tea party =/= libertarian

I attended a Tea Party rally this morning in Santa Fe held on the steps of the state capital building. The keynote speaker was former Governor Gary Johnson who is rumored to be running for president. Gary is highly regarded in the state for his outstanding leadership during two terms as governor. He slashed the size of state government during his term and left the state with a large budget surplus. His speech brought enthusiastic applause from the sparse crowd. Governor Johnson should have stopped while he was ahead.

When Tea Party members were invited to ask questions, someone asked the governor if he supported legalization of marijuana. Gary responded that he did. His remarks brought a chorus of boos from the crowd. Gary went on to make the case for legalization based on the cost of incarcerating pot smokers, but the crowd wasn't having it. The boos erupted again. Some members of the crowd began to heckle the former governor. Lesson learned, I hope.

The lesson to which the writer refers, is that Johnson should drop pot because it "won't fly with conservatives".

However, I think the lesson to be learned here for anyone who is serious about reducing the size, scope, power and waste of the federal government is that the Tea Party are nothing but the same old culture warriors that have been running the GOP for decades in small government drag.



RW said...

The TP is not about budget constraints per se; they are about budget constraints on selective issues that go against the mantra only. Ask any of them how much of the budget they will cut on military and defense (which is and has been over 50% of what our taxes go to every year) and you will either get a blank stare or you will be called a communist.

I am speaking from personal experience on that one.

Gino said...

the tea party was destined to end up in the hands of the culture warriors because they are the best organised of the right wing.
i dont know why its a surprise, given that the various right wing groups tend to despise each other often enough, or fracture over details.

the tea party is an effective emotional outlet for GOP voters who feel like they been played, and are now taking the screws to many of the GOP leadership who did the playing.
its a good thing in that respect.

it will do nothing to change policy in the short term, let alone long term.

Brian said...

the tea party is an effective emotional outlet for GOP voters who feel like they been played, and are now taking the screws to many of the GOP leadership who did the playing. its a good thing in that respect.

I think you are exactly half-right, here. Specifically, that the Tea Party is an emotional outlet for voters. However, I think that rather than putting pressure on the GOP leadership, I actually think this gives them (the Republicans actually in office) enough cover to do whatever the hell they want.

If anyone who mattered in the GOP was really serious about fixing the fiscal situation, they would realize that they have an incredible opportunity, right now.

They could embrace Bowles-Simpson, or at least an awful lot of it, and get to work on implementing it. Obama should be on board--he commissioned the damn thing, after all--and they have the House AND the momentum of what they have claimed is an electoral mandate for fiscal responsibility. They could actually cut spending, cut tax rates, and simplify the tax code. There is no reason that they couldn't do it. But they won't.

Instead, they are re-litigating last year's healthcare reform, which hasn't even been implemented yet and has absolutely zero chance of getting to the floor of the Senate.

They aren't serious.

Gino said...

no, GOP is not serious, but the tea party people are, on top of being naive.

the GOP will bounce around the high emotion issue of o-care as a pacifier and do what they've always done: milk the grassroots to the next election.

and soon enough i think, sooner than that i hope, the TP folks will find out that they were played again.

its successful politics at its finest, or its worse, depending on perspective.

i think this play could turn around to bite the GOP in the ass big time, not because they did the tea party business, but because they didnt. (and they wont)