Reflections on local TEA parties


Last week, in Fayette County, we had the privilege of addressing one of the 2,000 tea parties held nationwide to mark “tax day” in America. Every year at this time, Americans are reminded of the outrageous absurdity of a tax code so complex that one must pay an accountant or some other service simply to comply with the law. Yet something is different this year, as Americans from sea to shining sea felt compelled to come together to publicly express their displeasure.

Americans of all political stripes are concerned — concerned that the very nature of the relationship between the government and the governed is changing.

Now, Americans were promised change during the campaign, and change they have received. But this is not the change they were looking for, or promised.

No candidate campaigned on metamorphosing the presidency into the CEO of American business. The federal government is now the proud owner of an assortment of private enterprises, including much of the American car industry. Politicians are often accused of being used car salesman, but this is taking it too far.

What we found most striking about the tea party we attended, and those that we observed taking place elsewhere, is how it departed from the normal partisan atmosphere one comes to expect at political rallies. Those in attendance were for the most part not political activists, and most did not come to support one party or oppose another, though certainly there was an emphasis on limited government that once was, and must become again, the rallying cry of the Republican Party.

We say once because during the presidency of George W. Bush, Republicans in Washington abandoned their economic principles. Spending rose and the earmark culture flourished. As has often been said, Republicans went to Washington to drain the swamp, but instead joined the alligators.

Thus, the furious reaction by many on the left to the tea parties. They hoped, they believed that fiscal conservatism was a spent force, that conservatives had lost the credibility and even the will to be fiscally responsible.

After bringing America dramatically closer to the European economic model of state control in three short months, with only fawning approval from the mainstream media, suddenly from out of nowhere came demonstrations of mass opposition to the Obama program. Left wing activists, flush with triumph, could only ask with great annoyance: How could the “failed” policies of the past eight years suddenly have such popular support?

They fail to recognize that the tea parties are not Republican forums for Bush nostalgia. They are expressions of frustration with the government’s failure to live within its means, as the rest of us must.

Hundreds of billions of dollars in Bush administration debt are being chased by trillions of dollars of Obama administration debt. The pundits care only about political scorekeeping, so they simply are not equipped to understand the honest-to-goodness, enough-is-enough exasperation of the tea parties.

The fact that the tea parties represent a grassroots movement only perplexes the cynics further, because Obama’s election to the presidency has been marketed as the apotheosis of grassroots populism.

It is as if the true believers of ever-expanding government have actually convinced themselves that only hedge fund managers on Wall Street could possibly oppose the government takeover of the private sector.

Of course, they’ve also convinced themselves that a federal government unable to balance its budget — or even to finish its budget on time — year after year is somehow going to introduce sound accounting to the private sector.

It has been only three short months. As much money has been spent, as much debt has been incurred, and as many private industries as have been taken over by a federal government of supposedly enumerated powers, more is coming. Much more.

Government will soon make a play to become America’s health care provider. All while the core function of the federal government — national defense — is staring down the barrel of massive program cuts.

This administration has a strange sense of where the federal government’s competence lies. It may be surprised to find that more and more Americans develop a taste for tea during what could be a long, hot summer.

[This column was written jointly by Rep. Matt Ramsey (R-Peachtree City), District 72; and Sen. Ronnie Chance (R-Tyrone), District 16.]

login to post comments | Matt Ramsey's blog

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
mapleleaf's picture
Submitted by mapleleaf on Tue, 04/21/2009 - 4:10pm.

Our local representatives show themselves to be delusional when they blame the Obama administration for all the country’s ills.

President Obama has no desire to run our American auto manufacturers. He is simply trying to rescue their lower-level employees from the bankrupt thinking of their leaders. The people who will suffer if the U.S. auto industry goes kaput are all the people who are dependent on it, including the colleges whose football teams are supported by Chevrolet TV advertising. It is not just the employees but also the spouses and children who suffer.

Those who gave us the trickle down theory have enriched themselves, and the only thing that’s trickling down is misery.

To accuse President Obama of wanting the federal government to provide health care is preposterous. He is trying to fix a system that’s not working. The bus is in the ditch, and he is trying to get it out.

Matt Ramsey and Ronnie Chance have come up with zero ideas, absolutely zero, about how to fix anything. Ramsey has come up with one proposal: making it a crime for a young driver to use a cellphone while driving. Let’s face it, it is merely common sense for an inexperienced driver to avoid distractions. Are we going to make more and more criminal laws to pound common sense into people?

Chance and Ramsey can write all the essays they want, and attend all the tea parties they want. They are zeroes, non-doers, mere critics, with no achievement beyond getting themselves elected and, now that Obama has been elected, bitching.

Submitted by curmudgeon on Wed, 05/06/2009 - 3:35pm.

You can blame our current situation ALL on Obama and his inept administration. Had we followed Texas Rep. Louis Gohmert's HR 7309 we would be looking at a whole different economy today! This bill would have allowed everyone receiving a paycheck to keep the gross amount of the check, less state and local taxes, instead of the net amount of the check. We would have not paid in any Federal Taxes including Social Security and employers would not have paid in matching Social Security for one to six months. Our economy would be BOOMING today.

What would you do with the GROSS amount of your paycheck for one to six months? Pay down some credit cards, catch up on your house notes, save for a down payment on a new car?

What a difference this approach would have brought to the economy instead of the 100 days of pillage we got!

Spear Road Guy's picture
Submitted by Spear Road Guy on Wed, 04/22/2009 - 11:29pm.

Your President Obama came straight out of the pit of hell (Chicago). But I agree with you Mapleleaf about the tea sippers just having a bitch session and moving on.

Ramsey is just a kid, so what do you expect? Chance wants Rep. Westmoreland's seat in the House. Most insiders in the county thought Lynn was going to hop in the Governor's race. I guess he lost his backbone.

Vote Republican

mapleleaf's picture
Submitted by mapleleaf on Thu, 04/23/2009 - 7:24am.

Ain't that strange!

I got a robocall last night from some alleged organization that wants me to ask Westmoreland not to run for governor, saying we need him in Congress.

What do we need him there for? To promote the Ten Commandments?

I suspect this guy has surrounded himself with sycophants who are trying to make him believe he could walk on water. That I've got to see, before I believe it.

Spear Road Guy's picture
Submitted by Spear Road Guy on Sat, 04/25/2009 - 11:48pm.

Hey Mapleleaf, Lynn is wittling them down to 5 because he can't remember the others. I guess his mantra is "less government and less commandments."

Vote Republican

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.