I don’t want to make too much of of the recent House vote preventing a fast-track renewal of the Patriot Act. One could argue the number of switches on the Democratic side of aisle was just as important as the eight GOP freshmen members who voted against it. It was hardly a Tea Party rebellion.
But what it does show is that more and more members of Congress are actually going to do their jobs and decide on their own how to vote–rather than being rubber stamps for either the White House or the one party’s Congressional leadership. Hopefully that was something Tea Partiers wanted out of their new members of Congress. There’s also no question that there are more Republicans in Congress who are as much against the survelliance state and the military-industrial complex as they are against the welfare state. While this is still a handful of the GOP caucus, it has growth potential so long as such members are supported and applauded in the media and by activists for their independence, and if they believe they will suffer no adverse political consequences from their districts or states. To grow this caucus, it will also be important for bloggers, columnists and opinion magazines like TAC to continue to point out to those freshmen in Congress and other politicians and ordinary voters that there is only one state, not different “states” one can support with earmarks and pork barrel spending and unconstitutional wars–and another to criticize and continuously call for cuts.
It was a liberal Democrat who put it so well in the debate in the House: “Look at the ‘Don’t Tread on Me flag.’ It doesn’t say don’t tread on me, but it’s okay if you spy,” This point needs to be repeated again and again and again. Hopefully more politicians in both parties come to agree with it and form a powerful bloc of anti-state, antiwar, and decentralist members of Congress.