Tea party" activists across the nation tried to put the "independence" back in Independence Day this weekend with festivals and other gatherings focused on the Constitution -- and how to use it for political gain.RTWT.
Coupled with an upsurge in organized classes and book clubs, the trend reflects a growing effort among conservatives to teach supporters how to do political battle using an inviolable weapon: the nation's founding documents. It's a change in emphasis for a movement that rose to prominence with spirited and sometimes unruly protests across the nation.
One of the points in the article --- that tea partiers are just now stressing constitutional principles --- doesn't square with my experience. I recall sometime after last summer's town halls finished up, the next batch of tea party events became even larger revivals for constitutionalism. And pretty much all this year, my local group has been hammering the nation's founding principles at events. In any case, Gallup's got some new findings that confirm it's mostly limited government principles of concern to tea partiers, and while yes, the Founders wanted to correct the deficiencies of the weak confederation of states during the Revolutionary War, it's probably not accurate to overstate the case that they unequivocally backed strong centralized government. I can't vouch for all of these quotes below, but not even Alexander Hamilton --- among the strongest proponents of federal power in 1787 --- could accurately be portrayed as completely favoring centralization over ultimate guarantees for the liberties of the people.