
We want Americans to be able to use the free market to choose the care that suits their individual needs. We believe that government should not gain more control over healthcare. Frivolous lawsuits and bureaucratic waste add to the cost of health insurance.
Red Tape, Hidden Taxes, & Regulation
We want to end burdensome government regulation and rely on the marketplace as an efficient regulator of business activity.
Tea Party Patriots Core Values
Fiscal Responsibility: Fiscal Responsibility by government honors and respects the freedom of the individual to spend the money that is the fruit of their own labor. A constitutionally limited government, designed to protect the blessings of liberty, must be fiscally responsible or it must subject its citizenry to high levels of taxation that unjustly restrict the liberty our Constitution was designed to protect.
Constitutionally Limited Government: We, the members of The Tea Party Patriots, are inspired by our founding documents and regard the Constitution of the United States to be the supreme law of the land. We believe that it is possible to know the original intent of the government our founders set forth, and stand in support of that intent. Like the founders, we support states’ rights for those powers not expressly stated in the Constitution. As the government is of the people, by the people and for the people, in all other matters we support the personal liberty of the individual, within the rule of law.
Free Markets: A free market is the economic consequence of personal liberty. The founders believed that personal and economic freedom were indivisible, as do we. Our current government’s interference distorts the free market and inhibits the pursuit of individual and economic liberty. Therefore, we support a return to the free market principles on which this nation was founded and oppose government intervention into the operations of private business.
Tea Party Patriots Philosophy
Tea Party Patriots, Inc. is a non-partisan grassroots organization of individuals united by our core values derived from the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States of America, the Bill Of Rights as explained in the Federalist Papers.
Excerpt from The Federalist Papers #84:
The last objection of any consequence, which I at present recollect, turns upon the article of expense. If it were even true, that the adoption of the proposed Government would occasion a considerable increase of expense, it would be an objection that ought to have no weight against the plan…the question of expense must be given up; for it is impossible, with any degree of safety, to narrow the foundation upon which the system is to stand. The two branches of the Legislature are, in the first instance, to consist of only sixty-five persons, which is the same number of which congress, under the existing Confederation, may be composed. It is true, that this number is intended to be increased; but this is to keep pace with the progress of the population and resources of the country. It is evident that a less number would, even in the first instance, have been unsafe; and that a continuance of the present number would, in a more advanced stage of population, be a very inadequate representation of the People.
The result from these observations is…that a Government less expensive would be incompetent to the purposes of the Union.
Let us now see what there is to counterbalance any extra expense that may attend the establishment of the proposed Government. The first thing which presents itself is, that a great part of the business which now keeps Congress sitting through the year, will be transacted by the President.
Excerpt from The Federalist Papers #85:
The result of the deliberations of all collective bodies, must necessarily be a compound as well of the errors and prejudices, as of the good sense and wisdom of the individuals of whom they are composed. The compacts which are to embrace thirteen distinct States, in a common bond of amity and union, must as necessarily be a compromise of as many dissimilar interests and inclinations. How can perfection spring from such materials?
“To balance a large State or society,” (says he,) “whether monarchical or republican, on general laws, is a work of so great difficulty, that no human genius, however comprehensive, is able by the mere dint of reason and reflection, to effect it. The judgments of many must unite in the work; Experience must guide their labor; Time must bring it to perfection; and the feeling of inconveniences must correct the mistakes which they inevitably fall into, in their first trials and experiments.” These judicious reflections contain a lesson of moderation to all the sincere lovers of the Union, and ought to put them upon their guard against hazarding anarchy, civil war, a perpetual alienation of the States from each other, and perhaps the military despotism of a victorious demagogue, in the pursuit of what they are not likely to obtain, but from time and experience…A Nation, without a National Government, is, in my view, an awful spectacle. The establishment of a Constitution, in time of profound peace, by the voluntary consent of a whole People, is a prodigy, to the completion of which I look forward with trembling anxiety…I know that powerful individuals, in this and in other States, are enemies to a general National Government in every possible shape.
Along the way in my research and pondering about the current attack on the working class and the supposed values of the Tea Party movement I made several “discoveries” that seem to point to hypocrisy. It’s no secret that there is a great deal of angst among TP members about SB5 and the attack on the working class being waged by Kasich. Throughout the week I’ll be highlighting specific areas of disconnects between their stated beliefs and their actions.
Tea Party Discovery #1: Special Interests
The stated belief of the Tea Party is they believe that “favors for special interests” should be removed from the Government. In practice, that would mean that Tea Party members could be counted on to be vocal opponents of the inclusion of Teach for America (by name) into Ohio law. The Tea Party should be even more incensed by the Governor trying to pull a fast one and add Teach for America a second time through his Jobs Budget (Reform Book, p. 5). One could also expect the party to be vocal opponents of the Governor’s expansion of the community school program and the redistribution of tax dollars to these entities that already siphon off state tax money from public (the people’s) schools.
That sound you hear is the deafening noise of silence!
During his campaign, John Kasich stated “you can’t be in a position where somebody’s your buddy so that you give them something special.” As a result, the Tea Party should be picketing the Statehouse daily over Kasich’s hiring of Jai Chabria and Mark Kvamme, two of his buddies. Jai, of course, was rewarded with an entirely made up position of “Special Assistant to the Governor” at the astounding salary of $145,000/year. That and other rewards to key Kasich staffers was something first exposed right here on Plunderbund.
One would think given the stated beliefs of these Tea Partiers that they’d be taking pitchfork and torch to the statehouse in protest of the Governor. Instead, they recently announced their intention to support the Governor after having been “asked to show support”. They’re not a movement of, by, and for the people. They’re a merry band of duped citizens marching to the beat of the corporate drum.
Tomorrow: The Government and the Free Market