To show how slow I can be at times, until I read the comments associated with Streiff's piece last night on Debra Medina (which I agree with) it never dawned on me that a lot of people might look at the Tea Parties as actual "political parties."
Originally a tea party was exactly that, where some old crow who looked like Jane Austen's mother would invite some more old crows over to sit around and drink tea and gossip. If the local Anglican parson was free, they'd invite him, too, so as to sanctify the snitcherry. Sam Adams' idea of a tea party wasn't exactly the same, but he still didn't take the "party" out of it, as in, "Why don't a bunch of you boys meet down at Harley's Tavern, throw back a coupla pints, then, once all your inhibitions are gone, dress up like Indians and throw some cases of the King's tea in the harbor?". (Sounds a little Acorn-y to me.) Hell, it was just like a panty raid. Woo-hoo!
I think the original intent of the Tea Party "movement" was, no, still is, to be more like Sam Adams' vision of "party", i.e. broadcasting dissent for government actions, policies, and philosophy...to both the government and the people. In the sense that they are staking out a banner in the ground, and yelling "Rally round this flag, here, Boys!", they still haven't lost the essence of that original tea party.
We always knew there would be vain men and women, profiteers, mountebanks (I'm trying to see how many more archaic names i can come up with than Art in Alaska...he cut me off at the knees with "mau mau") who would try to steamroll themselves, and their own persona, or their own one issue, or their own one grand vision, into the Tea Party mix. I've written about it here, and the literature is so voluminous if you'll just look to the top of the page, and the little Search box, type in "Tea Parties", you'll be sent to several pages of essays on RedState that probably serve as fine an "oral history" of the movement as can be found anywhere.
We always knew some of those people would be spurned, or quit when everyone turned their noses up at the potato salad they brought to the party, or maybe sniggered when they took the crumpet down in one swallow. We always knew, just like every snake handler up and down the Cumberland River, that some would go off and form their own Separate Baptist Tea Party.
And we always knew that the Great Enemy on the Left would reach out to these people and hold them close to its bosom, and nurture them, and whisper "Now, now" and hum a lullaby.
The "birfers" I most worry about is when the Left tries to "birf" these into a third party...the other kind of party....for they know, if they can do that successfully, they win. And we lose.
As I see it, the Republican Party brand belongs to the conservative constitutionalists that make up the core of RedState. We are locked in a battle, second front if you will, to reclaim that brand....while never losing sight of the greater battle that lay out there against the forces of the Left. The Left can live alongside an emasculated Republican Party as currently constituted, but they cannot live peaceably alongside us. And they cannot live peaceably alongside the Tea Parties.
This is why we say we have a better claim to Tea Parties that the GOP. It is not political, it is philosophical. In fact many of us are also Tea Party. We are joined at the hip. We simply believe in action that has so long laid dormant it is considered outside the political process. It isn't.
This is not just a political position, but a strategic fact of war, that any third party movement arising out of the Tea Parties is a victory for the Left. I think at this late date, and the seriousness of the game, that should be a thing, just like "birfers and trufers" that is no longer worthy of comment or debate here. (I agree with the gate keepers on this one.) I have long been a proponent of casting at least one line of rescue to the lost who visit here, but as a matter of political economy, there simply isn't time. If you want to stake out any of those position here, Just say "I'm for third party" and leave an email address and I'll have Bernie send one of his "suicide-watch" Intervention members for counseling.
What can we do here to push this forward?
Without going over-long, I have another complaint directed toward conservatives in general. One of my complaints with the way the GOP handled the social conservative wing of the Reagan coalition, is that no one wanted to dirty their hands with improving their constitutional education. They were willing to take their votes for granted much like the Dem's were blacks. Many are still only one-issue conservatives, after 20 years, which as we saw in 2008 allowed Mike Huckabee to become a broker drumming a much better candidate than John M'Cain out of the race. (This is my opinion only. You don't have to agree.)
Moses Sand told me a long time ago in one of his rants about the failure of the Constitution's "protectors" (who we are supposed to be) is that the handshake from the top of the hill needs to be perpetually extended back down the hill, to ordinary citizens who move in political realms more often as not by instinct rather than education or training. We have a duty to improve their constitutional understandings, i.e, their education.
The Tea Party movement can, in fact, must make a difference in the coming battles. And while I know there are hundreds of people out there, buying books, reading, sharing, even forming little Thursday night "Bible" study groups, for the most part those instincts across the board are not being honed into a finer constitutional context. This explains why so many can go off the reservation so easily.
I'm not sure how this "education" can best be accomplished, but it needs to be more organized. For one RedState can open a new Hot Topics line (above) just on Constitutional Education (or some better title) where RedStaters can more easily post diaries directly into that library, just for their value at edifying anyone who wants to read them. I see enough one-liners from the Founders here on people's personal comments to start your own "The 243 Best Things Lovers of America Ever Said". Set guidelines, so as to keep the potshots at Biden and Obama and Pelosi to a minimum. (While justified, there's no educational value in that. Teach them to think and analyze first. Then teach them to cuss better.) Then reach out to all the various Tea Parties and send them this new link. At that time RedState will have just formed its first correspondence school.