ORLANDO, Fl, January 28, 2011 - Over the past few years, the Tea Party movement has developed and evolved and the power and influence of the movement was on full display this week when Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann (R-MN) delivered the “Tea Party Response” rebuttal to President Obama’s State of the Union address live on CNN.
Speaking after Paul Ryan (R-WI), Bachmann was specific, partisan and more importantly, misrepresentative.
While her message may have represented some of those within the movement, it definitely fell short in representing many others, most notably individuals who are at the heart of the Tea Party movement. Which begs the question of not when, but how did the Tea Party begin? Who helped start the Tea Party and what did and do they, she or he believe?
It’s an important question and one for which Joshua Green, author of “The Tea Party’s Brain,” attempted to find an answer this past November.
Mr. Green surmises that the “who” behind the Tea Party movement is Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX).
Recognizing Paul’s views and following is critical when considering the Tea Party because it points out how the enthusiasm of the movement was not originally inspired in resistance to Obama, Reid, Pelosi or the Democrats. Its true birth took place before Obama was elected.
Consider this, on Nov. 5th 2007, supporters of Paul raised over 4.3 million dollars in one day to support his presidential candidacy, a true grassroots display of democracy. Those supporters that participated in the fundraiser for Paul’s campaign stood for constitutional limited government; the platform of Tea Party movement today.
All this took place before the Fox News channel began broadcasting Tea Party events or Michele Bachman had the opportunity to call President Obama a Socialist. Paul’s supporters donated to Paul because they believed in limited constitutional government; a government that needed to be restored after eight years of Bush, not one year of Obama.
Now that’s something you won’t hear on Fox News.
During Paul’s 2008 presidential campaign, he continually offered a different message than his fellow Republican candidates. His candidacy in 2008 is believed by some, including me, as the start of what is now known as the modern day Tea Party movement.
One way Paul defined his candidacy in the 2008 presidential Republican primary was with his views on foreign policy.
According to Tea Party Express chairman Amy Kremer, “The Tea Party movement is not a wing of the Republican Party, but is an issues-oriented movement focused on fiscal conservative issues.”
What Paul understood and continues to preach is that a nation cannot be fiscally conservative and continue to spend billions of dollars a month on an interventionist foreign policy which destroys assets and resources abroad rather than investing in them.
The Founding Fathers never advised such policies and neither does Paul.
During her response Tuesday night, Bachmann made specific suggestions on how to fix the economy. One suggestion Bachman made was that “The President could also turn back some of the 132 regulations put in place in the last two years. Many of which will cost our economy 100 million dollars or more.”
The fact that Rep. Bachmann chose to highlight regulations that could cost the country 100 million dollars as reason for our economical shortcomings rather than the United States continuing to engage in the longest war in our nation’s history ought to have those in the Tea Party furious. Our fellow neighbors are risking their lives and sometimes dying for the freedom which Bachmann is supposedly promoting.
If her argument for turning around the economy is to not bring home our troops from a war that costs us billions of dollars a month but rather to engage in perpetual rhetoric of turning back regulation, then the Tea Party is in peril.
Bachmann’s shortsighted suggestions can’t represent such a diverse and powerful movement.
The Tea Party movement was the political story of 2010; however, it is important to remember it did not begin last year. The message of the Tea Party has been around for years and extends well beyond the voice of Michele Bachmann.
Joel Larson is a graduate of Colorado State University who now lives in Orlando. To avoid overexposure to the Florida sun, he writes about politics, media and generation y. He wishes more Republicans would listen to Ron Paul’s views on foreign policy and can be reached on Facebook and on Twitter.
Read more of Joel’s articles in his column Moderate Indecisiveness in the Washington Times Communities.
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