Sunday, November 07, 2010
Requiem for the Tea Party - draft
By Bernie Quigley
For The Hill on 11/8/10
Whether or not Lisa Murkowski manages to rage against reality as successfully as South Carolina segregationist Strom Thurmond, who last won a write-in contest, it is Joe Miller who has pointed the way to the millennium. He holds a lantern in the cold Alaskan twilight, but most of the rest of the Tea Party was co-opted the moment it started being called a Tea Party. The original ideas hatched and awakened simultaneously in 37 states after NH state rep Dan Itse proposed a Jeffersonian states-rights defense against federal overreach. But it might have been better had he never done that Glenn Beck interview. A maturing framework for this will, as Texas Governor Rick Perry said, take Governors, not Congress or a President. Like Alaska’s Sean Parnell, Virginia’s Bob McConnell, South Carolina’s Nikki Haley, Wisconsin’s Scott Walker and Iowa’s Terry Branstad. Visualize a new America, one rising from the center. But it will take longer.
Change will be driven by economics, not speeches, particularly the dawning realization that the well off agrarian states in the center of the country are now being asked to support the welfare states on the edge. The NY times asks, “Can NY and CA be saved?” Not with the recidivist politicos they just elected. Look to John Thune and Kristi Noem of South Dakota; look to Joe Miller in the longer term; they would be better governors. Look to South Dakota and Alaska as rising karma and NY and CA as receding. But for now, consider Tea Party only a harbinger, like the nullification crisis of 1832, and a warning.
Miller brings to the political process the animal spirits of a MacKenzie River husky, the kind that is half wolf. While the new Congress will be the familiar fad diet, possibly with the always popular government shutdown number thrown in; get thin quick, then get fat again. It is inherent in the process – the abstraction - of detached, centralized government. A “30-year-plan”? Are you kidding? We can’t see beyond Tuesday and we borrow to get to Tuesday. We have become like Konrad Lorenz’s trained geese who blindly follow anyone who taps their shell, then become compelled to gluttony when they lose the bearings of their natural lives. By losing our first attachment to state, to region, to the place we belong on the earth, we lose our relationship with the earth itself: Like Lorenz’s geese we lose our Mother.
Michael Boldin of the Tenth Amendment Center was there at the beginning. In September, he gave a speech in Fort Worth, Texas, and said there are a few core beliefs that guide him in everything he does. They should be retrieved from the detritus of the Tea Party, perhaps as an anthem. They are:
1. Rights are not “granted” to us by the government – they are ours by our very nature, by our birthright.
2. ALL just political authority is derived from the people – and government exists solely with our consent!
3. We the people of the several states created the federal government – not the other way around!
4. The Tenth Amendment defines the total scope of federal power as being that which has been delegated by the people to the federal government in the Constitution – and nothing more.
5. The People of each State have the sole and exclusive right and power to govern themselves in all areas not delegated to their government.
6. A Government without limits IS A TYRANNY!
7. When Congress enacts laws and regulations that are not made in Pursuance of the powers enumerated in the Constitution, the People are not bound to obey them.