EDITOR OF REDSTATE
Deciding I’m Right
The dirty little secret about my writing is that it captures my real time thinking on issues. I do not sit down with a plan, map out a long term strategy, and then center my writing around that. I have an idea and I expound upon it. You are free to agree or disagree.
Those times I am viewed as being inconsistent are largely because I am persuadable that I am wrong on something and happy to change my mind. I lay it all out for you all to see, read, and think about whether or not you like it.
That is what you got with this post and the reaction to it by some convinces me I am right. Despite repeated praise for the activists at the activist level, some think I am attacking them and others are bunkering down.
Let’s look at a couple from twitter.
Erick Erickson @ewerickson joins the MSMs & throws #TeaParty under the bus
Were I to throw the tea party under the bus, I’d be throwing myself. I am a self-identified tea party activist.
Then there is southsalem who went off for a while:
True #TeaParty would never presume 2 dictate or tell ppl what issues R important or what to think or do!
You could fool me by some of the leaders. And that is the point.
My objection to the tea party movement has nothing to do with tea party activists as I consider myself one. It has nothing to do with the issues. They are my own.
It has everything to do with branding. The branding has served its purpose. It has brought in a lot of people who never knew others felt the same way. It has gotten people involved in the political movement. But the branding has also keeps people involved in the protests and movement out of the process. It allows self-identified leaders to pretend to lead. It breeds factionalism and keeps some from embracing concerns they share because of what they see — and I don’t mean what the media shows, but what they themselves see.
And it is time to move on to the process. Ecclesiastes 3:1 is right. “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.”
And the season of the tea party is sunsetting. It is now time for greater activity in the political process. Again, show up if you want. Go protest. It is healthy for us to have our voices heard. But don’t think that is all you must do.
But more importantly, by continuing to call ourselves “tea party activist” instead of Americans we have made it easy for politicians and others who disagree with us to dismiss us.
Consider this Rasmussen poll, which drives home the point I’m making. “Twenty-four percent (24%) of U.S. voters now say they consider themselves a part of the Tea Party movement. . . . Thirty-five percent (35%) of Mainstream voters view themselves as Tea Party members, while 84% of the Political Class say they have no ties to the movement.”
The tea party movement is a mainstream movement, but only 35% of mainstream voters embrace it. And 84% of politicians can reject it because it is just that “tea party movement.”
The issues the tea party movement protests against and agitates for are foundational principles of the American experience. We let ourselves be dismissed too easily by continuing to be part of the tea party movement instead of being very concerned, individual Americans.
If you go protest, you have my full support, not that you need it. But don’t think you have done all you can or must do. You must move beyond the protest and get into the process.
One word of caution though, contra Ben Smith at the Politico — this is not a Republican movement. This is American with Democrats, Independents, Republicans. My perspective is Republican. But the overall goal is getting America back on the right course. This is bigger than politics, but is a fight that must be waged in the political process.