A.J. DiCintio
The GOP and the Tea Party
By A.J. DiCintio
September 25, 2010

You have to be a meticulously dedicated hermit not to know that invective-spewing Democratic leaders and other liberals find Tea Party attitudes about fiscal policy, individual freedom, and centralization of power so repulsively antithetical to the tenets of their leftist ideology that they regard the activists as devils and their traditional vision of America as hell.

But what of the Tea Party and the GOP leadership?

Well, in contrast to the singularly hateful response exhibited by the American left, many in the Republican Establishment react to the movement with the same duality that sends hope through the minds but chills down the spines of destitute aristocrats who realize that their only chance of regaining their "rightful" place in society lies in riding the back of a fierce, new tiger.

Problem is, while those VIP's are right to worry about being devoured, they are wrong about placing the blame for their predicament on a coalition of main street conservatives, independents, libertarians, constitutionalists, and blue dog Democrats whose votes determine who gets to sit in the nation's seats of power.

To put it another way, if the GOP is to continue as an important national entity, it's high time its VIP's begin saying this when they meet in Washington's plush salons:

"The fault, Dear Friends, is not in the Tea Party but in ourselves."

Specifically, the Republican Establishment desperately needs to get the message that the most important political movement in America today is populated by middle class citizens who demand fundamental change in a party that purports to represent right-of-center, traditional American principles, including the notion of Jeffersonian Democracy, but in reality supports a liberal-like Washingtoncentric vision of government which substitutes the elites of big money and big business for the power loving leftist "thinkers" and air-headed social dreamers who set the agenda for the other side.

For a stunning example of the assertion just made, we need only examine the roots of the financial calamity that is still causing excruciating pain to millions.

In 1999, Bill Clinton, with vigorous support from Republicans, signed the Financial Services Modernization Act into law, thereby allowing banks to enter the securities and insurance businesses.

But in repealing the Glass-Steagall Act, which had been in effect since 1933, the coalition of Democrats and so-called conservatives didn't, as Bill O'Reilly would put it, look out for the folks.

Instead, those politicians disdained common sense (a rightly favorite Tea Party idea) in favor of trusting themselves and banking big shots to do the right thing out of respect for the people (in the case of the politicians) and the shareholders (in the case of Wall Street bigwigs).

What happened as a result of this Pollyannaish experiment?

Well, as main street conservatism would predict, Congressional liberals gamed the new reality to push their social/political agenda by putting the heat on Fannie and Freddie to see to it that "sub-prime" and even "sub-sub-prime" mortgages were written by the boatload.

Wall Street big shots gamed it to realize huge profits and obscene bonuses by lumping scandalous pieces of paper into inscrutable packages that honest financial experts knew were as genuine as a $100 bill counterfeited on paper cut from a used lunch bag.

And "conservatives" such as GW Bush and Alan Greenspan gamed it to advance their neo-con fantasies by spewing mere words that spoke of a ridiculously conceived "ownership society" and the astonishingly stupid notion that CEO's are somehow exempt from the immutable frailties of human nature.

Where has this betrayal of common sense conservatism left the financial industry today?

The answer to that question is complicated, but its most crucial component lies in these three facts:

When Lehman Brothers went belly up, sending shock waves though U.S. and world financial markets, it had $600 to $700 billion in assets.

Currently, the assets of America's four largest banks total an astounding $7.5 trillion.

And congressional heavy hitters with respect to the nation's financial industry still have names such as "Mitch McConnell" and "Barney Frank."

Without a doubt, the example of the financial crisis alone shows that the Tea Party is right to insist that the Republican Party transform itself from a party of big government and big money to one of effective, efficient, honest government of, by, and for the people.

The most frightening problem of our time, however, is that much more than the nation's financial industry needs to be set right.

And once again it is the Tea Party that is sounding the alarm about madly irrational policies driven by the love of power (in the case of Democrats) and the love of money (Republicans).

For proof of the good sense of this profound warning, we need to consider only that federal power and debt have been metastasizing like a horribly virulent cancer.

The fiscal nature of the cancer is best exemplified by the unsustainable promises made by politicians who have run up a national debt of $13.5 trillion (92% of GDP), which is really as much as $130 trillion (900% of GDP) if state debt and unfunded liabilities of Medicare and Social Security are included.

But America's problems are not about money alone, however shocking the facts; for history and the realities of human nature tell us that liberty has never flourished and never will flourish in any culture ruled by authoritarian politicians and judges who issue their laws and rulings from the level of government most remote from the people.

Moreover, we need look only at the performance of liberals over the past year and a half to realize that currently there is virtually zero probability that the Democratic Party will take the lead in rationally reforming the federal government and, in harmony with the principle of federalism as confirmed by the Tenth Amendment, returning to the people their rightful powers.

However, as the situation throughout Western Europe reveals, the battle against politicians who put the love of power or money above the public good will be fought.

Thus, the only question here in America is "by whom?"

Republican Establishment, take note.

© A.J. DiCintio


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)

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A.J. DiCintio

A.J. DiCintio posts regularly at RenewAmerica and YourNews.com. He first exercised his polemical skills arguing with friends on the street corners of the working class neighborhood where he grew up. Retired from teaching, he now applies those skills, somewhat honed and polished by experience, to social/political affairs.


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