Remember when you were learning to tie your shoes? Probably not, but you might remember learning something else. What did you do? Sometimes you got it right the first time and most often, you had to try a few times before you got it right. In doing so, you had various outcomes, most of them wrong, until you found the right combination. Later, after you had mastered the procedure, oftentimes you discovered that there was actually a better way to achieve the desired end. Sometimes this was because the effect you achieved with the first method was only temporary, conditions requiring you to re-do it, time and again. The process was of interest, but it was the end result you sought.
So what is there about our political method which is somehow immune from that feature? For years we have had a system of individual prerogatives among our elected members of congress. They get elected and then they make their own decisions according to their personal formulas – or whims – for making decisions. In doing so, they are only loosely accountable to their electorate for their actions in Washington. This seemed to work fairly well for many years in our nation’s history, though we began a progressive slide toward an authoritarian, socialist governmental regime over the years, a progression which in the past twenty years has hastened rapidly. In fact, coming from a time when most of our population was more or less on the same page in terms of their political beliefs, we have arrived at a point of deep political division. Admittedly, it may be more a matter of appearances as portrayed by a pervasive mass media and its culture than it is a reality, but it is certain that there have been big changes in public opinion which continue to change our public policy away from our founding precepts.
We of the Tea Party aren’t happy with these changes. We believe in the rule of law, fiscal responsibility, individual responsibility, and in the words and meanings contained in our constitution. Yet we see them sullied daily from many sides accompanied by a political move away from those precepts and beliefs. Our champion, the Republican Party also seems powerless to stop this leftward slide, a slide which is gaining momentum as this is written. We conservatives, approximately 68% of all those who are registered as Republican voters, look to that party to halt and turn back this movement. We’ve tried with varying degrees of success to get people sympathetic to our concerns in office, but even so, we’re coming up short. The slide continues, unabated.
Why are we doing the same old thing we’ve been doing since the early 1960’s? That is, why are we believing and investing in the thought that we can achieve a conservative ascendency within the GOP? As conservatives, we’re the majority within the party and likely always have been, yet we’ve been at it for fifty years and … the result hasn’t changed. Isn’t it past time to do something entirely different? What else would you spend fifty unsuccessful years trying without changing the approach? What makes this different?
The constitution is our rock. We don’t change that. But we can change the rules by which we send people to Washington. We can set up rules within a party, perhaps the GOP but if not, why not another, which call for that party’s elected members to adhere strictly to a pre-set agenda. The agenda would be developed as the result of broad agreement among the party members and its leadership. Elected members would be required, under the threat of expulsion from the party, to vote in accordance with the wishes of the larger party membership. This would include negotiations, deal-making with our political opponents or any other aspect of legislative action. The elected members from the party would not be voting as a matter of their free will. However, as party members, they would also be in agreement with the party precepts and directives, so why would they act otherwise?
As it is, someone gets elected and he’s on his own, ultimately voting in congress as only he sees fit. He’s under pressure from all manner of humanity: lobbyists wanting advantages for their cause or their business; people back home wanting advantage over other states for their state and for their business or agency; the media puts pressure on them both at home and nationally, which in turn generates social pressures in Washington, in their home state and within their very household. Ladies and Gentlemen, these people are human and have the same frailties to one degree or another that we all have. Some can even be lured into criminal actions. Let’s take that pressure off them! Let groups within the party itself, outside of elected office, make decisions for lobbyists and for pressure groups of one sort or another within the various states. Let the greater party handle the pressures of press which may slam them or laud them, as the case may be.
The reason for doing this, for making this major shift away from “the way things have always been done”, is to achieve that which we have been unable to achieve otherwise; to achieve that which we’ve been unable to achieve doing things the way they’ve always been done. In taking this pressure off of our party membership who hold elected office, they can point to the press or the lobbyists and say “I don’t make the decisions. The party does that.”
Moreover, knowing that our party members will vote in congress only in accordance with the party’s pre-set agenda, when it comes time for elections the party can put its candidates forward, saying “here’s our agenda. You may or may not like it, but if you vote for this guy, you do not have to worry about whether or not he will drive to achieve it and vote to support it at every given opportunity”. Would that change the way you think of the people you send to Washington?
We are the Tea Party. The Tea Party was a group of revolutionaries who were no longer willing to live under the king’s thumb, so they threw out his rules and eventually, threw out the king. We don’t have to throw out a king, but we have to prevent one from returning. Let’s get serious about it and make the necessary changes to thwart his return. Let’s get a different result.
January 3, 2013