Tea Party

The Tea Party Is Officially Dead. It Was Killed by Partisan Politics.

I helped make the grassroots activist movement a reality. But now the party's over.



It has finally happened: The Tea Party is dead.

The grassroots movement that fought so hard for fiscal sanity in government over the past decade is no more. It was killed off by the very same Washington establishment it sought to overthrow. Its death leaves proponents of limited government with some big questions: What went wrong? And what do we do now?

For me, it's personal. For years, the Tea Party was my life, and I have the the battle scars—and tattoos—to prove it. When I was the President of FreedomWorks, I worked side by side with tens of thousands of citizen activists as a Tea Party organizer, organizing protests and knocking on doors, hoping to topple the Goliath of government. But now the party's over.

I know, you've heard it before. Virtually every Beltway pundit in DC has pronounced the Tea Party dead at one time or another. Republican Senators well past their sell-by dates and Democratic apparatchiks alike have gleefully built a cottage industry on the prediction.

But this time is different. Republicans, now controlling both the legislative and executive branches, jammed through a "CRomnibus" spending bill that strips any last vestiges of spending restraint from the budget process.

Gone are the Tea Party's biggest and most hard-fought policy victory—mandatory caps in domestic and defense spending. The budget deal replaces them with $300 billion in new spending over the next two years, and, in all likelihood, sets a precedent for greater spending in the decade to come.

It's 2009 all over again, with trillion dollar deficits, and red ink as far as the eye—or at least CBO projections—can see. As budget deals go, it's a total fiasco.

The supposed fiscal hawks in the House Freedom Caucus drew a line in the sand on House budget plan that was only slightly less bad. They demanded "full funding for the military and community health centers."

In the Senate, Rand Paul and Mike Lee fought the good fight, but they couldn't even convince Ted Cruz to stand firm. Cruz, the one-time Tea Party darling, "reluctantly" supported the spending measure, making sure to itemize all of the spending increases he helped procure with his fellow Texas senator, John Cornyn, while simultaneously decrying "unfettered spending." Cruz's statement is world class political jujitsu.

Meanwhile, there are plenty of Republicans and Democrats in our nation's capitol celebrating the Tea Party's demise. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the primary architect of this steaming pile of budget prolificacy, has been actively plotting the Tea Party's demise for years.

So what went wrong? Ultimately, I think partisan politics broke the Tea Party.

To understand what I mean, we need to clear away some popular tropes employed by critics to discredit what I still believe to be one of the most important social movements in my lifetime.

The Tea Party was never the product of some top-down design, and it wasn't owned or controlled by anyone. It was organic and leaderless. That's why it was so powerful, fueled by new social technologies that allowed citizens to self organize outside of traditional political parties. Like-minded people, once anonymous and silent, found each other and found their collective voice.

The Tea Party also wasn't partisan. It was held together by a common set of values that united an otherwise disparate group. What did the Tea Party stand for? I would ask everyone I met as I traveled the country. The answer was always some iteration of the same thing: "Individual freedom, fiscal responsibility, constitutionally-limited government, and free markets."

This consistency of purpose made the Tea Party community a potent counter balance to the typical special interest inertia that drives the growth of government. The grassroots backlash against the Obama Administration's "shovel ready" stimulus spending shifted broad public opinion against the package. The same thing happened with Obamacare, which became so unpopular that even deep blue Massachusetts rejected it by electing Republican Scott Brown to fill Ted Kennedy's Senate seat.

If not for some amazingly underhanded and Constitution-bending procedural games played by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, the Tea Party would have succeeded in killing Obamacare. Even still, the fact that the fight over Obamacare consumed the entirety of Obama's domestic agenda for eight years no doubt killed countless bad ideas before they ever saw the light of day.

At some point, people started to notice. The Tea Party's enemies started to look for leaders to negotiate with, to deal with. But there were no leaders—or rather, there were tens of thousands. That was its greatest strength, and its biggest weakness.

I still remember being back stage at the massive 9/12 march on Washington in 2009. Over a million activists had shown up, and as word got out, the politicians started showing up too. They circled like sharks behind the stage, hoping to get at the microphone. We kept them off that day. But ultimately more and more opportunists got onto the Tea Party stage, wanting to "lead" a leaderless movement.

Sarah Palin, the political huckster, comes to mind. She was suddenly "with" us, just like she had been "with" Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) before. Palin helped hijack our purpose over time. Others clamored to get on the stage with their own special agendas, and they did. Eventually the Tea Party community would start to lose its shared focus.

How does a leaderless movement police its brand? We didn't have a good answer for that.

Of course the rallies served a purpose, to get noticed and try to change the incentives of incumbent politicians accustomed to buying votes at the ballot box by bringing home the bacon. Now they were confronted with a tangible community of potential voters who were actually demanding less from government.

We wanted to turn the dismal politics of concentrated benefits and dispersed costs on its head, by incentivizing politicians to act in the common interest. Our agenda was common sense: We demanded that Washington politicians stop spending our money like it was theirs, and keep out of our health care. But in Washington, common sense is often seen as radical.

And yet it seemed to work. Most Republican politicians, even old bulls like John Boehner and Mitch McConnell, started acting like fiscal conservatives—or at least talking the talk. So it made sense that a social movement based on shared values would get political.

I was very much a part of this decision. In hindsight, however, we should have been more careful. Inertia pulled us toward partisanship, and over time there was growing pressure to support the party, not our principles. Our early victories were some of our best, in part because we were selective in our choices of candidates.

When Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) defeated Republican incumbent-for-life Robert Bennett in Utah, it sent shock waves through the Republican establishment. Overnight, Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) rediscovered his constitutional principles, with a clear eye on his upcoming election there. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who was actively opposed by Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in his Kentucky senate race, won handily against the GOP establishment's choice.

We were trying to reboot the system, to make our principles viable in a political marketplace that values special favors over fiscal prudence, and power over principles. The Tea Party shook things up, and our most high profile victories were with candidates with a clearly "libertarian-ish" bent.

But other types of candidates were running as well, and a few of them were totally nuts. Or at least not quite ready for the bright media lights now aimed at every "Tea Party" candidate. In 2012, key races suddenly became about all about rape and abortion rather than economic liberty. At some point the original unifying message was derailed with issues that divided Tea Partiers and other voters alike.

Presidential politics was the final nail in the coffin. How does a decentralized movement choose a single standard bearer? Unlike other races, we couldn't pick our battles.

With Mitt Romney as our "leader," political momentum fell apart in 2012. And then Donald Trump split the Tea Party right down the middle, and that was the end.

I watched local organizers rip each other and their Tea Party organizations apart, much like Trump tore apart the GOP. Is Trump an authoritarian with little respect for constitutional limits on executive power, or the pit bull needed to finally break the Republican establishment and the deep state?

One thing is for sure: Under Trump, the Tea Party original agenda of freedom and fiscal responsibility has been replaced with a populist nationalism that doesn't particularly prize spending restraint. Many of the original Tea Partiers have been replaced with new activists animated by different issues, such as immigration walls and trade restrictions.

In an odd way, Trump is the product of the same political disintermediation that launched the Tea Party. More voices, and different perspectives, have more power in the political process. This same dynamic boosted Ron Paul and his ideas. It also fueled the rise of Bernie Sanders' "democratic" socialism. Politics, like almost every aspect of modern life, is finally becoming radically democratized.

The Tea Party can claim some lasting victories. Thanks to Rand Paul, Mike Lee, Justin Amash, Thomas Massie and others, liberty has a historically unprecedented seat at the table in Washington. These legislators may fight in futility for fiscal sanity, but each has emerged as a leader on other liberty issues as disparate as criminal justice reform, drug policies, and privacy.

Social movements don't ever stay the same, and they don't live forever. Like everything else in civil society, movements and their people and opinions are constantly evolving and changing and adapting.

But in this radically decentralized world, a whole new generation is available to learn about the values of liberty and cooperation and, yes, the tough realities of not spending money you don't have. For those who care about limited government, the next step will be to connect with this generation, the liberty curious, to engage, encourage, and organize their collective power towards a common good, voluntarily agreed upon.

So yes, the Tea Party is dead. But the American principles of individual freedom, fiscal responsibility, and constitutionally limited government, are all still very much alive.

Matt Kibbe is President and Chief Community Organizer at Free the People, and a senior contributor at CRTV.

NEXT: The Applied Theory of Bossing People Around

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  1. The important take-away here is...

    "In 2012, key races suddenly became about all about rape and abortion rather than economic liberty."

    I was somewhat active in tea party politics, early on. I warned them, and I warned them, and I warned them, "Stick to shrinking the size of Government Almighty, and do ***NOT*** get distracted with social and emotional issues, ESPECIALLY by abortion!"

    Do they listen?!?!? Noooooo.... FUCK all you abortion-obsessed maniacs, and how you deprive the rest of us of freedom from Government Almighty!!!!

    1. Summary: The title of this article falls short. FAR more honest would have been,

      "Tea Party, RIP... Killed By Womb-Controlling Freaks".

      1. The Tea Party was up against the entirety of one party and a significant portion of the other one. But of course, to you it is all about opposing your obsession with keeping the premeditated killing of the youngest members of humanity legal.

        1. The Tea Party was up against statism. Once it showed the State walls were breachable, other single-focus groups popped up with their own single-focus agendas. Some Tea Partiers got distracted by the new shiny agendas, whether wholly or in part, and fragmented the focus.

          When there was one single-focus political movement, it got everyone's attention and made some headway. When there are dozens of big single-focus political movements, politicians can pick and choose. When there are thousands of small single-focus cranks, no one pays any attention, and we're back to political hacks pretending to be leaders.

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        2. You know who else is obsessed with the abortion issue? Someone who says such emotionally-loaded terms as, "the premeditated killing of the youngest members of humanity legal."

          Nice job: check off the box of hitting people on the feelz triggers using "premeditated," "killing," "youngest," and "humanity."

          You should find a way to work these hot-button trigger words in there too:

          feminism, people of color, transgender

          It'll get more feelz. Meanwhile, the "youngest members of humanity" you mention will suffer massively as the future taxpayers who will pay for today's out-of-control spending while fanatics on both sides of the abortion issue distract from fiscal problems.

          1. "Nice job: check off the box of hitting people on the feelz triggers using "premeditated," "killing," "youngest," and "humanity."

            Are any of those descriptors wrong? Describing abortion as killing an individual human organism is as clinical a description as possible.

            My comment was directed at a commentator whose position on abortion is "shut up and agree with me".

            1. Those descriptors may be technically correct, but they are clearly dysphemisms intended to trigger emotional responses. That's like how the left uses "undocumented workers" instead of "illegal aliens." Both are correct ("illegal aliens" is more correct, in that it was written into federal law long ago), but one tries to reframe the sentiments of the reader/listener while another stays neutral. Trump was right to say "Americans are Dreamers too," to defuse the left's manipulation of public sentiment.
              That's not how I read his position on abortion ("shut up and agree with me").

              The way I read it is the same as I believe: the Tea Party's good primary mission of shrinking gov't got derailed by the abortion argument.

              Here's the deal: if you really want to save lives or help our young people, set aside the abortion argument and focus on fiscal policy. Each kid born in the USA instantly owes over $40,000 due to their share of the public debt. As we speak, this number is increasing. Put another way, each kid you would save by banning abortion is born into tax slavery.

              And think of how many lives you will save by preventing the next American civil war by getting our fiscal house in order. We are watching big gov't fiscal policy tear Venezuela apart right now in real time; and we all know Stalin killed tens of millions.

              The fiscal fight is far more important than the abortion sideshow.

              1. BTW, I recognize that "tax slavery" is an emotionally-loaded term. I can't think of an emotionally-neutral term that accurately describes the situation where a baby is born owing tens of thousands of dollars in taxes that he/she didn't vote for and that he/she won't get the benefits of.

                1. "Abortion" is like calling deer "venison" or cow "beef", or all of the names we have for their body parts that aren't really accurate descriptors.

                  Don't get me wrong, I'd rather see the whole country have a cease-fire on the abortion debate so we could debate things that actually have a chance of changing. I'm also of the opinion that if you don't like abortion, the best way to stop it is to change people's minds, not use the government.

                  Vacuum powered wood chippers do not sell well.

                2. Bondage, serfdom...You can't even say it is indentured servitude because there is no contract they have signed.

            2. Oh, and consider this, Mickey Rat:

              We know for a fact that poor, single, inner-city, low-education mothers have more abortions than any other group. Big gov't encourages poverty (see the blue cities where big-gov't Democrats have had single-party rule for decades). It encourages single motherhood (see Obama's "Life of Julia" ad campaign). It provides crappy education via public schools (plenty of stats back this up--kids are being graduated who are functionally illiterate).

              You can reduce abortions by simultaneously reducing the size and reach of gov't. It doesn't have to be the case that you have to sacrifice pro-life beliefs in order to support fiscal restraint.

              That is to say, the way the pro-lifers in the Tea Party chose to fight the abortion fight unnecessarily alienated the small-gov't people.

            3. The government has no obligation to defend people unless they're citizens of the government. People aren't citizens until they're born. Even if you view it as moral issue (I personally view abortion as being unethical after the development of a functioning neurosystem), you have to pull some statist gymnastics to make it a political issue. Just accept that the rules of the state will differ from your personal moral views and move on. Fucking slavers.

              1. The government has no obligation to defend people unless they're citizens of the government.

                That is a very, very slippery slope, my friend. I think you should re-think that argument.

                1. I, for one, am not very inclined to travel to other nations if they decide I'm not entitled to any rights because I'm not a citizen.

          2. His response was due to some shitcock I won't name stating, "Womb-Controlling Freaks".

            I, for one, am overtired of straw-man attacks from anyone.

      2. "Republicans are prepared to sacrifice the party on the altar of abortion."

        Which is fine. It just frustrates me when everything else is co-opted. The movement was not supposed to advocate for social change; we can hash that out when we're not barreling toward bankruptcy.

        By the time my state had Gaston flag vanity license plates the name had officially become "teabaggers" to the vast majority of my city, and one seldom saw a tea party sticker on a vehicle unencumbered by other conservative sentiments.

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      3. The "right to abortion" founded in Wade is terrible as a matter of Constitutional law, but that's for later. Like it or not, it is the law of the land and it is almost impossible for Congress or Trump to overturn it by amendment. It's pretty much set in stone at the national level except that, a declaration that government may not impinge on this "right" does not necessarily mean that the federal government is obliged to support and sponsor it. Federal clinics and states will get no federal money to perform abortions. They are not prohibited from getting funding elsewhere. Yes, that kind of funding may be less than federal funding but nobody said life was fair.

    2. My words wouldn't be so unkind, SQR... but you are right: abortion is a social issue that people settle in their own minds, and [pro or con], most voters don't want to hear from DC hacks on the issue. That alone should take it off the table. The only thing anyone should consider is de-funding Planned Infanticide: people will do what they want to, but our tax dollars do not have to follow into the jaundiced vision of Sanger who put 5 of 6 "clinics" deep in minority areas as a method of camouflaged genocide. Beyond that, it's a dead issue: Roe v Wade could be overturned tomorrow, and not a single mind would change. This is one that belongs to the people and nobody else, which confirms your point that it's not an issue to build any party on.

      1. I'm kinda torn on the defunding Planned Parenthood fight.

        On principle, I oppose gov't funding of any private institution, including corporations and unions.

        But PP has been fantastic at reducing future welfare rolls AND eliminating future Democrat voters--hmm....

        1. They don't vote.

          1. Um, yes, aborted fetuses/babies don't vote. That's my point.

            Do you mean to say that "if these babies were born and grew up, they would still not vote?" I figure that is what you mean, and yes, you are probably correct. Many of the poor do not vote at all.

            HOWEVER, their interests are well-represented by the Democrats and leftists. AND, those that do vote will almost certainly vote for Democrats (we can already see this by watching the old ACORN videos made by Project Veritas--inner city blacks vote Democrat, and inner city blacks have the highest abortion rate).

            1. I bet this guy considers the Democratic Party racist.

              1. Nothing is more racist than a progressive democrat.

              2. If you look at the Democratic Party for what it does, there is no other conclusion to make.

                It is the party of racially targeted socialism, with the incredibly predictable outcomes that destroy minority economics and culture.

        2. I agree, until a pro-life alternative to PP is developed I support PP.

        3. dchang0

          The issue could be somewhat resolved if Planned Parenthood was funded voluntarily. Apparently, things are awesome when funded by government, so how about a compromise?
          Planned Parenthood would no longer be funded with general funds. Add a line in tax returns that allows people to donate to Planned Parenthood.
          All government aid to PP would come from this fund only. This could all be done without government involvement, but it could placate those who feverishly desire that the funding come from government.
          It would not sway those who believe in abortion on demand who also don't wish pay for their own or other's abortions.

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    3. I agree. The reason I left the Tea Party early on was because it veered off into social/cultural issues, away from fiscal issues.

      It may not have been a lack of a leader that weakened the Tea Party but a lack of focus.

      1. Leadership = focus.

        Given the kind of people the Tea Party was attracting (largely white social conservatives), it was only natural that they would bring their entire social agenda with them. Without leadership to narrow the focus to just fiscal issues, and without success in reaching out to liberals (thus making it non-partisan in reality rather than just propaganda) to balance the social issues, there was no other possible outcome.

    4. A-Men (there's some folk who'll get the joke). I knew the Taxed Enough Already bunch was done when the bible bangers came calling and swiftly moved to the top. I mean it was supposed to be the TEA party, not the OMG party which is largely where it went and that's when Dem's were able to equate it to the religious right and it became the laughing stock it currently is.

      1. Libertarians could have helped the movement, instead we sat back and virtue-signaled to our progressive friends because libertarians are much more interested in being cool than we are in actually executing a plan to improve liberty.

        1. Libertarians did help 'the movement' by keeping it focused on what started it (the TARP bailout) and finding common ground with those on the left (eg Occupy) who were also focused on that. It wasn't actual libertarians who whored themselves out to become useful idiots for the GOP. Santelli's mindchange is reflective of what killed the movement.

          From Sep 2008 - https://youtu.be/I-1g0OZJIdk - when he was opposed to the 'rush' to bailout and fear-mongering around it - though not actually opposed to the bailout.

          To Feb 2009 - https://youtu.be/bEZB4taSEoA - the famous rant - when he was just a Wall St whore opposed to the bailout going to anyone except Wall St.

          1. Even though around a third of TPers were libertarian (I vaguely recall a poll on this, or maybe it was a Reason article), I think Deven has a point.

            Among my libertarian friends I hear endless (and correct) bitching about the deficit, the constitution, Obamacare, etc. and yet YET ! when a movement like the TP comes along and thousands (hundreds of thousands ?) of people march on DC with signs promoting fiscal responsibility, adherence to the constitution and liberty well, tsk tsk ewww it just isn't good enough. Nitpick nitpick nitpick.

            The TP may have ultimately failed, but in its brief life it got more done than the LP has or ever realistically will. I'll happily take by Pauls, Lees, Amashs, and yes even Cruzes in congress and damn grateful they aren't any variety of Democrat or establishment Republican

            1. The TP may have ultimately failed, but in its brief life it got more done than the LP has or ever realistically will. I'll happily take by Pauls, Lees, Amashs, and yes even Cruzes in congress

              The energy that the TP folks exerted failed because it tried to exert it within the GOP. The GOP has an existing political apparatus and it is not gonna let that be taken over by anyone outside the party loyalist establishment. Period. That establishment is a)country club and bigmoney cronyism b)grassroots/precinct level GOTV machinery - owned by socons for decades and c)hawkish/Jacksonian (mistakenly called neocon) pro-war which was the core part of southern strategy. That is the GOP's electoral coalition and the coalition has been successful enough. Any 'new' piece' is gonna have to compromise with (read surrender to) the existing pieces

              The GOP may have been surprised by the TP - but that's it. Temporary surprise. Kibbe and Freedom Works were the main element in killing the TP by coopting it into serving GOP ends. In becoming a GOP puppet, it also ended up having to be tarred with (and defend) all the GOP baggage which also ended up diluting any actual libertarian message they could have created.

              It had both the energy and competence to accomplish something permanent - which would itself have drawn whatever pols needed (incl the ones you mention). It chose instead to crawl up the GOP's ass and die there.

              1. Well, I'd say you express way too much confidence in a theoretical alternative path. What precisely should they have done ? A leaderless 3rd party ? I certainly can't see Lee or Cruz jumping ship for that, probably not Paul either. Meanwhile, look how progressives have changed the Democratic party. Its become almost unrecognizable, albeit the wrong way, indeed in a f***ing insane way. If THATS possible...

        2. ...eye roll...

          Libertarians are nearly all Republicans either directly (card-carrying) or indirectly (vote GOP more way more than half the time.) Who exactly are you virtue-signally that would actually pay attention? Libertarians may believe abortion is a personal right, but they vote for the anti-abortion set anyway because they promise fiscally conservative policies which only seem to materialize when it comes to some sort of racist or sexist agenda to target other people with cuts out of spite.

          You can't force liberty on people. You can't make liberals accept your form of liberty while selling off other people's liberty (LGBT, African-Americans, Immigrants, women, etc) as the price.

          1. What liberties of LGBT, African-Americans, Immigrants and women is anyone proposing "selling off" ?

            1. You mean besides:
              * Overturning the gay marriage decision (See: religious freedom laws, hopes for Gorsuch, etc)
              * Banning Abortion (See: Gorsuch again.)
              * Ignoring evidence of race-based inequities in the justice system (see: Taking a Knee, BLM, etc)
              * Cracking down on immigration, legal and illegal, and feeding the fears of racist Americans.
              * Supporting the war on drugs

              These are all anti-liberty positions taken by the GOP.

              "Libertarians could have helped the movement, instead we sat back and virtue-signaled to our progressive friends because libertarians are much more interested in being cool than we are in actually executing a plan to improve liberty."

              So if the GOP takes anti-liberty positions and the commenter I'm responding to says Libertarians should get on board in order to "improve liberty." But they'd be voting for people who would destroy certain liberties as part of the bargain. IOW, Libertarians would have to trade the destruction of liberties valued by their "progressive friends" for improving other liberties, presumably those valued by social conservatives.

              1. Yeah, I mean besides those, because none of those prove your point.

                If you are going to hold up Gorsuch as an anti-liberty totem, then it simply means you don't know anything about the man. My suggestion: read something other than Mother Jones.

                On race and justice, progressives have hitched the issue to the BLM bandwagon. BLM is a group with members who want racial reparations and a long long list of other batshit crazy stuff. I humbly suggest the left might at least rethink its approach. Interestingly, here is what happens when they do:

                Magical, eh ? In short, its bullshit that only the left cares about race-based inequities in the justice system.

                On immigration, well well well, NOW the left cares about it, but only for the most cynical reasons. You were MIA when Ceasar Chavez supporters were beating the f*** out of them to drive up wages. As recently a Bill Clinton (later ?) Democrats held positions indistinguishable from Trump. But, now its all his fault ?

                The war on drugs, again, is a pox on both side's houses. Nor is it new, and certainly not new since the Tea Party.

                You switched it up a bit with that last paragraph. As for me personally, I don't give a f*** about attracting, working with, appeasing, or partnering with progressives. To me its all about the relationship with Republicans.

      2. Libertarians could have helped the movement, instead we sat back and virtue-signaled to our progressive friends because libertarians are much more interested in being cool than we are in actually executing a plan to improve liberty.

    5. Hmmm, well, I feel like I watched/applauded/voted with the Tea Party pretty well. I don't really recall the anti-abortion (or any other irrelevant) messages creeping into the mix much. Mostly what I remember is the movement being demonized as racist, as the principles they stood for were anathema to the Obama administration. It would be interesting to poll on what what turned people off to the movement. I was surprised by the article's perspective on it.

      1. Here is the New Republic on the Tea Party's obsession with Abortion:
        New Republic

        And another site that gets into similar details:
        On The Issues

        As for racism, apparently, there was that too:
        Stanford Graduate School of Business This article turns your comment regarding Obama on its head. That Obama himself was anathema to Tea Party activists.

        1. To quote James Comey, "That's it ?".

          The links provided aren't just weak tea, they don't come close to proving a damn thing.

          The New Republic article is basically just the author's opinion. Color me unsurprised that a TP challenger won against a TARP-voting, gun control loving incumbent. Or that the republican party isn't exactly fond of pro-choice candidates. For f***'s sake it goes on about the McCain candidacy, which pre-dates the TP movement.

          The second link merely confirms that a lot of/majority of TP members also don't care for federal abortion funding (certainly reasonable) or want more regulation (not so reasonable). It does not show that abortion is a driving impetus of the movement or even central to the movement, or even is driving people away from the movement (though this could be true).

          The last link...jeezus...what a joke. I am not a sociologist and I can think of better ways to design a study. Its like, just my opinion, but I'd speculate that a substantial chunk of TP members are Clarence Thomas and Thomas Sowell fans, to the extent they know who they are. Moreover, the TP was kicked off by Bush administration excesses...Obama simply carried and doubled down on them. This article does not prove that racial animus was any kind of major driver of the TP movement.

    6. Rule #1 of big party politics - You are the one who will have to compromise, not them.
      Rule #2 of big party politics - Once you compromise, you will compromise more.
      Rule #3 of big party politics - Once you are in their tent, they can quite easily keep you there via well-proven psychological manipulation ('lesser evil' being one shorthand).

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  2. Many of the original Tea Partiers have been replaced with new activists animated by different issues, such as immigration walls and trade restrictions.

    Anti-immigration people started diluting the movement pretty early on, in my recollection. But in a leaderless movement, that would be inevitable. Still, it sure was fun for a while

    1. Yes, immigration walls, trade restrictions, and abortion... They ALL have to do with MORE Government Almighty! And I for one, would like to see a lot LESS of Government Almighty!

      Q: WHY can't a "grand compromise" be had? Conservatives give up their favorite hard-ons (see above), in exchange for favored Liberal hard-ons? (Lib hard-on largely ==, making my charity choices for me, at the gunpoint of Government Almighty).

      A: Because way-way-WAY too many of us humanoids (of ALL political persuasions) are way TOOOO hooked on self-righteousness!!! AKA, "Yes, I like freedom, and I could handle freedom, but those unworthly slobs over there?!?! 'Cause of THEM, we can't have freedom, it's too dangerous!" (They might not give any money to charity, and they might eat non-fair-market peanut butter and drink low-brow beer).

      1. "Q: WHY can't a "grand compromise" be had? Conservatives give up their favorite hard-ons (see above), in exchange for favored Liberal hard-ons? (Lib hard-on largely ==, making my charity choices for me, at the gunpoint of Government Almighty)."

        Why can't libertarians compromise and give up open borders and opposition to the drug war.

        Maybe they actually believe in those issues.

        1. I agree with your logic and post, but I just wanted to point out that not all libertarians believe in open borders.

          I for one, do not, at least as long as the welfare state still stands. Once the welfare state is removed, then I become an open borders supporter. But if we are giving away free shit, there has to be a limit on who is allowed to get the free shit, and a border is one of many ways to limit it.

      2. Because people aren't loyal to abstract philosophical concepts, they're only loyal to other people.

        Almost everyone's "principles" are just the post-hoc reasons they use to rationalize their emotional reactions to whatever goes on.

        1. Very true Stormy. I like to think of myself as a fairly rational thinker, and pragmatic, which is why I don't tow the line 100% on libertarian "moral" values. The truth is at the end of the day, people don't CARE about the morals, they care about the results. The reason I am mostly libertarian is NOT because of morals... I could give a fuck about true right and wrong in many instances... It's because IT WORKS. Which is also the same reason I am willing to compromise on some stuff (against what I believe is best), or in fact run 100% contrary to what libertarian philosophy says is "right."

          Honestly open borders, and pushing extreme acceptance of weird behavior THROUGH GOVERNMENT FORCE, are about my only big splits.

          I have tranny friends, I don't have a problem with them... I wouldn't have a problem with private businesses doing whatever they want, BUT government forcing people to have them use their chosen identity showers in public schools... I can see why some people are weirded out by that. At LEAST leave it a local issue, not top down.

          Open borders, too many examples in history of why massive scale and fast mixing of disparate cultures is a bad idea. I'm not even going to go into it here.

          But bottom line is most people don't care about morals, just results.

          1. Open borders isn't libertarian, its anarchistic. Public accommodation laws are also not libertarian.

            1. Pretty much. I accept the concept of the nation state, because I am not an anarchist. Once you accept that borders happen, and they mean things.

  3. Well gosh, how can the tea party be dead? Are you saying all those grassroots people who only cared about cutting government spending -- have stopped caring?

    But wait a minute, maybe it's just possible that what motivated those people to go on their marches really wasn't "too much government spending" (which they managed to ignore for 8 years under Bush), but was actually about hating Democrats together. As soon as Republicans got Congress, you just didn't hear very much about the tea party anymore, even though the spending kept on going.

    The tea party was a bunch of people who told themselves they were nonpartisan even though they were highly partisan, and who told themselves they hated big government spending even though that hatred was pretty much limited to TARP. (Social Security, Medicare, military, keep the money flooding, and we also need more money for border walls!)

    1. Well isn't that a, "I decided what should be in the article before I read read it.", approach. If you had read it you've would've seen he agreed that partisan politics is what destroyed the Tea Party. Tea Party is the official party name, and tea party is the movement. Just like the difference between Democrat and democrat.

      But just keep on thinking everyone that agrees with less spending as partisan. Ignore the apparatiks discussed above. With that mindset you can see every single Republican voter as a hate filled monster even if they don't agree with every tenet of the party.

    2. "The tea party was a bunch of people who told themselves they were nonpartisan even though they were highly partisan,..."

      When your ideas are opposed by the virtually the entire apparatus of one party and only the other one will even pay lip service to your concerns, then they are partisan. It is unavoidable.

      What killed the fiscal restraint is the idea that with Republican control of the two political branches government that they had to get a budget done, With a bare majority in the Senate that meant pleasing centrists like Collins and Murkowski or attracting Democrats. Once your highest priority is simply passing something, all restraint about what that something is go out the door.

      1. We could have won if we had really gone to war, shut the government down, told the goldbrickers they're not getting paid, and let all of America see that life really could go on as normal.

        Eventually those bitches in D.C. would have cried Uncle. But Paul Rino and Bitch McConnell, who never supported fiscal responsibility in the first place, we're all too happy to give up without a real fight.

        1. Seriously. If I had the power to do it, I would let the government shut down as long as it took, until the commies broke and we passed radical ass reforms. But politicians nowadays are pussies... I mean we haven't had a president who was in a knife fight since, what, like, Jackson or something? Wimps, the lot of them.

          1. If I had the power, I would do whatever it took to get rid of the commies once and for all. They have no right to exist in our constitutional republic.

        2. Except life really can't. Not until you eliminate all those laws and regulations that require private entities to get rubber-stamps from those government employees that aren't working during a shutdown. Kind of a chicken-and-egg problem there. You need radical reforms to make shutdowns harmless, you need the shutdown to extort radical reforms...

          1. But that's the point, if it is somewhat "harmful" to have a shut down, it'd still be worth it.

    3. Exactly, these are the same people who screamed during the Clinton years, but now with a touch of racism. Remember, reason said there was no crisis, the Great Recession.

    4. You're conflating several issues. Plenty of folks on the right in the mid-00's fought spending, including Congressional R's themselves w/ the Alaska "Bridge to Nowhere" in 05 -
      http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11.....ress.html, and right-leaning bloggers like Glenn Reynolds/Instapundit (during the heyday of political blogging) http://www.hughhewitt.com/glen.....-for-2007/

      Spending got worse once the D's won control of Congress in 06, with a politically weakened Bush unable to fight. Post-9/11 even those wanting fiscal restraint understood the need for military appropriations. That's what happens during war, for better or for worse.

      The Tea Party in earnest indeed began with TARP/bailouts and healthcare rumblings. But you're putting straw men up. TP's wanted *responsible* spending limited to (perceived) *actual duties* of the Federal gov't, and military/border protection certainly counted as that. In 09 that was a NatSec issue, not a racial/immigration issue, and D's could even publically say that illegal immigration was Bad back then.

      The TP was still alive after the R's won Congress; perhaps you were sleeping during the debt ceiling debates, shutdown brinksmanship, and the Sequester?

      Generally agree with the article: the Tea Party as such is dead, and partisanship has something (not everything) to do with it. But your criticisms are out of whack.

    5. Perhaps they got tired of people from all sides calling them racists for opposing spending.

      Not all people have no beef with idiots calling them names.

    6. @eyeroller -- yup. You nailed it.

      It wasn't spending they hated, just spending on those that don't deserve it, like non-whites, non-Christians, etc.

  4. NeverTrumper mercenaries like Matt Kibbe killed the Tea Party.

    Government spending is growing (like always) but government regulation is slowing (unprecedented).


    1. Are you not going to admit they were under attack from Mitch "Not worth damaging the woodchipper blades" Mcconnell and his cronies long before Trump was a thing? Are you going to ignore that senior leadership started to leave them when the anti abortionists moved in?

      Come on.

      1. Mitch McConnell is an enemy of the republic.

    2. What part of your life is less regulated?

      1. Just a few little things, like the government can't fine, cage or kill me for not buying health insurance.

      2. He's free to worship his little Cheeto Jesus now.

  5. Even as the Republicans were co-opting the movement, the Tea Party ripped Boehner era TARP stalwarts out of their seats by the grass roots in the Republican primaries--ultimately kicking Boehner off of his lofty perch..

    The greatest thing about democracy isn't that you get what you want. Getting what you want only comes from entrepreneurs and shopping online. The greatest thing about democracy is that we get to kick our leaders to the curb periodically, and to whatever extent the Tea Party punished TARP era Republicans by kicking them out of their positions of power, they served democracy's highest purpose.

    Just think of the alternative. What if no one had bothered to hold those politicians accountable for how they voted? The Tea Party may be gone, but so long as politicians fear being held accountable by the grass roots for how they vote, an important part of the Tea Party's legacy survives.

    1. There's been no greater "FUCK YOU" to the Establishment, especially the GOP, than electing Trump president.

      You could correctly say it's the Tea Party's greatest victory so far

      1. I don't know about that.

        If the Tea Party was founded on fiscal responsibility, Trump will likely do the exact opposite of that original goal.
        He did say clearly during his campaign that he would not cut Social Security and Medicare, the two biggest parts of federal spending. And he is very pro-military-spending, the third biggest part of federal spending.

        If we could go back in time and interview those attending Tea Party rallies and tell them that a future president (without mentioning the name or party) would promise not to cut Soc. Sec. and Medicare AND try to increase military spending, would they be pleased? Hells no.

        1. I should say, "the EARLIEST Tea Party rallies." The attendees of later Tea Party rallies were not interested in fiscal responsibility/restraint.

        2. The Tea Party was, more than anything, a reaction to TARP.

          1. I agree that TARP was the trigger that started the Tea Party, but if you bring that up, it weakens your case that Trump is a victory for the Tea Party, because Trump will almost certainly attempt to bail out the "Too Big to Fail" financial institutions in the financial market crash that probably started just last week.

  6. The Tea Party is probably not dead. There are many fiscally conservative Republicans left.

    Congress can also create another spending bill within this two-year budget pass last week if it wanted to.

    The reality is that many Americans are on the government teat and Republicans believe the media that cutting the massive federal social programs will cause them to not get reelected. That and Republicans believe the media that supporting Trump will not get them reelected.

    Stand behind Trump to help him gut government agencies and to redo a budget that has massive cuts. This will get Congressmen reelected contrary to what the media says.

    Either that or Libertarians will start to take more and more market share of politics to force Washington into a fiscally conservative straight jacket.

    1. There are many fiscally conservative Republicans left.

      There's many Republicans who call themselves fiscally conservative, anyways. Kind of like there's lot of Republicans who say they love the constitution.

      1. I think a lot of them are though, it's just the pols in office that aren't. I do agree that they cave when they shouldn't because of the pressure from the media. If nothing else Trump has shown that the ENTIRE media can be against you, and you can tell them to get fucked, and get away with it. We need more people with that part of Trump's attitude if nothing else.

  7. For me, the Tea Party appeared just as I was transitioning to being fully libertarian. (I had grown up in a very Democrat, union-supporting family. As an adult, I transitioned to voting "R" because I realized "Ds" are economically clueless.)

    At first, I was fooled into thinking it was some sort of great Libertarian Moment. The accusations of racism early on, I could dismiss out of hand as just silliness. But I did notice a disturbing trend toward letting social issues creep in. Social issues have no place in discussions about chopping 90% of government spending.

    It didn't take long before I became very disillusioned with the tea party and wanted nothing to do with it. In that sense, I feel no differently about it than I do about the two major parties, which are both so clearly lying sacks of shit, I'm amazed anyone still supports either one.

    Republicans love to talk about cutting spending when they're out of power. That concept is not even whispered once they can call the shots! For the Dems, I heard for 8 years about how that monster Bush was running secret surveillance on everyone, indiscriminately assassinating by drone, endless wars, etc. Obama comes in and does ALL OF THAT, and suddenly it is not just okay but those issues are never mentioned by Democrats again. Well, fuck that!

    If I had the power, both major parties would be tarred and feathered. I will never be fooled by either one's prattling again to listen to statist slavers regardless of their party.

    1. Well said, Inigo

    2. This is how I feel, IM.

      It was good to read this article from an original tea party founder, because I hadn't thought about how a grassroots movement is susceptible to hijacking. The LP demonstrates some of the same problems (feuding future-candidates Sharpe and Vohra), and I hope we can avoid repeating some of those same mistakes.

    3. My experience was similar though I had been a libertarian and a Libertarian for many years before the tea party movement became a thing.

      People above have noted that abortion and immigration somehow became tea party issues, and that's what alienated them. But that's not my experience, though it certainly may have appeared that way since many limited government fiscal conservatives are also socially conservative.

      In my own case, I became alienated because foreign intervention and a pro-military orientation somehow became tea party issues. Of course, that's because many limited government fiscal conservatives also have a vision of American Greatness and love the military.

      It seems to me that the tea party was initially a rejection of both Bush's giant bailouts and Obama's hopey-changey, yes-we-can vision of fundamental transformation of the United States of America. There was only one major political party that advocated limited government, even if only in rhetoric, and it effectively co-opted the tea party movement. Obama's IRS had its own role the neutering of the tea party movement, but that's another story.

      1. Well, until you dropped into conspiracy territory, you were doing okay.

        Obama's IRS was the same as Bush's IRS and Trump's IRS.

  8. I can understand being fed up - banging your head against a rock for too long demands it. But I would gently disagree with our author: it's not the Tea party that is dead, it's the GOP. They just don't know it yet. Yes, it appears they can coast another decade with zero philosophy of governance once again, taking the opportunity of the hideous optics of their [alleged] opposition party and it's cabal of ethical cripples. But think of the consequences of coasting for two decades... we will wind up with another FDR who will erect such edifices as to torture the rights and freedoms of our fellow citizens to the third generation following his departure. I find parliamentary governments instructional: if you can't get it done in ten years, find fresh minds and faces - being right is not enough. Newness has in imbued [albeit sometimes undeserved] hope, which awakens the people. It is time for tea party 2.0, and a brief tip of the hat to those who pushed back against prior malfeasance from on high.
    Today's tea party is admittedly stalled on account of resting in republican structure - they are stiffarmed by the cocktail party, which we otherwise call "bipartisanship" outside the beltway. They put on a regular punch and judy show to dissuade us of the 'progressive' bonds they hide from us every election cycle, that's all. Once again, it's time to fight the GOP and we need fresh troops.

  9. I will miss making fun of the Tea-baggers and their idiot signs like KEEP YER STINKIN' GOVERNMENT HANDS OFF MY MEDICARE!

    They never were about liberty or freedom. They just hated the black guy who cut their taxes one month into office.

    1. I'd say the Tea Party was about liberty/freedom in the very beginning, but not long after that, they were co-opted by fools like you describe.

      1. When I 'joined' a tea party group - perhaps the Tea Party Patriots - I had to agree to a platform and I distinctly remember a plank saying that stances on race, gender, abortion, and immigration were explicitly excluded. Advocating for a position on those stances was grounds for expulsion from the group. I signed happily, though not too long after those stances were being pursued in the traditional Republican fashion.

        I unhappily self-expelled.

    2. PB the only racists are you and your marxist friends.

  10. What I've never understood is why Republican politicians don't understand that if they actually were fiscally conservative, like FOR REALZ, that not only would they get elected... But they'd probably win even bigger, people would have more respect for them, and everything would generally be better. Most of the country really would support major reforms in almost every area of government, and once people saw what the tax cuts could do to their paychecks, to economic growth, etc they would want MORE!

    Spineless pussies who are afraid of offending the progressives I guess... Of course take note that the progressives have never shied away from offending conservatives... Which strategy has played out better? Take no prisoners!

    1. The purpose of a party is to promote/maintain a philosophy of governance. The GOP having abandoned any discernable philosophy, means they are dead - but since these zombies have seniority in the senate, the party doesn't know it [yet]. As long as they allow Chuck to dictate which sandbox gets to be played in, any words leaving their lips goes straight to the compost pile... cause there's nobody home.

      1. That's about it! All I've wanted since I first paid attention to politics was to see some actual conservatives/ibertarians with spines get elected. I'm still waiting... But maybe someday.

    2. What I've never understood is why Republican politicians don't understand that if they actually were fiscally conservative, like FOR REALZ, that not only would they get elected.

      No they wouldn't. If they were actually against the cronyism that allows govt to put its finger on the scale and distort the economy (where spending is only a small element of that) - they would lose 100% of their big money donations - including the Kochs. And the GOP - like the Dems - is a top-down driven national 'message-oriented' party. They do wholesale politics - and money is the lubricating grease for that.

      A DIFFERENT party could possibly win as you assert. But they would have to truly bottom-up not top-down. Where 'the message' resonates among neighbors - not on TV/media. Just a completely different model of politics - and incompatible with both GOP and Dems.

      1. I don't agree. I think individuals who lean conservative would be far more enthusiastic if they actually saw follow through.

        As far as businesses go, would big business suddenly not see the benefits of lower taxes? Fewer regulations? The Republicans would STILL be the party of big business even if they left out special crony favors, because their base platform is pro business. It just needs to be evenly applied instead of to special interests. Losing out on a special perk in a law, but still getting a dozen regulations for your industry cut, would still be faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaar more appealing than donating to the party that promises more regulation and higher taxes.

        Would the GOP have to radically change for this to happen? Pretty much. But I think it could be a pretty seamless transition over a couple election cycles. It ain't gonne happen, but it could and should.

        1. As far as businesses go, would big business suddenly not see the benefits of lower taxes?

          Big business uses government to destroy competition and entrench itself. And every employee of them who votes GOP (and yes that is the majority of R's who call themselves 'libertarian leaning') knows that that political distortion - and yes 80% of those 'regulations' - is what 'secures' their own present prospects. Those who might, in theory, want lower corporate taxes have managed to distort the tax system so that they don't depend on stock ownership (ie dividends) for their income but on stock options. GOP ain't gonna give up that voting bloc.

          It's why 'classical liberal' and actual small government parties in Europe create their wholesale message around entrepreneurs (NOT IPO dreaming-that's bigco distortion), small businesses, self-employed, craftsman/artisan, etc. Which could probably work here too - and better than Europe. But those sorts of voters also generally have ZERO interest in modern ideological experiments/theories. They are pragmatic to their bones - more so than even D/R's. Which is why the 'minarchists' and 'anarchos' and 'Libertarians' and 'praxeological Austrians' and the rest of the modern buzzword crowd are like cyanide to that sort of movement.

          The opportunity is definitely there. But it won't be the D/R's that go there - and the existing third parties seem content to wallow in theories and babble.

  11. Gone are the Tea Party's biggest and most hard-fought policy victory?mandatory caps in domestic and defense spending.

    Maybe in YOUR mind, Kibbe.

  12. Sarah Palin, the political huckster, comes to mind.

    I recall the "Tea Party" asking her to be keynote speaker at some big national TP convention in Nashville.

    But "huckster" is right on target for the Bridge to Nowhere Governor.

    1. Yes, the Klondike Kardashian was the keynote speaker at the inaugural National Tea Party Convention.


      1. Any kind of goodness is anathema to you, isn't it? I look forward to the civil war your kind will force on us. I can only hope your suffering is truly legendary.

  13. When the USA actually is unable to borrow more money, then people will unify. It'll be too late then, but dreams of that happening before then are fantasy. Most people don't have the time to focus on what the government fucks up every day, they're living their lives. They have no good choices at the ballot box. There really should be a "none of the above" choice. If we were actually forced to select government representatives because there wasn't anyone to run the show, people might take an interest. If most folks chose "none of the above" and everyone got tossed out, we'd find out what parts of government were important because we'd have none. People might start to notice what mattered and act accordingly. But it's not going to happen, and we'll slide downhill until the economy crashes, and some new group like the Chinese will drive over and take control. We're not magically safe from fiscal catastrophe, it's just not quite here yet. With the crew we have in Washington, it's sure to come eventually.

    1. When the USA actually is unable to borrow more money, then people will unify. It'll be too late then

      Too late for what? If we can't borrow, fiscal responsibility is imposed automatically.

      We're not magically safe from fiscal catastrophe,

      What you call "fiscal catastrophe" is simply a return to reality. A lot of the debt is pension obligations and those will simply not be kept; they were unrealistic in the first place. Other debt is money extracted by foreign governments from their citizens. And some additional debt is from private investors who bet on the US being able to honor its obligations for a while longer.

      And by "not kept", I don't mean a default. US debt is denoted in dollars and the US can simply print money to make it go away. The resulting inflation will make some politically powerful groups deeply unhappy, but the rest of the country won't care much and may switch to a cryptocurrency for stability.

  14. I remember how a lot of pols were crying that sequester was going to be Armageddon. And then it actually freakin' happened, and the reach of the sequester wasn't even noticeable.

  15. "So what went wrong? Ultimately"

    What went wrong is you are a (presumably) educated idiot...

    There is only one way this leviathan will be brought down: Violence.

    1. Violence has worked so well in the past. 1793 France, 1918 Russia, 1957 Cuba not to mention the glorious histories of Central and South America.

      1. Yeah, violence goes wrong a lot of the time, but it also created the United States of America... It has its place, and people who are true pacifists are idiots. There is a time and a place for killin' folks that need killin'. We're not too far off in the USA, but I hope we can avoid it. If we can't I'm down though, because anything would beat the shit show we have now.

    2. Is Trump an authoritarian with little respect for constitutional limits on executive power, or the pit bull needed to finally break the Republican establishment and the deep state?

      I don't think he's either one, I think Trump's mostly in it for Trump. But it's not like the voters who elected him didn't know he's a fat-headed, loud-mouthed, egomaniacal huckster, that's just how much they loathed the established business-as-usual fat-headed, loud-mouthed, egomaniacal hucksters in Washington. The uni-party's only principle is doing and saying whatever it takes to win re-election.

      Come November, if/when the Dems win a majority and can push for impeaching Trump (cheer-leading provided by the press) maybe we'll see what "burning it all down" looks like, and it ain't gonna be pretty. Things can - and almost certainly will - get a lot worse. If you don't allow peaceful change, you're going to get violent change.

      1. don't think he's either one, I think Trump's mostly in it for Trump.

        Seriously? You think a 70 year old billionaire doesn't have better things to do than being abused by the press, academics, and half the population? Trump may or may not be suffering from hubris, but his motivation is clearly not to maximize his wealth.

        But it's not like the voters who elected him didn't know he's a fat-headed, loud-mouthed, egomaniacal huckster

        That's what I thought him to be (I didn't vote for him), but he's actually turned out to be far better than expected.

        1. You think a 70 year old billionaire doesn't have better things to do than being abused by the press, academics, and half the population?

          I think a 70 year old reality TV show personality gets addicted to the limelight and the attention and there is no such thing as bad publicity. Trump is a generational inspiration and he knows it. Time itself can now be measured in BT and AT. In the AT world, Kim Kardashian and HoneyBooBoo can be President.

          1. Time itself can now be measured in BT and AT. In the AT world, Kim Kardashian and HoneyBooBoo can be President.

            Sorry, but given the piss-poor presidents Americans have had over the last couple of centuries, Trump is in no way unusual. And his policies are pretty mainstream as well.

            The idea that there is anything special about Trump or his policies is a mass delusion of progressives and Democrats.

    3. Violence isn't what will bring the leviathan down.

      What'll bring this leviathan down is math (economics).

      Violence is what will ensue after the economy has imploded from decades of overspending, borrowing, and currency-debasing.

      May liberty-lovers survive to rebuild.

      1. Economics will do it for sure... I'm just not sure we won't have violence start before we actually have the math take us down. If civil war doesn't happen first, the bad math certainly will though. And we will then have violence after the economy fails as you say. So either way there are very good odds of blood in the streets in the not too distant future, it's just a question of what will set it off.

    4. Exterminating communists can only be good.

  16. Every election is a chance to exercise term limits via the populace, but we put the same crooks back in Washington and bitch about the results. We get the government we deserve. And we've been getting it good and hard for quite some time. I don't think we learn very well.

    1. What's with this "we" nonsense? I didn't vote for these knuckleheads.

  17. The Tea Party was doomed from the start by its own supporters which consisted of half religious social conservatives and half libertarians. This mixture was destined to fight over abortion, drugs and homosexuality. As marijuana and same sex marriage became popular and then legalized it was inevitable that the Tea Party marriage of convenience would disintegrate.

    Trump, as a born-again anti-abortionist, siphoned off the social conservatives who attributed their economic problems to cheap Chinese goods and even cheaper immigrant labor. Eliminating abortion, deporting aliens and "putting China in its place" easily overcame any reluctance to increase spending and government power.

    Deregulation was the one Tea Party thing that survived in so far as it was seen as an assault on the "establishment". Cutting business taxes was never a big Tea Party issue although cutting individual taxes was. However, without cutting spending these will only slow the economic destruction of the US.

    Our grandchildren will be enslaved by a debt that can never be paid because the government's loan shark, the Fed, will impose higher interest on the vig.

    1. The George Wallace Dixiecrat American Party Tea Party was doomed by the LP, the Supreme Court, Canada and actuarial tables. Since 9/11 showed everyone what mystical superstition leads to, membership in all organized "faiths" went from positive to negative slopes, and the younger generation realizes that there is no evidence of Jesus ever having existed. The whole myth that an Aryan Jesus hates blacks, atheists, Mohammedans and Jews is losing voters to the cemeteries and Alzheimers wards. Only the LP is growing now that women realize OUR PLANK became Roe v. Wade. It's that simple.

      1. Jesus was a real person. It's a proven fact, you atheistic bigoted baby murdering piece of shit.

  18. Because Republicans now are competing with Democrats as supporters of unlimited and ever increasing spending and big government there no longer is anyone for whom to vote and therefore no reason at all to bother voting.

    1. Yep, lots of traitors to punish.

    2. What's the "now are" B.S.? They've always been big government. Since, like, forever.

      More government handouts to industry, more handouts to the military (which is just second helpings for industry), more handouts to churches under Bush, privatization (industry's third helping), etc.

      Gotta love how West Virginia is now voting to let mineral rights owners drill for gas without the consent of the surface rights owners. Own a house in a good spot for a natural gas well? Guess who's moving! That's the GOP for ya.

  19. With the exceptions of Warren Harding, Calvin Coolidge and Barry Goldwater, the Republican party has always been the party of big government.

    Harding, despite his fiscal sanity that prevented a major depression, is considered to be the worst president in American history with Coolidge, who cut government more than any president in American history, only a few rungs higher. Goldwater has been exiled to oblivion by Republicans most of whom condemn him as a "loser".

    The culture demands big government and politicians are more than happy to oblige. The Tea Party was an aberration. The media, the universities and Hollywood express the real culture and that culture controls both the Republican and Democrat parties. Breitbart was an asshole but he got the relationship right - "Politics is downstream from culture".

    1. I think the demand for big gov't goes deeper than culture. It probably is rooted in human biology or human psychology.

      Do you remember the experiment where Stanford researchers offered some kids one marshmallow right now, or if they wait 10 minutes, they can have two marshmallows? It was a test of delayed gratification.

      Big gov't is a form of immediate gratification--it is "I want gov't to buy me this now rather than me working hard and saving up to buy it myself later."

      From Wikipedia on the Stanford marshmallow experiment:

      "A 2011 brain imaging study of a sample from the original Stanford participants when they reached mid-life showed key differences between those with high delay times and those with low delay times in two areas: the prefrontal cortex (more active in high delayers) and the ventral striatum, (more active in low delayers) when they were trying to control their responses to alluring temptations.[9][10]"

      Brain differences go deeper than culture.

      1. Just because the brain manifests certain phenomena doesn't mean that those phenomena are primary to the willful actions of the children. There's a reductionist assumption here that when followed to its inevitable conclusion turns people into complex mechanical devices controllable through pharmaceuticals. Brain chemistry is presumably controlled by genetics which leads to even worse possibilities.

        Brain chemistry is supposedly the same for all humanity making it hard to explain why Australia is such a low crime country, especially considering its people have genes descended from criminals. By comparison, much of Africa is violent beyond belief while other parts are peaceful and productive. These people bear a common ancestry and presumably, the brain chemistry their genes create.

        Is the brain chemistry of modern college students much different from students in the 1960's. I suspect that the politics of these groups differs far more than their brains.

      2. dchang0, what you note probably does describe the difference between different groups in society. Socialists, welfare cases etc can't wait... The ones that can are the conservative/libertarian minded people with self control.

        Bob Meyer, it isn't the whole picture by any means, because humans are malleable to a great degree... But only to a point. All humans have collectivist and individualist instincts. We can be pushed more towards one or the other by culture and indoctrination.

        There is also mounting evidence that the genes that activate behavior are in fact influenced by our environment from generation to generation. As an example girls raised in households without fathers hit puberty and begin having sex at younger ages, and have a host of other psych issues. Some evidence suggests "weak" dependence based personality traits in people also tend to be activated by bad environments. So we may well have literally created a generation or two of needy people because of social problems in past generations.

        As for Australia vs USA, it's mostly just our black and hispanic gang problem... Look at stats for whites vs whites in Australia or Europe and we don't have a crime problem in the USA.

        1. All humans have collectivist and individualist instincts.

          These political trends aren't driven by "instincts", they are driven by rational choices. A single mother doesn't want big government because she can't delay gratification, she wants big government because it objectively maximizes her income. And a woman rationally chooses to become a single mother, instead of practicing birth control or getting an abortion, because it maximizes her financial return on her labor.

          If a government program pays me twice as much for not being employed than I can make at my job, and on top of that I actually believed that the government program was sustainable, of course I would quit my job and take the money.

          1. I agree and disagree. Single mother could be a rational choice... But what about the 150K a year white collar yuppie who thinks his taxes should be raised to "help the poor?"

            That, to me, is part of our collectivist instinct coming into play. We ALL have compassion for other people. It's programmed in. But we also have self interest programmed in. Different people seem to naturally lean one way or another. Culture can also nudge us. Most people don't even consciously think these things through like people on this site do, they just muddle through rolling with whatever seems right at the moment. So it's perpetual tug of war in our heads between two separate and at odds inclinations we have.

            I'm pretty damn individualist... BUT for family or friends my collectivist instincts kick in, and I always feel extra compassion for them. I can suppress this more for random people, but even for me I can't kick it for people I am close to. It's just the way we're wired.

      3. I think the demand for big gov't goes deeper than culture. It probably is rooted in human biology or human psychology.

        It's simple economics. When a majority can take away private property from a minority through taxation, then in a democratic system, they will increasingly do so up to the point where enough people are harmed by it so that they put a stop to it. That harm may be delayed through borrowing and deficits.

        The number of people who benefit from big government can also be increased by government policy, creating a feedback cycle: if you don't teach people how to succeed in a free market, if you make them believe that they are not masters of their fate, they will require big government to help them and vote accordingly.

        Brain differences go deeper than culture.

        Culture can compensate for brain differences. It isn't brain differences that cause three quarters of African American children to be born to single mothers, it is culture and government that tolerate and even encourage and reward such behavior.

      4. I think the demand for big gov't goes deeper than culture. It probably is rooted in human biology or human psychology.

        That's not where 'big government' is rooted. That's only where laziness is planted.

        'Big government' originates in the willingness of its advocates to identify 'a solution' to a widely perceived problem.

        'Small government' advocates are often, bluntly, too damn lazy to communicate how their solution works or, worse, deny the existence of a widely-perceived problem (or blame it on you).

        I don't think there is anything structural or more complicated to it at all.

        1. Big government advocates usually advocate "solutions" that either make the problem worse (welfare for able-bodied adults) or cause worse problems (all forms of Prohibition). They seem to have a mental defect that leaves them unable to distinguish reality from advertising.

          Small government advocates are adults that know not all problems have solutions - but to stop government programs that make them worse would be a good start.

  20. What went wrong?

    For starters, you got rid of the sideburns and went full beard.

  21. Oh give it a rest. The 'tea party" was never a grassroots organization. It was always an astroturf front funded by the Koch brothers to rile up the unwashed in order to delegitimize government and lower their taxes. It was built to destroy Social Security and Medicare. And it's working just as planned. The losers who associated themselves with this "movement" are the greatest collection of self-delusional boobs in American political history. It operated just as designed.

  22. the Tea Party would have succeeded in killing Obamacare. Even still, the fact that the fight over Obamacare consumed the entirety of Obama's domestic agenda for eight years no doubt killed countless bad ideas before they ever saw the light of day.

    Yeah, the fight over Obamacare doomed 'bad ideas' like immigration reform. That's really worked out well.

  23. While foxnews may not have actually been there at the conception of the Tea Party, for all intents and purposes the Tea Party is a creature of FoxNews.

    The whole phenomenon started out so small as to be non-existent -- but from day one was glommed onto by Fox and relentlessly promoted. Unlike the massive women's march and the resistance -- both massive movements that sprung up organically (in large part thanks to the emergence of social media) -- the Tea Party owes its entire existence as a movement to Fox. Fox was so proud of what they'd created that by April 2009 they had created a page to celebrate their own efforts ( see https://tinyurl.com/y7r5qmjd) Fox needed a vehicle to promote its anti-Obama agenda that didn't look as racist as it really was, and the Tea Party fit the bill.

    As a result, rather than a populist movement built on libertarian values, the Tea Party quickly devolved into a bunch of disgruntled white people who blamed Obama for everything. And as soon as FoxNews got what it wanted -- a far right, white nationalist reactionary government -- the Tea Party became unnecessary, and ceased to exist.

    Want more proof? Look at any public opinion poll that asks the opinion of Tea Partiers. Donald Trump gets super high marks, despite his promotion of fiscally irresponsible policies.

    1. LOL You're hilarious! Because the womens marches and other left wing nonsense aren't PUMPED UP by CNN and the ENTIRE rest of the media at all or anything right???

      A right leaning news service favorably covered a right leaning movement... What a surprise!

      And I didn't dislike Obama because he's half black, I didn't like his policies. If Starr Parker (a black chick!) or Ben Carson had been the first black president I wouldn't have been peeved about it at all.

  24. The Tea Party is another sockpuppet clone of the Comstock-Law Prohibition Party, exactly like the Lyndon LaRouche gang. The only thing they have for a platform is "Regulate abortion clinics more; oppose right to abortion. (Jan 2012)"
    The GOP has since 1976 copied the Prohibition Party demand for a Coathanger Abortion amendment to counter the LP choice plank of 1972 having become Roe v. Wade. One useful take-away is that they understand how spoiler votes allow small parties to control larger ones. The other is that they feign incomprehension of this and seek only to destroy the LP and mimic mohammedanism as in 1873.

    1. Goddamn you're a worthless piece of shit. You should join Tony and PB for a murder-murder-suicide pact.

      1. What an aptly named sockpuppet!

  25. You could write the article about social conservatives who voted in GOP types who then never do anything for their cause, too.

    1. Look how fast GOPe dropped sequester, too. They didn't need Trump to do that.

  26. Black President resorts to deficit spending -- tax cuts and spending increases -- during greatest recession since Great Depression. Tea Party forms.
    Theory 1: The Tea Party was mainly about fiscal responsibility -- less spending and low deficits.
    Theory 2: The Tea Party was about not wanting a Black president to spend because the money would go to undeserving minorities (ha, that's redundant!).
    New Situation: White President increases deficit spending during a much better economy. Tea Party does nothing.
    Theory 1 fails. Theory 2 holds.

    1. So if Hillary had won in 2008 the Tea Party would not have come into existence? Really? Because she was white? Her health care ideas were what gave Republicans control of congress for the first time in 40 years and despite Maya Angelou, Bill Clinton was not the first black president.

      1. That's the baffling part of the theory. It's not like Hillary's health care plan in 1994 passed.

        If the ONLY opposition to Obamacare was racial...what explains the 1994 Hillarycare disaster?

    2. Theory 2: The Tea Party was about not wanting a [progressive] president

      There, FTFY. Obama's skin color was irrelevant.

      to spend because the money would go to undeserving minorities (ha, that's redundant!).

      You interpret things this way because you can't help yourself but divide people up by race and attribute a racial motive to everything.

      Conservatives and libertarians argue that government programs and regulations intended to help the poor actually have the opposite effect in the long term and perpetuate programs. A half century track record of progressive social welfare programs and other large government programs in the US proves them right: these programs have been a dismal failure at achieving their stated goals and often have caused massive harm to minorities.

      New Situation: White President increases deficit spending during a much better economy. Tea Party does nothing. Theory 1 fails. Theory 2 holds.

      If bigots like you hadn't killed the Tea Party movement, we wouldn't have gotten Trump and massive deficit spending in 2018. Fortunately, Americans increasingly don't care anymore when people like you throw around charges of racism. Go to hell.

      (Oh, in case you're wondering, I voted for Obama over both Hillary and over McCain because Obama was actually the most qualified of the bunch. I still do, lousy as his performance as president turned out to be.)

      1. Hillary actually won the future Trump counties in 2008 and actually won more popular votes than Obama but then the superdelegates stole the nomination from her. So the Democrat establishment chose Obama's coalition over the white working class voters that supported Hillary. Then Hillary embraced the coalition that called her a racist 8 years earlier for daring to run against Obama and turned her back on the people that supported her while being called racists.

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  28. The Tea Party also wasn't partisan. It was held together by a common set of values that united an otherwise disparate group. What did the Tea Party stand for? I would ask everyone I met as I traveled the country. The answer was always some iteration of the same thing: "Individual freedom, fiscal responsibility, constitutionally-limited government, and free markets."

    And anybody who embraces those values will be labeled as a "white supremacist" and a "racist" by progressives and Democrats, which is exactly what happened to the Tea Party.

    Fortunately, we are now coming to the point where people simply shrug off such insults as meaningless drivel.

    1. It didn't help that some of them were actual white supremacists and racists. When you invite the dogs, you get the fleas.

      1. It didn't help that some of them were actual white supremacists and racists. When you invite the dogs, you get the fleas.

        Classical liberalism defends the right of people to hold unpopular or offensive beliefs, while progressives and socialists want to punish and reeducate anybody who disagrees with them. So, necessarily, people who hold unpopular or offensive beliefs are drawn to classical liberalism. This is an intrinsic part of classical liberalism (libertarianism). If you think that libertarians need to do something about that, you are not a libertarian.

        Of course, in a world where Donald Trump, Charles Murray, and Jordan Peterson are called "white supremacists" and "racists", the term has lost all its meaning anyway.

        1. The issues isn't that *some* libertarians hold offensive or unpopular beliefs but whether it's a sufficient number to effectively make that a defining element of the party. Like Rand Paul's support for anti-abortion laws and defining life (for legal purposes) beginning at fertilization. An anti-choice libertarian is an interesting twist.

          This is what happened to the Tea Party. The unpopular and offensive beliefs were common enough within the the movement that they colored it.

          Donald Trump is a racist. That's pretty obvious given the copious quotes about majority non-white countries like Mexico or "shithole countries."

          Charles Murray I don't know enough about to even comment on in an internet thread.

          Jordan Peterson, as I've said before, isn't a racist or a white supremacist. He explicitly rejects white nationalism. He is a right-wing firebrand who attracts support from white supremacists and neo-nazis, which ought to raise alarm bells for him but doesn't appear to. I fault him for that, sure, but he's not a racist.

          Actual racists hate being called "racist" these days. As a result, it's not uncommon to read these bozos trying to explain it away as overzealous "progs" or "libtards" being mean to them. But it still means what it means no matter how uncomfortable that makes some folks feel.

  29. I always love watching libertarian party organs pronounce the Tea Party dead.

    The hatred displayed is such a visceral reminder of the depths to which the LP is infected.

    The Tea Party, in it's infancy, got more people elected than the LP has ever managed to get elected. The Tea Party got every single libertarian-leaning politician in congress elected. The LP? snuffling the floor for GOP rejects.

    It is to laugh.

  30. Matt Kibbe is kidding himself. The "Tea Party" was a mass movement of middle-class white people mad that Barack Obama was taking "their" money and giving it to black people. The Tea Party campaigned bitterly against cuts to Medicare and never even mentioned cutting Social Security. It was largely "bottom up" but so was the Trump campaign--and, in fact, the Tea Party was the obvious precursor to Trump. A few true libertarians did get elected, but let's not forget that Rand Paul, "Mr. Libertarian", voted for the budget-busting tax cut package that could easily have been revenue neutral, but was not because Republican in the White House. White folks only care about deficits when they think the money is going to black folks or "foreigners". I'd also note that the Koch Boys, supposedly balanced budget fanatics, also embraced the budget-busting tax cut package. These are the guys who doubled their net worth, rising from $20 billion each to $41 billion each during eight years of "Kenyan socialism", but they're still pushing and shoving to get to the trough. Don't stop till you get enough, that's what Michael Jackson used to say.

    1. In fairness to the Kochs, who really don't deserve it, they supported the deficit-busting tax cut plan because they knew the personal tax cuts expired fairly quickly and only the corporate cuts would remain, thus leaving us with higher personal taxes. There was no downside for them.

    2. The "Tea Party" was a mass movement of middle-class white people mad that Barack Obama was taking "their" money and giving it to black people

      Progressives like you, Mr. Vannemann, are really the embodiment of racism, bigotry, and intolerance. You are despicable.

      1. Oh, wait... didn't you just say a few comments higher that racism "had lost all of its meaning anyway?"

        His hyperbole aside, do you have any evidence that the Tea Party wasn't almost entirely a "movement of middle-class white people?"

        If I wanted to see his hyperbole and raise him, I'd say the Tea Part was the "White LIves Matter" of its time.

  31. The hell it is.

  32. It is remarkable that the tea party congressmen who took the debt ceiling hostage in order to secure the Budget Control Act, - at a time of double digit unemployment and the the federal funds rate at zero and banks still shitting brick (getting a US debt downgrade in process) have voted to explode spending at far beyond the original BCA limits. And now that unemployment rate is 4.1% and the Fed has begun lift oft. These same people were content when Bush passed 2 tax cuts, the Medicare D expansion and started two foreign wars with out funding any of it but, then railed against the recession era stimulus bill and deficit-neutral Obamacare and now, finally, cheer on the deficit ballooning Trump Administration. It is something to behold. To paraphrase Rand Paul, if you're only a fiscal conservative when you don't control the White House, you're not a fiscal conservative. And never were. The Tea Party movement was always driven by political opportunism.

    1. And racial fear. Don't forget that. All of the "welfare queen," anti-immigrant vulgarity in our new Tea Party president is about holding on to white superiority in a country where states are starting to show white minorities.

      Remember, we were supposed to be horrified by "a taco truck on every corner."

      1. There is racism on both sides of the immigration debate?anyone that promotes "diversity" in immigration is an anti white bigot and Trump's comment about Norway was just as racist. We should have a colorblind immigration policy based on merit.

        1. What does it mean to promote "diversity" in immigration? Seriously... not getting that at all. I'm not even able to infer what it might mean. Diversity of what, exactly? We did (used to, past tense) have a colorblind immigration policy. It was a lottery system encouraged diversity across countries not races.

          Merit is an interesting position to define here. Our H1B Visa program is effectively a merit-based program. But our agricultural businesses need crop workers and our citizens won't do that job so "merit" is supplanted by "need" there. We should be brining in the skills we need.

      2. All of the "welfare queen," anti-immigrant vulgarity

        The welfare queen you should be concerned with is Hillary Clinton, who went from "flat broke" to a net worth of $200 million by selling political favors to foreign governments.

        And the "anti-immigrant vulgarity" you should be concerned with is the Democrats, who think that low skill migrants who entered the US illegally should receive preferential treatment over legal immigrants who often spent decades trying to get an immigrant visa.

        1. Is this the best you can do? Rehashed outrage and whataboutisms?

          The current administration is:
          * throwing out LEGAL immigrants and refusing people entry who got legal visas after decades of waiting.
          * advocating for a reduction in H1B visas for highly skilled workers.
          * pining away for more white immigrants from white countries.
          * making up B.S. terms like "chain migration" and lying about how family program works to drive more fear of immigrants.
          * throwing undocumented immigrants into (private) prisons for years rather than just deport them.
          * throwing out US military war veterans who joined as citizens of other countries after they complete their service for the United States.

          And yeah, I think immigrants who get here illegally, keep their noses clean, get jobs, contribute to the community, and start families should get some consideration. I supported Obama's approach of strengthening returns at the border, recent border crossers or overstayers, and immigrants who commit violent crimes. I still think that approach reached the right balance between compassion and following the law.

          And no, the Dems don't think they deserve preferential treatment. The Dems think that the cost/benefit of rounding them up is not worth the cost in cash or various forms of crisis it would create. You'd think on a libertarian blog that libertarians would understand at least that concept.

          1. Where do you get your facts -- the current admin is throwing out legal immigrants? Even DACA is in permanent limbo, no doubt thanks to fellow travellers like you who favor the "Obama" approach to just about anything.

            And I have yet to meet the likes of such as yourselves who would say "no" to any federal spending, or who would not make any program conditional upon "sweetening the pie" elsewhere -- which is what Schumer, Pelosi, McConnell and Ryan are about all along.

  33. "But the American principles of individual freedom, fiscal responsibility, and constitutionally limited government, are all still very much alive"

    sadly no they aren't. see recent spending bill

  34. I attended one Tea Party meeting back in early 2009. It became pretty clear to me that it was mostly GOP operatives there, eager to co-opt the "small government" crowd, so that they could get their votes, then go back to doing the same thing they always do. That was the last time I had anything to do with the TP...

  35. Lines in the sand are doomed by the first wind that blows by - - - - - - - -

  36. Let me just start with with a world-class eye-roll at the naivete of the author. I believe that he believes what he says. That only makes this all the more cringe-worthy.

    "The Tea Party also wasn't partisan." He says. Without a hint of irony. When, in fact, the Tea Party was/is about as partisan as you can get. It poured gas on mere garden-variety partisanship and then lit in fire to create a partisan bonfire that continues to scorch our political discourse and is largely responsible for the current white nationalist government. Whatever the Tea Party wasn't, it was a home to a lot of angry white people who yearned for the days where the white heterosexual was in charge and his wife was in the kitchen. The author doesn't believe that, perhaps because he was living in his dream of what the Tea Party ought to be about rather than what it had actually become.

    "We demanded that Washington politicians stop spending our money like it was theirs, and keep out of our health care." Well, no, you didn't. You wanted them to regulate women's healthcare to a degree even Obamacare never did--right up to requiring women listen to lectures and undergo unnecessary invasive procedures as a pre-requisite for certain types of care. You the Tea Party didn't give one hoot about people without healthcare or even consider for a moment how emergency room care for the poor was funded. If this was really about money, the Tea Party wasn't terribly interested in those details.

    1. You,"shawn_dude" don't actually care or understand how emergency room care for the poor is funded. You don't know, understand or care why we pay more in this country than anywhere else--yet people still flock here in droves for this care.

      You don't care about or understand much.

      You mouth the words your masters put forward each morning and go to bed at night blissful in you ignorance. Because you did as you were told.

      Some of us refuse chains.

    2. You the Tea Party didn't give one hoot about people without healthcare or even consider for a moment how emergency room care for the poor was funded.

      It's you who doesn't give a hoot about people without healthcare. What you want is someone else to give you free crap, and you use "poor people" as a fig leaf to cover your own greed. The reality is that the massively excessive cost of medical care in the US is the result of people like you, people who impose more and more regulations on providers and insurance companies, people who mandate coverage, and people who massively subsidize people who can't pay. That's what's keeping prices so ridiculously high in the US.

      You wanted them to regulate women's healthcare to a degree even Obamacare never did--right up to requiring women listen to lectures and undergo unnecessary invasive procedures as a pre-requisite for certain types of care.

      I have no problem with unrestricted on-demand abortions in a free market system; if you want to kill your own offspring on your own dime, that's your business.

      But if a progressive welfare state forces me to pay for other people's abortions, then I am going to exercise my prerogative in a progressive welfare state and participate in determining when, how, and under what conditions those abortions are performed. And my rational preference is that women should be strongly discouraged from getting abortions.

      1. Meh. I'm a professional and a veteran. I have healthcare covered. I'm just a pragmatist. I know that we already pay for "free" healthcare for the poor and we weren't even getting what we paid for. So we should either stop doing it (and pay the social price for that) or do it right.

        The problem with your "progressive welfare state" comment is that it can be used to deny all sorts of medical care, like Viagra, which was covered. When it comes to medical care, it's best to just "mind one's own business." I subsidize pregnancy, for cripes sake, in my employer-covered plan. I'll never get pregnant as a man and I'll never get a woman pregnant as a homosexual. Why should I pay for heterosexuals to have babies? Maybe single people should get together and limit coverage for pregnancy and birth. For that matter, why should I pay for schools and government funded lunches, WIC, and daycare?

        The answer: because a world in which a large number of people couldn't make those choices due to poverty is a world that would be less good for me as well. The externalities would cost me personally quite a bit more than just subsidizing their life choices a bit in my insurance plans or taxes. I'm part of society and affected by everyone else in it.

  37. Just plain old politics. You can't buy near as many votes with lower spending and balanced budgets/lower debt as you can with more new spending. Too many legislators get themselves elected to play Santa Claus with other people's money, and even many of the ones who don't fall prey to the temptation once in office.

  38. I think Mr. Kibbe an honorable guy but really, how many times are we supposed to fall for this. Reagan in 1980, Gingrich in 1994, Bush in 2000, Trump in 2016. The results are ALWAYS the same; government gets bigger. I personally only fell for this bullshit in 1980 and I plead the fact that I was only 17 at the time.

    Mr. Kibbe should have known better. Anyway, the Tea Party was never about limiting government but rather about protecting Medicare from any slowing of its growth to fund Obamacare as the picture in this post will attest.

    There simply is no serious support to cut government and there will likely never be until the system collapses of its own weight.

  39. hard to believe you Reason leftists can get away with all of your bull****

    youre not only wrong, youre liars

  40. Thank you for this wonderful account of the Tea Party.

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  42. Matt, your explanation rings true. I used to wonder how the Tea Party spirit of individual responsibility in fiscal matters could be translated into a political force. I knew there were other issues and a Tea Party candidate running for office would have to take a stand on those issues. That would split the movement or at least dilute it. I had hoped the Tea Party would not endorse candidates for government but simply critique each candidate and give a seal-of-approval to those who limit or reduce spending. We could have become a force but we reached too far.

  43. most likely it was the major donors got bought out by the current republicans?was a lot more top heavy than this article acknowledges

  44. The Tea Party may not be over, as it never really started as an astroturfed movement on behalf of Republicans, and never should have become such.

    This suggests we need a third party, which is more possible than you realize. before Lincoln was elected, were there not effectively four parties? Was not Lincoln's victory a Trumpian upset, not even claiming a popular majority, with a party that never won nationally before? Was not James Buckley of New York elected on the Conservative line? Did not Ed Koch get reelected on the Democratic, republican, and Liberal lines? And Bernie Sanders -- you can look that one up.

    Third parties must exist to indicate what the candidates REALLY stand for -- woe to any Repub that does not run on or qualify for a Conservative/Sound Budget line.

    As for our national debt, China's may be worse, and add to that it's incompetence and dishonesty in all financial affairs. Fancy that -- a third world war between the largest and worst managed financial entities of all.

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  46. The Tea Party was the typical hypocritical political meme: folks who were getting Medicare/aid thought that their welfare was legitimate while everyone else's was illegitimate. Of course, these folks didn't even realize that they were getting welfare redistribution since they demanded "keep your damn government hands of my Medicare".

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