The Tea Party one year on: Federalism and nationalism

The accusations of Frank and Lewis are schoolyard stuff, and like Hillary Clinton shouting out, “a vast right-wing conspiracy!” it is classic Saul Alinsky, standard operating procedure in the '60s. Every cop was a “pig.” Every soldier returning from Vietnam a “baby killer.” Then when the camera is on you, start shouting.

You can just picture Frank, Lewis, Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer being hauled away by coppers, shouting, “The violence is inherent in the system!” as in the Monty Python classic, "Holy Grail," which parodied the strategy. But now they are the system. The old men of courage — James Farmer, Ralph Abernathy, Malcolm X — would not even have taken notice. But that was when the soup was thick, while nothing may be left today but gruel.

Which is maybe why there is an American Tea Party movement today.

What will drive away reasonable people is the posturing of thugs in folksy/fascist homegrown militias. Right now there is no packaging to harness energy and karma, and if the Tea Party doesn’t find purpose and leadership it will dissipate. Looking at recent speeches by Rick Perry, he understands the essence of the Jeffersonian perspective and expresses it clearly. And man, can he work the crowd, especially if there are some University of Texas grads in it. Perhaps he will bring form and character to the movement.

On specific issues, the Tea Parties started with classic federalist demands that the states be granted their sovereign due. Mitt Romney has been talking about that for years in Massachusetts and was the first politician in our times who publicly addressed these issues. There needs to be a new understanding of terminology. For lack of better phrasing Perry and Romney can both be seen as federalists with somewhat different styles.

The Tea Party is a federalist movement. While Obama and the Democrats must be seen as one-size-fits-all nationalists. Theirs is a pseudo-state and is inherently unconstitutional. With full cooperation of the undergraduate colleges and universities, the law schools and every aspect of the media (Vanity Fair, The New York Times op-ed page, Tina Fey, the three networks and Katie Couric, David Letterman, Jack Bauer, "The News Hour," the Pulitzer-Prize winning Washington Post) it is totalitarian (“the system”).

I would like to see Iraq war veterans get involved, because although Homeland Security chief Napolitano thinks "terrorist" when soldier comes to mind, and coastal liberals in the North where I grew up hate Toby Keith’s patriotic America and fear soldiers, there has never been a historic moment that was not made by veterans — WWII, Civil War, the Revolutionary period. It will be this way as well. Today most soldiers and officers are from the heartland, which is sympathetic to Tea Party issues. These women and men would bring their maturity and balance to the movement. It could be their movement. Or it could be our movement, in which Iraq veterans form a sympathetic heart.


Visit Mr. Quigley's website at http://quigleyblog.blogspot.com.