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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Tea Partiers declare their independence -- again

Posted By on Wed, Feb 24, 2010 at 2:14 PM

Earlier today, I raised the possibility that conservative tea-baggers were setting themselves up for disappointment by entering the political arena. Serendipitously enough, the Pittsburgh Tea Party Movement -- a local affiliate of the national "Tea Party Patriots" organization -- sent out a blast e-mail "Declaration of Indendence" around lunchtime today.

[UPDATE:   Based on some e-mail complaints, I apologize for pasting the entire Declaration at the bottom of this post. I just did a word count, and the Tea Party Declaration of Independence was 1,913 words long.  The ORIGINAL Declaration of Independence was only 1,338 words long. Apparently, the Tea Party has nearly 50 percent more grievances with their government than the Founding Fathers had with King George III. I knew people were unhappy, but geez.]

The declaration reasserts the Tea Party's claim to transcend partisan politics in pursuit of its philosophical goals. Naturally, though, it dishes most of its vitriol onto Democrats. Dems are faulted for "seeking to impose a Socialist agenda on our Republic," while the GOP stands accused merely of trying to co-opt conservative principles.

I'll reprint the manifesto below, complete with ALL ITS CAPITAL LETTERS and its sneering disdain for the "educated classes." For now, I'll just point out an amusing idiosyncrasy. Towards the end, the manifesto suggests that embracing tea-party goals isn't just the right thing to do: It's good politics. The statement asserts:

Republican Party attempts to ignore the will of the Base, as it did in 1976, 1992, 1996, 2006 and 2008, resulted in disaster; when it embraces the will of the Base, as it did in 1980, 1984 and 1994, it wins historic victories.

Notice anything funny in this timeline? It omits all the Bush Presidencies. Maybe even the tea-partiers would like to forget that family's contribution to politics. You know it's bad when a movement will boast about putting Newt Gingrich in charge of Congress, but is too embarrassed to admit to electing you. 

In fairness, two of those Bush-family races were mixed bags. 1988 gave us moderate George H.W. Bush running as a hardliner. (Remember Willie Horton? "Read my lips: No new taxes"? "Card-carrying member of the ACLU"? ) 2000 was a muddle too: the outcome was razor-close, and Bush II was running as a "compassionate conservative." But 2004? Base strategy all the way. Which, given the results, is presumably what makes it too painful to talk about. 

As the manifesto acknowledges, the GOP has "manipulated its Conservative Base to win election after election and then betrayed everything that Base fought for and believed." That's why the declaration "insist[s] that the Tea Party Movement does NOT consider the election of Republicans in and of itself to be necessarily beneficial to our goals."

Well, we'll see.

When the tea party movement first kicked off, I was deeply suspicious of its origins. Too many of the usual suspects -- including longtime GOP standard-bearers like Dick Armey -- had their fingerprints all over the thing. Even now, I don't see how tea-partiers can be surprised by Scott Brown's decision to vote with Democrats on a jobs bill. As a Massachusetts state senator, Brown supported "socialized medicine." How could such a candidate pass a tea-party purity testl? Are we supposed to believe that, after being fooled in 1992, 1996, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008 -- and just the other week -- this time they've really wised up?

In any case, here is their Declaration of Independence:

 

I. As the course of human events winds its way through History, it has found that some paths lead to Tyranny and some to Liberty. In seeking a path to Liberty, a great and powerful movement is now rising from every corner of our land. Created by the Will of the American People, it rejects unconstitutional domination by the Government that is supposed to be its servant. This movement has arisen, in large part, because our elected officials have failed us.

For much of its history the United States has been a land of prosperity and liberty. Sound policies such as fiscal responsibility, constitutionally limited government and a belief in the free market have safeguarded this condition. In recent years, however, Congress, the President, the Federal Reserve Board and the Courts have replaced those practices with profligate government spending and expansion of the government power beyond what is constitutionally permissible. This course, if not reversed, can only lead to economic collapse and tyranny. Therefore, Individuals acting through the Tea Party Movement seek to restore the policies which are proven to safeguard liberty and prosperity for all. We will organize, demonstrate and vote until this restoration has been achieved. We will stay focused on this goal and remain INDEPENDENT from any persons or political parties who seek to distract us from this end. Many seek to define this Movement, to use it, to lead it, to co-opt it, to channel it, to control it, to defeat it.

WE WILL NOT LET THIS HAPPEN.

The Tea Party Movement is in agreement with our Founders that the government that governs least governs best. We believe that Capitalism - NOT GOVERNMENT - is essential to the creation of wealth, and that a vastly reduced government provides the foundation for a thriving Capitalist system.

The Tea Party Movement of America embraces and serves people of all races, creeds, religions, and political affiliations, and we declare ourselves to be independent of all those forces that seek to manipulate our actions or control our destiny.

II.We Declare ourselves INDEPENDENT of the Democratic Party and its power-drunk junta in Washington DC, which is currently seeking to impose a Socialist agenda on our Republic.

We reject arrogant Left-wing politicians who furtively hide from public scrutiny, as they cut corrupt deals loaded with earmarks and pork in order to produce 2000-page pieces of legislation so purposely incomprehensible that they do not even bother to read them before foisting them upon us.

We reject the endless creation of myriad federal government agencies that drown free enterprise and local control in the swarms of education, energy, ecology, and commerce bureaucrats who style themselves "czars" sent to harass us. We reject the creation of federal government regulations and agencies which demand the States pay for unfunded Federal mandates.

We reject a Democratic Party which refuses to give credence to our demands for just redress of grievances, and which insults and seeks to demonize our legal right to peacefully protest the unjust laws it inflicts upon us.

We reject a profligate Government that is spending TRILLIONS of dollars on worthless socialist schemes designed to bankrupt us and put the American people in a position of dependence on the State, as peasants begging for their very sustenance from self-styled "educated classes" and so-called "experts".

We reject a foreign policy which bows and scrapes and apologizes before the world for America.

We reject an Attorney General of the United States who offers succor and rights to vicious terrorist murderers and seeks to protect them with a mock civilian trial when such enemy combatants, captured on the field of battle, should be tried in secure military courts.

We reject the claims of an un-elected Federal Judiciary to violate the separation of powers by demanding its decisions be enforced by the other coequal branches of government, regardless of how unconstitutional the other branches of government may think those decisions are.

We reject all acts that ignore or diminish the Second and Tenth Amendments to the US Constitution, and we seek to have all powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution to be reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

III. We Declare ourselves INDEPENDENT of the Republican Party, which has in the past manipulated its Conservative Base to win election after election and then betrayed everything that Base fought for and believed.

We reject the idea that the electoral goals of the Republican Party are identical to the goals of the Tea Party Movement, or that this Movement is an adjunct to the Republican Party.

We reject the Republican Party professionals who now seek to use the Tea Party Movement for their corrupt and narrow political purposes.

We acknowledge that standing on our principles does not mean throwing out our common sense; we will NOT abandon our principles in the name of a nonexistent bipartisanship or a misguided devotion to an illusion of "pragmatism", which disguises a desire to betray us in its name.

We reject the scare tactics of the Republican Party, which seeks to herd us into voting for candidates who supposedly represent the "lesser of two evils" in the name of fealty to the principle of small government, and then having to suffer such candidates as they betray that principle. We are not well served by parasites whose livelihoods depend on the very State whose power to reward or sanction we elected them to limit and proscribe.

We insist that the Tea Party Movement does NOT consider the election of Republicans in and of itself to be necessarily beneficial to our goals.

We demand that the Republican Party understand our rejection of its attempts to co-opt us.

WE WILL WORK AGAINST THEM when they oppose our views by trying to force Republicans In Name Only (RINO) on us. When Republicans are in accord with their Conservative Base, as well as the Independent voters who align with it, IT WINS; when they are NOT in accord with the Conservative Base and the Independent voters who align with it, IT LOSES.

We reject RINO money; we reject RINO "advice"; we reject RINO "professional experience"; we reject RINO "progressivism"; we reject RINO support of Big Government; we reject RINO back room deal-making; we reject RINO pork spending; we reject false RINO professions of Conservative views; and we reject the RINO's statist subversion of the principles of small government for which the Republican Party is supposed to stand.

Republican Party attempts to ignore the will of the Base, as it did in 1976, 1992, 1996, 2006 and 2008, resulted in disaster; when it embraces the will of the Base, as it did in 1980, 1984 and 1994, it wins historic victories.

We demand the Republican Party recognize that while the Tea Party Movement cannot guarantee their aid will help them win elections, it is very likely WE CAN MAKE THEM LOSE if they are disdainful of our goals.

IV.We Declare ourselves INDEPENDENT of the Media, which has proved itself to be anything BUT a fair and balanced enterprise, and which focuses more on entertainment, fear mongering and shock value than investigation and unbiased fact.

We reject the fiction that an unbiased media still exists; there is friendly media, and there is unfriendly ENE-media. The Tea Party Movement refuses to give false credence to the self-aggrandizing, self-deluding lie that ANY PART of the Fourth Estate is free of the self-serving agendas of those who own them.

V.We Declare ourselves INDEPENDENT of self-styled "leaders" who claim to speak for the Tea Party Movement. This movement is not a brand name to be used to sell product, nor is it a logo to be used to justify profiting from its name.

We reject those who seek to capitalize personally on our popularity and momentum by trying to associate with our cause.

We reject the idea that the Tea Party Movement is "led" by anyone other than the millions of average citizens who make it up. The Tea Party Movement understands that as a Free People, we need to SAVE OURSELVES, BY OURSELVES, FOR OURSELVES.

The Tea Party Movement is not "led." The Tea Party Movement LEADS.

VI.We are united in our common belief in Fiscal Responsibility, Constitutionally Limited Government, and Free Markets. This threefold purpose is the source of our unity in the Tea Party Movement.

We reject the idea that the Individuals in the Tea Party Movement must be unanimous in our specific policy views in order to win. We recognize that the current situation requires us to come together in confederation to achieve the MANY MUTUAL GOALS we all seek to accomplish.

We recognize that the current situation requires that we concentrate on the many things we have in common, rather than those few things about which we may disagree. We are the Tea Party Movement of America and we believe in American Exceptionalism. We believe that American Exceptionalism is found in its devotion to the cause of Liberty.

We believe that Liberty is based in rational self-interest, in freedom of thought, in free markets, free association, free speech, a free press and the ability granted us under the Constitution TO DIRECT OUR OWN AFFAIRS FREE OF THE DICTATES OF AN EVER-EXPANDING FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, WHICH IS AS VORACIOUS IN ITS DESIRE FOR POWER AS IT IS INCOMPETENT AND DANGEROUS IN ITS EXERCISE.

We believe that either fate or history has chosen this Country to be a beacon of freedom and prosperity to the world because of America's belief in, and vigorous defense of, political and economic Liberty. The United States has been the instrument of Liberty against the many tyrannies that have threatened the people of this world.

The Tea Party Movement rejects the idea that America has to apologize to a far guiltier world that has been largely unappreciative of the sacrifices made on their behalf by the brave and noble members of our Armed Forces, whose sacrifice and patriotic service in our defense makes all else possible.

The Tea Party Movement rejects the imposition of "transformational change" performed on our Nation by smug elites who call themselves the "educated class."

The Tea Party Movement understands that our Nation is NOT the same thing as our government, and that America is much more than simply a militarily and economically-powerful State.

The Tea Party Movement sees America as something exceptional, as something unique, as something that came into existence to fulfill the hope of all previous generations that longed for freedom.

It came into existence because it is more than simply a country with land and population and riches and armaments. America came into existence because LIBERTY is an eternal con¬cept in the mind of both God AND Man.

The United States of America came into existence because Mankind needs freedom the same way it needs food, and air, and property, and security, and love.

And what is freedom other than the RIGHT to be free of the tyranny of Government and the elitist, self-styled aristocrats who seek to run it at our expense and to our detriment?

The Tea Party Movement will fight this danger to our Liberty as long as its members have breath in their bodies.

When America didn't exist, men and women were compelled to invent it BECAUSE MANKIND CANNOT EXIST WITHOUT FREEDOM AND STILL BE FULLY HUMAN.

To this goal we mutually pledge to each other, as our Founding Fathers did over two centuries ago, our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

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