by Tim Baldwin
In www.Politico.com, Joe Scarborough recently expressed the idea that differences of tactics should never divide people of the same political principles. TEA Partiers must learn this principle because the loss is too great when the greater enemy wins and Republican principles cannot withstand the ever-pressing weight of Socialism. Experience proves that Republicanism loses and Socialism wins every time conservatives go their separate ways and divide their strength.
The TEA Party itself reveals the truth of this principle seeing that the TEA Party has not divorced itself from the Republican Party. Rather than separating from the Republican Party (whom some TEA Party purists constantly demonize because they are not “true” or “pure” conservatives), TEA Partiers simply identify themselves as “true” conservatives in the Republican Party.
In other words, the TEA Party’s classification is in reality, “more conservative Republicans.” Notwithstanding their feeble attempt to distinguish themselves from other Republicans, the TEA Party sees itself going nowhere without the Republican Party. They are but a few paddles on a very large ship at sea being pushed around not only by (opposing) human paddling but also by forces of nature.
The TEA Party’s choice to stay Republican is itself a tactic—a tactic of self-preservation, the greatest of all tactics. It proves, without equivocation, that (for now) conservative policies have no chance of success without the Republican Party. If there were another way to advance TEA Party principles without the Republican Party, surely they would jump the Republican ship and sail in another direction. But they don’t. The TEA Party’s lack of action, therefore, proves that pragmatics prevails over (or at least equals) “pure” principles and “party politics” is really important to accomplishing anything.
“Dr. No” himself, Ron Paul, demonstrated this tactic by abandoning his attempt to go his own way and by becoming a part of and loyal to the Republican Party throughout his career—even at the expense of his core Libertarian beliefs. You could say he chose the “lesser evil” of abandoning his personal libertarian conscience for the sake of getting things done as a Republican Congressman. At least, Ron Paul demonstrated that nothing conservative or libertarian can be accomplished on a grand scale without a strong political party supporting his candidacy and showing his ideas—over a period of time long enough to grow roots.
So, why do TEA Party purists insist that they can accomplish political good without the cooperation and help of conservatives they may deem “RINO” or “Neo-Con”? In what way do they perceive themselves as different from any other political party that needs a majority to get anything done in politics?
Too, why do TEA Party purists think that THEY control the Republican Party?—as if helping Socialists get elected is noble and holding conservative votes hostage is statesman-like. The truth is, the TEA Party holds no power of future change because many TEA Partiers hold ideas that are repugnant to experience, reason and logic. The best they can do is threaten not to vote for the Republican candidate. This strategy is no strategy at all and offers no hope for the future.
A “true conservative” movement, however, could be accomplished on a grand scale if TEA Partiers would quit isolating themselves into oblivion and learn the political principles of accomplishing good, better and best, depending what opportunities and circumstances exist.
TEA Partiers should learn from liberals and progressives, who have, over time, incorporated political principles that started with George Hegel’s philosophical works in the early 1820s. It took them centuries to accomplish their revolution against Republicanism, but they largely (and some would say, completely) accomplished it—even in a country founded on concepts opposed to Hegel-Socialism and Marx-Communism. They did not accomplish this by acting the way TEA Partiers do today.
The reality of political incrementalism should come as no surprise since the United States Constitution was a product of about 200 years of Enlightenment Philosophy, which combatted, slowly but surely, the principles of Monarchism. What makes TEA Partiers think they can single handedly reclaim anything for liberty in the United States without a consistent yet flexible approach with long-term and inclusive goals?
Principles of liberty are true, yes; but so are principles of tactics. Republicanism would do well if TEA Partiers learned both.