Coming on its one-year anniversary of the tea party movement, much is being written about the phenomenon. Some is accurate, some fantastical. At its core, it is a revolution of fed-up middle-class Americans and a response to political arrogance.
For over three decades, the conservative movement consisted of three legs: (1) limited government/fiscal restraint; (2) national defense; and (3) traditional-values conservatives.
However, many of the conservative movement’s leaders became an appendage of the Republican Party. Not so with the tea party movement, which puts principle above loyalty to politicians.
The fourth leg of the conservatives’ big table is now the tea party movement.
The tea party movement developed independently from the conservative movement but is a natural ally to the cause of small, limited, constitutional government. The tea party started where the conservative movement once did, as outsiders to the political establishment.
It brings not only millions of new people to the political process but also more energy, enthusiasm, and excitement to politics than we’ve seen in the past 100 years.
I have been working and waiting 50 years for this populist, principled, and constitutional groundswell against big government and the quasi-socialistic, crony capitalistic establishment institutions that have been abusing power and trust at the expense of hard-working Americans, their children, and their grandchildren.
In just one year, the tea party movement has become the fastest-growing political movement perhaps in history. It is getting bigger by the day, and efforts of the political and media establishments to denigrate it merely fuel it. I expect more defeats in primaries this year than ever in history.
Most big-government incumbents would be well advised to follow Sens. Bayh, Dodd, and Dorgan and retire voluntarily, or the revitalized conservative movement led by tea partyers will force retirement in November.
Richard A. Viguerie pioneered political direct mail and has been called “one of the creators of the modern conservative movement” (The Nation magazine) and one of the "conservatives of the century” (The Washington Times). He is the author of "Conservatives Betrayed: How George W. Bush and Other Big Government Republicans Hijacked the Conservative Cause.
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