"Educate and inform the whole mass of the people...They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty." ~Thomas Jefferson

Some Bitter Tea….

Many accuse me of being far too cynical and too harsh on elected Republicans.  However, as explained in each instance such cynicism and harshness is justified by reality.  Soon I will incur even more wrath by daring to point out problems with the ‘Tea Party’.

Why?  Because until we as citizens realize that merely electing the ‘right people’ is not enough, we will keep facing the very problems we complain about because……… politicians will not solve them.  Nor will the political class allow potential reformers to succeed.  In fact, almost every card in the deck, rule, process, and supposed expert, protects the whole system which is set up to protect the status quo. 

Yes, some excellent limited government advocates have been elected at the local, state and federal levels.  But what really has changed?  Some states are implementing some major reforms.  But will these be enough?  And little of anything has been accomplished at the federal level.  Our nation faces very dire fiscal consequences and the political class still fights to protect the status quo.

It is certainly obvious that the political dialogue has changed.  A mere few years ago, national and state debt and future fiscal liabilities were obscure statistics looked at by a few policy wonks.  (Guilty!)

But ask yourself the following questions: 

Has the political dialogue changed because certain people were elected to office?

OR

Has the political dialogue changed, with a direct impact on elections, because citizens stood up, spoke out, and educated themselves and their fellow citizens?

The answer is obvious.  People who believe nothing can happen until the ‘right people’ are elected, and conversely, that the other dastardly team must be stopped even if we have to accept the ‘lesser of two evils’, are hopelessly trapped in an obsolete political system that will fix nothing.  Worse, it will simply perpetuate the status quo.  Like the World War 1 battlefield in France, successes or failures are measured in incremental gains measured in yards after tremendous efforts and horrendous sacrifices.  Sound familiar?  Elections are merely a measure of a ‘body count’ – the gains or losses of people with an “R” or a “D” beside their name after tremendous, all out efforts by the ‘troops’.

And we hear about “compromise”.  Compromise between the political parties.  Compromise about candidates.  But compromise of principles is the problem and compromise is the coin of the realm in politics.  It would not be surprising if this is intentional, because once they get you to break on one principle, the rest will fall more easily – all in the name of pragmatism and concerns about the next election.  And, again, the status-quo is preserved.

Much like the Fifth Labor of Hercules, cleaning out the Aegean Stables, a handful of hero reformers do not stand a chance.  Especially if some start to bow to pressure from the very system they ran against. 

And the Augean Stables myth is appropriate.  The King had many herds of cattle and flocks of goats and they produced huge amounts of dung and the stables had not been cleaned in 30 years.  Sounds a lot like Harrisburg or D.C.!  Hercules was supposed to clean out the stables in one day.  The Tea Party was supposed to start cleaning up the dung in government.

So what is going on?

Well, CATO issued an article titled, “Freshman Republicans Switch from Tea to Kool-Aid”.  They looked at three votes involving corporate welfare.   As they state,

“The following table shows how each of the 87 freshman voted. The 26 who voted for liberty in all three cases are highlighted. Only 49 percent voted to defund the EDA. Only 56 percent voted to defund a new corporate welfare program requested by the Obama administration. And only a dismal 44 percent voted against reauthorizing “Boeing’s bank.” That’s pathetic.

My suggestion to the House GOP freshmen who haven’t swallowed the Beltway Kool-Aid yet is to make it an objective to get as many roll call votes as possible on bills or amendments to terminate specific federal agencies and programs. That would help the taxpaying public separate the frauds from the friends. And if the frauds start taking some heat, maybe they’ll start to think twice before casting another vote in favor of the big government status quo that they campaigned against.”

The Club for Growth provided a more detailed analysis and wrote,

“In the 2010 election, 87 freshmen House Republicans came to Washington pledging fealty to the Tea Party movement and the ideals of limited government and economic freedom...but just how Tea Party are they? Did all 87 freshmen always vote to cut spending and limit the size of government, or did some of them vote like the big-spending R.I.N.Os of the past?

What we found was that while some freshmen have lived up to the promises they made to the tea party movement, dozens of them are big-spenders and are no different from many of the veteran Republicans they serve with.

How did the Tea Party congressmen from Pennsylvania score?:

Freshman Club Score

Marino, Thomas (PA - 10)            60%

Kelly, Mike (PA - 3)                     54%

Barletta, Lou (PA - 11)                47%

Fitzpatrick, Michael (PA - 8)         43%

Meehan, Patrick (PA - 7)              42%

These are failing grades.  Nationally, only 28 out of 87 scored above an 80%!

Club for Growth further states:

“After a careful review to see if their records match their rhetoric, we found that for many of the freshmen Republicans, promises of fiscal responsibility have proven to be empty.

Our review of the voting records of freshmen Republicans on economic issues found:

  • In 2011, freshmen Republicans received an average score of 71% on the Club for Growth’s Congressional Scorecard. The average veteran received a 69%. This means the freshmen Republicans voted, on average, about the same as the Republicans who were already in Congress.
  • A majority of freshmen Republicans voted against the conservative Republican Study Committee budget.
  • Only 14 freshmen Republicans signed a pledge promising never to raise the debt ceiling until “Cut, Cap, and Balance” had passed.
  • “Tea Party star” Rep. Allen West received an anemic 64% for voting to raise the debt ceiling and by repeatedly voting against spending cuts.
  • The two freshmen in the Republican Leadership received vastly different scores, with Rep. Tim Scott receiving a 92% and Rep. Kristi Noem receiving a 60%.
  • Charlie Bass ran for the seat he lost in 2006 by declaring that the agenda of the tea party “is exactly the same as mine.” He received a pathetic 48% in 2011.
  • The Ten Highest scoring freshmen Republicans were Reps. Amash (100%), Huelskamp (100%), Labrador (100%), Mulvaney (99%), Walsh (99%), Stutzman (99%), Quayle (98%), Duncan (97%), Gowdy (97%) and Ross (96%).
  • The Ten Lowest scoring freshmen Republicans were Reps. Rivera (47%), Grimm (46%), Stivers (45%), Runyan (45%), Gibson (44%), Hanna (44%), Fitzpatrick (43%), Dold (42%), Meehan (42%) and McKinley (37%).”

How did the whole entire PA House Delegation score?

Dist.

Party

Member

Rank

Score

Lifetime

1

D

Brady,   Robert

419

1%

5%

2

D

Fattah,   Chaka

413

2%

4%

3

R

Kelly,   Mike

179

54%

54%

4

D

Altmire,   Jason

326

11%

16%

5

R

Thompson,   G.T.

205

48%

71%

6

R

Gerlach,   Jim

205

48%

44%

7

R

Meehan,   Patrick

231

42%

42%

8

R

Fitzpatrick,   Mike

230

43%

36%

9

R

Shuster,   Bill

183

54%

71%

10

R

Marino,   Thomas

163

60%

60%

11

R

Barletta,   Lou

214

47%

47%

12

D

Critz,   Mark

315

12%

16%

13

D

Schwartz,   Allyson

379

6%

7%

14

D

Doyle,   Michael

315

12%

4%

15

R

Dent,   Charles

217

46%

50%

16

R

Pitts,   Joseph

92

76%

89%

17

D

Holden,   Tim

287

15%

15%

18

R

Murphy,   Tim

120

69%

50%

19

R

Platts,   Todd

213

48%

54%

So what do you do with this information?

How did Hercules clean out the Augean Stables in one day?  He didn’t accept the status-quo which would probably be get a shovel and work real hard and real fast.  Instead, the Hercules made a hole in stable wall. Then he made another hole on the opposite wall.  Then he diverted two rivers which flowed nearby into the stables which flushed the stables clean.

(Note:  In typical politician fashion, the King refused to pay Hercules with one-tenth of his livestock.  He declared that Hercules did not clean out the stables, the rivers did!)

If you keep letting the dung build up, don’t complain that things smell.  If you flush those politicians, even those on your side, out of the stable with new people, even if they are from the ‘other’ side, there might be eventual hope.  If you still accept the status-quo rules of politics - we have to select the lesser of two evils or the other ‘side’ will win - nothing will change.  If you consistently and loudly declare that you will not vote for anyone who approves deficit spending, increases the debt, or grows government AND FOLLOW THROUGH, these types of politicians will not succeed.  If you ONLY vote for those who cut government, these types of politicians will eventually become the new expectation.  I certainly hope, and pray, that the "Tea Party" does not become just another label backed by empty promises and meaningless slogans.  But with the facts shown above I fear that Tea Party principles are being replaced with political 'pragamatism'.  Will Tea Party groups support these failed politicians again?  Probably.

Only citizens can make these changes, politicians never will.  And if WE don’t demand such changes, we will never change anything either.

Imagine if the original Tea Party 'played by the rules'....

 

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