The Tea Party Challenge

Last Saturday, upwards of 200,000 people left the comfort of their homes to come to Washington, to make a statement to their elected representatives:

“We want you to shrink the size of our bloated government.  We don’t want it increased, not for health care, the environment, education, art, farmers, saving the children, world peace or a thousand and one other excuses that politicians have used over the last century to increase the size of the federal government to the point that it has crippled the free market and the ability of taxpayers to provide for themselves.

“In other words, we want you to do less, not more!”

Spending money is the road of least resistance in Washington.  It is well-traveled.   The people who assembled over the weekend came from all parts of the country, from many different backgrounds and political persuasions to put up this warning for those who blindly follow the political herd down this well-beaten path.  “Use extreme caution: Travel at your own risk.”

My favorite sign read, “Go Green! Recycle Congress!”

The big question for the Tea Party participants is this.  Can you deliver on this threat?

In order for Washington to do less, you have to do more.  It’s that simple.

The Republican Party sees the Tea Party moment as a way to make big gains in 2010.  But this is not about the Republican Party.  After 40 years in the congressional wilderness, Republicans were swept into power in 1994.  In a few years – a very few — they were spending like Democrats.

The price of liberty really is eternal vigilance.  No political party will save you.  You must save yourself.  You can no longer afford to vote and then hit the snooze button for the next two years.  You must stay engaged.  You must hold those you elect to represent you, whether Democrat or Republican, accountable.

Every Tea Party Participant must know the spending record of their congressman and senators.  It’s not difficult.  The nonpartisan National Taxpayers Union issues a report card each and every year.

Every Tea Party Participant should know if their congressman and senators have signed the “No-Earmark” pledge.   Earmarks, commonly referred to as “pork,”  are things that lawmakers slip into the federal budget in the dead of night.  Each year, Citizens Against Government Waste issues a report on these earmarks called “The Congressional Pig Book.”

Lawmakers argue that pork is difficult to define.  Not so!  CAGW has developed the following seven criteria:

•    Requested by only one chamber of Congress;
•    Not specifically authorized;
•    Not competitively awarded;
•    Not requested by the President;
•    Greatly exceeds the President’s budget request or the previous year’s funding;
•    Not the subject of congressional hearings; or
•    Serves only a local or special interest.

Some of these projects can mean big bucks for a hometown project that citizens will enjoy.  Here’s the important thing to remember: It makes no sense to send a taxpayer dollar to Washington and have our lawmakers horse trade with one another in order to get back fifty cents.  Those taxpayer dollars would be better off staying at home.  Local citizens can then prioritize and fund their own projects.

Earmarks must stop if we are to get the federal budget under control!

Most lawmakers talk about being fiscally conservative but they don’t walk the walk.  If your congressman and senators are  not “keepers” – and most aren’t – find someone in your local area to run against them in the primary election.    If you wait until the general election, it is too late.  Most people line up behind a party at that point and vote for the lessor of the two evils.  That is not good enough.

Remember.  Every congressman and one-third of all senators  must stand for reelection in 2010.

Your candidate doesn’t have to be a career politician, but he or she should be someone who knows and understands the issues and what is at stake.  A local businessman, physician or talk show host would be an ideal candidate.   When your candidate is identified, organize your Tea Party members to recruit everyone in their circles of influence to work on behalf of this candidate.  And, here’s the really important parts, begin financially supporting that candidate now.  Write a monthly check and encourage others to do the same.

We have a great country.  It’s worth saving but, in order to get the government to do less, you must be willing to do more.

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Helpful Resources:

9 thoughts on “The Tea Party Challenge

  1. Yes, Jane. We must keep up the pressure on our Congressmen, Senators, and Representatives in order to halt their reckless spending.

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  2. You are right, Jane. Most of the time I vote for the “lesser of two evils”, or at least the one I believe to be. It is almost always for the Republican (unless I write myself in) because, as I’m fond of saying: “I don’t trust the Republicans at all, but I trust them more than I trust the Democrats.” — “Bill’s Pearls of Political Cynicism”

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  3. Jane,

    I’m ashamed that I was traveling home from Salt Lake City to Boston area 9/12. That group of special folks made us all proud.

    I’ve thought even prior to Obama that old guys like me at least a million of us that could support ourselves go to DC and have a communicating committee demand change immediately. We would not leave DC until our legal resolutions were implemented. We could tie up DC. All done respectfully. All sunshine bills killed. All unnecessary old laws wiped off the books. There are over 20,000 gun laws on the books. All legislation written so an average person can read and understand. Any reference to another part of law in force put right there since we would have trouble finding same.

    All persons elected and government employees not to have superior insurance. Term limits. Govern for the greater good. No rushed legislation. All bills presented read completely. Perhaps that would shorten all this perhaps, maybe and however place in these bills. Each of these bills when passed have with loop holes to drive a truck through.

    If you saw the grounds left in perfect order when the Tea Party folks left. Then look at the way the Obama inauguration attendees left the grounds a complete mess. I thought that alone said it all about these folks. Enough already.

    My best to you Jane,

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  4. Ms Chastain:
    I have tried for years to peddle a bumber sticker free of charge but no one has taken me up on it

    STARVE THE BUREAUCRATS
    DON’T TAKE A HANDOUT

    Lately I have been thinking of changing that to boycott instead of starve since no one seems to connect the dots that our bureaucracy is the biggest ratchet we have to jack up the cost of government Back around 1948-49 I was going to a GI farm school in Rosepine, Vernon Parish, Louisiana when we were approaching the end of a fiscal year and the USDA had not expended all its authorized “helps.” I suggested we just roll the money over for the next fiscal year and you should have heard the yelps. That would be just too embarrassing. We needed to sign up for anything that would pass muster because the bureaucracy had lobbied hard for a 15% increase in funds, which is the built in ratcheting effect, and blah, blah, blah. That is when I resigned from the school and the USDA which meant I could get no allotments for any subsidized crop. I contend that this program has been a mill stone around the nation’s neck that has put more farmers out of business than it ever though about helping. It has been worse than a useless program. I survived without any help from the government and have a few things to show for it but it took more effort. Unless we are willing to personally put out that effort our government will take over and we have no choices left.

    The inertia is in the mass of our bureaucracy more so than the elected offices but they are symbiotic. We must refuse the government hand of “help” because it is always at our expense and cost more than to do it ourselves. Of course it require a dollop of self discipline and that is where the rub comes in. We vote for the politician who promises to lift that burden from our shoulders without considering the consequences.
    You are definitely on the right track. If we want to lower our taxes we must lower the number employed by our government. I also support you in finding local candidates who are not government dependent to fill those offices. The local banker should have more interest in his bank than it government pork, etc. If he has to sacrifice a little to keep us running smooth that is gain. The laws of nature are such that when the government tries to run a business it does so for all the wrong reasons. That is inherent.
    Richard L. Whitford

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  5. Thank you Jane. Thank you for the links, the insight and the motivation. I’ve always felt that is what we should do but there has always been the ‘oh, it’s too big to take on’ mentality, myself included. Now I know how many people agree (and meeting more daily) and are willing to stand up and take action! We are energized and mobilizing. We aren’t going to worry about the mainstream media’s misrepresentation, ignorance and outright dismissal of the silent majority. Just look at the attendance numbers being tossed around. Either the ‘people counters’ over estimated the inauguration or underestimated the national tea party. Those of us who attended the national tea party know there were more people in attendance than at the inauguration this year which has been quoted as 1.8 million. We will keep informed within our networks and sources such as WND. They can say all they want but we are arming ourselves with the facts and taking back America.
    Looking forward to more great articles,
    Deb

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  6. Richard,

    Great bumper sticker. Everyone should have one!

    Larry,

    Republicans, as a whole learned nothing, because we learned nothing. You cannot vote for a candidate and hit the snooze button. Republicans had a chance to do away with the current services baseline, which puts the federal government on automatic pilot for huge increases every year. Republicans could have abolished earmarks, but instead they added more than ever.

    Ever member of Congress who does not walk the walk must have a challenge in the primary. That is key!

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  7. Why for heaven’s sake would we miss an opportunity to interfere with a small country like Honduras?? Perhaps it is that they are running their country democratically. It would not look good for us since we are moving swiftly toward dictatorship.

    Joe S

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