The Tea Party Movement Explained In a Way Everyone Can Understand

Peggy Noonan getting it:

I see two central reasons for the tea party’s rise. The first is the yardstick, and the second is the clock. First, the yardstick. Imagine that over at the 36-inch end you’ve got pure liberal thinking–more and larger government programs, a bigger government that costs more in the many ways that cost can be calculated. Over at the other end you’ve got conservative thinking–a government that is growing smaller and less demanding and is less expensive. You assume that when the two major parties are negotiating bills in Washington, they sort of lay down the yardstick and begin negotiations at the 18-inch line. Each party pulls in the direction it wants, and the dominant party moves the government a few inches in their direction.

But if you look at the past half century or so you have to think: How come even when Republicans are in charge, even when they’re dominant, government has always gotten larger and more expensive? It’s always grown! It’s as if something inexorable in our political reality–with those who think in liberal terms dominating the establishment, the media, the academy–has always tilted the starting point in negotiations away from 18 inches, and always toward liberalism, toward the 36-inch point.

Democrats on the Hill or in the White House try to pull it up to 30, Republicans try to pull it back to 25. A deal is struck at 28. Washington Republicans call it victory: “Hey, it coulda been 29!” But regular conservative-minded or Republican voters see yet another loss. They could live with 18. They’d like eight. Instead it’s 28.

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For conservatives on the ground, it has often felt as if Democrats (and moderate Republicans) were always saying, “We should spend a trillion dollars,” and the Republican Party would respond, “No, too costly. How about $700 billion?” Conservatives on the ground are thinking, “How about nothing? How about we don’t spend more money but finally start cutting.”

The second thing is the clock. Here is a great virtue of the tea party: They know what time it is. It’s getting late. If we don’t get the size and cost of government in line now, we won’t be able to. We’re teetering on the brink of some vast, dark new world–states and cities on the brink of bankruptcy, the federal government too. The issue isn’t “big spending” anymore. It’s ruinous spending that they fear will end America as we know it, as they promised it to their children.

So there’s a sense that dramatic action is needed, and a sense of profound urgency. Add drama to urgency and you get the victory of a tea party-backed candidate.

Nobody knows how all this will play out, but we are seeing something big–something homegrown, broad-based and independent. In part it is a rising up of those who truly believe America is imperiled and truly mean to save her. The dangers, both present and potential, are obvious.

This is what is so important to understand. It is no longer about which program you can’t cut or reduce. It is no longer about what we fund. It is no longer about what liberals think our money should be spent on or what conservatives think our money should be spent on. This is about standing on the edge of a cliff. We have been inching towards it for a long time, never seeing the danger. But now we are at the edge. Now it is truly dangerous.

We cannot keep printing money to pay for things. We cannot keep spending money we don’t have.

Tea party candidates are winning, not because they are polished candidates, they are not, but because they are the only ones willing to inch us back from the edge of that cliff.

I promise you this my friends, all the issues that you and I care so deeply about, right or left, won’t matter at all if we don’t get our financial house in order.

If we don’t elect people who are willing to show fiscal sanity, things will be worse than we can possibly imagine.

Our economy needs to grow. Even the Democrats realize that in order to do that you have to cut taxes and give incentives to businesses. You notice that when nothing else worked to lower unemployment, the Democrats turn to Republican ideas to get things going again. Pres. Obama just signed a small business lending bill, and the Democrats in Congress are itching to get the Bush tax cuts extended for the middle class. How much more Republican can you get?

But even these are just temporary solutions. We MUST control spending if we want to give to our children the kind of life and freedom that we have enjoyed.

If you never really got what the Tea Party is all about, I hope you get it now.

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