Back in February of 2010, I appeared on Neil Cavuto’s FOX Business TV show to talk about the emergence and effectiveness of America’s Tea Party movement. I warned FOX biz host Charles Payne that I was very concerned about the Tea Parties being infiltrated and taken over by big-government neocons.
With more than a year having gone by since that interview, I believe the concerns I expressed on FOX were more than warranted. I am seeing more and more Tea Parties fall into the same trap, as did their predecessors back in the “Conservative Revolution” of 1994 and ‘95.
Right here in my home State of Montana, voters overwhelmingly threw the liberal Democrats out of both State houses and replaced them with Republicans who campaigned on strong conservative rhetoric. But what has happened since? Neocon Republicans in leadership positions squashed the best legislation and bullied compromised, big-government legislation through both chambers. The result: big-government neocons, once again, stymied and squashed the efforts of constitutionalist GOP legislators.
A press release at the half-way point of the Montana legislative session stated, “According to Montana Conservatives’ just-released mid session scorecard, the new wave of Republican legislators elected in November’s landslide are actually voting less conservative than their party’s incumbents.
“This is not good news for Tea Party organizers and other conservative activists, who were hopeful the strong conservative mood of the fall elections would sweep into office a new breed of bolder conservative voices. Instead, the organization’s Taxpayer Advisory Bulletin (TAB) reveals that returning GOP legislators (including those who switched houses) voted 46% conservative through the transmittal break, while newcomers graded a slightly lower 43%. Democratic legislators had an average conservative score of 7%.
“Commenting, MC spokesman Roger Koopman said, ‘This poor performance of Republican freshmen perpetuates what is functionally a three-party system in Helena, consisting of small government Republicans, big government Republicans and big government Democrats. The pattern has existed for years. Consequently, even with large Republican majorities in both houses, conservative ideas remain in the minority and the overall thrust of the legislature is toward bigger, more intrusive government, with greater state control and less individual freedom.’”
What the report does not make a point to say is that the poor performance of many of these freshman GOP legislators is primarily due to the political pressure brought upon them by big-government neocons in leadership positions within the GOP State caucus. This is the same thing that has been going on in State legislatures all over America, and even more so in Washington, D.C. When the courageous freshman class of 1994 was elected to the US House of Representatives, everyone was talking about the great “Conservative Revolution” that had just taken place. Conservative freshman House members such as Helen Chenowith, Bob Barr, Steve Largent, J.C. Watts, J.D. Hayworth, Joe Scarborough, Sonny Bono, etc., marched into the US Capitol with broad support from the American electorate and a sense of commitment to reign in an out-of-control federal leviathan in Washington, D.C. So, what happened? Were any federal departments dismantled? No. Was the size and scope of the federal government reduced? No. Was federal spending reduced? No. Within a year from that historic election in 1994, the “Conservative Revolution” was dead, and it was “business as usual” in Washington, D.C.
Why did this happen? Two reasons: big-government neocon GOP Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich and big-government neocon GOP Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott. These two big-government establishment phony conservatives used their leadership positions to stymie, steamroll, and squash the conservative agenda of the 1994 conservative freshman Republicans.
And the same way that Gingrich and Lott killed the “Conservative Revolution” of 1994 in Washington, D.C., big-government neocons in the State legislatures (including here in Montana) have killed and are killing the limited-government revolutions of the various Tea Parties in 2010 and ’11. Beyond that, many Tea Party leaders and activists are currently touting the Presidential candidacy of the same man who helped kill the “Conservative Revolution” of 1994: former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich.
In my interview on FOX, I said that I was angrier with the Republican Party than I was the Democrat Party. If you listened to the interview referenced above, you heard my reason why: with Democrats there is no pretense. One knows exactly what the Donkeys stand for: Big Government, more taxes, more spending, more welfare, etc. Republicans, however, constantly campaign for less government, less taxes, less spending, less welfare, etc., but after they are elected, they continue the big-spending ways of their colleagues on the other side of the aisle (then throw in their own propensities to expand a burgeoning Police State and Warfare State). Say what you want, at least Democrats are honest about their affinity for Big Government.
If Tea Party activists really believe they are going to change the size and direction of government (at any level) by promoting and electing people such as Newt Gingrich, they are living in fantasyland. (Or, if they live in Montana, they are smoking too much of the weed that they seem determined to deny everyone else!)
Furthermore, this whole Republican vs. Democrat, or “conservative” vs. liberal, paradigm is a joke, anyway! Voters have been replacing Democrats with Republicans, liberals with “conservatives” (and vice versa) for decades; and what has it gotten us? Nothing but bigger and bigger government; more and more government spending; more and more welfare programs; more and more taxes; more and more Police-State legislation; more and more political correctness; more and more environmental wackoism; more and more foreign wars; less and less freedom; and less and less State autonomy.
Koopman’s “three party” description is well taken, except I might refine it a little by maintaining that we still have only two parties: socialist Democrats and neocon Republicans in one party, and limited-government, freedom-oriented constitutionalists in the other party. It’s time that people start identifying big-government neocons in the GOP as being nothing more than a clandestine fifth column unit of the Democrat Party!
If Tea Parties have a death wish, they will promote and support big government neocons such as Newt Gingrich. If they want to truly change the course of their states and country, they will promote and support only those men and women who understand what constitutionalism, limited-government, and liberty really mean--and who have the courage and fortitude to actually defend those principles after being elected. Anything less is just more of the same.