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Our tent

Our tent

The Tea Party movement has been pronounced dead more times than one can count.

Vilifying and demonizing that great unwashed semi-libertarian freedom movement has been an almost full-time focus of the mainstream media and left blogosphere; in a sign of national unity, Republicans have held the left’s hand when it comes to the Tea Party movement.

So it’s no surprise that the Tea Party movement’s negatives have risen.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the hatefest visited on the Tea Party movement over the past four years.

The Tea Party movement has driven the national dialogue since 2009 over issues of national debt and deficits, taxes and entitlements, government control versus individual freedom.

Would you like a drone with your Obamacare?

That dialogue could not stop Obama’s reelection for a variety of reasons many of which were peculiar to the Obama phenomenon and the nature of the Republican primary system, but even Obama is talking (only talking) about the issues the Tea Party has driven to the forefront.

Also listen to Karl Rove (the new shiny object of hate glimmering in the eye of the conservative movement at the moment) and Bill Kristol (frequently cited as part of the problematic Republican establishment) in recent interviews:

The question normally is phrased as to whether the Tea Party movement should have a place under someone else’s tent.

Pop quiz —

Whose tent is it now?

You just didn’t realize it.

Keep on keeping on.

And in my humble opinion, our tent should be big enough for Karl Rove and Bill Kristol, and Democrats who share our concerns. But more on that later.


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Joan Of Argghh | February 7, 2013 at 9:15 am

“It doesn’t matter how many people you put under the GOP “Big Tent” if the anchoring pegs have been carelessly eased out of the ground. The first big gust of resistance imperils the entire assembly.” -Joan Varga

And Daniel Greenfield has an excellent complement to this post today.

The TEA Party movement was not, and will not be, a “party”.

It was an urge, a genuine, visceral reaction to the obvious drive to “fundamentally transform America” by the Collective.

That urge HAS translated into actual power in the political process, but it has required a learning curve on the part of many involved in the transition from grass-roots (often formerly uninvolved) players to politically smart players who understand there are rules to the game (i.e., vetting, marketing, training, and organization…pretty much NONE of which were present in some of the races we lost).

We’ve done remarkably well, on balance. We’ll do better in the future.

This is ESPECIALLY true when you consider the truth of the past (i.e., Akin was NOT a TEA Party guy).

But, apart from the issue of who got elected, as the Prof. suggests it is the IDEAS that have proven MOST influential.

We are moving the needle inexorably toward sound conservative fundamentals. Which is why the division in the nation is so sharp now, since the Collective has come out of their sheep-suits as the wolves we’ve known for some time.

    drdog09 in reply to Ragspierre. | February 8, 2013 at 1:24 pm

    I disagree that the Teas should not be a party. The should be. The last two cycles we have had too many false flag type claiming to be Tea Party who were nothing more than shills to syphon conservative votes so the liberal would win. Till a party infrastructure is put in place there is no way to protect the brand.

And in my humble opinion, our tent should be big enough for Karl Rove and Bill Kristol, and Democrats who share our concerns.

Completely agree, BUT why wasn’t the “tent big enough” for Allen West, where Repubs assisted in re-districting him into a largely Dem controlled area.

However the volatile and confrontational Frankinstein look alike Alan Grayson, was allowed back into ‘The Big Tent’.

    Yeah Yeah, misspelled Frankenstein.

    creeper in reply to JP. | February 7, 2013 at 10:05 am

    The “Big Tent” doesn’t have room for Allen West because allowing him in would mean the downfall of both Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio. There is not one Republican party. There are two…the party of the silverbacks and the party of true conservatives.

    Given that split and Dems’ iron-fisted control of the election process I see no hope for Republicans in 2016.

    jdkchem in reply to JP. | February 7, 2013 at 1:58 pm

    Why wasn’t the tent big enough for Allen West? Because the establishment feared they would have to cut loose more clowns to make room.

    RickCaird in reply to JP. | February 8, 2013 at 8:22 am

    Allen West was the sacrificial goat, redistricted out of his seat by the establishment Republicans. However, there is a major question as to whether West actually lost due to major vote problems in St. Lucie County. There has now been a suit filed against the supervisor of elections by True the Vote.

    Grayson benefited from the Obama vote. He got in in 2008 on Obama’s coattails and lost in 2010 with no Obama. I wonder if he will be as volatile during the next two years as he was in his first term. If he is, I predict he will be defeated in 2014.

    drdog09 in reply to JP. | February 8, 2013 at 1:20 pm

    Yes! Or why the change in policy about delegates, such that anyone not toeing the line could be replaced?

    The issue is not the size of the tent, but the fact that the GOP apparatchiks don’t want anyone who do not conform to their vision of what color the tent should be.

I contend that the true home for the tea-party is on a state level, hopefully in a partnership with their state GOP (who, by and large, are NOT the same as the national guys). Conservatives actually did pretty well on state and local levels this past election, largely due to the actions of tea-partiers.

The big push of progressives, both on the left and right, is centralization of government. Tea-partiers, whether they know it on a conscious level or not, are all about decentralization. The states are rightly their focus.

It is on the state level where the teaparty owns its power. To insist on viewing the Tea-party within a national framework is to be using the wrong lens; a lens which, I contend, serves no purpose for conservatives and should be discarded.

    Ragspierre in reply to gwest. | February 7, 2013 at 10:34 am

    “…a national framework is to be using the wrong lens; a lens which, I contend, serves no purpose for conservatives and should be discarded.”

    I was with you until then. A bridge too far.

    We attack on all fronts.

      Ragspierre in reply to Ragspierre. | February 7, 2013 at 1:00 pm

      Innit interesting that what I said varies not a whit from what MTF said, yet the reaction is exactly inverted.


    MTF in reply to gwest. | February 7, 2013 at 11:11 am

    No question that you are right to say the state level ought to be our primary focus.

    But, as John Kasich just proved for us, the danger posed by Washington action to our agenda and our liberty is so serious that we cannot afford to let the Washington action ever, even for a moment, slip out of focus. For that purpose (and as much as I hate to admit it) we need people willing to get down in the mud pit, like Rove and Kristol.

gwest: I could not agree with you more.

Jeffrey Lord at The Spectator just published the definitive takedown of Rove and his gang in Karl Rove and the Cotton Conservatives. First, a little historical background: The Whig party of it’s day supposedly opposed slavery, but whenever a Whig president was elected, he would “compromise” with the pro-slavery Democrats. After this had gone on for decades, the Whig party split into “Conscience Whigs” who opposed slavery on constitutional and moral grounds, and “Cotton Whigs” who were willing to compromise their alleged principles and vote for slavery when it was expedient. The Whig party died – Millard Fillmore was the last Whig president – and a new party – the Republican Party led by Abraham Lincoln – took it’s place. Note that Lincoln actually did what the Whigs only advocated.

Lord makes the case that Big Government is the slavery issue of the day and the modern Republican party has split into the Rove faction which gives only lip service to limited government, and the Tea Party faction that really means it.

“Just as the heated charge arose from Conscience Whigs back in the late 1840s and 1850s that in some fashion slavery and its extension were acceptable to Cotton Whigs — so today do modern Conscience Conservatives suggest Cotton Conservatives really believe in Big Government. That their goal is to simply manage Big Government better than the other guy — while not really opposing Big Government at all. Merely tinkering at its edges. Barry Goldwater used to call this sort of thing the “dime store New Deal” approach.”

Lord goes on to use Rove’s “No Child Left Behind” as an example:

“In a microcosm, Rove’s tale of No Child Left Behind is precisely how Americans now find themselves almost $17 trillion in debt, headed down the road to Greece. There are very few areas of the massive federal leviathan that did not begin with some version of Rove’s tale: President X wanted to use the federal government to do Y. It was a wonderful cause, or even a lousy political cause. But whatever the original reason President X got his way and Y program…decades later…is still there. Now deemed essential. Untouchable. And oh so woefully underfunded.

The question is obvious. What kind of “conservative victory” is that?”

We keep hearing the republican insiders like Rove tell is it’s raining but they’re just peeing down our backs. Rove and his gang will fail.

    OldNuc in reply to snopercod. | February 7, 2013 at 11:39 am

    That is a pretty good summary of where we are at today. Lots of fine grain examinations and the big picture is being missed. As long as the Rovians keep selling out then they are just another type of big government control progressive and that defines them as the enemy.

“And in my humble opinion, our tent should be big enough for Karl Rove and Bill Kristol, and Democrats who share our concerns.”

I don’t see it happening — not until some kind of greater political bloodletting takes place. This a time of war. Karl Rove is certainly at war — in that uniquely elitist passive-aggressive but no less vicious and determined way of waging it — with the insurrectionist grassroots conservative (and libertarian) energies embodied at least in part by the Tea Party. War. They want the existential annihilation of the Tea Party. That’s just the reality (as David Bossie explained so well on Breitbart yesterday). Karl Rove and others cannot, will not, reconcile themselves to the power or prerogative of the Tea Party movement. At least not until that movement demonstrates its power to put them in their place. The movement isn’t going away, and won’t compromise on core points of principle. If the Republicans succeed in nominating another Establishmentarian like Romney in 2016 who shuns bold reformist solutions, is unable or unwilling to call out the unConstitutional nature of the Left and appears vaguely ashamed or embarrassed by conservatism, this candidate will win even fewer votes than Romney did. The tent will shrink.

The best hope of the Republican Party is to accept more of the libertarian spirit and to fullthroatedly take up the cause of political reformism, that is, challenge the corruption, cronyism and unConstitutional erosions — and collusions with the anti-freedom Left — brought on by the Establishment GOP. Such an argument can easily be allied with the effort to find common ground with and even inspire moderate democrats, minorities and those blocs of voters which would expand the Republican Party into an unstoppable force for exciting reformist and individually-empowering policies. These policies, it can and should be argued, will strengthen the social safety net and advance our societal compassion, fairness and justice.

    Ragspierre in reply to raven. | February 7, 2013 at 1:13 pm

    “If the Republicans succeed in nominating another Establishmentarian like Romney in 2016 who shuns bold reformist solutions, is unable or unwilling to call out the unConstitutional nature of the Left and appears vaguely ashamed or embarrassed by conservatism, this candidate will win even fewer votes than Romney did.”

    This is pure revisionism. It is objectively false.

      It can’t be “objectively” false until 2016. For now, it can only be subjectively false.

      But if it was objectively true in 2012 (that is, if the monotonously repeated mainstream republican grievance that irresponsible conservatives did not get out and support Romney even against the horrible Obama was really true) why wouldn’t this prove even more true for another Romney-esque candidate against a less horrible democrat in 2016?

      Here’s what’s “objectively true.” The GOP, as it presently conformed and driven, is dying. Without radical reformation, without integrating more of the libertarisn argument and ethos, without confronting the reaity of the anti-freedom Left, and without exciting people in the idea of self-empowering policies and selling those through a dynamic anti-Establishment candidate, the GOP is dead.

        Ragspierre in reply to raven. | February 7, 2013 at 2:12 pm

        As I suspect you well know, your objectively false statements involved…

        1. eschewing bold reform

        2. failing to defend the Constitution

        3. “apologizing” for conservative positions

        The Romney campaign can be faulted on many truthful grounds…sometimes only according to opinion. You should stick to those.

        It is also objectively true…last I checked…that Romney out-performed McAnus and most senators (if memory serves).

        I think it is accurate to say that Obama’s micro-target strategy won the election, not that Romney lost (although that is a matter of interpretation).

          “As I suspect you well know.”

          What a bullsh*t pedantic condescending remark. What I said is what I know.

          Romney was a diffident, risk-averse, non-communicative bomb of a candidate. An uninspiring zilch who missed the biggest opportunity in American history to take on corruption and the Left and revitalize the American spirit at its most serious moment of need in the modern era.

          It was “objectively” clear that he had no interest in or ability to confront Obama and the Left in any way that would have risked indigestion in the MSM. In a campaign that cried for a challenge to the MSM – and given the blueprint and moral support provided by Andrew Breitbart and other actual heroic and serious fighters – Romney sh*t the bed in about as complete and abject a way as was possible. His campaign was fundamentally deluded and fearful and preordained to fail. The delusion and fearfulness — the deep anxiety about offending the Left and media — is hardwired deep in the GOP mentality and it was beautifully embodied by Romney.

          He DID NOT propose bold reforms. Nothing that would have siezed America’s attention and shaken up the politics-as-usual edifice of corruption and craziness that is our government and our American existence. Slash EPA? Dissolve the Dept. of Education and return all educational policy to states? Eliminate the IRS by end of first term? A demand for total transparency in government and CSPAN broadcast of all hearings? No more MSM-sponsored debates? No more exemptions for politicians from the laws they pass? The list of lost opportunities was endless. The boldest of all would have been an assault on crony-capitalism, something which would have united and inspired huge swaths of tea partiers and democrats and libertarians. But he never uttered the term. Palin road-tested the issue and it was his for the taking. Fail.

          And I didn’t say he failed to defend the Constitution. I said he failed to attack the Left for its unconstitutional actions.

          I didn’t say he apologized for conservative positions. I said he appeared ashamed by conservatism. He has his whole life.

          You don’t read carefully or don’t want to.

          Romney lost. This is not a “matter of interpretation.” That’s what “objective” means.

          If we can’t beat an Obama, we’re pathetic. We are pathetic. Romney was pathetic. The GOP is pathetic.

          Reform or die.

          Ragspierre in reply to Ragspierre. | February 7, 2013 at 3:26 pm

          Let me be plain.

          You are a liar.

          Romney promised to kill ObamaCare. THAT was BOTH bold reform and constitutional defense.

          Romney proposed devolving regulatory control BACK to states. THAT was BOTH bold reform and constitutional defense.

          Romney proposed reforming the tax code. THAT was BOTH bold reform and constitutional defense.

          Romney proposed releasing the wonder of markets. THAT was BOTH bold reform and constitutional defense.

          Romney…with Ryan…proposed to reform entitlements. THAT was BOTH bold reform and constitutional defense.

          It is one thing to be an unrelenting scooper of crap on those in the arena. It is quite another to simply LIE about what they did.

          But am I an “objective” liar? The slur just doesn’t have the same oomph without the modifier.

          Ragspierre in reply to Ragspierre. | February 7, 2013 at 3:59 pm

          Objectively, you cannot refute the plain recitation of Romney/Ryan REFORM positions, or the consonance with both conservative ideology and Constitutional fundamentals.

          Can you?

          Nor was that list exhaustive. You should at least educate yourself.

          Again, the Romney campaign is open to various criticisms. The ones you listed are simply false.

          “The ones you listed are simply false.”


          Ragspierre in reply to Ragspierre. | February 7, 2013 at 5:19 pm

          Both objectively and obviously.

          Witness your response.

          punfundit in reply to Ragspierre. | February 7, 2013 at 5:58 pm

          No, no. Romney *claimed* he would do those things. There was nothing in his political history to suggest he would actually attempt to accomplish such once in office.

          Ragspierre in reply to Ragspierre. | February 7, 2013 at 6:48 pm

          No, no. That is

          1. a different analysis

          2. your unsupported opinion

          3. which is, in fact, fallacious

          If I tell you I will do something, what you believe does not mean I never said what I said.

          Does it?

          punfundit in reply to Ragspierre. | February 7, 2013 at 9:02 pm

          Except that Romney’s actual political history does not support his actual stated positions.

“The Architect ” gets the money because he is of the class that gives the money. It’s not a tent, it’s a trough. We scare the bejesus out of the snouts in the trough crowd because we want to chop the trough into firewood.

The problem is not if the Tea Party fields better candidates than Rove’s group, but whether or not both groups will provide total support to the victors of the primaries. Rove has a nasty habit of immediately trashing the winner if that person defeated the candidate he was backing. There is no doubt in my mind he was responsible for some of the defeats we’ve experienced in the past couple of elections. It is sickening to watch the Paulbots and Rovers pout like spoiled children, kick and scream and refuse to help those who prevailed.

    breakn70 in reply to gasper. | February 7, 2013 at 12:10 pm

    This lack of post primary support is one of two key issues. It could be argued that conservative support for Romney was lukewarm given the lack of Republican turnout. But that lack of support pales in comparison to the public attacks by Rove and his acolytes on victorious primary candidates like Mourdock, Angle, Akin, and O’Donnell and others. Richard Lugar best epitomizes this behavior. I consider him traitorous. Do we ever hear Democrats attacking their own candidates?

    The other key issue is the primary system. It needs to be closed, immediately. Only Republicans should vote in Republican primaries.

      scfanjl in reply to breakn70. | February 7, 2013 at 1:12 pm

      100% Agree!Our base didn’t show up for Romney, which is no different than Rove bashing candidates he didn’t support in the primary.

      We can fight in the primary but we have got to unite in the general.

      Radegunda in reply to breakn70. | February 7, 2013 at 1:41 pm

      “Do we ever hear Democrats attacking their own candidates?” — Democrats/leftists seem to understand that the top priority is defeating the other side, and that moving the ball just a few millimeters in their direction is better than letting it move the other way because they refused to vote for a candidate who didn’t meet all their criteria.

      Too many conservatives imagine that letting Democrats win somehow “sends a message” that Republican candidates need to be more conservative. No, it doesn’t.

You know the problem with tents? They collapse to easily. See Steven Crowder and the union thugs.

I’m tired of being in a tent, forced to lump all things together to be “Inclusive.” Kristol needs to STFU. Rove can do the same. I believe what I do, and will find the candidate who will echo my sentiments most closely.

What is the purpose of ‘the tent’ and could its size ever defeat its purpose?

Rove, and so many, many others like him, insert themselves between the voters and the candidates as a self-imposed filter designed to screen out whichever candidates and/or ideas are disliked by those who finance the Roves and all the other players. On the one hand it feels like unwanted and undue negative influence on the voting process. On the other, it feels like freedom of speech exercised by letting one’s donated dollars speak through a organization trusted by the donor.

The tent holding everyone doesn’t get bigger, just more crowded. It gets louder and uglier. (Hey, maybe if we put all these cats and dogs in the same cage they’ll learn to get along!).

If you wanted to create a Washington insider too hooked on power, money, and influence (HIS) to recognize his moment on the stage has passed and that his successes, such as they were, are far, far behind him, you’d use Karl Rove as your model.

    Ragspierre in reply to Henry Hawkins. | February 7, 2013 at 12:57 pm

    If you wanted to create a Washington insider too hooked on power, money, and influence (HIS) to recognize his moment on the stage has passed and that his successes, such as they were, are far, far behind him, you’d use Newt Gingrich as your model.

    Now, that is NOT my position, but it has been stated by others with passion (and accuracy) equal to yours.

    Ron Paul is a terrible person to me, but he still has some valuable things to contribute.

    PLUS, what are you gonna do? Do you want to muzzle Rove?

    Let me suggest a better idea; let’s beat him in the arena of ideas. Maybe better still…convert him.

I support a third party movement. If enough Senators and Congressmen would switch parties to a third party, it would bring both sides to their knees. A stray Senator or Congressman here or there leaving the GOP isn’t significant, but if an orchestrated mass defection could be arranged, it could work to bring some common sense to the insanity in our government.

The Senate belongs to Dems, so not much to do there. In order to influence the House, we need to alter the balance by controlling at least 17 seats. I think that’s do-able. Using that bloc of 17 votes can swing the majority. Even better would be if that group could control at least 33 seats, which would put the Dems and Repubs even at 201, which would be a much more powerful group. The first scenario would impact Repubs most; the second would impact Dems and Repubs alike.

The unfortunate reality is the threat of a group like that trading pork. In theory, a group that went to that extreme would be adverse to such a deal, but human nature and slippery slopes would keep it a threat, although probably not a serious one in the current session of Congress.

Desperate times demand desperate action.

    Radegunda in reply to windbag. | February 7, 2013 at 1:55 pm

    “Third party”? If you’ve looked at a ballot lately, you would have noticed that there’s already a third and a fourth … How many of those parties have gotten even one seat in the House or the Senate?

    Dems are thrilled when conservatives fantasize about a “third party.” It makes elections easier for them.

    The far left figured out long ago that gaining power was best done by infiltrating and reshaping an existing major party. And now, the “Democratic” party is headed by someone steeped in revolutionary Marxism and Islam.

    Conservatives (and independents) should all have realized that pushing out the radicals was the highest imperative. Many did, while others were saying “I don’t like Romney; I’m gonna sit home and teach the Republicans to nominate someone better next time.” It’s idiotic.

      Joan Of Argghh in reply to Radegunda. | February 7, 2013 at 2:15 pm

      We already HAVE a third party. It’s the NRA, apparently. And it’s organized, well-funded, has a great network of diverse Americans all united under one shining ideal: self defense against tyranny. Talk about being focused and leading from in front! Even with a less than exhiliarating leader, a focused, serious group of citizens can make a difference.

      Yes, I’ve looked a ballot recently, and I’m well aware of The Libertarian Party, the Green Party, etc. I’ll go a step further and tell you that I’ve looked at the historical record of third parties in the US. The Republican Party was a third party at one time.

      Third parties have traditionally been spoilers. Perot in 1992 gave us Clinton. The Liberty Party in 1844 probably handed Polk the election by delivering New York. Roosevelt’s Bull Moose ticket won more votes than Taft’s Republican ticket in 1912.

      The GOP couldn’t beat the most beatable President in the past 100 years. Something needs to change. A bold move by a group of liberty-loving elected officials could tap into the sentiment that has birthed the Tea Party movement. Trusting the status quo to be deliver anything but the status quo is not a winning strategy.

      The ideas that have been stirred up in the past few years are what can get us back on the right track. The current political parties and the process by which they operate have proven to be lacking in will and ability to avoid the disaster that awaits us.

“our tent should be big enough for Karl Rove and Bill Kristol, and other Democrats who share our concerns.”

Thought I’d fix that for you.

I firmly believe that before someone can take on a label of “conservative” they should be able to provide some generally agreed upon bona fides to prove the point.

And if their public pronouncements and support begins to show signs that they are no longer, that should be made known and the label rescinded.

(yes, I know there’s no practical way to do this. And who would be the judge? So let’s take it on ourselves to truly make and individual effort to honestly evaluate those the State Media parades before us with the “label” of conservative and not accept that designation as accurate unless confirmed by supporting evidence NOT provided by said State Media.)

Neither Karl Rove or William Kristol could be said to have had over 50% of their pronouncements to be conservative in the strictest sense. IMO

Kristol is just a step to the right of David Brooks and Karl Rove borders on a step to the right of James Carville.

And I don’t think it behooves us to make the tent that large as it begins to fill up with those who’s true goals are contrary to the majority of the rest of the occupants.

As they have proven so well recently.

Just sayin’

Our tent is big enough for any Tea Party denigrater who wants to come crawling back with an apology on their lips and money in their pocket.