I have written about TEA Party resistance to compromise. My greatest concern has been that conservative factions in the GOP have created more problems in fraught primaries which have pitted experienced establishment Republicans with grassroots Tea Party backed candidates. The TEA Party candidates in some primaries could never win the subsequent reelection. Sharron Angle in Nevada had the spunk but not the ground game. Linda McMahon had the money, but not the Washington legacy and name recognition of Christopher Shays.
The most glaring example was in 2010 in Delaware. Congressman Mike Castle had represented the state as the at-large Republican Congressman for nearly two decades. He had a moderate to liberal record on social issues and environmental policy. Pro-choice, he voted to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and for "Cap and Trade." The "TEA Party"-backed challenger, Christine O'Donnell, was not unfit because she was too conservative, but because she was incompetent. Yet because she was "more conservative," she won the primary, then lost the general election by 10 points.
The surge of more right-leaning candidates in blue-state primaries all but assures that a qualified moderate Republican cannot win the seat, one whose values and persona match more closely with the state electorate. TEA Party elements should not resist a candidate just because he has more time in government or does not walk in lock-step with the GOP. An ounce of fiscal conservatism is better than a pound of tax-and-spend statism, the more extreme agenda of a progressively more "Progressive" Democratic Party.
However, the chronic "hocking'" of "TEA Party'' extremism is both unfair and unthinking. A limited government based on Constitutional rule is neither extreme nor extraordinary. The massive growth of government under the current President should alarm everyone in this country, whether Democrat or Republican.
I have not minced words to justify the criticisms which many have about the Bush years. From two wars in the Middle East to easy credit for home ownership, to the invasion of quadriplegic Terry Schiavo's privacy, Bush misstepped (or "really, really blew it") in many ways. His tax cuts, however, have now been made permanent up to the $400,000 level, thanks to President Obama, and his astute Supreme Court appointments have expanded free speech and limited the abuse of the commerce clause (although Obamacare remains the law of the land under Congressional power to tax).
TEA Party critics malign as "extreme" the movement that restored the limited government conservatives to power in Washington. These catcalls are misplaced and misinformed. Democratic President Obama has ushered in one of the most massive expansions of the welfare-regulatory state in United States history. His nearly $1 trillion stimulus in 2009 did not stimulate, but exploded more pork and waste and national debt. He did not remove our troops from Afghanistan, where the native trainees fire at American forces. After he conducted a shameful apology tour throughout the Middle East, Obama sat idly by while Iranian President Mahoud Ahmadinejad stole his reelection, and the Iranian people protested in the streets. Having criticized openly our major ally, Israel, he then nominates a candidate for Secretary of Defense who has a dubious record on Middle East foreign policy.
On the domestic front, President Obama and his supermajority Democratic Congress forced through the Affordable Care Act, which will mandate that every citizen purchase health insurance or pay a stiff penalty. Beyond the individual mandate, the immense regulatory burdens on insurance companies, small businesses, and even the medical device industry, along with numerous hidden taxes, have stifled entrepreneurship while raiding Medicare. A record 43 million Americans are on food stamps. Energy prices have tripled since Obama took office. While Bush pushed the national debt to $10 trillion, Obama has dumped another $6 trillion in one term, with trillion-dollar deficits defining the "budget" every year. His Democratic colleagues in the Senate have not passed a budget in four years. Despite credit downgrades and exponential borrowing, the President unseriously disdains to do anything but raise taxes and spend more.
This record is not an extreme representation of Obama's "accomplishments." His non-leadership on foreign and domestic policy alone meets the definition of "extreme." Juxtaposed against the massive encroachment of the state under Obama's Presidency, the left-wing, liberal demagoguery of "TEA Party extremism" is laughable and insulting. If anything, Obama better fits the uninformed labels of "extremism" unjustly volleyed at the TEA Party movement. This President will not stop the spending, nor respect the rule of law (executive orders which ignore our immigration laws, yet no movement on comprehensive expansion of legal immigration, either), and now he wants everything his way, or no way at all.
Enough with the Bush-Bashing! President Obama owns the failed leadership of this country, solidified by the diminished majority of voters who returned to him to power by a slimmer margin than in 2008. In no way does Obama carry a mandate to indict the "limited government" opposition in Washington or inflict "Big Government" on the voters, nor to impoverish our present and mortgage our future with his reckless policies.
To the Democratic elites and liberal Bush-Bashers, I write: Enough Already!