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Will Populism Destroy the TEA Party ?— A Good Question , but the Wrong One! by Bob Shannon

By Bob Shannon   King William

On one of the other popular blogs this past week my good friend and intelligent voice in the Patriot movement Steve Tucker engaged the subject of whether or not Trumps populist/nativist appeal will destroy the TEA Party movement. Steve raises some valid concerns and the respondents ( many I personally know) fired back with a spirited discussion . The central thesis however of what Steve coins populism destroying the TEA Party , while raising a valid question misses a larger point. One that I hope to crystalize .

My contribution to the TEA Party is known among those who have been involved in this effort for almost 7 years. The “ Sign Guy” as I am affectionately referred to may be the most visible contribution I have been a part of, but I at least attempt to also lend some honest intellectual rigor to the process by my writing. TEA Party groups are as my good friend Rob McIntire once coined, “ like trying to herd cats” Perhaps Rob’s comment is actually a bit understated, I think herding cats would be easy compared to trying to get all of these groups going in the same direction—and here’s why , or at least a concrete example .

In 2013 the MTP hosted a venue at Life Church entitled “ What is a Conservative ? ” . The former U.S. Senate Candidate Jamie Radtke, Virginia Senator Tom Garrett and local activist Todd Vander Pol made up the assembled panel that led the discussion that night. The term conservative has been defined as often having 3 distinct elements, the constitutional, the social and the fiscal . Some conservatives are exclusively fixated on one of those 3, while other conservatives may embody two or more of those elements. Rarely do you find one who holds all 3 in even remotely equal proportions. Human beings have their own definitions and my goal as I organized this event was to perhaps clarify and shed light on the hypocrisy and or misunderstandings of many who call themselves a conservative, but can’t enunciate exactly what they mean by this selfdescription. Steve notes the “ startling differences amongst people associated with the TEA Party”…and “ I can’t imagine a county having 2 different TEA Party’s “   Start with the erroneous confusion in general when the assertion is made that all people associated with a TEA Party group are“ conservative” to begin with.

I have been everything but physically accosted when speaking to group of seniors who become visibly agitated when I call for Medicare Reform, often having to listen to the…….. “ I’ve paid into that my whole life, that isn’t welfare” —-or—“ I am entitled to those benefits”, evidence of the ignorance associated with the fact that Medicare is paying out in excess of $2 in benefits to every $1 ever contributed. What could possibly be conservative about wanting your own grandchildren paying your health care expenses so you can keep your second home at the River ?   I could cite numerous other examples to validate the point that more often than not , many members of the various TEA Party groups are not only not so conservative but embody a definition of what constitutes a conservative that many conservatives would scoff at. People who self-describe as Conservatives Steve while promoting big government isn’t anything new. But as usual I digress.

If a member of a TEA Party group ( or the general public for that matter ) understands the 3 types of conservatives ( social-constitutional-fiscal) then is it not reasonable to ask, which one of those areas should a potential President focus on ? I will argue and thus disclose my Trump bias with promoting that the fiscal principles be at the front of that line ,and lay out my logic for coming to what I believe to be the only rational conclusion one can come to.

Congress and Presidents of both parties have violated the U.S Constitution over the last 40 years more times than I can count. It has been noted that the current President has committed in excess of 30 clear violations that provide justification for Congress to begin Articles of Impeachment—yet no action has been forthcoming ,for reasons that we don’t have the time or inclination at the moment to discuss in more detail. For that matter both State & local legislators have done exactly the same, for if the Constitution were abided by much of what goes through these state and local legislative bodies would never even make it to the table. The Constitution has become a “ talking point” legislators throw around casually with no sincere effort whatsoever to abide by. It is for all practical purpose a document many of them themselves don’t understand. Restoring obedience and adherence to the U.S Constitution is a long term goal, a worthy and admirable one, even a necessity, since those of us who do understand it also understand this vital document is at the heart of our current dysfunction as a republic. We are indeed a nation of laws , and not of men. Today however that recognition is only abided by our legislators when it’s convenient.

Social conservatives have steadily ignored the often complex and competing schools of thought that render easy or ready resolutions of the definition of marriage, women’s freedom of choice, and other serious social questions very difficult to come by. What does the Constitution say about marriage ? What then is the remedy our Founders thought best ?  It is however important to recognize that while these 3 components of what defines a conservative are of equal weight ( in that each of them will contribute mightily to restoring our republic ) , it is the fiscal element that can not be shoved back from the top priority it must be, given that we as a nation are in a financial “ triage” mode.

The United States has been functioning ( some would argue barely ) with the Constitutional and Social question looming overhead for quite some time now . The fiscal crisis that is upon us however must not be ignored any longer, assuming of course it isn’t already too late. Trump understands two elements of this and has the skill set to address both. Let’s start with the ‘ solutions to the problems at the federal level, via legislation and why Trump is uniquely qualified to address and implement the needed remedies.

Candidates are loath to dive deep into the details of their idea of a remedy during a primary contest for all of the obvious reasons. The candidates also continue on through the general election trying to walk a fine line , courting voters without running any supporters away in the process. Every candidate does this, it just varies from candidate to candidate in each race. Trump has the business sense and appreciation for the numbers. Surrounding himself with the best and brightest ( which is what he has done his entire professional life) will be a start. Going over or through Congress and their certain objections is what Trump does better than anyone . Members of Congress who attempt to stall or impede Trumps proposals will have to contend with what we have been watching Trump do very successfully for the last 7 months—go straight to the American people. Tucker himself observed some time back that Trump supporters were ignoring that all of Trump’s proposals would have to go through Congress. Steve is correct, but left out of the equation is how effective a Trump President would be in bringing members of Congress to their knees. The Negotiator himself, and one that is driven, intelligent and certainly has demonstrated he knows how to use the media to his advantage ! One can imagine a Trump press conference at the White House, and Trump lambasting Reid, McConnell or Ryan for holding up entitlement reform, reforms of the DOE or any number of other badly need tax reforms. Trump would have millions of Americans on the phone instantly pummeling their own representatives rendering them putty for him to shape as he wishes. Even Reagan, the Great Communicator would admire his skills.

Let’s get our fiscal house in order ( nothing else will matter if we don’t ) and allow time to educate the masses about the value of returning to adherence to our Constitution and the rule of law. Let both the Ministry , and others set about teaching our fellow citizens the necessity of obedience to God’s laws , but first recognize the fiscal cliff isn’t a clever euphemism intended to frighten people, but a reality that renders the rest of the discussion moot if ignored for much longer.



About Tom White

Tom is a US Navy Veteran, owns an Insurance Agency and is currently an IT Manager for a Virginia Distributor. He has been published in American Thinker, currently writes for the Richmond Examiner as well as Virginia Right! Blog. Tom lives in Hanover County, Va and is involved in politics at every level and is a Recovering Republican who has finally had enough of the War on Conservatives in progress with the Leadership of the GOP on a National Level.

6 Responses to “Will Populism Destroy the TEA Party ?— A Good Question , but the Wrong One! by Bob Shannon”

  1. David Jackson

    Regarding social security, no one was asked whether or not they wanted to be on the program, it was mandated. Secondly there wasn’t nor has there ever been a lock box. Thirdly, look who get the benefits from this program and how many on it did not contribute. Fourth, if the populist had been allowed to invest for their own retirement over the many years then I believe they would have done quite well. In a sense this was a contract forced by the government with the citizens and now they would like to renege. There is so much waste, fraud, and excessive government that with reform even social security would be alright.

  2. robert shannon

    Mr. Jackson is entirely correct. In 1960 Social Security had huge surpluses, and we all know how Congress can’t leave piles of cash alone.

    The addition of the Disability Program later added, along with the benefit for minor children of deceased participants blew the program up. Just this past year contributions were reassigned because the Disability payment program has drawn down so much money they temporarily fixed it by reassigning a fraction of incoming money to shore this Disability program up. Typical political bandaid approach. The fraud in the SSI Disability is so rampant and well documented yet they refuse to address it.

    A market based approach, allowing those under 40 to set up private accounts , leaving benefits alone for those over age 40 ( and currently retired ) has been proposed several times now and the Democrats immediately attack this proposal for all of the reasons we already understand.

    Every year we wait to address this only assures us of two things. First the measures to fix the program will be more draconian the longer we wait. Should Congress delay this until their is some sort of financial debacle occur, then the type of civil unrest we saw in Greece a few years back will occur here as well. If a remedy isn’t found before then, when the financial markets ( perhaps some sort of collapse in the bond markets) take place the draconian cuts in the program , in an effort to satisfy the rating agencies who will immediately downgrade U.S treasuries, will be so severe as to inflame the very civil unrest we all hope to avoid. The second more politically palatable would be to immediately implement some sort of means testing for eligibility, and or push retirement ages back a few years recognizing the increasingly long life spans we are living today. I don’t like ” means testing” since it rewards those who are irresponsible and punishes those that planned for their retirement, but again what is politically palatable . Congress will argue that someone with income over a certain threshold doesn’t need the benefit—and that ignores as Mr. Jackson correctly points out that these very same people who were forced to participate against their free will are now being told ” you won’t receive any benefits” A free market solution where everyone ones their own private account eliminate that in the future.
    Bob Shannon

  3. Day Trader says:

    Hanover resident and member of the Hanover Republican Committee Todd Vander Pol is a socon
    ( Social Conservative) aka religious zealot not a member of any organized Tea Party. He\’s an establishment Republican and his support of Jamie Radtke for US Senate was misconstrued as \”tea party\” when in fact he was part of the Middle Resolution Coalition of Establishment Republicans in Hanover County who backed and financed Jamie Radtke\’s run against George Allen.

    To put Todd VanderPol and Tom Garrett on a panel with Jamie Radtke was a mistake. It falsely validated them as \”Conservatives\” to the voters when they are clearly operatives for the Establishment GOP.

    If the voters knew that the Middle Resolution Pac funded Jamie Radtke\’s campaign with her first $50,000, they might not have supported her.

  4. David Jackson

    The three different types of conservatives have been described many times over recent years. I believe that basically the left uses this as a division and by pooling them together givie the impression of the low intellect voter and many people don’t like being lumped with the group. That effort ends up defining who we are as conservatives. The Cantor people like to employ this tactic and claim they are the real conservatives when they in fact are nothing resembling a conservative. Unfortunately many in the GOP are a part of that group which I label as pretentious low information people. They are so happy being a Republican and that they can now be considered the affluent and have all the prestige and importance of being in the group. They don’t know it but they are just pawns for the true elitist i.e. establishment. To combine the three types,one only has to embrace the concept of constitutional conservatives. All conservatives fit under that umbrella.

  5. robert shannon

    Their is a misplaced and extended value placed on winning , as if politics is some sort of team sport. hence when I endorsed Rob Sarvis in 2013 I attempted to get conservatives to focus on the outdated and impotent concept of winning for winning’s sake. Conservatives in the Republican camp must come to terms with their own hypocrisy is electing republicans for simply the sake of winning.

    I have repeated often how republicans controlled all of Virginia government from 2009-13, and besides a new huge tax just what did we win ? Was the tax code revised, illegal immigration ( costing Virginia 1 billion a year ) addressed. Did we reform Medicaid, 1 of every 5 dollars the state spends goes toward this program rife with fraud. Did we get Education reform—None of the above, and all worthy conservative goals.

    Winning isn’t an answer, advancing conservative causes and goals are. If we have to have the internal fight that appears to have started , then let’s get at it .

    Bob Shannon

  6. I agree with all you say but I differ that it is the conservatives in the party that embrace winning at all costs. I place that charge on the establishment. However, there have been many in the past that voted for the lessor of two evils. I have done that in the past. I no longer play that game. I strayed from the party way back during the Carter / Ford election and voted for Carter. Even back then I could see the direction of the party. How many times have I heard there is not a dimes worth of difference between the two parties. However, that was the most productive vote I ever cast. Had Ford won that election there would have been no Reagan.


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Tom White Says:

Nothing is more conservative than a republican wanting to get their majority back. And nothing is more liberal than a republican WITH a majority.

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