POLITICO has a piece up on top of its website today that starts like this:
If this was a dud year in Washington, get ready for 2014 — the year to “go small.”
Lawmakers had already lost their appetite to “go big” this year, letting reforms of immigration, guns and the Tax Code slip away in the face of gridlock and dysfunction.
And now there’s a new problem. Lawmakers are reluctant to rely on the federal government to get anything done — a guilt-by-association consequence of Obamacare’s botched rollout. Republicans have called it an indictment of more than a website, but of Big Government itself.
While Democrats argue the problem is obstructionism — not ideology — the result will be the same: As Washington laments the end of a do-nothing year, lawmakers are fully prepared to do as little — or even less — in the new year.
“I think anything that has a significant expansion or role for the federal government is going to be problematic,” South Dakota Sen. John Thune, a top Republican message strategist, told POLITICO. “Because I just think there’s going to be such a cynicism and skepticism attached to any promises made with regard to the federal government’s role.”
Ron Paul, the Grand Poobah of the smaller is better ideology has been saying that the Republicans and Democrats are all the same, even saying on some occassions that they are all part of the same party.
Does this mean that his brand of governance which has usurped the TEA party movement has finally caught on? The answer is no.
The reaction that POLITICO is predicting for 2014 is more a response to the ineffectiveness of the Obama administration and a growing uneasiness with what many used to dismiss, but now fear, are his nefarious plans for America. In fact most of the anger and angst of the TEA party was born in reaction to Obama, has fed off of Obama's agenda and is still a reactionary movement rather than a pro-active one.
I saw this meme on Facebook sent out by a local TEA party group:
You have to ask yourself, what does this really say to people? Is it some sort of rallying cry to keep the flames of discontent burning hotter than ever?
The phrase "More Constitution" means what exactly? Lower taxes? Taxes are undesirable no doubt, but they are certainly constitutional. Does it mean more civil liberty? We certainly have suffered in this area lately and numerous cases are working their way through the court system which ultimately decides, as the arbiter of these debates, what is and what is not constitutional.
How does this meme fit into the reality of political life? What, no republican who wants more civil liberty and lower taxes can be trusted, and neither can any democrat? Then who? What other party is out there? Aren't most of the TEA party candidates running as republicans? And isn't it a fact that in places where they do, for the most part, they give democrats an added advantage of being able to run on their liberal agenda while republicans eat each other alive in primaries?
So just what does the observation of the POLITICO piece mean. Has the TEA party won the battle of ideas in Washington? Is there really some meaning to the concept of "More Constitution" that is controlling how elected officials act?
No, and no.
The fact is that even the proper role of government, as seen even by TEA party types, is considered dangerous territory. Standing up in favor of building bridges and fixing roads, and repairing a half century or older infrastructure lights a match under the "big spender" accusers who have found a way, much like the protesters of the sixties did, to get attention in front of cameras and try to steer the policy of the nation.
Spend no money, collect no taxes, go to Washington, do nothing, dismantle the federal government, weaken our military, and withdraw into a kind of isolation that fools people into believing that the world will just leave us alone and allow us to prosper so long as we don't intervene in anybody else's business.
Foolhardy, reckless, ignorant thinking like this makes America vulnerable to the evil forces at work in the world. If the worst happens it will be on the shoulders of those who failed to take charge in difficult times. The blame will be squarely upon the heads of those who would give Israel over to the Palestinians, chemical weapons to Assad, control of Afghanistan to the drug cartels, who would remove border security and issue terms of engagement to our military that told them to stand up and take the first shot before firing back.
War is, as the saying goes, hell. And hell is at our doorstep. The last thing we need is a nation of bong hugging gamers driving the ship of state.
If the TEA party really wishes for an America that used to be, maybe they ought to be asking things like, where are the real men, the John Wayne's of our time, instead of asking that old time policy be implement by a bunch of impotent 'fraidy cats.
Think about it. America was strong, and stood up for itself in the days the Ron Paul folks wish they could return us to. To get there might take a much tougher, rougher approach than the rally attending, flag-shirt wearing, malcontents and protesters can deliver on their own.
If a do nothing Congress is the result of a TEA party victory, then I think Merle might have asked the right question a long time ago: Are the good times really over for good?