Did the Tea Party Fail? — Reflections on Santelli’s Rant 10 Years Later
Ten years ago today, on February 19, 2009, CNBC’s Rick Santelli rant on the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange famously sparked the tea party.
That weekend, a couple dozen of us joined a conference call hosted by Michael Patrick Leahy and Christina Botteri and within a few days, we planned 50 simultaneous tea party protests on February 27, 2009.
The conference calls continued to grow and by April 15, 2009, we planned over 850 Tax Day Tea Party events all over the country.
The height of tea party popularity visible in the streets was at the 9/12 March on Washington on September 12, 2009 where 1.2 million patriots put our public servants on notice.
After that amazing event, where the D.C. streets were left cleaner than before we arrived, local groups popped up in neighborhoods all over the country in preparation for the 2010 election.
The early debate within the tea party was what victory looked like and how to acheive it? Most suggested working within the Republican Party as it’s platform was more in line with our core principles. The media and the establishment, however, worked against us since day one. The Democrat Party was busy promoting socialism and marxism, and even though 1.2 million joined us in Washington, D.C., forming a third party didn’t seem feasible.
As a result of tremendous work by local grassroots tea party groups across the country, we handed the Republican Party control over the House of Representatives with a whopping 84 tea party freshmen in the 2010 election.
Even though the Constitution requires spending bills to originate in the House, the establishment Republicans cowered and, in spite of their 2010 campaign promises, failed to control spending. “We need to control the Senate,” they cried. In 2014, we gave the Republican Party control over the Senate and of course their retort was, “We can’t enact real reforms until we control the Presidency.”
Dissolutioned by broken campaign promises, many tea party groups focused on state and local politics or niche issues, or stopped meeting altogether.
The Republican Party seemed happy the annoying people in the streets lost their voice while their accomplices in the media worked to discredit us at every opportunity.
With control over the House and Senate, and a 2016 Presidential Election looming, the Republican Party elites were ready for world domination.
Enter Donald J. Trump.
I believe the Tea Party movement paved the way for President Trump. The establishment didn’t see him coming. They thought they could use the tea party to win elections and get their guy in at the end to maintain the status quo.
While many blame President Obama for doubling the national debt, Democrats controlled both the House and Senate for only his first two years in office. It was Speakers John Boehner and Paul Ryan, controlling the purse strings in the House of Representatives, that took the national debt from $14 Trillion to $22 Trillion. And when the Republicans finally controlled the House, the Senate, and the Presidency, none of their campaign promises from the last several election cycles were accomplished. This is why the Democrats took control of the House in 2018.
Speaker Ryan never wanted to drain the swamp — he wanted to control it.
I still have the email thread in the early days (2009) of the tea party where a number of us discussed how to communicate our core principles. We agreed on “Constitutionally limited government, fiscal responsibility, and free markets.”
The Constitution, as a document that limits government to which every politician swears an Oath to protect and defend, is rarely followed or discussed.
We have a national debt of $22 Trillion with over $122 Trillion in unfunded liabilities.
From AOC winning a seat in the House to Bernie touting it’s merits as a Presidential candidate, Socialism, Communism’s gateway drug, has somehow gained traction.
So, has the modern-day Tea Party failed?
Instead of spending enormous amounts of time telling our public servants what to do, we should have lead a national discussion educating our family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers on our founding principles. If the electorate understood the Constitution, the proper role of government, and our founding principles, our representatives in Congress would eventually represent those values. Yes, many local groups tried this but key national groups preferred the D.C. game of partisan political drama.
This, by the way, is the very reason I wrote I CHOOSE LIBERTY — 30 FOUNDATIONAL AMERICAN PRINCIPLES. Learn more at www.IChooseLibertyBook.com.
If we had lead this national dialogue, the electorate would be able to recognize and push back against anti-American socialist schemes before they gained traction.
For example, as I’ve previously reported, a staggering 56% in a recent poll approve of a single-payer government-run healthcare system. How is this possible? Didn’t the tea party win election after election on the promise of repealing Obamacare? How could a majority support this?
It turns out, when you educate those polled on how it will work (socialism), support plummets to 26%.
Medicare-For-All is the latest ploy the Socialists are using to push for government-run healthcare. Some Democrats know when Americans are educated on the details, we reject it. As a result, they’ve been busy re-packaging it with Medicare Buy In and now Medicare At 50.
Douglas Holtz-Eakin, the President of American Action Forum, in his article, Don’t Buy the Buy-Ins, correctly explained, “The unease of some on the left with the overreaching “Medicare For All” proposal has spawned a plethora of alternatives. This week was seemingly “buy-in” week. The first to arrive was Medicare at 50.”
In the article, Push for Medicare buy-in picks up with ’50 and over’ bill, Politico.com reported:
House and Senate Democrats unveiled a plan Wednesday that would allow anyone over age 50 to buy into Medicare — an incremental step to expand health coverage beyond Obamacare’s gains that offers an alternative to the ambitious restructuring progressives envision in their push for Medicare for All.
“I have always supported universal health care but we are not there yet,” said Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), one of the co-sponsors. “Medicare at 50 is a very bold step in the right direction.”
Yes, the tea party achieved success election after election, and Donald Trump was a finger-in-the-eye of the establishment, but with the rise of socialistic anti-American policy, our work is clearly not done.