Thursday, December 27, 2012

A Weaker Tea Party?

Here's the headline from yesterday's New York Times front page: "Sidestepping Fiscal Showdown, Weaker Tea Party Narrows Focus."

The main thrust of the piece is to brush off the tea party as an irrelevant "fringe" movement following Obama's reelection and internal divisions among prominent organizations. There are indeed problems, but by no means is the tea party finished as a movement. The congressional elections saw some significant tea party victories and the tea partiers will no doubt have a strong voice in 2013, as their bread-and-butter issues of limited government and fiscal restraint prove more relevant than ever.

Note too that the tea party isn't so much a protest movement any more as it is a political tendency seeking to place activists into positions of power at all levels of government. I love the protests, but that energy has been increasingly channeled into electoral activities and organization. Leslie Eastman comments on that, at Legal Insurrection, "Tea Party tidal surge, not tsunami." And a local example is conservative activist Mike Munzing, who I first met at tea party rallies in 2009. He was elected to the Aliso Viejo City Council in November. A number of other local tea partiers either ran or were elected to the Orange County GOP Central Committee in recent years. Basically, the movement helped generate a mass of activists moving into formal political organizations.

Having said all that, the latest high profile conflicts at FreedomWorks are like catnip to the liberty-haters on the left. The Other McCain has the story with lots of links, "The Bloody Mess at FreedomWorks."

Either way, it's best not fall for the Democrat Media Complex's operation demoralize narrative. Taking back the country will require lots more activists to redouble their efforts at all the forms of grassroots participation. There's going to be ups and downs. Ignore these stupid memes about a "weaker tea party."