In an interview on CNN, soon to be retired (because he lost his primary re-election bid) Rep. Bob Inglis (R-SC) showed that he still doesn't get it regarding the Tea Parties:
"I think this would be a tough time for Ronald Reagan and Jack Kemp," Inglis added. "They were optimists that believe in America. Right now, unfortunately, conservatism is being presented with a voice of snarling rather than a face of smiling, and it really doesn't fit America."
Rep. Inglis has just shown he has never attended a Tea Party rally and that he has no idea about what he is talking about. Tea Partiers love their country. They love the ideas and principles this country was founded on. If they are angry and "snarling", it's because of people like Rep. Inglis that dismisses conservatism. Arlen Specter once quipped that "I didn't leave the Republican Party, the Republican Party left me". In a similar way, the Republican Party left Ronald Reagan. Reagan would be welcomed and championed within the Tea Party ranks. I personally believe Ronald Reagan would be appalled by the state of the Republican Party - pre-Tea Party intervention. The fact that sitting Congressmen still don't understand Reagan and the conservative movement and that conservatives are fundamentally changing politics and the major parties is frightening.
Critics claim that the Tea Party is nothing more than a front for GOP operatives, and funded by "elite conservatives". Are there more Republicans than Democrats at rallies? I'd say so, but the Democrats are coming out more and more. In fact, the last rally we had here in Effingham, I had several people come up to me and say that the current Democrat Party is not the party they grew up with or that it was not the Democrat Party of their grandfathers or even their parents. However, the fact remains that the Tea Parties are changing both parties.
The Republicans are learning first hand via primary victories of conservatives over establishment GOP in Florida, Utah, Colorado, and elsewhere. As the Democrats take loses in November, the Democrats will change as well as the national mood has soured on the empty promises of "hope and change". One party is closer ideologically to the Tea Parties than the other, so one is experiencing growth pains first. The simple fact of the matter is that the individual Tea Parties answer to nobody but themselves, so the major parties' ability to co-op the movement has met with resistance and has allowed the Tea Parties to remain fiercely independent of the major parties, and even between the individual Tea Parties themselves.
Rep. Inglis then goes further:
Inglis said, though, that the movement was only fostering fear and division in U.S. politics.
"I think what we've got is a lot of fear, some very fearful people. And some leaders who are scared of the fearful people," he said. "And the result is that a great deal of fear is out there rather than leadership that says, 'Sure, we've got challenges.'
"I don't think we build our party by distraction, and we don't serve our country by division," Inglis added. "The key here is to pull together as Americans and to build on truth, especially to build a conservative movement, a credible conservative movement, build it on truth."
First, I like the division. The two major parties have grown too close together. How many times have you heard someone say there is no difference between Republicans and Democrats? In reality, they are right for the most part. Both parties went on a spending spree over the last 10 years. Now, we have clear cut lines between what Republicans stand for (or will stand for) versus what Democrats stand for. I believe this comes from the theories of conflict resolution that has been shoved down our throats from our workplace to schools to our churches. God forbid you disagree with someone and fight for something. The horror!
Second, the leadership is fearful of the people? Wasn't it Thomas Jefferson that said "when the people fear the government, you have tyranny. When the government fears the people, you have liberty'? I think we can convert that quote to the party leadership on both sides of the aisle; why else would the Democrats be doing damage control and the Republicans trying to negotiate a truce to save what is left of their "moderates" or establishment leaders before another media defined "purge" takes place in 2012.
Lastly, fight for principles is a distraction? Now I'm no ideologue. I understand we can't elect conservatives in every election, but we can elect enough conservatives so moderates/RINOS can do less damage. What exactly is a "credible conservative movement" to Rep. Inglis? "Based on truth"? So the Tea Parties are liars on top of being snarly and divisive? I love how the media finds these sore losers and then gives them a microphone to promote the leftist media's schema of what the Tea Parties are. Ridiculous.
Rep. Inglis and other sore losers - Bob Bennett and Lisa Murkowski in particular - worry me. There is a lame duck session of Congress where there will be some controversial votes taken. Will these sore losers stand for principles or will they burn their bridges as they leave Washington DC to spite the growing conservative movement and the Tea Parties? Only time will tell, but keep an eye on those that are coming home early.
Crossposted at Downstate Illinois Advocate