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Jonathan Kraut: Republicans toss tea party

Democratic Voices

Posted: May 24, 2010 10:35 p.m.
Updated: May 25, 2010 4:55 a.m.
 
A midterm election skirmish looms on the horizon, but the ideological battles are raging in the harbor as to which ships will set to sea for battle.

The modern tea party movement appeared on the national scene the moment a Democrat elected to serve as our president started talking about health care reform. All of a sudden, government was too big, too intrusive and moving toward socialism.

While many tea partiers tend to be more conservative in thinking, their ideology seems most closely aligned with the Libertarian Party, whose political platform is based on the opposition of big, intrusive, expensive government. But according to Post Politics, a recent survey reveals that about 27 percent of Republicans identify and agree in principle with the modern tea party movement.

Santa Clarita has seen its share of tea party rallies, and I am sure there are more to come. Before you don your trusty musket and three-point hat to join in protest, I would hope you think a bit more about whom you are protesting.

Are you protesting the five seated Santa Clarita City Council members, all of whom are Republican?

Are you protesting the state of California, led by a Republican governor?

Are you against the Obama administration, which is occupied with cleaning up the damage from the previous Republican administration?

The original Boston Tea Party was not a movement to support reducing the size, reach and power of government at all, as many believe. In fact, the first tea party was a thinly veiled rally where the destruction of private property was encouraged in hopes of mobilizing colonist support for the cessation from British rule. Using high taxes as an excuse, the core purpose of the original Boston Tea Party episode was, in fact, to overthrow goverment and promote revolution.

The destruction of private property by throwing tea overboard is against the rule of law. A conspiracy to overthrow a standing the government is treason. The act of wanton and indiscriminant violence and interference with public commerce in order to affect the mood of the public is called terrorism.

While there is an undercurrent theme of "taking our government back" from the two major political machines, it is ironic that the Republican political machine has tried to fuel the fires of anger. Many Republican candidates are now aligning themselves with the tea party movement to overthrow the current regime in favor of a Republican return to power.

Tea partier and Republican candidate Dean Murray just won a New York Assembly primary. Republican Rand Paul, leading the tea party charge for reform, has just won the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate in Kentucky.

And, of course, we know former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin is all of a sudden both a Republican and a tea party activist.

The irony is that under former President George W. Bush and a Republican-controlled Congress, intrusions into personal privacy, the long reach of government and government spending were not abated at all, but were extended to new historic levels.

It was Bush, not Obama, who proposed and pushed through the first Economic Recovery Act. According to the Department of the Treasury, under
Bush we more than doubled our national debt - moving from $5.7 trillion to more than $11.3 trillion in the hole.

Yet conservative Republicans found no voice to protest until a Democrat took office as president. And now tea partiers and Republicans alike have melded together to protest what Republicans themselves had done.

I would love to see an official tea party as a new political party. Then the truth would be open for all to see. If tea partiers are for lower taxes, smaller government control and less government intrusion, that means offering diminished government support - a Libertarian, not Republican, perspective.

Smaller and less-funded government means a lower tax base and therefore a weaker military, and cutting or gutting social services like Social Security, Head Start, highway improvement projects, jobless benefits and Medicare. No more government support of an economic recovery. No more increase in border enforcement against illegal immigration.

The truth is that less government means less exertion of federal power both overseas and at home. The tea party viewpoint utterly contradicts many Republican tenets - and you can't have it both ways.

That is why the Republicans have begun throwing the tea partiers overboard. While trying to keep the energy and voter base the tea party brings to the GOP, it is in fact the GOP that owns and has set sail to the ship of turmoil, debt and corruption that we now experience.

And it is a Republican crew now manning the tea party ship of discontent.

Jonathan Kraut is a Fair Oaks Ranch resident and serves in the Democratic Party of the SCV, on the SCV Human Relations Forum and the SCV Interfaith Council. His column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal or other organizations. "Democratic Voices" appears Tuesdays and rotates among local Democrats.

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