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Whence Goeth the Tea Party?

By Stephen Crawford

Content Warning: Supports Ted Cruz for President

I remember the wave of hope that swept over us when the Tea Party came to be. It was a ray of light in the proverbial darkness. We all knew how bad Obama was going to be – but it only grew worse in person.

The GOP, afraid to buck the populist Obama wave, gave Obama only token opposition. Frustration began to mount along with government debt.

Obamacare passed without a single GOP vote. Both the process and the product was a disaster; it was from day one and continues to this day.

“The Stimulus” did everything but stimulate the economy. It mainly rewarded government-connected interest groups – Obama’s extended infrastructure of friends and family. Little was spent on actual infrastructure. There were few “shovel ready jobs,” as government policies progressively crushed employment opportunities.

Rick Santelli, of CNBC, lit the Tea Party fuse with his now-classic rant against Obama’s “mortgage relief” stimulus – a rhetorical call to arms that captured the imagination and mobilized the GOP’s dispirited base of Constitutional conservatives who believed in America as founded.

The Tea Party was an inspired, grass-roots movement. Like all movements, it had government, corporate, and NGO support, but it did not arise because of them. That is, it was not Astroturfed as so many of the left’s movements are – like Black Lives Matter and Occupy Wall Street.

I looked forward to the first local Tea Party event. It was held at a large outdoor stadium. I’ve seldom seen so many sincere, concerned, considerate Americans gathered in one place. If people were angry and frustrated, you couldn’t tell by looking or listening.

All you could see was American and Gadsden flags, families from grandparents to children, patriotism and support for the America we all know it can be, based on principles that made it great for over 200 years.

Gadsden Flag

We knew America didn’t need any kind of fundamental transformation. It didn’t need any one person to make it great. We simply needed to return to the basics of limited federal government, local responsibility, economic liberty, and respect for the liberties of everyone – and we wanted that respect reciprocated.

The Obama administration and GOP considered the Tea Party a threat. Obama used the IRS to suppress it politically. Democrats and the media played the race card against it. The GOP accused it of being naïve and amateurish.

The Tea Party had some wins and some losses. One of its wins was Ted Cruz. Whether you like his personality or not, Ted Cruz represents the best and brightest of the Tea Party movement.

People excuse every objection to Donald Trump because of what he represents – the comeuppance of the establishment. Let’s take a step back and look at what Ted Cruz represents.

Ted Cruz represents Constitutional conservatism, the essential component of Tea Party philosophy.  He studied and memorized the Constitution as far back as high school, and debated it with his peers. Like Justice Scalia, he BELIEVES in a federal government limited to its constitutional responsibilities, leaving other matters to the States and to the People.

This concept of leaving Liberty to the States and to the People is fundamental to the American way of life. If Constitutional limitations of the federal government are not enforced, Liberty will eventually will be throttled in its 200-year-old crib.

Ted Cruz’s entire life and career has been used to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution – whether as a private citizen, as editor of the Harvard Law Review, working in Justice Rehnquist’s office, as Solicitor General, constitutional litigator, or United States Senator. He’s been willing to do the heavy lifting against entrenched bureaucratic opposition to do so.

That’s as Tea Party as it gets. How can you get more authentic than that?

So, where is the Tea Party now? I’ve heard barely a peep. There ought to be spontaneous gatherings across the country in support of one of ours, Ted Cruz for President.

Maybe Trump took the Tea Party momentum. After all, Sarah Palin went for Trump, in spite of his contradictions; instead of for Cruz – the one who can and will do the kind of things I used to presume she stood for. Was the Tea Party really just a populist movement all this time? I never thought so back in 2009.

Did the Tea Party just surrender and jump on the Trump-train of hope and change? Are we really that desperate that we grasp for the leadership of someone who promises to do what he has never in his life done before? Like Trump, a lifelong member of the establishment he now claims to oppose? Trump, who promises to use Big Government to do everything Democrats do, only better? Trump, more liberal than John McCain and Mitt Romney put together, but with a twist of lemon?

I don’t know. But I do know this – Post-Obama, the behemoth of federal bureaucracy is not going to just roll over and play dead. It’s going to have to be dismantled brick by brick, reduced to its essential components.

Ted Cruz has the will, the skill, and a personal history as proof that he can and will take this on. He’s the guy who will get it done. It’s what he has always done – preserved, protected, and defended the Constitution. What better position is there to do this than as President of the United States?

So, where are you Tea Party? If you’re still out there, I’m calling on you to remember what you once stood for, and to stand up once again. We need as many conservatives as possible at all levels of government. You used to be able to help get someone like Ted Cruz elected. Can you still?

Tea Party, are you there? Tea Party? Echo Base calling Tea Party – do you read me? Tea Party – Come in! Tea Party …

First published at


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