Thursday, March 4, 2010
Tea Parties Should Limit Themselves to State and Local Politics
Sarah Palin thinks that Jefferson sang this song.
It has become increasingly evident that the Tea Party lacks any national leadership. D. Eris of Poli-Tea and I have debated a related point a couple of times, with Eris claiming the desirability of third party candidates. That may be the case, but Eris's claim still begs the question as to who a charismatic and capable national leader might be.
Sarah Palin is great looking but lacks the intellectual foundations to be a leader. Reagan was no genius, as Chet of Snyder's bar pointed out last night, but he had an intuitive grasp and appointed some good people (not good enough in my opinion but better than any Republican since). Palin does not know anything about the history, political ideas or ideology of freedom. She thinks Jefferson is an African-American dry cleaner in Manhattan who "moved on up to the east side." She doesn't know why anyone might question the Fed, or who in American history favored doing so. In fact, she would be surprised if she found out. This is not to disparage her as a person. We are all members of what Kant called the Kingdom of Ends and so Palin deserves the same respect I give to Sherman Hemsley, who played George Jefferson. But as a presidential candidate she is too unread, and I definitely fear that the special interests may have gotten to her by now. I would make the same observations but to a lesser degree about any of the conservative media people, specifically including all of the announcers on Fox.
The fact that the Tea Party people have tended to congregate around Fox says that the movement is too green to support a national political candidate. The Tea Party needs to start from the local level and there needs to be a core coalition that starts to read, read, read about the ideas that built America. Anyone who does not know what Andrew Jackson stood for or why he would not have liked Abraham Lincoln does not know enough about American history to make sense of what is going on today.
Thus, I urge the Tea Party to develop a relationship with the Foundation for Economic Education. That fine institution has quietly served as a fulcrum on which the freedom movement has rested since the 1940s. Without the support it gave to many freedom oriented scholars through the years, the ideas that are alive today would have died. How many in the Tea Party have taken the time to educate themselves? To develop a relationship with the Foundation for Economic Education? To read about the substance of American history, including the banking controversies that were never resolved?
Moreover, none, I say not one, of the national figures in the Republican Party has the intellectual background nor the moral sense (and I specifically include Newt Gingrich) to represent a freedom movement. Thus, the Tea Party has no leadership and does not know where to turn.
It is only at the local level that freedom oriented candidates can be developed. It is time for the Tea Party to develop candidates who will evolve into the leadership of the coming nine decades. This must be done at the local, not the national level. I do not even think it can be done at the state level. A state like New York just appointed Richard M. Nixon's son-in-law, Edward F. Cox, a Wall Street attorney, to head the state's GOP. Is a Wall Street attorney the direction in which a party corrupted by massive subsidies to Wall Street ought to turn?