You see polling data that says a “tea party” or something like that would poll just as well if not better than the major two parties. While it is true that right now the “tea party” is a movement rather than party in of itself, perhaps such party could exist on its own or be its own entity.
There was an interesting comment to a TAC post I recently wrote (Taking Cindy Sheehan to a Tea Party) that said that Tea Partiers weren’t necessarily against all forms of federal intervention, just those that they weren’t “culturally” against. That would me a tea partier would be against a national healthcare system because he or she feels it doesn’t benefit them personally or within the culture they live in, unlike say government institutions like the military, the Department of Agriculture, NASA or federal law enforcement for example.
When you put this thought in the context of my latest post “What’s the Matter with Tennessee?” then it makes perfect sense. For many Tennesseans (and Republicans who live in rural areas) farm subsides at least keep their lands farms instead of shopping malls or subdivisions. Having a military engaged overseas means (besides natural patriotic support for the U.S. soldier) a need for soldiers. A military in a Ron Paul Administration probably wouldn’t be as large and that would mean fewer career opportunities in the military itself for many young men and women in such areas of the country (and imagine the unemployment situation then.) The TVA may very well be a federal institution but it also means middle class jobs for those employed with it.
Fine then. But that still leaves us with the rhetoric the party has adopted for itself (after conveniently forgetting it during the Bush II Administration) that the federal government is too big and we need smaller government. Yes, someone else’s federal government but not the one that either benefits me or culturally identify with. Thus the spectacle of Republican Congressmen and women attacking the stimulus plan and then bragging to their constituents how much they made out in federal loot. How long can one get away with this cognitive dissonance? Granted the major political parties have always been held-together jumbles of contradictions but more often than not these contradictions will eventually tear those parties apart until a new coalition can be formed. Perhaps it’s time the same thing happened now.
Perhaps the GOP should split with the tea partiers, and become a Tory Party, one that drops the anti-government rhetoric, accepts the fact that their constituencies they represent benefit from said federal largess, and simply exists to either improve upon efficiency and fight against ideology, leaving social questions to one’s own conscious but would against radicalism and Cultural Marxism of the lefty. A Tory party could be conservative in mindset instead of ideology or promote communitarianism or distributism envisioned by the Front Porchers. Such a party could attract those “conservative Democrats” for good and leave the regular Democrats a hollow, leftist minority shell in place such as the South.
Let the Tea Party be the anti-big government, big labor, big business, juts anti-biggness in general party. Let them be the populists running against the establishment.Let them be the decentralist party in the spirit and tradition of Anti-Federalists, John Randolph and the Old Republicans, William Jennings Bryan, Barry Goldwater and George Wallace. Would not such a tea party be able to attract a broad coalition of libertarians and left paleos, even some Greens if it was not seen as tied to the regular Republican Party and the “conservative movement”?
Our political system is due for a good bit of realignment and reorganization. If a Tory Party and a Tea Party could emerge from such a shake-up, it will also become more honest as well.