Why Conservatives Should Beware of the Tea Party

May 1st, 2010 at 11:50 am | 93 Comments |

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There prevails in America a conservative understanding of a popular character that is not Populism.”

Russell Kirk, there 1988

Let’s just say it, the Tea Party movement has far more in common with the French Poujadist movement of the 1950s then it does with authentic American conservatism. Of course, this is quite the heretical statement to make these days since nearly all wings of the conservative movement from the Weekly Standard to the Ron Paul libertarians are claiming ownership and their stake in the movement. But jumping on a bandwagon is always an easy thing to do, what is difficult is to not submit to peer pressure.  There are several reasons why conservatives should be hesitant of inviting themselves to the next Tea Party rally.

1. It is a populist driven movement- As the above quote from the late conservative icon, Russell Kirk demonstrates, conservatism is not populism. When factions of the American Right have been seduced in times past by a troubadour playing a populist hymn, it usually brings out the worst in them as Richard Hofstadter’s famous essay on the paranoid style in American politics so eloquently stated.  So, when one sees signs held up at Tea Party rallies comparing Obama to an African witch doctor or signs implying taxpayers are Jews for Obama’s gas ovens there should be no surprise, its paranoid life imitating paranoid art.

The Founders were well versed in their history. They knew especially the fate of Greek city-state democracies that fell to demagogues. Alexander Hamilton warned Americans about, “ times of such commotion as the present, while the passions of men are worked up to an uncommon pitch, there is great danger of fatal extremes” and later spoke of populist politicians that “begun their career by paying an obsequious court to the people.”

The other conservative Founding Fathers (i.e. John Adams, Gouverneur Morris, John Jay, Thomas Sedgwick, Rufus King, Fisher Ames et. al.) were on the same page with Hamilton. They saw populism as the dark arts of the ultra-democrat and rabble-rouser.  Orestes Brownson would later in the 19th Century refer to the creed of the populist as “The people sovereign; the people are divine; the people are infallible and impeccable.” Needless to say, Brownson wrote that this is not a conservative creed nor should the conservative have any interest in seeing it prevail.

Try and imagine if you can, Brownson or Hamilton barking like a seal the next time, FOX’s Laura Ingraham at a Tea Party rally, compares paying more taxes to the Nazi Holocaust.

2.Tax Cuts as an Ideology- Aside from populism, authentic conservatism is the opposite of ideology.  Russell Kirk spoke on the fact that “Perhaps it would be well, most of the time, to use this word “conservative” as an adjective chiefly. For there exists no Model Conservative, and conservatism is the negation of ideology: it is a state of mind, a type of character, a way of looking at the civil social order.”

The notion of cutting taxes has been elevated to a sacrosanct ideology by the Tea Party movement. According to this ideology, Americans are taxed beyond their means, tax receipts from the government are higher than they have been in decades and the answer to the Federal deficit is to cut taxes “like Reagan” and watch the economy take off like a rocket.

Taxes are actually lower as a percentage of the Federal GNP, then it has been in years (31.5%). When polled by FrumForum several months ago during a Tea Party protest in Washington DC, the majority of Tea Partiers polled said the percentage was on average 42.06%. When asked what a median American family pays in taxes (with a $50,000 income), those same Tea Partiers said on average it was $12,710 when it fact, the typical $50,000 family in America pays $7,500 in federal taxes. And an overwhelming number all told the pollster that taxes were much higher since President Obama had taken office in January 2009. This despite the fact that almost 50% of the stimulus package passed in 2009 was made up of tax cuts and according to the Tax Foundation, the number of income tax returns with zero liability is growing every year due to child tax credits and Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).

Tax cut ideology indeed lives on mythology. Much like the return of the good ole days when the American Right had people like Ronald Reagan and Barry Goldwater looking out for your tax rates. Of course, the fact that neither men believed in the tax cut ideology and would be considered RINO (Republican in Name Only) by the Tea Party today makes this nostalgia quite funny.  Reagan’s tax increase of 1982 TERFA (Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act) is still adjusted for inflation, the largest tax increase in peacetime American history. Barry Goldwater voted against the Kennedy tax cuts of 1963 for fear of having an inflationary pressure on the economy.

There is nothing wrong in opposition to many forms of taxation and wanting to reform the tax system itself, but this is not what the ideology of tax cuts stands for. It believes taxes should be cut when and whenever possible regardless of the economy and thar any form of tax increase advocated by a Republican is wrong and can never be right. And if the government has to borrow money from future generations to pay for a tax cut, that’s fine.

3. ‘Just cut Spending’ as the second response to every question- This is a classic case of not seeing the forest for the trees.  Just to give an illustration, Rep. Ron Paul sometimes called ‘Dr. No’ for his opposition to so much federal spending has three people challenging him this year in his Texas congressional district in the GOP primary, all three from the Tea party movement. As reported by columnist Davie Weigel, part of their opposition to Congressmen Paul is because of his stance on the war in Iraq and Afghanistan and against congressional pork.  And in a recent survey of Tea Party activists, they stated they want government cut down to size and to focus in on “waste” but many of them did not want Social Security or Medicare to have its benefits cut.

Currently, sixty-eight percent of the federal budget goes to defense spending and health and social security, everything else the Federal government does from border patrol to the F.B.I. to  interest payments on the debt to earmarks and a ‘Bridge to Nowhere’ is in the remaining 32% of the budget.

In fairness to the Tea Party, the misplaced idea that the government wastes money on pork barrel projects is in line which the rest of the country. A recent Gallup poll found a majority of Americans believe 50 cents out of every dollar spent by the government is waste.

The stark reality is the only way to ‘cut government down to size’ would be a massive reorganization of middle class entitlements and cuts in defense spending or we could eliminate everything the federal government spends money on except for entitlements and defense. The only politician in Washington honest enough to bring forth an honest budget is Rep. Paul Ryan, his alternative budget would balance the budget without any taxes but it requires the privatization of Social Security, eliminating the tax deduction companies get for providing health insurance (which would mean employees health benefits would be treated as income) and it basically turns Medicare into a voucher system for those over 65 to go purchase health insurance in the marketplace. Perhaps when Rep. Paul Ryan supplants Sarah Palin as the star and face of the Tea Party movement, old fashion fiscal conservatives will take them more seriously.

4. Selective outrage- Now many of the former Ron Paul supporters in the Tea Party have been pointing this out for years but for many in the Tea Party movement, the outrage at deficits and government spending seem way too partisan. Where were the mass protests in 2004 when a Republican Congress passed Medicare Part D? This bill will cost all taxpayers over the next ten years over $1.2 trillion dollars and was paid for by debt; neither tax increases nor spending cuts were issued to offset the new Medicare program. Former U.S. Comptroller General David Walker has called it “the most fiscally irresponsible piece of legislation since the 1960s.”

Likewise the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) in January 2009 BEFORE Obama came into office were projecting a $1.2 trillion budget deficit. Obama’s stimulus bill which many Tea Partiers claim was the cause of the beginning of the Tea Party movement added only $200 billion to that existing debt. One has to wonder, how so many can get upset over $200 billion but not over $1.2 trillion. Of course, just to add insult to injury, in the national poll taken, 57% of Tea Party members had a favorable view of former President George W. Bush.  To paraphrase Edmund Burke, their partisan Republican passions forge their fetters.

Thus, its rampant populism, its tax cut dogma which has been raised as a defining ideology, its concern with waste rather than the 800lb gorilla in the room (entitlements and defense) and for too many its ‘When Democrats engage in deficit spending its worse than when Republicans do it’ argument should make any old fashion conservative weary of the Tea Party movement.

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93 Comments so far ↓

  • ottovbvs

    sinz54 // May 2, 2010 at 9:19 am

    “When Americans lost their jobs, and the unemployment rate hit 10%, they did indeed call on the government….And what they got from the government was a health care plan, and proposals for dealing with global warming, instead of ten million new jobs.”

    …….what they got was unemployment benefit extensions (resisted by Republicans), the rescue of the financial system and other key areas of the economy like autos(you personally have repeatedly advocated letting GM and Chrysler shut down….how many million jobs would that have cost?)…….a stimulus program consisting of tax cuts, transfer payments and infrastructure investment (again resisted by Republicans) that has converted GDP shrinkage and 800,000 monthly job losses into GDP growth and new job creation (162,000 last month)…..and a healthcare plan that expands coverage to millions of blue collar/part time workers, outlaws recissions and denial of coverage based on existing condition ……unfortunately as ever your comments are tainted by the most extreme partisanship, contradictions, illogicality, complete denial of who created this mess(Bush and the Republicans), and sheer blind hatred.

  • nhthinker

    Just saw this editorial essay in Washington Times…Very timely… I think it is dead-on…
    …For the most part, liberal media coverage overlooked all the leftist violence. Typical headlines described the protest as “mostly peaceful,” with media outlets avoiding details about why they had to use the qualifier “mostly.” Reporting a near-riot by the opponents of the Arizona law doesn’t fit the dominant media storyline.

    Some of the editorial bias is blatant. An Associated Press story about the Arizona immigration law quoted a 13-year-old Hispanic boy saying, “We can’t be in the streets anymore without the pigs thinking we’re illegal immigrants.” The Washington Post sanitized the boy’s views towards law enforcement by replacing the word “pigs” with “[police].” If a Tea Partier used a slur of any kind, it’s doubtful it would be given the square-bracket treatment. It would probably be a banner headline.

    The Tea Partiers do not incite violence; they are salt-of-the-earth middle Americans who are desperately worried about the misguided policies and wrongheaded vision being promoted by President Obama and his congressional allies. Contrast them with the younger, less educated, lower income, angry, racially motivated mob that turned out in Phoenix. The Tequila Party and gangsters like them represent the core and the pride of the liberal base. If an angry, shouting mob throwing bottles at police is the face of contemporary liberalism, it’s no wonder Americans are turning against them in droves.

    The media and liberals want to turn a blind eye to any misdeed by their prodigy.

  • Rabiner


    Other than short term tax cuts to incentivize hiring of workers and government spending what did you want government to do to ‘spur employment’?

  • ottovbvs

    nhthinker // May 2, 2010 at 10:13 am

    “Just saw this editorial essay in Washington Times…”

    …….You mean the Mooney Times with it’s long history of objectivity and 70,000 readership…….if this is your go to source it tells us quite a bit about your value judgement system

  • TerryF98

    The Moonie times is bankrupt and on it’s way out. Which is what it deserves.

  • ottovbvs

    Rabiner // May 2, 2010 at 10:32 am


    Other than short term tax cuts to incentivize hiring of workers and government spending what did you want government to do to ’spur employment’?”

    …….cut public spending, allow the banking system to collapse, and shut down the two largest US auto makers…..a surefire recipe for economic expansion…….you see the normal laws of economics don’t really work for Sinz when they come into collision with his core beliefs

  • AMurphy


    First, Glenn Beck is a johnny come lately in his new found love for Ron Paul, in fact, here is a mock up of videos done by obvious Ron Paul supporters trying to prove Beck is a neocon and not a libertarian

    Second, Ron Paul is a libertarian. He ran as a Libertarian Party candidate for president in 1988, his most devote supporters come from Lew Rockwell.com and the Ludwig Von Mises Institute.

    As David Gordon of the Mises Institute wrote,

    “For libertarians, no such letter should be necessary. Ron Paul is a libertarian and, moreover, the only presidential candidate in either the Republican or Democratic Parties who is a libertarian. It should not then be necessary to write an open letter: libertarians should support Ron Paul because he is one of us! What could be more evident?”

  • nhthinker


    What government institutions that are properly granted into the constitution by amendment is Ron Paul looking to tear down?

    There are not any that I know of, other than income tax. You have yet to identify a single issue that you view as identifying a true conservative versus a libertarian. Your lack of responses to the differentiation seem to indicate that you silently support government creep that has nothing to do with powers granted by the consitution as somehow being a valid principle consistent with true conservatism.

    Support for a candidate by a group is not a realistic reflection on the candidate. Under such logic we could claim that Obamaa is pro-bombing of FBI for activities that his associate Ayers supported. We could also make the assumption that Obama believes the “God Dam America” rhetoric of Rev Wright. But rational people don’t use such fallacious connections as proof.

    If you want to back a valid argument that Ron Paul holds positions that are contrary to being a conservative- then list them! Don’t spew dispersions based on the idea that less than savory people like him.

    My contention is that once you take the time to write that list down that you will be uncomfortable as defending them as representing conservatism.

  • sinz54

    Rabiner: Other than short term tax cuts to incentivize hiring of workers and government spending what did you want government to do to ’spur employment’?”
    1. The entire stimulus package, ALL of it, should have gone to the building of new infrastructure and the upgrading of existing infrastructure, NOT to bailing out state governments (which in practice meant bailing out AFSCME).

    State governments were hurting because their citizens were unemployed and their businesses had fallen on hard times, and so they were getting less tax revenue. The answer was to stimulate the private sectors of those states, not to bail out their governments. Instead, state governments should have instituted an across-the-board wage freeze on all public employees except first responders.

    The productivity benefits to America would be obvious: Less time wasted stuck in traffic. Less time wasted in airport delays. Etc. And that’s stimulative.

    2. A sharp cut in the Social Security payroll tax, to be partly offset by a new carbon tax.

    After all, you liberals have been claiming that moving away from fossil fuels would “create millions of ‘green’ jobs.” This would be your chance to put up or shut up. Your bet would be called.

    And the sharp cut to the SS payroll tax would put more money in every working family’s pocket, so that they could afford to buy a new “green” car or retrofit their homes with more energy-saving equipment like insulation and new efficient water heaters.

    3. Beyond that, Obama should have pledged not to force any new social programs down Americans’ throats until they were back to work. That way, the cuts to the SS payroll tax would only increase the deficit moderately and temporarily, until Americans were back to work and paying taxes again.

  • ktward

    @nhthinker // May 2, 2010 at 10:13 am

    Just saw this editorial essay in Washington Times…Very timely

    I’m certain I saw that same bit of hackery elsewhere.
    But here are the facts re: ‘Tequila Party gangster riot’ in Phoenix …

    Fox Phoenix vid:

    Fox reporter: “In the end, one man arrested … But to keep the incident in perspective, we did not see injuries and most people here did not participate in this at all. It’s clear for them the next steps are peaceful protests and legal challenges.”

    Earlier crowd estimate was ’several thousand’ and described as peaceful. Later in the day, several hundred were at the scene of the incident: the ’small riot’ was ignited by a passing Minuteman’s offensive comment followed by, “I can do that.” Noted the Fox reporter: “Actually he couldn’t do that– hurl insults that could spark a riot.” Police tried to get the man out, but not before plastic water bottles flew. The man arrested was a water bottle-throwing student.

  • ottovbvs

    sinz54 // May 2, 2010 at 12:28 pm

    ……Sinz I know economics are not your strong point but this summary is so riddled with contradictions it’s humorous……we had 820 billion to spend and this according the Republicans was going to bankrupt the country……the immediate problem was propping up aggregate demand which was collapsing……you propose spending the entire 820 billion on infrastructure which basically took 9-12 months to get up and runnning (ie. did next to nothing for aggregate demand)…..then a sharp cut in the payroll tax which is apparently going to funded by by a carbon tax so while adding to demand by cutting a tax were you are proposing to reduce it by increasing a tax on energy (I won’t get into the pros and cons of cutting payroll taxes which would be enormously costly but it’s mostly cons)…..3 is just political bs unrelated to economic issues (but you’re big on bs)…….in fact the stimulus program produced a reasonable balance of short and medium term stimulants …….tax cuts 200 billion to help prop up demand……. 250 billion in transfer payments because every state was desperately in need of them to stem a haemorrage of jobs as their own tax revenues had collapsed…… and 375 billion for infrastructure ……your formula would have taken unemployment to over 12% (state layoff and or tax increases would have been substantial instead of modest as they have been) and that’s not including your plans to let the two largest auto makers go bust.

  • ottovbvs

    @nhthinker // May 2, 2010 at 10:13 am

    ……this guy’s entertainment value never ceases…….is he real?

  • Lavaux

    If nonaligned Americans want to get politically active by creating a movement to cut taxes and reduce the size and spending of the federal government, then I’m all for it as should all conservatives be.

    Per usual, the so-called “conservative” intellectual who wrote this article, Mr. Murphy, bases his elitist denouncements of the People on a false assumption, namely that coalitions require every member thereof to repudiate their conflicting tenets in order to join. Nonsense. Entitlements need rolling back and funding, and while many Tea Party activists would oppose doing so, they’ll support the reduction of the size and spending of the federal government that would result. In other words, they’re meeting conservatives half-way, and by so doing handing us the mandate to do the dirty work that needs doing. Yet it seems that Mr. Murphy would reject this mandate in the interest of preserving his ideological purity while avoiding defilement by mere proximity to the hoi polloi, who are to his eyes drooling, populist simpletons. This always raises the question: Who serves whom?

    Re taxes, Mr. Murphy overlooks a simple truth: We the People can’t trust the federal government to spend our money wisely, which justifies our demands for tax cuts, less borrowing and less spending. A scarcity of funds will require the federal government to cut back excess, which is exactly what everyone seems to want, even leftists. Didn’t the Democrats argue that “we’ll” pay for ObamaCare by cutting all of the waste and unfair excess in Medicare and Medicaid? Yes they did. So where is Mr. Murphy’s disdain coming from? Obviously, from his utter disregard for the will of the people. The conservative movement will expire from irrelevance unless it can work within this realm. Perhaps that’s Mr. Murphy’s true aim. “Let them eat cake.”

  • bw222

    Andrew Murphy is living proof that anyone (and I mean anyone) intent on bashing Sarah Palin, the Tea Party movement or any person or group that wants to make the GOP more conservative will be published at the Frum Forum.

    When Murphy cites a Frum Forum poll (sample size: 57, error factor: +/- 75%), he loses all credibility.

    Besides, why would anyone give advice to conservatives on the Frum Forum? Unless Frum has his buddy Allahpundit post a link on Hot Air, there are no conservatives at the Frum Forum.

  • Balloon Juice » Blog Archive » Poujadine

    [...] There’s a length post at FrumForm about the silliness of teahadist fiscal ideas, if it’s even appropriate to describe them as “ideas”. The piece is thorough and on-the-mark, if a little long for my tastes. [...]

  • ktward

    TeaP simply holds no relevance on a national level. No leader, no cohesion beyond a sizable collection of media soundbites, no solutions that pass any reliable sniff test. Even Scott Brown, TeaP’s touted tick in their ‘win’ column, is trying to distance himself from them. (lots of Tea chatter about that.)

    But TeaP’s irrelevance hasn’t stopped the partisan spinners from making hay.

    The Left zeroes in on TeaP’s most outrageous antics of bigotry and their silly sloganed solutions, citing it as proof that the Right’s finally gone off the reservation. The far Right holds TeaP up as an ideo standard bearer to rally the GOP base with all the usual emotionally-charged but empty rhetoric: liberty! freedom! cut taxes & spending!

    No one takes TeaP seriously beyond their use as a marketing tool. But I certainly understand why the GOP is worried about any potential TeaP effect at the polls– and why AMurphy penned this column.

  • bw222

    Unlike Murphy’s rambling, a very succinct analysis of this article.


  • AnotherOpinion

    You’re an idiot…

    incase you haven’t noticed – most average Americans ARE conservative and ARE the tea party…

    yeah, POLITICIANS may be trying to glom on but we already know what we believe and what we want…

    you’re examples of signs are, again, you myopic view of what you “THINK” you know about us…

    yeah, i said it.. no pc for the ‘balls’ of the conservative party

  • AMurphy

    Another Opinion,

    Good, since I am such a moron, perhaps you can help me by fleshing out in detail what the Tea Party stands for besides “cut taxes” and “cut spending”…..give us details, specific ones.

  • AMurphy

    John Galt,

    First of all, where do you get the idea that I am lying about 1982 tax increase. Reagan raised taxes, and yes he did go along with it in hopes Congress would cut spending(I did not think I had to include that since everybody familiar with it, knew that and can easily look it up), but the fact remains, Reagan still raised taxes and they are adjusted for inflation, the largest tax increase in peactime history. Oh and just for laughs, I went back and looked up David Stockman’s “Failure of Politics” and on page 368, he faults the Reagan Administration as much as Congress for those tax increases, because the Reagan Administration refused to go along and submit any defense spending cuts to Congress or any executive branch cuts they were will to compromise with.

    Oh and you do know that in 1986 Reagan raised the coporate tax and the botom income tax rates were raied from 11% to 15%.

    And your critique of the ‘Just cut spending’ doesn’t pass muster. But I will make a deal with you, at the next Tea Party, if I see signs saying “We Support the Ryan Plan”, I will start to take them more seriously, deal?

  • MarkH


    “You are correct, I do not believe that gold and silver currency works today.”

    This is the problem. This is taught in schools, but the fact is there is not reason it cannot work. This idea is not even a hypothesis and is an excuse often used by private central bankers. You must prove what you believe if you wish to get society to go along. Unless of course you want to do what the central bankers did and defraud society to get them to go along. Currency is not money unless it represent value and not debt. Fractional reserve lending with fiat currency is debt based. It cannot and will not work over long periods. It has a 100% failure rate. 1930s, 2007-2010+. People blame the economy on Obama when its the debt based currency practices that are killing us.

    “I understand you’re complaint that the Federal Income Tax doesn’t pay directly for anything but is that so bad? ”

    Yes its freaking horrible to enslave people under threat of violence for that money to actually go no where.

    “Because property taxes I figure would fall under the same distinction.”

    Not true my property taxes pay for local road projects, schools, libraries. true much of this is bond related, but we are paying down the principle. However the property tax is flawed as well because it does not allow anyone to ever own their property and be free. The government has permanent lean on your property. Its amazing how people have been trained to believe they are free when their labor and property does not even belong to them.

    “Before the income tax we used to raise revenues through tariffs and duties on imports/exports but those have been nearly eliminated as it was shown that tariffs and duties cause a reduction in purchasing power for consumers and thus is bad for living standards and the economy.”

    Very good point. Bastiate once said that Americas greatest flaws were tariffs and slavery because it empowered government to pick winners and losers. This is why a consumption tax is so much better than the other taxes. It applies to everyone equally and every product the same. Only this way can there be a payment for government services without the government being able to be a tool of lobbyists so easily.

    By the way people we are not the government. They do not represent us. Stop buying the childhood textbook propaganda and open your minds up a tad and think of the future.

  • ktward

    Many GOP pols seem to be backing away from Tea. Scott Brown, and now even Tea-lovin’ Boehner:

    Palin’s coming to a pricey fundraiser in Chicago on the 12th. None of the prominent GOP candidates will be there to join her. They’re all ‘busy’.

    I do wonder: come November, if Tea does not have a vetted candidate on their ballot, who do they vote for? Will they vote for non-Tea GOP? Write-in?

  • AMurphy

    I see where one Tea Party group has a Contract From America, very vanilla stuff and if you look at it, its all about tackling waste and going after earmarks and does not say anything about defense and middle class entitlements, which as I wrote in my article makes up 68% of the federal budget. This Contract proves my point, game, set and match


  • MarkH

    Yes it has been rather diluted from the original movement. The contract with America back in 94 was all lies as well. The speak is good, but the performance of Republicans besides a very few has been very poor.
    The Ron Paul Tea Party group will not vote for neocons. The Republican party is going to depend on the anti democrat vote to get in office most likely. No changes planned. I think it will backfire on them. The Ron Paul guys will only look at how people vote, not what they say. They will not vote for or donate to Rhinos. Just like the Democrats stopped protesting the war when Obama got elected, Republicans will stop questioning government if they get a guy in office.

  • nhthinker

    You have it dead right.

    You have yet to identify a SINGLE policy that is advocated by RON PAUL that is NOT consistent with a classification of CONSERVATIVE. There are not any unless you think that long standing government creep that has no Constitutional basis should now be considered conservative.

  • sinz54


    What they got was an unemployment rate that will remain above 9% for the rest of 2010, a slowly growing economy (3% is nowhere near enough to provide the jobs for a growing population), and an exploding national debt. According to the Gallup poll, some 18% of American are underemployed–taking minimum-wage jobs as burger flippers or taking part-time jobs, just to have some positive cash flow, however small. They’re not thankful either.

    I don’t deny the responsibility of the GOP in this problem. But Obama campaigned on a pledge to fix it, not add to it.

    Giving an unemployed American a health care plan or extended unemployment benefits in lieu of a job isn’t going to win him over. It’s going to make him even angrier.

    Most importantly, Obama raised expectations unnecessarily. Claiming that unemployment would be down below 7% by now was a major error. Neither FDR nor Reagan, with their respective recovery programs, claimed any such thing. They both told the American people the truth: Working our way out of our problems will be long and difficult, and we’ll have to tighten our belts and pull through.

    We’ll see what happens in November.

  • AMurphy


    Just because Ron Paul is a libertarian doesn’t mean that some conservatives can’t support him. His position on Iraq had stong appeal to the paleoconservative wing. His position on abortion has appeal to some pro-life social conservatives Etc-

  • ottovbvs

    sinz54 // May 3, 2010 at 10:10 am

    “I don’t deny the responsibility of the GOP in this problem. But Obama campaigned on a pledge to fix it, not add to it.”

    ……..how is not turning negative GDP into positive for three successive quarters (+1%, 5.6% and 3.2%) and 800,000 job losses a month into 300,000 job gains in three months not fixing it?……really Sinz for someone who claims to be an engineer you are singularly impervious to empirical evidence and hard data…..as I’ve observed before I hope you weren’t designing nuclear reactors.

  • nhthinker


    NHThinker: “Would Andrew agree that Ron Paul is a conservative? ”
    AMurphy: “No I would say that Ron Paul is a libertarian but he does have many supporters who are conservative”…

    “Just because Ron Paul is a libertarian doesn’t mean that some conservatives can’t support him. His position on Iraq had stong appeal to the paleoconservative wing. His position on abortion has appeal to some pro-life social conservatives Etc-”

    I wasn’t asking for anyone else’s opinions other than your own.
    You have still not identified a single RON PAUL position that YOU feel is contrary to AMurphy’s definition of a conservative.

    It was you that claimed he was not a conservative in your judgement- I want YOUR view of the list of positions PAUL has taken that conflicts with AMurphy’s own definition of a conservative.


  • ktward

    MarkH: They will not vote for or donate to Rhinos.

    I’ll ask the question again: across the country, if Tea members do not have a vetted, Paul-like candidate on their district’s ballot, does Tea consensus exist regarding who they will vote for? non-Tea GOP? Write-in? Or will they simply not vote?

    (I’m presuming that all self-identified Tea Party members are on the same page, as it were. I myself have not seen more than scant evidence of that.)

  • nhthinker


    First it was:
    “I do wonder: come November, if Tea does not have a vetted candidate on their ballot, who do they vote for? Will they vote for non-Tea GOP? Write-in?”

    Now it is:
    “I’ll ask the question again: across the country, if Tea members do not have a vetted, Paul-like candidate on their district’s ballot, does Tea consensus exist regarding who they will vote for? non-Tea GOP? Write-in? Or will they simply not vote?”

    Tea party will look what is going on in GOP.
    If there is a decent Paul like candidate- that candidate will win the support of the vast majority of Tea Partiers.
    Why? because Tea partiers have a priority list of what they are tired of:
    1) Congress run by liberal and hyper-partisan Democrats that pass laws a majority of Americans don’t like
    2) Big spending Republicans that chum up to defense contractors and Wall Street execs

    There is a huge difference from 2006 and 2008. In those years, many now sympathic to the Tea party thought that there was an important foreign war to win: Iraq. Iraq is won- Afghanistan is un-winnable in a rational number of years.

    Tea partiers are relatively smart, they will vote against the worst candidate if they don’t see a realistic candidate in the race that matches their convictions.

    Winning Iraq and the financial collapse were the pivot points that make a Paul conservative philosophy very timely.

    AMurphy and most social-spending Republicans can’t fight Paul for claim to the conservative banner. Bedroom Republicans can’t either.

    “(I’m presuming that all self-identified Tea Party members are on the same page, as it were. I myself have not seen more than scant evidence of that.)”
    So you are presuming something with scant evidence…seems like you have now fully embraced the typical liberal philosopher’s view of deductive reasoning.

  • ktward

    nhthinker: I want YOUR [AMurphy's] view of the list of positions PAUL has taken that conflicts with AMurphy’s own definition of a conservative.

    While AMurphy makes well-reasoned points in his column, by focusing on the minutia of one person’s opinion you miss the big picture.

    There are half a dozen or so conservative ‘factions’ (traditional, paleo, lib, neocon, whatever), but Libertarians like Ron Paul distinguish themselves from nearly all conservative factions by this single issue: Libertarians are staunchly anti-corporate and anti-MIC.

    Most American voters who have historically self-identified as ‘conservative’ (and nearly all of those loyally vote GOP) do not agree with Paul’s anti-corp, anti-MIC views.

    Indeed, it is this particular ideo contradiction between Libertarianism and Conservatism that has denied Ron Paul any success as a Senatorial or Presidential candidate.

    Social conservatives have a long laundry list of problems with Paul’s Libertarian DNA.

    This article highlights this very divide within the TeaP movement itself:

    “Tea party activists are divided roughly into two camps, according to a new POLITICO/TargetPoint poll: one that’s libertarian-minded and largely indifferent to hot-button values issues and another that’s culturally conservative and equally concerned about social and fiscal issues… The results, however, suggest a distinct fault line that runs through the tea party activist base, characterized by two wings led by the politicians who ranked highest when respondents were asked who ‘best exemplifies the goals of the tea party movement’ – former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), a former GOP presidential candidate.”

    It looks like Tea has its own intra-factional drama to deal with.

    So, I’ll ask again: who does Tea vote for, if they do not have their own vetted candidate on the ballot?

  • ktward

    “(I’m presuming that all self-identified Tea Party members are on the same page, as it were. I myself have not seen more than scant evidence of that.)”
    So you are presuming something with scant evidence…seems like you have now fully embraced the typical liberal philosopher’s view of deductive reasoning.

    Good point. I’ll rephrase: there is scant evidence that all TeaP member are on the same page, as it were, so I’ve no idea how they might collectively vet their candidates with the kind of cohesive criteria typical to any given political Party.

  • nhthinker

    POLITICO already asked:
    If the elections for Congress were being held today and a third candidate were running who was endorsed by the Tea Party movement, which party’s candidate would you vote for in your congressional district?
    The Tea Party candidate 27%
    The Republican candidate 25
    The Democrat candidate 6
    None of these 4
    Don’t Know 27
    Refused 11

    If the tea partiers’ only two choices are Dem and big spending Republicans, some will vote for the big spending Republican and some will stay home. Hardly any will vote for the Dem.

    For the survey it showed Palin, Paul and Romney as the leaders within a point or two.

    The biggest “anger” factors:

    The growing national debt 27%
    The rate of growth of government 20%
    Recently passed healthcare reform 13%
    Government intrusion into personal lives 11%

    It is likely that both Paul and Romney would trounce Palin in a debate about the national debt.

    Paul would trounce Palin and Romney to explain how Afghanistan is winnable- its not.

    Paul would get much sympathy for his view on government intrusions.

    The primary reason Paul failed in 2008 was that a large contingent of Republicans were dead set against giving up in Iraq- It was worth winning.

    No current policy position of Paul is a killer issue to most people that voted for McCain.

    Well since AMurphy is not answering quickly, let me open up the questions while we wait for AMurphy’s answer.

    For everyone who thinks they know what a conservative is:
    What policy positions of Ron Paul are not consistent with conservative philosophy?

  • ktward

    MarkH states TeaP members will not vote for RINOs.
    nhthinker states TeaP members, in the absence of a candidate they like, will vote for big-spending GOP (RINO?), or not vote at all.

    If these two TeaP supporters (members?) are any indication, the GOP’s got some ballot booth headaches.

    nhthinker: What policy positions of Ron Paul are not consistent with conservative philosophy?

    The Libertarians formed their own Party 40 years ago. Yet, they’ve been able to muster precious few viable candidates on a national level. If the bulk of self-identified conservative voters had aligned themselves with the Libertarian platform, at any time during these past 40 years, then surely the Libertarian Party would have been more successful.

    Perhaps, in a reactionary sense, TeaP is fashioning their own unique brand of conservatism. But if it’s as closely aligned with Libertarianism as you suggest, why don’t they just join the Lib Party?

  • nhthinker


    Republicans have had an awakening. A key part of Republicanism since Eisenhower has been alignment with the defense contractor industry and the Wall Street industry.

    The winning of the Cold War has dramatically reduced the perceived need for a forward deployment force and half the world’s military spending. Iraq was the last war to win for a long time. The American electorate is now too wimpified to support a war that includes casualties that the media will show. The MSM will tire of Obama’s “good” war in Afghanistan that has no realistic exit strategy other than complete defeat and the killing of everyone in Afghanistan that supported the US. Afghanistan is not IRAQ- Iraq was a cakewalk compared to the time, and loss of life, and the missteps of supporting corrupt Afghan governments.

    Wall Street Republicans were supposedly the guys that wanted a hands off government policy on the economy.
    They LIED. They asked for help. They no longer deserve any support. Many executives should all be stripped of 80% of their back pay from the years that were corrupt.- And then thrown in jail.

    Ron Paul has never supported either of these planks of the Republican Party. The only thing going against Paul is he looks old. (Although he looks old, once he starts talking you think he’s as sharp as any 50 year old- totally the opposite of McCain). If the election were in November of this year instead of two years from now, Paul would rip Palin and Romney to shreds. (I supported Romney before the financial collapse.)
    Romney was for much more limited bailouts, but he has too many Wall Street friends that are in too deep.

    Romney now also pales in comparison with Paul if the subject of health care comes up- Prices are skyrocketing in Mass and Romney’s getting blamed (fairly or unfairly).

    The only thing that could save the hawkish wing of the Republican party is a major terrorist catastrophe that could convince Americans that the US needed to win another war. (That won’t likely happen).

    There is nothing that will save the Wall Street Republicans: all they can do is lie low and hope no one takes careful aim at them- The tea partiers are much more angry at them than the Democrats that have power are angry at them.
    Democrats in power just want more power for the government- if they have to mortgage more of the country to do that- they are happy with such an arrangement that gives Wall Street more money.

    No one is naming any issues that Ron Paul will be ridiculed for. Come on- what’s your best shot?

  • ktward


    I’m not here to ridicule Paul. Just ask some questions, hopefully get a few answers.

    That said, I still don’t understand why all the Ron Paul supporters–the ‘real conservatives’–in TeaP don’t just join the Libertarian Party. Or why they hadn’t already. From a strategic point of view, benefiting from the infrastructure of an already organized Party has got to be more effective than a gazillion fractured groups with very little cohesion.

  • sinz54

    nhthinker: The winning of the Cold War has dramatically reduced the perceived need for a forward deployment force and half the world’s military spending.
    There are an estimated 50 million radical Islamists in the world. We’ve been the target of numerous terrorist attacks, most recently this attempted bombing in Times Square. The suspect, who was arrested, is from Pakistani origin.

    Try again.

    Ron Paul and his son steadfastly refuse to admit that this is even a problem. And when they do admit it’s a problem, they claim that the UNITED STATES caused it.

    They should read American history, and find out what happened when President Thomas Jefferson had his first experience with Muslims from North Africa.

    Ron Paul’s isolationism is belied by history. Every time there was a failure of will by democratic nations, rogue states, imperialists, terrorists, pirates, ran roughshod. The only thing these evil men understand is force. Not free trade.

  • sinz54


    One more thing.

    The 19th century, which libertarians consider to be a triumph of free markets, was in fact a consequence of the British Empire and its powerful navy, which swept pirates and freebooters off the high seas and enabled commerce to blossom. Otherwise, companies would be afraid to send their cargoes to sea for fear of having them stolen by pirates, and the crews of those ships killed.

  • S.L. Toddard

    “conservatism is not populism”

    Conservatism and populism are not synonyms, but neither are they antonyms. I suggest the author (and anyone else interested in the long and noble history of conservative populism) read “Fighting Bob vs. Silent Cal: The Conservative Tradition from La Follette to Taft and Beyond” over at First Things:


    The best reasons to not take the Tea Parties seriously are that they are people who embraced the Iraq War and, in the name of “fighting” the “War On Terror”, embraced the radical and anti-constitutional concentration of powers in the executive. Which is to say that we know the Tea Partiers are not conservative for the same reasons we know David Frum is not conservative. The Tea Partiers fear of the federal government evaporates when there is a Republican in charge of it, and that is when that fear is most justified.

  • Rob_654

    mmmm – well – see the problem here is that this type of article makes actual sense and points to facts.

    Facts is not something that the modern Conservative movement seems to care about.

    The modern Conservative movement and Republican Party is far more interested in this: http://images.huffingtonpost.com/gen/74963/original.jpg

    Clearly anyone who wears a hat like that is someone who fully grasps the reality of their cause.

  • nhthinker


    What is a realistic military plan (and how long is the commitment) for
    Western Europe
    South Korea

    The US spends half of all military dollars across the globe. For what?
    When the US represented half the gross global product and there was a superpower standing against us, it made conservative sense to have such a margin. Now it does not.
    Even if other countries with legitimate governments want to help pay the US to police the world- it would not be legitimate- those countries need their own citizens to stand up and fight for their own rights- If they want to fight beside Americans, great, Otherwise, call the UN.

    If countries want to pay us to keep pirates out of sea lanes, fine. If they want to be part of the forces that are put in harms way- even better.

    I’m not talking about dismantling our military force- I’m talking about dramatically reducing our military support of weak sisters.

  • MarkH

    Until the Republican party actually lives up to what is says it is about Ron Paul Tea Party people in general will not play along with the lesser of two evils. The will vote for third party candidates, write in things etc before they vote for a bought and paid for Candidate. 98% if all candidates lie about what they are going to do in office. So you can only look at what they have done. Just like when people said Barack Obama would not be so different than George W Bush they knew that because they watched what he did, not what he said.